45 Barcelona Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

We booked our air from FLL to BCN with Princess on Delta at a reasonable price and then booked our own hotel in Barcelona for a couple of nights prior to embarkation. A short cab ride took us to the terminal. Boarding in Barcelona was ... Read More
We booked our air from FLL to BCN with Princess on Delta at a reasonable price and then booked our own hotel in Barcelona for a couple of nights prior to embarkation. A short cab ride took us to the terminal. Boarding in Barcelona was quick and easy which set the tone for what could have been a great cruise. never The security process getting on the ship after each port call was difficult. I have had both hips replaced and each time I boarded I would tell them but they would send me through the metal detector anyway and then express exasperation that someone had to pat me down. I would be directed out of the way of other boarders while my belongings languished on the conveyer belt until someone could find the time to do the pat down. That became burdensome after the first couple of times. I never feel overwhelmed on a large ship because seldom are that many people congregated at one place at one time. The ship was easy to learn and to get around on. I spent most sea days reading on the 18th deck in the Sky Walker lounge or watching the sea from the panoramic windows there. There were several lectures daily on various topics related to the cruise itinerary. There were also numerous other activities available from trivia to bingo and learning Spanish. I had traditional second seating dining. Our waiter and assistant seemed responsible for a number of tables over a pretty large area of the dining room and our service was FAR slower than it has been on any other Princess ship. They did learn our preferences, however, and quickly brought items that we always requested. One diner had gluten intolerance and her needs were addressed daily when the Maitre d' brought the next day menu and let her choose her dishes so the kitchen could prepare her preference gluten free. Food was good although occasionally a dish seemed to lack any seasoning and steaks were often tough and chewy. The waiter gladly brought another entrée when the first one proved unsatisfactory. The wine list had a number of bottles around $30 that were good and had others that ranged upward in price. The markup compared to local pricing seemed to be about 300% and bringing one's own bottle cost a $15 corkage fee. The cabin was of adequate size with a small balcony. The TV provided a decent range of channels. The bathroom packed a lot into a small space. Unfortunately the toilet did not function properly. After boarding I noticed that the toilet was full of stinking, dark liquid and initially I thought the steward had failed to flush it after cleaning but soon after I flushed it it was again full of foul liquid. The smell permeated the entire cabin. I reported this to the steward and the problem persisted. I began going to passenger services daily to complain and each time was promised it would be repaired forthwith. Finally, after a number of fruitless visits to passenger services I told them it was a health hazard and they sent someone down to look at the problem. The plumber returned multiple times and managed to improve the function of the toilet but did not manage to fix it. We were reimbursed $85 for the inconvenience. Shore excursions were variable depending on the guide. Aix-en-Provence was boring with nothing of real interest to me. Florence and Rome were wonderful and the guides there were equally wonderful. In Funchal, Madeira we took a tour that was to go to the Blandy Wine Lodge and to a cliff Cabo Girao. On arrival via bus in Funchal our guide directed us a couple of blocks to the Blandy Wine Lodge and told us to be back at the bus in 20 minutes. The wine lodge was packed and we had inadequate time to either taste or shop. Other stops were likewise 20 minutes which was adequate for photo opportunities but 20 minutes to taste wine, see the museum and buy souvenirs and get back to the bus was ridiculous. Entertainment seemed typical of Princess. There was the entertainment company that put on shows several times during the cruise and there were other performers including a violinist, comedian etc. Unfortunately, the entertainment was absolutely destroyed by the worst sound system I have ever heard at any public venue. I had the impression that a teenager was running the sound console and he believed that loud was good and louder was even better. Sound was amplified so much that it was distorted beyond belief. At first I thought the violinist was making mistakes but after a while it was obvious that what sounded like wrong notes was simply terrible distortion. The same problem existed with the company performances. Sound from all mikes was sent to all speakers equally distorted. There was no directionality and one could not tell from a distance whether a sound came from the left, center or right side. I think the entertainers would have been better totally unamplified rather than distorted. The Princess theater was a very attractive and comfortable place and it was a shame to ruin it with such distorted sound. We attended several shows before giving up. Disembarkation was handled fairly smoothly by Princess but Immigration had only three people processing passengers. Personnel guided us into lines to the available immigration booths. Just before we were to be processed the immigration officer staffing that booth simply walked out with a long line facing him and he left the building! We were merged into one of the other lines and finally processed out. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our third Princess Cruise, but the first once since they were bought by Carnival. We felt that there was a decline. The food was more like Home Town Buffet. During our other cruises the food was high quality, really wonderful, ... Read More
