Boarding at Barcelona was easy, though crowded, and we had enough time to catch the port shuttle to wander Las Ramblas.Getting to know our way round was less easy - can't say we managed it over the 12 days. Cabin was a 3/4 person one, inside - bed awkwardly arranged, but dressing and wardrobe area very good, and shower room perfectly adequate, with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel,lotion and soap. Hairdryer was rather underpowered. Cabin steward brought us fruit on request and bathrobes. One of the delights of a cruise is the food, and the Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe on Lido deck were great for any meal(the British might object to the quality of the breakfast bacon, but that's a minor point). Lunch and dinner could be eaten there, and the variety and quality of food, especially the meat and fish, was more than acceptable. we didn't feel the need to book at Sabatini's or Crown Grill for our anniversary,plus it was a formal evening, so were able to get dressed up. The one pity was More
that many of the other passengers didn't feel the need to do likewise on the 2 formal evenings. The evening menu had more than enough variety, and the Lotus Spa selections were delicious. Again, meat and fish were excellent,though vegetables were lacking. Service, after the first evening was very good. For the rest of the facilities, I recommend the Movies under the stars; we stayed on board at Civitavecchia, and watched a film while sitting in the (too hot for me) jacuzzi and swimming. Apart from the dining options mentioned, we enjoyed the ice cream at the pizza bar and hamburger and hot dog at the Trident grill on deck.
Excursions were a different matter. we found them to be grossly overpriced, and, having been to all the ports before, decided to go independent. It's easy to get to Florence, Pisa or(our choice)Lucca by train - take the ship shuttle to Piazza Grande, buy a bus ticket from a paper kiosk, get Bus No 1 to station and repeat on return from where you've been. It's equally easy to go to Rome or Capri(from Naples- the ferry terminal is 200yds from the berth), and Istanbul is very easy too - you can buy jetons at the end of the bridge near the berth, cost 2Lira, for the tram to the main sites and walk back to the ship. Don't bother with the shuttle in Mykonos, if you can walk - the town is only 25 minutes walk along a fairly level road. Venice has a "people mover" for 1 euro per journey to Piazzale Roma from the edge of the dock and from there you can follow the yellow wall signs to St Marks and the Rialto. If you like exploring, give it a go.probably changing to anytime dining and trying to find either a large table or one for two. Beware the portion size - they cater for American appetites, so you may find portions a bit large sometimes - I was given a 4 egg omelette for breakfast and had to leave half of it - shame.
We found the constant sell, sell, sell, on board annoying. Bear in mind that you can avoid the service charge by filling in a form at reception on Deck 6, and can return your shuttle tickets for Venice if you don't want them(they cost $15, but only take you to St Marks- you're better off walking or getting single vaporetto tickets. If you do go on trips ashore, you can fill water bottles at the drinks stations in Horizon and Caribe (while you're there, try thr lemonade-it's sweet but delicious) Disembarcation for over 3000 was managed impeccably - the only delay was at Marco Polo airport, which wasn't Princess's fault.
Select your onboard activities with care. Some of the lifestyle options are nothing more than a selling exercise, but the pottery painting can be fun, if you are so inclined.
Entertainment was a good standard, some of the best we've encountered. The highlight was a Venetian chamber orchestra on the last night. We'd have liked to watch it on the big screen, but the sound wasn't good and there were some loud-voiced people chatting which spoiled the sound, so we went to the Theatre
Wold we use Princess and the "Ruby Princess again? Yes, we would,but would probably ask for Anytime dining. All in all, it was a great way to celebrate(we even received a card, a cake and balloons on the day itself) and have the sort of memories that you should have from such a cruise Less
Ruby Princess Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean