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Ruby Princess Barcelona to Venice Cruise
Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
We have cruised 9 times with Princess. This itinerary was exciting and fast paced. We did not know about CruiseCritic before we planned our excursions and many of them were so rushed, we were unable to savor many of the landmarks and sites we were interested in.
We found the food was just "okay" and not great, not even in the specialty dining rooms. We tried the regular dining room food as well and it was not anything special at all. For us, the food is a big part of our cruising experience and enjoyment. We have raved about other cruise line cuisine but the last 5 or 6 Princess Cruises did not cause us to gain any weight! The Specialty Dining was overpriced in our opinion, although we chose to dine in them over the regular dining room. The ship was elegant and immaculately maintained.
The cabin was roomy and quite comfortable. We found that the ship was warm, including our cabin, regardless of how low we set the thermostat. We were too tired after the long and More
demanding excursions to see any entertainment in the evenings.
However, all in all, it was a very enjoyable cruise, less and except a number of the Princess sponsored excursions and the food that did not WOW us. Unless we can stay on for the restful journey to Miami after Venice, we will not choose this itinerary again. We booked a future cruise and will continue to enjoy this cruise line because of the staff, elegance, perks for Platinum cruisers. Less
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Cabin review: BAC702 Balcony
We were near the Aft stairway/elevators and it was fine. Actually, that location turned out to be favorable because the dining, Skywalkers Bar, and access to photo center was Aft making it quite convenient. The cabin was spacious, the closet had more than enough room for us. The bed was dreamy comfortable and so were the pillows of down. There was a generous vanity located near the balcony doors with good lighting and large mirror. There was a refrigerator and bar area opposite the vanity with a comfortable chair. The balcony had part shade and part sun. It was great!
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Port and Shore Excursions
Due to a missed flight in Montreal, we were unable to tour Barcelona as planned. The journey between the airport and the Port was excellent and area was beautiful.
We saw the City of Florence only briefly on our excursion but have toured it in the past. We went out into the countryside in Greve. We toured a wine museum and sampled a large selection of wines. We enjoyed antipasta in a medieval castle with spectacular views. It was a great experience but a long excursion of almost 10 hours.
There was a lot to see and this was another nearly 9 hour excursion for this Port. The merchants are most aggressive and I find that quite annoying. We could not shop for much of anything because they hound you to the point you do not wish to stop. Even walking along the streets, you are chased with goods and pleas to buy. It was Sunday, so the Grand Bazaar was closed and we were glad! We did enjoy a carpet demonstration we found very interesting. The Blue Mosque was beautiful and saw the residence of the Sultan and his family. It was amazing and recommend you see if you have the chance.
Not so long a tour, 5 hours, but we did a lot of difficult walking on inclines of marble that were sometimes slippery. The Virgin Mary Shrine is something to see, but due to the crowds, we simply walked through, unable to linger... sort of shuffled with the crowds. You can light up to two candles outside the home where Mary lived and died. You may purchase postcards and take them to the Post Office very close to the store and have them stamped. I am not clear if you are required to buy the postage too but we did and postage to the US was expensive. There was a serious language barrier with the Postal Clerk. The tomb of St. John was not at all what we expected but were glad we saw it. It's just a large slab on the ground surrounded by ruins. It did feel like a Holy place despite it's simplicity. All very worth whiled to see. There is not room for the 9th Port which was Venice. It was fantastic and our favorite Port! We enjoyed a gondola ride with serenade in the evening and one by day with lots of history behind it. We toured St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace. Must see if in Venice. We also toured Athens, Greece. Had dinner in a Hotel overlooking the entire City of Athens. The food was delicious and an authentic hot lunch. Here again, we were a bit rushed through this 8 hour tour to see Acropolis, Archaeological Museums and the Old Olympic Stadium.
We toured old Monaco on a walking tour, we also toured the Royal Palace and the outside of St. Nicholas Cathedral. It was a very clean City full of history and beautiful to see. We were disappointed that we could not go into the Cathedral.
We toured the Island of Delos and were awe struck at the architecture and condition of this ancient city. This was a great tour. The entire tour only took about 4 hours and was great. I would urge you to see this if you have the opportunity. The place was in such good shape that it almost felt as though it was only lacking the people and the ornaments of their day!
We toured Pompeii and then went to Sorrento for a cheese tasting of local cheeses. Not many people cared for the cheese. We saw lemons being harvested and walked among the groves. We also saw how a cameo is made in the cameo factory. Pompeii was fascinating and one of our favorite tours of ruins. It was a very long excursion to see Pompeii and Sorrento of almost 10 hours in duration.
We explored the Etruscan Countryside by bus and enjoyed antipasta in a farmhouse where we also tasted their delicious wines and olive oils. It was a charming place with very friendly people. The views were fantastic. We toured Tuscania by foot and it was interesting and charming as well. We thoroughly enjoyed this visit. We returned to Civitavecchia and toured on our own. It is a crowded, dirty, old Port, but interesting nonetheless.