We loved our cruise on the Ruby Princess. The ship is very nice except that the cabins are a little bit outdated. We actually got a sheet with a hole in it and they all looked a little worn out. Princess needs to consider changing their sheets when needed. But the public areas were good and the service was excellent. The only area on the Princess ships that leaves it open to think that the person that designed it was not thinking straight is the Horizon cafe. It is cramped and people run around like the food is going to run out. We try to go early or late to avoid the feeding frenzy. This was a very port intensive cruise so we hardly had to deal with the Horizon Cafe.
This cruise was 3 in 1, but we did only 2. First part was Venice to Athens. Second part was Athens to Rome. Third part was Rome to Barcelona. One thing we could not believe is that they put the same menu in the MDR. So I can imagine that those that stayed for the 3rd part ended up eating from the same menu three times. Princess needs to rethink this issue. I am sure that if they can sell a 21 day cruise, they can come up with 3 different menus.
Venice, Santorini and Istanbul was the main reason we booked this cruise. We were not disappointed.
We spent a few days in Venice before the cruise and loved every minute of it. Best way to enjoy Venice is just walking around and getting lost. The ship leaving Venice is a definite must. We booked a balcony on the port side and were able to enjoy the view without mobs of people trying to see over each other in the upper deck. The view is incredible.
Dubrovnik was a wonderful stop. We took the funicular and enjoyed breathtaking views of the old city. We also went up on the wall, but I didn't care much for walking around it. They tell you that they will take euros in town, but a lot of the places refused to and one place even told us that it was illegal. We didn't care much for the cold and uncaring attitude of the vendors in the old town, but overall this place is well worth it. You don't need a tour, you can take the shuttle bus into town and back to the ship.
Corfu could have been skipped. We took a tour that took us up mountains in this huge bus. It felt very unsafe. One of the villages you have to go through, the bus could hardly get through because the road was as wide as the bus and it was lined with houses. The guide thought it was funny, but one mistake by the driver and we would have beens stuck. The Virgin Mary monastery was not appealling. It smelled up cat urine and feces. Definitely a waste of time.
Istanbul was a great experience. Ladies you have to cover your hair to enter the Blue Mosque. They didnt tell us that in the port lectures, but you do. As you enter if you dont have your own hair cover, they will give you this blue piece of cloth that a lot of other people use. If you are wearing shorts, men and women will have to wrap one of those blue wraps around their body. They also make you take your shoes off. Make sure you were socks, the place smells like feet so I can only imagine how dirty the carpet is. The Blue Mosque was nice, but I liked the Haiga Sophia better. Overall we loved our visit to Istanbul and would go again. We felt safe all the time, except when those annoying kids would push against you to sell you perfume. I bought one for $20 and all I got was alcohol with a smell. THEY ARE FAKE!!! But I was tired of the kid.
Mykonos was very nice to walk around and get lost. Go up to the windmills, the view is beautiful. They have an area that they call Venice and it's very nice. You can sit there and have a drink or get something to eat.
Athens was a nice experience, except that besides the Acropolis, there is not much more to do. To get up the Acropolis you have to walk A LOT of steeps steps. There were thousands of people there and it was a miracle nobody tripped. It's worth the climb, but very very strenous.
Santorini was incredible. We took a tour that first took us to a winery at 8:00am. We didnt have any wine, but the views from up there were breathtaking. From there we went to Oia for 1.5 hrs. The drive to Oia is incredible. You are on the side of a mountain on one of those big buses, but you get incredible views. Oia was wonderful and we got to walk around take a lot of pictures of th blue dome, etc. We went back to Fira and there we were left on our own. We took the funicular down to the ship.
Rhodes was a nice place to walk around, do some shopping and sit to have a drink. The place is very crowded. The Gran Master Palace is so full of people at one time that it's hard to even walk around. But it's worth a visit.
Crete was a waste, we definitely should have skipped it. We took a tour that took us to Knossos Palace for about 1.5 hrs then they gave us 40 mins in the downtown area that was a waste. I would not even care to get off in Crete again.
Kusadasi was interesting but we had bad weather so we chose not to go on the tour to Ephesus. We walked to the Gran Bazaar, did some shopping and went back to the ship. As we were sitting in the Sky Walker lounge, a horrible storm broke out. All of the sudden the ship was pushed by the strong winds, the ropes broke and the ship started drifting sideways. We could feel the ship tilting to one side. The capt came on the speakers to call out an alert. He sounded out of breath. Within minutes he took control of the ship. Thank God we did not hit the pier or anything else when the ship was shifting out of control. The day stayed pretty much the same, so we just stayed on the ship.
Our last stop was Naples. We took a tour to Capri. This is an incredible place. It is worth going back to spend a couple of days. The tour was quick, but there wasnt much time. You have to take a water ferry for 50 mins and you have to make sure to get on the 4pm ferry back to make it on the ship on time. We loved Capri and Annacapri. Beautiful place with an incredible view.
Our desembarkation was in Rome. We took a tour of the Roman Countryside with RomeCabs. Michele (Michael) our driver was incredible. He knew where to go and always got there on time. We went to Odelgasi Castle where Tom Cruise and Katy got married. Incredible!! We also went to the Necropolis. Very interesting place. He took us to a town named Ceri that is on top of a mountain. There is only one road in and out. We had lunch at a restaurant that was incredible. The best fettucine I have ever had. The service was impecable. We definitely recommend them. Our day ended in the hotel Hilton Garden Inn near the airport. We rested and took our flight back home the next day.