This was our third Princess Cruise, but the first once since they were bought by Carnival. We felt that there was a decline. The food was more like Home Town Buffet. During our other cruises the food was high quality, really wonderful, fresh with lots of variety and great taste. We got to laughing, a little , on how can you make desserts that have no taste or sweetness? The Horizon Cafe was congested and there was not enough seating. Secondly, how do the Carnival folks treat their employees because there seemed to be a morale problem. We had people snapping at us sometimes. The woman working at the xray and card check area ,where we would get off and on the ship at ports , treated people like cattle, speaking very disrespectfully every time I saw her. I think that because our first two cruises were almost perfect , that this was a letdown. Thirdly, the cabins need updating and need freshening. The carpet was worn out, faded and the throw pillows on the bed looked faded too and like they needed to be sterilized! On the positive side....The itinerary was wonderful , we loved all the ports! Check -in was very smooth and organized. We loved our balcony and sleeping at night with the sound of the ocean and the sea breeze. We enjoyed having a breakfast tray in the mornings. The lounge areas were pretty. We really enjoyed the movies under the stars and watched a NFL game up there! Sometimes people don't realize how important their job is! I worked with the public for many years , while most people are lovable and reasonably easy to take care of, when that is not the case, be professional and do the right thing....fake it!!!! We will be checking out new options for our next cruise. If we cruise Princess again, at least our expectations will be more accurate.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Got into Barcelona about 9:30 Sat. and was able to get on the ship by noon. We had intended to go back into Barcelona and see some sights but crashed and missed it all. Next time we will fly in a day or two before so we can enjoy the ... Read More
Got into Barcelona about 9:30 Sat. and was able to get on the ship by noon. We had intended to go back into Barcelona and see some sights but crashed and missed it all. Next time we will fly in a day or two before so we can enjoy the port. Toulon: Sunday in Toulon was very quiet. I don't think they are prepared for cruise ships. Take note that the Ruby did not dock where the port guides all say the ships dock, "a 5 min. walk into town". We had to take a shuttle boat ($15) but it docked right on the main strip and was convenient. We managed to hit the street market and easily walked around town hitting the sights. Ended up in a little bar for a glass of wine to people watch Florence and Pisa: Florence is 1 1/2 hrs. from port and then an hour back to Pisa so this was not a port we wanted to do on our own. The ship excursions would only take you to Florence OR Pisa so we went with an independent, Driver Guide Service. We saw everything we wanted to see and the driver was very careful to get us back to the ship in time. If you want to go to both cities, this is the only way to go. Note that the Museums are closed on Mondays. Rome: The port is one hour out of Rome and the traffic is terrible. Again we went with our independent tour company. The four of us in a van and the driver parked right next to the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, one block away from Colosseum and Vatican City. The driver walked with us thru the Colosseum and Roman Forum. A quick Panini in the car on the way to Vatican City and we saw everything again that we wanted. Naples: We wanted to see Sorrento and Pompeii and heard that the traffic along the coast can be tricky so we decided to take a ship excursion. We had a very good guide but it should be noted that in Sorrento we were herded into an inlaid wood shop to use the bathrooms. DO NOT buy anything in that shop. The same thing down the block is half the price. Someone is making a commission on it I am sure. Again in Pompeii, we stopped at a Cameo "factory" which was also overpriced. Day at Sea: Much appreciated after three full days in ports we were ready for a rest and wash some clothes. Princess has nice laundry facilities. Mykonos: We were tendered into port and Princess did a good job keeping the lines short both ways. This was appreciated because it rained all morning. We walked around this quaint little town until we were soaked to the bone. Would like to go back on a sunny day. Istanbul: All the port guides told us that we could do this port on our own. Our first hangup was getting to the main road. We docked about as far away as we could get and it was very confusing when we got off the ship. Everything was fenced off and there weren't signs showing us where to go. I guess they just take for granted that everyone takes excursions. Once we made it to the main road we had to find an ATM to get Lira (the ship did have Lira) in order to ride the tram into town. ATMs were plentiful, however, they only gave us large bills and the tram machines only would take small bills. It was Sat. and the banks were closed so we had to stop and buy something. We had our first taste of Turkish coffee, and our last! Once on the tram we had no problem reaching Sultanahmet, the tourist area. We were walking to the Blue Mosque when a young man approached us. He introduced himself and offered to guide us thru the site. There was a huge line into the mosque so we agreed and he got us right in and did a great job describing everything to us. Of course everything has its price. Now we had to go to his uncle's rug shop. It was close by and was a very nice shop. After some apple tea and discussing our families he showed us his beautiful rugs. We thanked him but assured him we were not in the market for a rug. He thanked us for looking and we were on our way. We had spent less time than if we had stood in the long line at the mosque. Some more sites and an expensive lunch (don't eat in the palace) and we were ready to go back to the ship. We found the tram stop, asked advice as to what train to take and we were off. Please note that just because the tram is going the direction you want to go doesn't mean you will get to your destination. The one we were on went to the bridge we were supposed to cross to get to the ship but it reversed directions and we were across town before we knew it. Ephesus: Transportation is not reliable here so we took another ship excursion. We saw and learned alot but our only gripe was EVERY tour ended at a rug weaving demonstration. We ducked out and did some shopping as this was the first chance we have had to shop. There is lots of good shopping right close to the docks and a short walk to the ship. Security is tight here so don't do anything suspicious. One person in our group pulled something out of his bag to show us and he was stopped and searched. Athens: Afraid we were really "ruined" out by the time we arrived here but took an 8 couple excursion organized by our CruiseCritic friends. We knew exactly what we wanted to see and after an hour we knew we were not going to get to half of it. Make sure you all agree ahead of time where you want to go and communicate this to the guide. Actually the ruins in Athens were not as well preserved as other places and were a bit disappointing. Especially the Parthenon which is being dismantled so they can reconstruct and stabilize it. Day at Sea: Another welcome rest. Princess does a good job of having something for everyone on the itinerary. If you are board it is your own fault. Venice: NOT ENOUGH TIME! Why on earth would you arrange to get into such a wonderful port in the middle of the day? However, the ride into port was spectacular. You have to be on deck with the Italian opera playing on the ship speakers. It gives you goose bumps. We docked at noon but could not disembark until 1:00. Disembarkation was very unorganized. Usually you would get a number and sit down to wait until your group was