Previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Regent. We were very Happy with the service, staff, restaurants, food quality, ambiance, and cabin on the Ruby. Movies under the stars was nice and unique to Princess. Great mix of passengers of all ages and nationalities, many families, and would say the median age was 45 because of the summer season. Alot of teens aboard and there were plenty of activities if they wanted to participate.
However,with few exceptions, live entertainment was designed (in all venues) for passengers older than 70 (1950s sock hop, Stardust hits of 1957, ballroom music reviews). On the big stage, a predictable magician performed twice, Headliner vocalists each performed twice, and 2 "broadway" stage shows (1 good one - One Upon a Dream, and 1 dance review, bleh). Scott Harris (comedian) was very funny so we made sure to see him twice, although 1 of his shows was entirely a "back in the old days" set. Therefore, a combination of long port days and a lack of entertainment relevant to the past 40 years meant that most people were in their cabins by 10 pm. Many conversations with other passengers ages 35-50 and all agreed that their bar bills were low because there was nothing to keep them out at night. Short-sighted of Princess to ignore the interests of passengers who are willing to pay $9 for a drink, and I believe this dismissal of a large demographic is something they should revisit.
But this is a cruise about the Destinations. Every port was fantastic and worth seeing. Myself (48), Husband (49) and teenage son (14) each liked different ports although they got pretty tired of "and that pile of rocks used to be the ____ temple!" So much history, cultural and art to take in. Princess gives you lots of time in each port compared to other cruise lines which is important for the stops where the main attraction (Florence, Rome) is still an hour away by bus or train. Since it was mid-August, Florence, Rome, and Athens were vacant and therefore no traffic! Venice and Istanbul were very crowded. and it was unbelievably HOT in every, single port.
Stayed 1 night in Barcelona pre-cruise at the Hotel Continental on Las Ramblas which was well located and comfortable. Some weird door locking/security system and strangely pink room (even the ceiling!) but good for 1 night.
Embarkation easy - people were allowed to check in prior to the posted 1 pm time so we were on-board by 12:45.
Ruby is a big ship but well laid out. Very little movement felt while underway. Port disembarkation was easy every time. Smiling faces on crew everywhere. All crew members (stewards, waiters, bar staff, pool staff, etc.) all willing to take a few minutes to chat and we got to know several. Dining rooms were great and very attentive for my gluten-free diet needs. Went to Crown Grill and Sabatini's which was a nice change to dining rooms. Used the buffet a few times when we were too tired for a sit-down dinner.
We had a wonderful 12 nights visiting amazing places, then spent 2 additional nights in Venice which was the icing on the cake -what an incredible city to roam around in.
Will need the weekend to rest from this amazing vacation!