Ritz Cruise Ship
October 16, 2021

Sooo it's tiny, buy in a good way

Day 1- Caribbean Cruise from San Juan

Christmas week 2022. I have just boarded the new Ritz Cruise ship Emvira in San Juan and my first impression is... it's different, but how I'm not sure. From the outside it looks like the biggest billionaire mega private yacht all sleek in navy blue with white and teak trim. We head up the gang plank which is almost like a ramp versus actual stairs it's so gradual. There's no check-in other than we hand our two paper tickets we needed to print out before boarding and our cabin keys are pulled and scanned into the computer system. We're handed our keys with no other instructions. G and I look at each and shrug. On we go.

Before we make much headway we are greeted by another crew member.

"What is your cabin number?" she asks us.

I'm not sure. My husband booked this trip and has told me a thousand times the cabin number, but I have no clue. I have a cabin key without my usual criminal suspect photo on it and before I can answer G answers "707."

Of course! We have what Ritz calls a "Signature Suite" and it cost a LOT for the 10 day cruise we are embarking on.

The crew member looks at her clip board and in a blink of an eye another crew member joins her.

"Thank you, Mr. G and Mrs. N, this gentleman will take you to your cabin."

Good, because we really don't know the front from the back of the ship and we don't know what floor we've enter on. So it is when you start a new cruise that you've never cruised before.

The new crew member whisks my roller board carry-on from my hand. I'm now chasing my husband and the crew member down a narrow hallway for a cruise ship and I'm trying to take in my surrounds. First impression, the hallway of the ship is much smaller than I'm used to, but it's tastefully done. Soft colors, beige carpeting, not a lot of artwork, nice.

We enter a very small elevator that says it can hold eight people. I'm thinking that's going to be even tighter than my pre-pandemic metro ride which was shoulder to shoulder at best. The three of us get in with our two roller boards and there's not much breathing room, hard to imagine eight people in here. We go up three floors (so we entered on deck four) and then there's another sprint down an equally sized hallway as the first one. Okay, second impression is why the rush and I better get used to the hallways being two people across at best.

Then we stop, I almost run into our crew member. He uses G's keycard to let us into our cabin which has an even smaller entry way hallway inside.

"No way," I'm thinking, but it's true! We go into the room with our crew member following and we stop at the small dining table and four chairs at the end of the entryway. There's just enough room for the three of us to stop as we see the living area of the cabin.

"Dollhouse!" pops into my head, but I refrain from blurting it out. We enter the living room which is stylishly done with a two person sofa, an executive looking lounge chair, and a round coffee table that faces a built-in unit with the first thing that is actually big is the TV. I hope it has some better offerings in terms of channels than most cruise ships have.

I glance at the adjacent sleeping area and can't help but think, where's the rest of the cabin? In another room?

And even more irreverently I can't but help think, "How much did we spend on this Barbie and Ken dream cabin?" A lot I'm pretty sure, but I keep quiet. I know G enough to know if I even begin to voice these thoughts he's going to spiral down a rabbit that starts with "Well you plan the next trip!", so I'm quiet, barely.

As I mentioned adjacent to the living area is the bedroom area which doesn't comfortably allow two people to unpack at the same time.  There's two wardrobes with hanging space and three drawers in each and a vanity with a square cushion chair between. I decide to let G go first. I need to be sure he puts everything away and doesn't clutter up the space from the get go. He will by the end of the cruise, but for now we're starting off in a neat space. He's done, my turn.

I open up the second wardrobe unit and immediately ask my husband, "How many hangers do you have?"

He replies not knowing where this is headed, "I don't know, maybe 20."

"Give me half, as I've got none."

And there we are sorting out how to unpack two checked suitcases, two carry-on roller board suitcases and two backpacks filled with electronics trying to stuff all the contents into a tiny cube of a room. I'm Barbie and he's now officially Ken, and we're going to have to make the best of the Ritz Barbie Dream House cabin for ten days. There's no room under the bed for the suitcases so we shift robes, slippers and a blanket out of each wardrobe. Thank you Ritz luxuries, but you're taking up precious space. We tuck the roller boards into the larger luggage pieces and shove them into the above shelf units in each wardrobe. Et Voila! I am now the proud owner of two pairs of slippers with no place to put them.

Onto the minuscule desk top unit in the bedroom they go and I have officially started our Cruise Ship Cabin Clutter game. Score two points for me!

The bathroom is proportionally sized and well laid out. There is a small shelf that runs across the mirror over the sinks so we have space to put our toiletries organized in plain sight which I like. I can see all my stuff and easily use what I need. There are no complimentary bars of soap just two soap dispensers on the marble double sink vanity. It's part of the Ritz eco-conscious efforts. Likewise there are shampoo, conditioner, and liquid soap dispensers in the separate shower (spoiler alert- more to come on this in my next blog). There is a separate 5" long tub, as well. Good. Barbie and Ken can make this work.

The toilet is accessible from both the bathroom and the entry hallway. I'm not sure that was necessary because you cannot possibly put three or four people in this cabin or have friends over who might need to use the bathroom.

I can't help myself and I say out loud, "Sorry Stacie you're going to have to use your own marble port-a-potty."

G turns around and says "What?"

I look at him and give him the best smile I can at the moment.

I blurt out, "It's small."

He counters with "Efficient."

Well played Ken, but there are going to be choppy waters ahead I am thinking.

The Cabin Summary:

Signature Suite: 429 square feet

Terrace: 81 - 119 square feet

Colors are warm brown, chocolate brown, grey, cream and touches of navy blue. Think upscale West Elm mid-century modern. The hallway entrance has a desk with a chair, a Nespresso coffee/tea set-up, a mini-fridge and a built in leather bench- great for putting your clutter on. The hallway however makes the living room and bedroom space smaller than expected given the overall square footage noted. You can find extra storage in the drawers in the built-in TV unit which is good for storing backpacks, pool bags and such. the bedroom is snug. You can open the wardrobe door but not exit the bathroom at the same time. The round table and four chairs are sufficient for two to dine in comfortably. For four people it would be tight. The balcony is large enough for two to sit out side and there is one lounge chair.

Trip Tip: do not overpack, or you'll be wrestling to find space that isn't cluttered.

Surf & Vine Rating: Four Wine Glasses our of Five

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