called. Here there was just a long line running up and down the halls with people cutting in everywhere. When you finally got off the ship you had to wait for an elevator, wait for a bus and wait for a boat shuttle ($15). It was 3:00 before we got to St. Marks Square. St. Marks closes at 5:00 so we had to hustle plus it gets dark by six so you had to make tracks to see anything. Make sure you take note where the shuttle boat docks because it is not lit well and finding it in the dark was difficult. Going over our pictures I realized just how much we did see on this cruise. I would highly recommend this to those who have never been to the Mediterranean before. You must realize that you cannot see everything with only one day in port but you get a taste of it and can see the rest next time. Princess always does a nice job with food and service. If I had to find a fault it would be there weren't enough vegetables offered. The only port I think they could have done better was Venice with disembarking that afternoon. Also, they should have made it clear in the cruise description that there would be a need for tendering in Mykonos and the boat shuttles which we would be charged for. No one likes surprises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was a very fast paced cruise. Ten ports in 12 days gave you a taste of Europe but it was exhausting. For the first time European traveler it was almost too much. You should understand that there is not enough time to see everything in ... Read More
This was a very fast paced cruise. Ten ports in 12 days gave you a taste of Europe but it was exhausting. For the first time European traveler it was almost too much. You should understand that there is not enough time to see everything in each port. We went in October and experienced perfect touring weather, upper 60's to lower 70's, however, a couple days of rain. It should be noted that it is dark by 6:00 that time of year which made the Venice port very frustrating. Cruising into port at 12:00 noon with Venice on both sides and an Italian opera playing on deck was a moving experience. We docked at 1:00 and due to poor organization on Princess' part we did not make it to St. Mark's Square until after 3:00 pm. This gave us less than 3 hrs. to see it all. Considering we had to be packed to disembark at 5:30 am the next day we really felt cheated in our Venice experience. There was a couple things that disappointed us with this cruise. First, it seemed that we had the worst docking positions. This I am sure saved Princess some money but caused the passengers to pay for transportation into port. This added expense should have been addressed in the tour description. Secondly, the ship excursions made stops at shops where Princess made commission on the purchases. They were under the guise of "Cameo demonstration", "Glass Blowing demonstration", "Carpet Weaving demonstration", etc. It wasted time that could be spent seeing the sites and we felt insulted that it was being pushed on us. Our best excursions were with private tour companies. It is pricey but if you share a van with one or two other couples it is well worth it as you see what you want and so much more than with a big bus tour. If we would a European cruise again we would plan to arrive a day early so we have time to see the embarkation port and leave a day later to make sure we have ample time to take in the disembarkation port. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We had a very speedy boarding in Barcelona and set sail for Toulon. We have sailed on Princess before and the ship was to the same high standard of decor. The staff on board this ship are all very happy to be there and you get the ... Read More
We had a very speedy boarding in Barcelona and set sail for Toulon. We have sailed on Princess before and the ship was to the same high standard of decor. The staff on board this ship are all very happy to be there and you get the impression of a very well organised and efficient ship - our cabin steward Vitor was amazing and nothing was too much trouble, as was our waiter for our fixed dining table Judith and her wine waiter Ayro, The food in the evenings was first class, but the standard of the buffet at lunchtime, we feel, has gone down slightly in variety of foods available, probably due to the very competitive pricing of cruises now compared to when we started cruising. This cruise starts in Spain and ends in Venice and visits Greece and Turkey ports also, with only two days at sea. I would recommend this cruise is taken by someone who is fairly active as it is quite busy and full on - we had a great time. The only complaint would be that there were not enough hand sanitisers on board, only one at the entrance to the buffet lunch, although we spotted many people coming into the buffet from the exit rather than the entrance and therefore not sanitising their hands, We feel this is important and mentioned it several times to the head waiter particularly as it was cough and cold season and a lot of passengers were suffering. That said, Princess are a good cruise line and the shows, entertainment and facilities on board are finest class.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Let me start by saying we are loyal Crystal cruisers but Princess' itinerary attracted us, so we thought we'd give it a try. To compare Princess to Crystal would in no way be fair, so I'll try to be objective as possible. ... Read More
Let me start by saying we are loyal Crystal cruisers but Princess' itinerary attracted us, so we thought we'd give it a try. To compare Princess to Crystal would in no way be fair, so I'll try to be objective as possible. EMBARKATION: As easy as it gets. We got there early and once we checked in,we sat in a waiting area. Ruby Princess is a gigantic ship and with 3,080 passengers, we sailed full. Most of the nationalities were U.K., Spanish, Australian, Canadian and American along with a small contingent from the Phillipines. There were only 16 children on board and we hardly saw them. At 1:00 pm, we were allowed to board. CABIN: Our cabin was extremely small. One side of queen bed was pushed against the wall and we had a narrow L-shape to walk around. Cabin was divided by a long closet with shelf and hangers. Another narrow closet housed a cranky safe. Shower was very tiny. We shared one sink and a wide countertop. TV transmitted enough channels to satisfaction. Our steward, JORDAN, was really, really good. Although our requests were small, he made sure they were met and always wanted to do more. Great job, Jordan!!! FOOD: Food was good, not gourmet. We ate breakfast and lunch on top deck at Horizon court and we never felt cramped or crowded. On the days when excursions forced us to eat early, other couples at tables willingly let us share their table. We had anytime dining and I found that the desserts in the dining room were much better than Horizon Court. Horizon court offered many puddings, mousses (blech!), and always a fresh selection of