This was our dream cruise. 30 years of marriage and a wish to see the countries of the Mediterranean. The Ruby Princess was unlike our other Princess cruises . . . which were all good and nothing to complain about. This time was different. Don't get me wrong. There were a LOT of goods, but customer service is broken on the Ruby and it needs fixing.
First, the good things: Our luggage was lost and we didn't receive it until Athens (three days into the cruise). That may sound bad, but the good thing is Princess stayed on the airlines and kept us informed daily. Not only that, but they washed our clothes for free every day and and offered free formal wear should we desire to go to the formal night. We were not the only ones who did not receive their luggage (it was a BAD trip for the airlines) but Princess treated us as if we were.
Our steward Jack was unbelievable. I wish I could have packed him in my luggage and brought him home. He was always available and whatever we asked for was immediately provided. AND he ALWAYS had a smile on his face (and some days it couldn't have been easy to do that!).
Most of our tour guides were excellent, especially in Rome, Ephesus and Istanbul. We had two who were awful-we submitted comments and Princess gave us 20% back on one and 15% back on the other. However, BELIEVE Princess when they describe the excursions and they say they are physically challenging. Folks, they MEAN it. These places are NOT the USA. We are talking ruins, thousands of years old in some cases and they aren't going to suddenly start paving over the uneven, rocky paths. There are NO handicapped ramps, no handicap access, no paved sidewalks, etc. People do fall, they do break bones. I sprained my ankle at the beginning of the trip and I am fit and active. DO NOT go on the excursions if you are not able. You only hurt yourself and hold back the other tour members.
Ryan and Jason of the cruise director staff were phenomenal. Be careful playing trivia with them. They do not give away anything. You EARN your "crappy ship prizes!"
Disembarkation was excellent! The best we have ever experienced. Off the ship, picked up our luggage in the terminal, walked straight to a Delta counter set up there, checked in, walked out to the bus, drove to the airport, went through security and poof! we were at our gate ready to head home. We couldn't believe how easy it was.
The bad: Food was mediocre at best and we don't go on cruises for the food so to say it was mediocre says a lot. Cold in the buffet on many occasions and unappetizing in the dining room (I had one decent meal- turkey pot pie - in the dining room).
As mentioned in a previous review, the deck staff is AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL. My husband and I got to the point where we joked that we would have to trip someone to get service. All I wanted was a Diet Coke-they would see me waiting and literally turn their heads to not make eye contact with me. We couldn't get orange juice in the morning for breakfast in the buffet, I couldn't get chocolate milk at night (we don't have that-yes, you do, I just had it last night-no we don't) and on the last day when we disembarked NO ONE would wait on us, period. I even had a waiter snap at me during afternoon tea when all I said was "she (the lady witting next to me) would like some more tea as well." Lack of attention and rudeness was systemic throughout the dining rooms, buffet, etc., but the deck was the worst. We would see the crew members standing around talking, laughing, joking. Anything but waiting on us. I am not a demanding person. I always say please and thank you. I was never given the opportunity because they simply looked the other way. We have NEVER had this experience on Princess before. Usually they almost knock you down to be nice and helpful. Not on the Ruby.
I filled out the email review when I got home and asked to have someone from Princess call me because we were so stunned at the appalling lack of courtesy and concerned with the wait staff. Princess did call (after I left a message saying I would like to talk to them BEFORE I wrote my review)and we discussed the issues stated above. I believe Princess was concerned as well and I hope they will make changes. This is not the Princess I have come to know and love. Will I cruise with them again? Yes, absolutely, because I believe the Ruby to be an aberration and not indicative of the entire cruise line. However, you need to be aware of what you might face and make sure the supervisors know of your concerns. If I had it to do over again, I would have asked for a supervisor and made my concerns known right then. Perhaps changes could have been made immediately and so many of us would not have been upset.
It is just sad that our one in a lifetime trip was marred because of the wait staff.