This was probably our thirtieth cruise and our first on the Ruby Princess (we have been on several other Princess ships). We arrived in Venice a day early to allow extra sightseeing and in case of travel problems. A water-taxi ride ($150USD) to our hotel was interesting, and though expensive, was not outrageous for the four of us and certainly easier then the vaporata(sic).
Venice is pretty and we enjoyed St. Marks and the Doges Palace. The food in Venice is very expensive and just okay.
Getting to the ship from our hotel was a pain. We took the vaporata to Plaza de Roma and then the people mover to the ship which was docked in the closest berth. It still was a fairly long walk over rough pavement to the actual terminal. It was very hot and they do not make it easy to find out where to leave your luggage. They will tell you in the terminal to drop your luggage about a city block away in a somewhat unmarked building.
Once in the terminal the embarkation went very quickly and smoothly. With the exception of the "internet manager?", all of the princess employees we dealt with were friendly, helpful, and truly seemed concerned that we had a nice cruise.
It was always very difficult to get connected on the internet as the "too many subscribers" notice kept popping up. The "internet manager" on duty could care less and made it clear that it wasn't his problem as "he only worked here". If I had paid for an internet package, I would have demanded my money back.
Our cabins (balcony) were very clean and comfortable and our steward was very professional and always had a smile.
We chose anytime dining, which was a good choice as we were always tired after the ports. The service in both dining rooms was very good, with some waiters being better than others, but, the better ones were truly outstanding. We had no complaints about the wait staff, whatsoever.
Due to a taxi strike in Athens, the captain did not let anyone leave the ship, so Athens was a complete waste. Costa did allow their passengers off, apparently without incident.
I personally disagreed with the captain's decision, but, as he is ultimately responsible for the ship, crew, staff, and passengers, I could not really fault him for playing it safe.
We thought the food in the dining room was outstanding, consistently good.
Breakfast and lunch were just okay, and we tried to have lunch on shore as much as we could. However, even if the lunches were very good, we would have eaten ashore anyway.
Debarkation in Barcelona went smoothly and we spent the night in Barcelona, flying home the next day. Note that the airport bus from Cataluña Plaza was inexpensive and very easy to use. A highlight of Barcelona was watching the Gypsies hustle the tourists with the old pea under the three matchboxes game, it was truly educational.
We enjoyed the cruise and felt it was money well spent.
We have booked another Princess cruise in December in the Caribbean.