fruits. Fabulous Fabbio is the maitre d' of the DaVinci dining room. He is very concerned about the quality of the service. If you have any complaints regarding DaVince, see Fabbio & he will resolve it right away. Trident Grill always served up hotdogs, hamburgers and fries. Pizza bar was pretty good. Soft serve ice cream was cold and tasteless. FORMAL NIGHTS: Ladies unless you already have formal eveningwear,don't go crazy for formal night. A nice pair of black slacks and pretty top will do the job and lighten your load. That's what most women wore, myself included. Most men wore a jacket and tie. I saw three tuxedos. SABITINI'S: Definately worth the cover charge. Husband & I had lobster 3 ways which was delicious and they also gave us a small portion of spaghetti with clams. Everything was good, the waiters were very attentive and the food was out of this world. ENTERTAINMENT: We both agree that Ruby has the best entertainment.I'd rather gamble than see shows so the first night he dragged me kicking and screaming. I was so impressed by the talent, I went almost every night. The dancers kicked and flipped and did things I didn't know were possible. Also the singers were very good. One night they had a second rate magician who was so lousy, I walked out. Don't miss the crew's talent show night. It was the best!!! Also, a salute to Broadway and Once Upon a Dream were beautiful. Each show is approx. 45 mins., so just as I was beginning to get antsy, it ended. Also DUO CLAUDIO perform mid-court around 8:00. They are acrobats that are so daring, you got to see them to believe it. Social director is Sam Hawkins from England. She bubbled over with cheeriness and enthusiasm. She did her job well.BEST THINGS: The Serenity Pool way up top prohibits children. It is a wonderful escape. I used it several times. Movies under the Stars is a delight. They give out blankets and we snuggled under the stars to watch the giant screen. Waiters come around with popcorn, pizza and ice cream. Another stroke of genius. If you go for a massage, ask for TASHA. She was absolutely amazing and did in one session what my chiropracter couldn't do in four. She's a petite woman with magic hands. I wanted to take her home with me. The Lotus Spa was beautiful. Unfortunately I didn't find that out until the trip was almost over. WORST THINGS: Didn't like the constant hawking of specialty drinks and photographers trying to get us to buy. One night our waiter asked us three times if we wanted the specialty drink! It became annoying. Also, next time I will do more research on cabins before I book. Now we realize that it would have been worth the extra $$$ to upgrade, but being first time Princess cruisers, we didn't know. Overall, I'd say Princess does a pretty good job of juggling 3,000 passengers and keeping things running smoothly. We didn't have any ugly situations or run-ins with rude passengers. The staff we encountered were courteous and friendly. They responded to our every request. In conclusion, we would definately sail Princess again if the itinerary were good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Our expectations were mixed before embarking on our first cruise but after 24 hours we were pretty much converts. At first sight the ship was looked amazing and embarkation was easy. The cabin was about the size we expected but because ... Read More
Our expectations were mixed before embarking on our first cruise but after 24 hours we were pretty much converts. At first sight the ship was looked amazing and embarkation was easy. The cabin was about the size we expected but because we opted for a balcony it seemed much bigger and it suited our needs perfectly. We were on the eleventh deck (BAJA)which was an ideal height and pretty much mid ship which after venturing both aft and rear was definitely the right location. The rear of the ship in particular was quite noisy and the motion of the sea was quite noticeable. The room was also well appointed and clean which is all you could expect. Even though we didn't watch much television what was available was good and the on board channel (WAKE)was very informative and quite fun to watch. Our cabin Stewart was very good as well but nothing less that we expected. As far as the ship itself was concerned you'd hardly believe there were 3,100 passengers on board as we had very little trouble getting into most of the onboard venues. There was more than enough entertainment, if fact we found at times we couldn't get to everything. The shows were very good and the food was amazing. Obviously too much to choice from but we weren't complaining. Some of the passengers we spoke with who'd been on other Princess cruises said the food was below that of other the cruises. If that was the case then I can't imagine how good that food must have been! We took a few on shore tours and must admit were disappointed. Mainly with what we paid for what we got. At half the price they would have been worth it but not for what we paid. In fact the best day trips we had were the free one's where we just went a shore on our own. We would look seriously at organising our own on shore excursions in the future. Probably our biggest bug bear was the charging of gratuities. Coming from Australia we're of the belief that gratuities are paid for a job well done and over and above what is expected. Even though the staff on board were excellent they did nothing more than we expected from a cruise which cost us over $A7,500. There's nothing worse than paying for something and then finding yourself having to dip into you pocket over and over again. We weren't the only one's who felt this way and even some Americans agreed with us and their the champions of gratuities. Some advice to Princess... charge an all inclusive fee. An extra $300 would have fazed us at all! All in all though we loved the cruise and are looking forward to our next one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
So... not a first time cruiser, I had high expectations. Some were met on the Ruby... some weren't. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship in no time without a long wait. Our luggage was at our room waiting for us. ... Read More
