Our family of four chose this cruise due to it's itinerary (which selected fantastic ports to cover the British Isles) and of course with princess being loyal princess cruisers. This was our 8th princess cruise and 14th overall. Expectations were high being it was one of the newer ships we'd been on.
The staff are brilliant! They are all professional, friendly and go out of their way to serve/please you. I cannot fault one staff member I met and believe they make every princess cruise wonderful. Staff ratio is great; you always feel taken care of.
The food at the speciality restaurants was great, better than dining rooms, but not of Michelin style quality. We had traditional dining onboard and were satisfied though the standard of cuisine was not it's highest we've experienced before.
The room we had (mini suite) was spacious, well maintained and comfortable. Beds were great, decor was suitable, everything was clean and proper. The space in the closest and bathroom were both decent.
Embarkation was a breeze though lines were long. Very professional crew taking care of embarkation and disembarkation.
Ruby princess is one of the newer, larger ships. It takes a while to adjust to the space but the public areas are excellently designed and appropriately laid out. You may find accessing some areas difficult since kitchens are in the centre of the ship but it just takes getting used to.
Skywalkers night club (doubling up as a lounge between 5-7) was excellent. The service up there was faultless. Andrew the bar manager really has a grip on things and deserves endless praise for him and his team. The Dj there is also excellent, hosting a different specialist music hour every night between 10-11 e.g. 70's, rock and roll, ABBA, chart toppers, following it up with general music. It was great and young and old enjoyed it.
Fitness equipment was second to none and always available.
Cruise director Martyn was a true gentleman. Found most staff including the captain and hotel manager as well have a sense of humour like ours. Majority of the ship was not amused or conversation went over their heads but we found them funny and lovely.
Onboard pricing was suitable and we took advantage of our strong Australian dollar whilst spending.
Selection of tour itineraries are great. Wide variety and very accommodating. On shore guided were knowledgable and approachable. They listed wait times in advance as well both onboard and during the tour for our benefit as well, since many sites had a wait time.
Tours are phenomenally expensive and tour staff really push you into booking one. They scare you in ports such as Glasgow and Edinburgh where cities are a bit out of wharf- saying there are no cabs or buses to take you in, and if you DO want to take public transport it's a long trip in (staff suggested 45-60 mins to get into the main city) and would cost anywhere north of 80 pounds one way. This was not the case and basically a scam. Plenty of taxis available and Edinburgh offered a 10 pound return shuttle from Queensferry. Estimation times are were certainly off.
Sanitation on board was low. No sanitiser getting off and on board, before the restaurants or in public domains. Staff rarely seem cleaning public areas - which is not their fault but their superiors instructions. Previous cruise upheld a higher standard and considering the fellow passengers lack of hygiene this cruise, sanitation was essential.
Entertainment was lacking or repetitive. Cooners pianist was shockingly bad!
As usual too many incentives for buying extras onboard. I realise staff are instructed to make sales but it's very annoying to be told day in day out about their drink specials, speciality coffees and liqueurs, wine tastings, spa treatments ... Tutt tutt princess cruises.
Spa prices are not reasonable and I wouldn't recommend treatment for the price offered.
Communication for tours and meeting times are not clear. We were expected to arrive late in our second port (Cork, Ireland) and were told the previous afternoon than tour times would change. 8am the next morning, whilst docking, they announced that a retraction on the precious comment, and that tours would be as listed. This gave us 15 mins to eat breakfast and prepare for our excursion. Disorganised and miscommunicated by Princess - just not good enough.
Many many issues with wheelchair or scooter passengers, particularly with leaving at port. Many times witnessed immobile passengers disobeying company protocol and trying to disembark to a tender or on a gangway not suited to their chairs. Princess need to monitor this - regulations and advice for disembarkation at port is in both their policy guidebook and patter, so why aren't they policing it instead of allowing these people to hog queues for 10 mins a piece and then trying to move them aside. Hypocritical or absent minded?
Exchange rate on onboard money machines is horrible, so use onshore atms.
Stupidly, the ship travelling the British isles and Europe (drinking age 18) had an onboard drinking age of 21. Now, I respect the ship is registered in America - though I don't understand why when the cruise is covering European ports. Over 18 year olds could and were drinking ashore and then coming back on board. Where's the logic in that? Princess are so keen to follow exhibiting visiting-port foods and cultures onboard and yet they made two huge mistakes onboard: 1) having a 'gala night' and dressing everything up in the US flag (since when did British gala feature the American flag?) and 2) the drinking age. Very confused ...
The internet onboard is ridiculous! We are platinum members and have free minutes, however the computers in the internet cafe are painfully slow. It took 20 minutes load one page, another 20 minutes to print one page. We didn't print. any of our boarding passes for our home bound flight because of this. Our laptops and phones worked better on the wifi , even in the room, so I suggest taking personal devices and not using faculties onboard. I understand were at sea but why would my laptop take 1 minute to load a page and the computers onboard 20? Internet cafe manager was not helpful with this.
The biggest negative was the fellow passengers. They were excruciating. I have never been surrounded on any trip with that many racist, arrogant, poorly mannered and small minded passengers. We were one of the very few Australians travelling onboard- the majority being Americans (67% I heard at the welcome aboard party) and I think we Aussie's (not Auzzzie's) have a much higher tolerance and acceptance threshold for nationalities and cultures. We are far more relaxed travellers and it was a shame to be constantly surrounded by rude people. A real spoiler. Definitely enjoyed sailing with the British more.
As usual, we favour Princess Cruises and prefer travelling with a familiar, upscale cruise line. We usually choose our cruises based on itinerary- not the ships or the dining- and are overall satisfied with our experiences. We would cruise again with Princess.