Barbara and I are both retired, but very active as volunteers in our community. Over the last 35 years we have cruised more than 30 times. Princess has been our favorite cruise line and we are in the Elite status. We flew on Delta from LAX to JFK and on to Athens, Greece. Our air was arranged for by Princess as were our transfers. The journey was trouble free, but it was difficult getting up at 3 AM to make our 6:30 AM flight out of LAX. We chose not to do an Athens pre-cruise as we have spent time there previously. Upon arrival at airport we were met by a Princess representative who could have walked more slowly as there were some people who could not keep up with her. The embarkation process at the ship was very smooth..
Our interior cabin (B-420) was small but comfortable. We had ample closet and shelf space. Our cabin steward was very accommodating. The cleaning and laundry service was good. The Ruby has started showing its age, but everything seemed to work okay. The staff on the Ruby was excellent. No problem with anyone. As a matter of fact the staff went out of their way to please the passengers. We did have one major complaint and that was the food quality.
The first night on the cruise my wife ordered prime rib and she could not cut it. I ordered medallions of beef and they were chewy with no flavor. The blue cheese dressing used to be my favorite. It was inedible. The next night I ordered Caesar salad and the dressing was so spicy I could not believe it was Caesar salad dressing.
Breakfast in both the buffet and ding room was excellent. Lunch in the buffet was terrible. The choices were so poor I ended up going to the pizza bar and bringing slices of pizza back to the buffet. When I did get one of the buffet offerings it was usually tasteless. The ranch dressing in the buffet was watered down compared to the ranch dressing served in the dining room. The dinner entrees could not compare with what we had in 2008 on the Diamond. We don't know if Princess changed their food supplier or the cooking staff was just poor. My guess from what our server at dinner told us is Princess changed their supplier.. A bad move to save a few dollars.
Because we were in a port 11 out of the 13 days we didn't participate in many ship board activities other than Trivia type games. Our shore excursions for the most part were just okay. One all day excursion in Palermo should have been a half day outing.. On the two sea days we kicked back and read. The shows were good. Even the show put on by the staff was fun. What we really enjoyed after dinner was the piano player in one of the bars.. He was an excellent entertainer.
When it was time to leave the ship the disembarkation process was very smooth. Finding luggage in the terminal is always a task but manageable. Barcelona is one of our favorite cities in Europe but we had spent a few days there 3 years ago so we passed on a post-cruise stay. Our return flights on Delta were fine but the food on the Athens to JFK leg of the journey was poor. They offered two entrees that were very spicy. Fortunately there was an excellent restaurant, The Palm, in the Delta terminal where we had dinner before our flight back to LAX..
We have booked another Princess cruise in 2014 on the Sapphire.. Hopefully the food on the Sapphire will be better than what we got on the Ruby. We do not believe the service could be any better than the service we received on the Ruby. The cruise could have used more sea days. One sea day per week made it almost feel like a riverboat cruise. I suggest that if you are looking for a very relaxing vacation look for more sea days.. If you want to visit the sights then sea days are not important.