So... not a first time cruiser, I had high expectations. Some were met on the Ruby... some weren't. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship in no time without a long wait. Our luggage was at our room waiting for us. We had a balcony and were quite happy with the room and our view. We had "Anytime Dining" and were travelling with family & friends. 8 of us. The first night we had dinner in the Da Vinci Dining Room. Service was terribly SLOW. It seemed to take forever to get anything. Meals were ok. The dinner was disappointing. We had planned to eat at the same table each night but after the experience we decided to try Michaelangelo Dining Room the following night. Dean was our server. And what a change! Our meal became fun and lively with first-class service. Dean gave us tips on what too see in the following port, how to get around, and was just a blast. He truly turned our dining experience around. We made reservations every night at his table. That sort of changed our "anytime dining" plan. But we realized how important it is to have an engaging server who became a part of our cruise. If you're looking for a relaxing cruise where you lay around poolside, spend time in a casino, and go to entertainment, this is NOT the cruise for you. If you plan to see the sights in the ports of call, you'll be on the go! Our first stop was at Monte Carlo. Getting off the ship was a pain! We were tendered. Announcements instructed everyone not to try to get off at once so we waited about an hour. Then when we went down to the tenders, we were given numbers and told to wait in the dining room. About an hour later we were taken to the tender. Waited there. Got on... and then had to wait rocking around in the water for boats ahead of us. It took 2 hours to get off the ship! AND it was NO FUN! From then on out we tried to be the first in line getting off the ship and never had another problem. That was the only time we tendered. We didn't do any of the excursions with Princess. Civitaveccia to Rome train was very easy. Anyone would be able to do it. It only took 50 minutes. Just get off at the San Petro station and it's about a 5 minute walk to St. Peter's. We also took the train to Florence. That was a little more difficult but not much. You just buy a bus shuttle ticket to the train station and then take the train to Florence (and to Pisa if you wish). The ship tries to scare you into taking their excursions saying if you miss the ship they'll leave you behind unless you're on one of their trips. My family took their excursions and we'd meet at the destinations. We never had a problem getting to and from the ship. In fact in Rome, my family had to wait a half hour in the rain for their bus from the ship excursion while we hopped a train with no problem and didn't spend anytime in the rain. Overall the trip was fine. Our steward was friendly and our room was always immaculate. No animal towels or fun stuff like when we've sailed in the Caribbean. After our last cruise we were ready to go on another. After this one it will be a long time before we cruise again. Just not a relaxing trip. Long lines for food... crowded at buffet all the time. Exhausting. But a good time with family. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We wanted to visit europe but thought it would be too tiring doing a bus trip. This cruise visited all of the places we wanted to see. The ship and staff were amazing. We were on the deck which was one up from where you get on and off the ... Read More
We wanted to visit europe but thought it would be too tiring doing a bus trip. This cruise visited all of the places we wanted to see. The ship and staff were amazing. We were on the deck which was one up from where you get on and off the ship normally at ports. On our floor was the international cafe at one end and it had a laundry at the other end, which from our previous cruise, we knew was a real bonus. A couple of tips - after reading the daily newsletter we thought we had to pay for food and coffee at the international cafe, about half way through our cruise we got talking to people there and they said it was only the ice creams that you had to pay for ! We think this should be made more clear on the flyer. The food was all amazing as was the service. The only negative i would say was that we had trouble with our pre registered credit card being okd by our bank - tip is to let your bank know that you are going away so you dont have this problem. I think it was badly handled by the ships staff as the first night we had a note in our letterbox to contact them which i did. I wanted to pay in advance but the girl on the counter went out the back to ask someone and said we couldnt do that. I then gave them another card number. The next day our cabin card was stopped which was very embarrassing when we went to buy something on the ship and were told we had to see customer services as it had a hold on it ! I can understand this if i had made no attempt to contact them. I had to wait in line again at customer services. The person i spoke to this time said i could pay in advance ! Time to get all your staff trained a little better i think Princess ! By this time my card had been okd but it seems to take 12-24 hours to have the hold taken off your card ! Another tip is to remember to take an adapter for your chargers etc. We were from New Zealand and the boat is American, luckily we met people on the boat who we could borrow adapters off until we could buy one. Another tip is, when you are booking your shore tours, the ones that say strenuous dont necessarily mean you are walking up hills or running, they can mean that you are on your feet and walking/standing for a very long time, in our case around 10 hours ! So make sure you take snacks and drinks as one of our tours didnt have lunch until 1 pm and we had left the ship at 7 am and standing/walking in 30 odd degrees heat without a break ! Also if you do full day tours you may have very little time to shop, so if you see something, buy it as you may not see it again or have time to buy it. Also if you are doing half day tours, dont assume you will have time to shop as you may not get into that port or off the ship until just before you are due to go on the shore tour. All in all a fabulous cruise and we would definately cruise with princess again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was our first time sailing on princess cruises lines and we couldn't of been happier. From the moment we arrived on the ship to leaving on the last day we felt like royalty. The only negative thing that happened to us was they ... Read More
This was our first time sailing on princess cruises lines and we couldn't of been happier. From the moment we arrived on the ship to leaving on the last day we felt like royalty. The only negative thing that happened to us was they lost a piece of our luggage and didn't find it until after we sailed. We pushed them to find it as it contained all our meds and electronics and they contacted each floor manager until it showed up. They made it up to us the next day with a note of apology in our room along with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. Our room was quite comfortable located in the back of the ship on the 14th floor. We picked that location because a few steps from our room was a nice pool on the back of the ship that was nice a quiet because I don't think many people knew about it. Location was the greatest because we were 1 floor from restaurants, bar, coffee, hot tub and again it was a great place to read and relax. The other pools always have activities going on if that is what you are looking for. We decided to do anytime dining and really loved it. We ate 4 evenings in the dining room and the others at the buffet. Both were excellent. We never paid for