The Ruby Princess is a pretty ship! I'm a Platnum Circle Member which only means that I've traveled on Princess Ships several times before. This trip was a family celebration. Many wonderful Port excursions leave those who partake exhausted and amazed!! This is one way to view many of the worlds wonders without the transport hassles!! The balcony rooms allow for a beautiful sail-in to these exotic locations ours began in Barcelona and ended with a spectacular ride into Venice......a memorable day forever. If you have never sailed these ports a balcony room ( tip: starboard) is a must. Now the pros and cons:
Pros: lovely ship, exotic ports to view, decent food, movies under the stars, many helpful staff(not all), relatively easy check-in and waiting area, some stewards are wonderful as the butler service years ago.
Cons: questionable pre-cruise hotels (Grand Hotel Central terrible), variable costs (seems many European guests received better room upgrades and prices!), expensive yet more reliable (for firsttimers) excursions, tea service is not what it used to be, rude sometimes nasty wait staff, small seemingly competitive (different cultures) wait staff groups, sometimes anti-American feel among this mostly European staff, couple centric (where is the husband tonight stated in the dining room to a mother and daughter waiting for dinner and were ignored ) mindset , constant sales pitch for wine or upscale dining room, a feeling that dining staff did not have enough to do yet would ignore ( one couple walked out because it took to long) waiting passengers at tables, and this was not avoidable if you went to the buffet some of the same problems existed as though the wait staff as a whole was not properly trained or organized..
I will finish with two surprises that were not explained prior to or afterwards. First we received a note just after our second day that all passports were to be taken from non-europeans no option!! This was before we were to leave for Athens(walking around in Greece without passports would feel unsafe) and Turkey. We questioned why we were not told and the answer given is that they assure us it was in the contract that basically says we are at the mercy of the company.
Second just prior to and at sea around nine at night 4 military fighter jets swooped over our heads and if you have witnessed these you know how loud they are not to mention unsettling!!!!!
The only explanation after first claiming that they had no information was that it wasTurkish military.
Overall I am thrilled at the world wonders witnessed during this celebration cruise and that was the primary focus of the trip! I have read most reviews written by my co- passengers and they have summed up pretty well other issues that I didn't mention. I hope that this review offers a few more insightful reflections that will help others have a wonderful cruise!