We last cruised with Princess in 2009 with subsequent cruises on Holland America and Celebrity. After a wonderful cruise on the Ruby we definitely will be back to Princess in the future. Of course, we have been on some cruises that are better than others, but never a bad cruise, however, this was one of our best.
We stayed a couple days in Rome and then used Rome Cabs for easy ride to Civitavecchia. We got to the ship around 12:30 and embarkation was the easiest we have ever had, as we must of been on the ship with 10 minutes!!
We had a balcony cabin on Baja deck on port side almost to aft of ship. The only time we had any vibration was when ship was docking, but we were already up, so no issues. Cabin was obviously a long way from mid ship, but we love to walk, so wasn't an issue. Cabin steward was excellent!
The thing that struck us on the cruise was that the only time we felt crowded on the ship was at the main show; otherwise, the ship never felt crowded, even with over 3000 passengers on board.
We had a great Cruise Critic meet and greet in Skywalkers lounge. The Commodore, hotel general manager and cruise director were all present. I think this indicates how much Princess is aware and sensitive to the cruise critic folks.
We understand that food is very subjective, but we were very happy with quality and service in the main dining room. This was the first time we tried anytime dining. We normally went to dinner between 6 and 6:30, and never had to wait, even when we requested a table for two. We also ate at Crown Grill and Sabantini's. We thoroughly enjoyed Crown Grill, but Sabantini's was just okay, and the atmosphere was dampened by a window seat that looked out at all the smokers seated outside, just a few feet away.....
Unfortunately, Princess still allows smoking in more than half of the casino, which you must pass through on one deck to get to the Princess theater. Also, this becomes the smokers' gathering point even when the casino is closed, so certainly the casino is an area to avoid.
We did Princess tours in Athens, Naples (to Capri), Katakalon (to great family winery) and Santorini (Oia, winery and Fira) and a cruise critic roll call organized private tour to Ephesus, which was fascinating. The rest of the ports we explored on our own. The tour in Santorini was a disaster, as the tour guide was very unorganized and rambling, to say the least. And her English was extremely difficult to understand. In Oia, she told everyone to meet at certain time in the square. After waiting around for a while, we learned that she had left 10 minutes early, so the entire group had to find the way to the bus on our own. Later, after we arrived in Fira, we discovered that she had left a passenger back in Oia!! In Fira, she led us up through the town on a difficult route, and having some folks with mobility issues, this created a number of problems, so many people were angry at this point. Someone asked the tour guide why we weren't following the same route as the other tours, and her response "this way is shorter." Along the way she refused to give us any directions to the cable car, then finally, after quite a while, she pointed and said that was the way to cable car and promptly disappeared, without announcing that she was leaving! We have asked that Princess refund cost to all on tour but have gotten no response. This is sad, as otherwise we were very impressed at how well Princess organized their tours and got people on and off the ship in a very efficient manner.
Our Cruise Director, Dan Styne, was one of the best that we have encountered as he was very visible on the ship, a funny and quick guy on stage and came across as a genuine person unlike many today that are so scripted and rehearsed that is is almost laughable.
Overall we had a great time on the Ruby Princess!