the restaurants that charged a cover charge because the food we ate was great and we also tried to experience food in port as much as we could. Both dress up nights were very classy. The nice thing about this ship is that it never seemed crowded even though it was sold out. You could find places on the ship that were noisy if you wanted or very very quiet. One of our favorite things to do was Movies Under the Stars. What a great way to relax and enjoy an evening! You could either get a plate of food from the buffet or enjoy the, pizza, popcorn, ice cream and warm cookies with milk and sit outside on comfy lounge chairs covered with thick pads and warm blankets. We loved it! Great way to unwind after a long day in port. A real nice feature for us was room service in the morning if we didn't have time to go to breakfast. Food/coffee was always delivered on time. Again, being on the top floor we could run up to the buffet, get a plate of food and bring it to our room while we were getting ready.As far as the ports, we took a couple cruise tours and the rest were private. If we had to do it again we would take all private tours. Private we're cheaper than the cruise tours, smaller groups (sometimes just the two of us), and much more relaxing. Large ship tours had one guide with earphones that you listened to the guide speaking but if you weren't close you had a hard time hearing and you spent more time looking for the guide and not looking at the sights. All of our private tours we were picked up at the terminal when they said they would be there and we were dropped back off in plenty of time. Great guides, great time. More to follow. We arrived in Barcelona two days before the cruise began and stayed at the H10Universitat Hotel which was great. We wished we would have stayed an extra day as the first day we were too tired to really enjoy the city. The second day we were there we took the all day tour to Montserrat. I highly recommend the day. A beautiful monastery in the mountains where you will hear a boys choir like no other. Tour through Viator with Feliciano our guide. If i had to do it again I would have taken the hop on hop off bus tour when we first got in Barcelona. Oh we'll, next time. We stayed an extra night in Venice after leaving the ship at the most wonderful hotel (Hotel Metropole) exquisite with an excellent location on the grand canal. Highly recommended. Both hotels came with wonderful free breakfast and great coffee. Special tips from us: don't worry so much about what the cruise ships tells you as far as what to wear on the tours, it really didn't matter anywhere. No coverings on your heads for churches, no Monte Carlo gambling unless men dressed in suits (not true), knees covered for women (not true). Internet on the ship was great when we were in ports. It was really worth it for us. Also we rented an international phone that was great for us to call home while in port. Any questions email me at nancy_salsbury@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Regent. We were very Happy with the service, staff, restaurants, food quality, ambiance, and cabin on the Ruby. Movies under the stars was nice and unique to Princess. Great mix of ... Read More
Previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Regent. We were very Happy with the service, staff, restaurants, food quality, ambiance, and cabin on the Ruby. Movies under the stars was nice and unique to Princess. Great mix of passengers of all ages and nationalities, many families, and would say the median age was 45 because of the summer season. Alot of teens aboard and there were plenty of activities if they wanted to participate. However,with few exceptions, live entertainment was designed (in all venues) for passengers older than 70 (1950s sock hop, Stardust hits of 1957, ballroom music reviews). On the big stage, a predictable magician performed twice, Headliner vocalists each performed twice, and 2 "broadway" stage shows (1 good one - One Upon a Dream, and 1 dance review, bleh). Scott Harris (comedian) was very funny so we made sure to see him twice, although 1 of his shows was entirely a "back in the old days" set. Therefore, a combination of long port days and a lack of entertainment relevant to the past 40 years meant that most people were in their cabins by 10 pm. Many conversations with other passengers ages 35-50 and all agreed that their bar bills were low because there was nothing to keep them out at night. Short-sighted of Princess to ignore the interests of passengers who are willing to pay $9 for a drink, and I believe this dismissal of a large demographic is something they should revisit. But this is a cruise about the Destinations. Every port was fantastic and worth seeing. Myself (48), Husband (49) and teenage son (14) each liked different ports although they got pretty tired of "and that pile of rocks used to be the ____ temple!" So much history, cultural and art to take in. Princess gives you lots of time in each port compared to other cruise lines which is important for the stops where the main attraction (Florence, Rome) is still an hour away by bus or train. Since it was mid-August, Florence, Rome, and Athens were vacant and therefore no traffic! Venice and Istanbul were very crowded. and it was unbelievably HOT in every, single port. Stayed 1 night in Barcelona pre-cruise at the Hotel Continental on Las Ramblas which was well located and comfortable. Some weird door locking/security system and strangely pink room (even the ceiling!) but good for 1 night. Embarkation easy - people were allowed to check in prior to the posted 1 pm time so we were on-board by 12:45. Ruby is a big ship but well laid out. Very little movement felt while underway. Port disembarkation was easy every time. Smiling faces on crew everywhere. All crew members (stewards, waiters, bar staff, pool staff, etc.) all willing to take a few minutes to chat and we got to know several. Dining rooms were great and very attentive for my gluten-free diet needs. Went to Crown Grill and Sabatini's which was a nice change to dining rooms. Used the buffet a few times when we were too tired for a sit-down dinner. We had a wonderful 12 nights visiting amazing places, then spent 2 additional nights in Venice which was the icing on the cake -what an incredible city to roam around in. Will need the weekend to rest from this amazing vacation! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
My wife and I recently returned from a 12 day Barcelona to Venice cruise on the Ruby Princess from 10th August to 22nd August. This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it (more of that later!). As this was our first cruise we ... Read More
