We sailed the Ruby Princess from Venice to Rome on the 12 Day Greek Isles on 4 August. This was our 13th cruise and the first on Princess. We were very pleased overall with the ship, crew and dining.
We flew in a day before and took the Alilaguna Water Bus from the airport to a bus stop right at our hotel for 15 Euro each. We chose a hotel, the NH Manin because it is right at the Sant' Angelo bus stop on the Grand Canal. You walk off the landing and take an immediate right and the door faces the canal. It was a good location; only minutes walk from St. Marks Square and the Rialto Bridge. The hotel room was a good size for Europe and they provide a full breakfast. We shared a water/land taxi combination to the ship which deposited us right at baggage drop off. We arranged the transportation through our hotel and it cost 100 Euro which we were fortunately able to share with another couple. All transportation in Venice is expensive, including the local vaporetti or water bus.
Embarkation was well organized; we checked in quickly and were provided a number for boarding. We waited only about 20 minutes and by the time we boarded around 1:00PM, our cabin was ready.
Our cabin was on Deck 14, all the way aft. It was a great location, near the Terrace pool, a bar, and the buffet.
The ship was clean and well maintained. The wait staff and cabin steward did a great job and were friendly and helpful.
The food in the buffet was among the best we have had in over 13 cruises. The quality and selection was excellent. There always seemed to be plenty of room to sit and service was excellent for water, coffee, and other such refreshments.
We had the second seating for formal dining and the food too was quite good, although I must say some of the more unusual dishes we have encountered. We had great table companions and spending many enjoyable evenings conversing.
This is a port intensive cruise with only two at sea days. But you really see a lot of beautiful scenery and ancient ruins. It is fascinating how advanced the Greek and Roman civilizations were 2000 years ago. One of the highlights of this cruise was the stop in Kusadasi Turkey which gave us access the ancient Roman city of Ephesus which was one of our more interesting stops. This city is huge and still partially buried. We took the optional tour of the Terrace houses which is not far out of the way, just a lot of steps. It was well worth it to see how the wealthy lived long ago. We took the ship's excursions in all ports which may be more expensive then local tours, but they proved to be excellent. The guides were very knowledgeable and spoke fluent English. The buses were new and comfortable. The meals provided on two of our tours were excellent local fare.
We found the theater entertainment lacking in variety and quality. The ships singers and dancers were excellent but we did not see as much of them as we would have liked. Some nights there was no theater production. One comedian was OK but the mentalist put us to sleep, maybe he was really a hypnotist. This poor showing of shows was the only drawback to an excellent cruise. We particularly enjoyed the "Movies Under the Stars". This is a great feature for Carnival and Princess, we watched several movies.
Disembarkation in Civitavecchia was well organized. Within a couple days of boarding, we were provided a form to indicate when we wanted to go ashore. We had to be out of our cabins by 8:00 but could stay in the lounges or Buffet until leaving. Once we left, our luggage was readily available and our transportation to Rome was right on time. We stayed over a few days in Rome and used Bobs Limo for transportation. It was a pleasant ride to our hotel in downtown Rome. We stayed at the Hotel Adriano. The room was comfortable with great air conditioning along with a full breakfast. Additionally, it was a great location, within walking distance of most attractions; Vatican City, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and the main shopping street Via del Corso.