We sailed on the Ruby on Sept 21st from Venice with stops in Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu, Kusadasi, Naples, and Crete. It was a very port intensive cruise but that is why we picked it! The ship was in good shape and we were warmly greeted by every crew member.
We had arrived a day ahead of time and stayed at Ca'Doge which is right next to the People Mover and the bus station. It was a great place to get to a ship however..... the Ruby was a good long walk from the people mover! Would have appreciated a shuttle of some type! We checked in later in the day so it was a breeze to get on. My DH however, had carried on his Multi tool and it was confiscated. He was not happy. He got it back later in the cruise however. Our meals were mainly in the buffet for breakfast and lunch and the anytime dining rooms for dinner. Most things were good and replenished often. The layout is a little hectic as people criss cross bake and forth around the buffet area. We sometimes had excellent service for juice and tea and sometimes we had to search it out. Coffee is just not good.... but somehow it grows on you. We also ate at the International cafe for snacks and it was always good. The food in the dining room has changed.. and on a 2 week cruise the menu began to repeat. Service was great some nights and just ok on others. We tried to sit with the same server a couple of times. He was a joy !When sitting in a group table of 8, we found the acoustics make it hard to hear our table companions.
We did go to the shows. The individual acts were quite good but the production shows were lacking. They tried hard, but just not enough talent. The cruise director, Dan was a riot!! Very quick on his feet and the rest of the social staff was very engaging. The pool area was easier to access than on a Caribbean cruise. Never had trouble finding a seat but only got there 3 times! We did go the the Muts one night and enjoyed that.
We found all tours and transfers to tenders, were pleasant and well organized. They sent you to an area of the ship to get the tender and gave you a group number and called you by group . No standing in line. All the staff helped to keep folks happy while waiting. The day we landed in Civetevechia the weather was awful!! Pouring rain and windy... the staff did a great job of getting folks to their transfers, running back and forth with umbrellas through large puddles. I felt the organization was very good.
This was a dream trip for me due to the ports. The ship was full but rarely felt crowded. We enjoyed our stay on the Ruby!
We went to the Acropolis and tried to beat the crowds.. Hard to do there! Our guide was very good and knowledgeable. From there we went to the Archeological museum. Did feel that was overly long due to going through with the guide trying to describe every piece. We broke away and went on our own there.
Lunch was at a venue with lots of other groups. Food was quite good but we were rather smooshed into the table. On to the Plaka for shopping. Did that on our own with a meet up time.. Good but not great. ..
WE took the ship transfer, not an organized tour per se. We got some Kuna and bought tickets to walk the walls. Magnificent!! Need to be in good shape but so worth it. Then we had time to walk the Stradun and have lunch and buy some souvenirs. Not to be missed!
I learned so much about Muslim culture due to our great guide Murat. Ladies, bring head covering! I had a scarf and the ship said it was not necessary but it is! They also threw a shawl over my short sleeve shirt. You also remove your shoes but Princess gave you a bag for them as well as a tote bag. Much appreciated. Istanbul was very crowded so stick with your guide!
It was a little crazy!!! You could easily get lost and we were on our own here following the carpet demonstration. We stayed on the main road since it was a maze! We were approached to buy but not harassed as I thought we might. We tried some savory treats and bought just a few things..
This was an amazing place. Our guide did a great job of describing the history and giving us time on our own.
This was part of our overall tour. We saw the harem and all the sultans rooms. Very well done.Amazing domes and tiles everywhere.
We did an independent tour with Ephesus Shuttle. Highly recommend this company. We had a nice van and a great guide. We went to Ephesus and hiked all over. This is an amazing sight. I felt it was even more impressive than pompeii. We had a great lunch at a lovely restaurant outside. We learned how to drink and interpret Turkish coffee. We did go to another rug demonstration but did not feel too high pressured to buy. We had gone to one in Istanbul but this showed the who silk worm process.
She offered to take us to the ceramic factory but we declined. There had been quite a storm while we were at lunch and the ship had broken its mooring. So there was a lot of excitement in the port. We skipped the bazaar there.
Mykonos is easy to walk around on your own. We tendered in. Beautiful doorways in picture perfect little streets to wander through. Watch for all the little cats everywhere. Good shopping! We walked over to the windmills and through little Venice. We dipped our hands into the crystal clear water and found some sea glass. Ate lunch at a taverna and enjoyed some souvlaki .
WE took a private tour with Joe Bananas Limo. Great way to go! You have a small van for the Amalfi Coast and private guide in Pompeii. Enjoyed touring Positano and the traffice was pretty spectacular too! Our guide, Gian Luc was full of information about Vesuvius and the entire area. Sorrento was very crowded as another ship had docked and tendered into there. The views were breathtaking! Glad I was not driving!
We took the tender from the ship to the port. From there we easily accessed the boat transfer to Oia. A nice boat ride takes you to the bus, which drops you below Oia. Then you are free to roam and it is MAGNIFICENT! You cannot take a bad picture! We had a snack and just took it all in. Then we walked back to the bus and they took you to Fira and the cable car down. Very easy to DIY. We were the only big ship in port so it was pretty easy!