My wife and I recently returned from a 12 day Barcelona to Venice cruise on the Ruby Princess from 10th August to 22nd August. This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it (more of that later!). As this was our first cruise we used this website a great deal to find things out about the ship, ports and a whole lot more. As someone that doesn't usually write posts on forums, I felt compelled to write a post about our cruise because reading other people's posts helped us so much. Hopefully I can add some additional valuable information that might assist others! Before I start, I should mention that the Ruby Princess is a wonderful ship, as a couple in their mid thirties who have travelled a great deal and experienced many different holidays, this cruise was up there on our best holidays list. Cruising wasn't something that we had thought about really, and it was only when we saw a good deal we thought, hey why not. And boy are we glad we did! It was a great experience and I think the first of what, will most likely be, many cruises. The cruise overall was brilliant and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending a cruise with Princess. We utilized private tours in 1 port which was good. We utilized two Princess ship tours -- 1 was ok the other not so much. Ports. This cruise visited Barcelona, Monaco, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Naples, Mykonos, Istanbul, Ephesus, Athens, and Venice. The Ship. Ok, so, as per the photos, it's a big ship. Lots to do, lots to explore. To get the most out of it you need to be organised and work out just what sort of a cruise you want. Whilst this cruise is very port intensive, we found you can still have a relaxing time in-between visiting some amazing places. We found the ship very clean, with everything open & working well. We didn't find it crowded, even when at sea when the 3,000 passengers and 1,100 crew were all onboard (and I think the ship was full with no spare cabins). We always had seats at both Movies Under the Stars and in the Princess Theatre. We saw all three production numbers and enjoyed them all. We also saw the illusionist who was great (and my wife usually hates magicians), we saw the crew show which I thought was soooo funny. We also saw a couple of comedians who were good. When we visit hotels if I am honest we don't usually sit through the entertainment laid on as they are not usually that good. However, we were both really impressed with the entertainment onboard Ruby Princess. We also saw 3 or 4 films at Movies Under the Stars which was great. We usually got there 10 mins before the film started and always found a lounger. We were also always offered Pizza, popcorn and milk and cookies during the films which we found was a nice touch. Embarkation/Disembarkation. We embarked at 3pm in Barcelona and witnessed no queues, walking straight on once we had our cards. After a little look around the ship and a bit of food we returned to our cabin to find our cases outside our room. Disembarkation was a little more complex due to our flights being late in the evening (9.40pm). We had to check out the room by 8am and our bags had already been picked up the night before. However, we were allowed to stay on board all day, leaving the ship at 6pm to take our transfers. Everyone was great, we had food and drink onboard all day (and a nice 3 course lunch in the di Vinci restaurant). It did feel slightly strange as more and more new passengers came aboard but it was funny as many of the staff recognised us and asked when our flights were. Top tips if you are getting off late. The tables in Piazza on deck 5 all have power sockets by the side of them if you need to charge devices. Room We were at the back of the boat in room B739. I expected the room to be relatively small but actually it was more spacious than I thought it would be. Plenty of places to store clothes and belongings. The only major problem we had was sockets. I had read somewhere (incorrectly as it turns out) that the room had UK, EU and US sockets. It doesn't, its US only and whilst I thought I a US adapter, I actually had everything but. By the time I realised the shop had none left, neither did our room steward or customer services. In the end we got one in a port a few days later. A great tip though is to take a cheap extension lead. We plugged it in and then had 4 sockets to charge multiple items at once which was very handy. There is also a spare socket behind the TV that many people miss. The room had a safe (with no additional fee) and the bed was really good. At home we have a huge expensive and very comfortable bed so I often joking complain on holiday about the bed but no complaints on the Cruise, the bed was ace. The room has a lot of hangers but if you need more, just ask your steward and a large hanging rail for clothes. Drinks Not a great deal to report, drink prices were as expected, $5 for a beer, $8 for cocktails and always 15% added on service charge. We got the soda package and were glad we did, it seemed quite good value ($45 for the cruise / $4 a day) and included coke, diet coke, sprite, tonic water etc. You get an insulated drink holder included and we filled up and took these out on excursions (although be careful as they are not completely water tight). Water is free and available at the drink stations located at the horizon cafe and cafe caribe. We took a couple of 0.5l water bottles with us and filled up with ice and water when we needed to, all free and useful on trips where the weather gets hot. The drink stations also have tea, ice tea and coffee facilities and it's all free and help yourself (inc milk, sugar etc). I love a cup of tea before bed and so always stopped here before retiring to bed and the tea was ok, English breakfast, earl grey and Darjeeling (the supposed champagne of teas -- really?!) I had taken a few of my own as well. One tip if you feel like splashing out $1.50 is the pot of tea you can get at the international cafe, it was premium and you could get a good 3 cups out of it and it was very good tea. During mealtimes lemonade is also offered for free and was good. I'd heard that bringing alcohol was limited to one bottle of wine but a few people id spoken to had managed to get other stuff onboard. I only saw one person get booze confiscated and this is returned at the end of the cruise. Wine wasn't too badly priced as well, when ordered with the meal the dining staff keep the rest of the bottle if you don't finish it and bring it out the next meal for you. Restaurants We opted for anytime dinning and after trying both the Michelangelo and di-vinci, found the service in the service in the Michelangelo to be the best. We only had to wait twice to be seated on our own and both times it was formal nights when we were at sea for the day. On these days people seemed to go early for dinner and we had a 30 minute wait only. You can also book times in the anytime restaurant by calling them up on the day and we did this a few times. The staff were incredible, so attentive and the service was amazing. The food was also of an exceptionally high standard, so very tasty. One tip (for free drinks) is order anything on the menu that has alcohol in it. There was a peach Daiquiri soup on the menu one day and it was simply a free cocktail. The Di-Vinci restaurant was good for breakfast as the Horizon breakfast buffets on deck 15 can get very busy and you feel very rushed there. When we did eat the breakfast buffets I found it very stressful, where as nobody uses the Di-Vinci restaurant for breakfast, the food seemed warmer and cooked to order and the atmosphere was much better and not so rushed. The same goes for lunch, Di-Vinci is open for lunch and not many people seemed to know this. We had a couple of amazing lunches. Don't get me wrong, the food in the Horizon cafe is lovely, but it's just more hustle and bustle. The burgers were also very good by the pool and the pizza was too. Ice cream is also fee and I highly recommend the international cafe, serving up lovely desserts 24 hours a day as well as great salads and toasted sandwiches, all included at no additional cost. I would also recommend going to the cooking show in the princess theatre which includes a tour of the kitchens after, that was a great hour and very funny. How they managed to create 250,000 meals per cruise and retain such high quality food is simply staggering to me. With regards to the other supplement restaurants (crown grill, Sabertini's etc) we didn't use them because the food was so good in the main restaurants. We meant to, but just didn't get around to it and were not bothered that we didn't. Room service Great service, all included, no extra charge, and very useful for tea and coffee in the mornings! You could also order fruit in the room which was nice. Trips This is a tricky one as everyone has different ideas. We had visited quite a few of the ports already and had invested £10 in Rick Steve's Mediterranean cruise ports book which was absolutely invaluable. I think a new version is out in September. It gave great information on all places included where the boats dock, what the options were regarding transport and great coverage on what to see and what to miss. For each port, my tips would be as follows, noting we always docked in harbour and had no tenders:- Monaco -- Boat docked on the Marina and all places can be reached in short walking distance. We had been to Monaco before so knew where we were going and didn't book any trips. In all we covered 7 miles walking but it was a great day and relatively cheap. Seeing the changing of the guard at 11.55 was great. Florence -- for this one we booked a Princess excursion to Florence which was part tour, part own time and this worked well for us. We had the book and saw what we wanted in the time. It's a bit of a drive to Florence so it was good to have that part taken care of. Some people we spoke to had done Pisa only or Pisa & Florence and generally they wished they had done the same as us. Most people said there wasn't a great deal in Pisa and doing both meant much more time on the coach and not as much time in Florence. Naples (Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast) -- For this one we took a tour with an external company, cruising excursions. This was considerably less than the equivalent Princess tour and just as easy. We had a great day although I did feel a little green at the end of it driving up and down and round all the mountain bends. I've read a few other similar comments about tours driving around the Amalfi coast, especially around Positano. Don't get me wrong, the views are incredible, it's just that the local drivers seem to drive so very fast and it's not something I think I would do again (unless I was driving at a far slower speed!) A lot of people on our tour said the same- amazing views but scary journey. Pompeii was so interesting and out guide took us in the back entrance which wasn't as busy as the main entrance. Think we paid £45 each for the day cruise and although we were back an hour later than planned (roads were busy as it was a national day holiday in Italy) we were still back 2 hours before the boat left. As Rome -- We stayed onboard this day as we had spent a week in Rome a few years ago. We were pleased we did as the itinerary until this point had been quite full on. Mykonos - We got the Princess coach transfer from port to beach which seemed to take 5 minutes and cost 7 euros each I think. A little pricy for what it was and you could have walked it in 20 mins but I'd still take the coach again for ease. A great little place and we didn't feel the need to take a tour, we just explored the lovely back alleys and coastline. Istanbul -- For this one we again didn't take a tour, just the Princess bus to the Grand Bazaar. We did think about it but didn't get around to booking it. I was worried we wouldn't get to see all the things we wanted to but actually, it turned out great, we saw them all, toured around using the Rick Steves book and saved a lot of money over the princess tour which was $199 each for the same. It cost us 60 euros. The Grand Bazaar was both gigantic and interesting to walk through -- supposed to be over 2,000 shops (many of which sell the same items). You are required to remove shoes and have proper clothing to enter Blue Mosque. Women are given shawls to cover shoulders and head. And my advice, have a little decency and respect this by keeping them on whilst in the Mosque. Seeing people remove these was completely disrespectful in my eyes. Kusadasi -- For this one we booked a Princess excursion -- Ephasus and Terraced houses which was absolutely great. We loved it, a great trip. The only downside was that it was supposed to be 5 hours yet we were back in Kusadasi in just over 3 hours before our guide then wanted to take us on a carpet tour. We were not interested and declined and returned to ship before then doing some shopping. I felt a little short changed with this one given it was supposed to be 5 hours and complained onboard and got some of the money back. We bought a few items, a lamp and a pair of shoes. Haggling is good but you have to walk into the shops knowing what you would be prepared to pay for something. I saw some nice shoes and the owner started at 120 euros. I started at 20 knowing I would be prepared to pay 35 euros. It took a while but we got there in the end. Like I said to my wife, they are probably only worth 15 but hey, it's all about what you think something it worth and what you are willing to pay. For the light my wife bought, they started off at 30 euros and without her even saying anything it came down to 12 euros after about 5 minutes. Athens -- We decided to get the hop on hop off (HOHO) bus from the port that was 20 Euros each. There are two routes, the blue route from the port around a few harbours and into central Athens and then a Red route around Athens. The 2 routes cross at the Acropolis. I had been to Athens before but my wife hadn't. Visiting the ruins was amazing, the views from the top are breathtaking and we had a few audio guides (podcasts by Rick Steves) to help us understand it all. It was hot but very worthwhile. The tour of Athens itself (on the red bus line) was, to be frank, rubbish. I found Athens to be the same as it was the last time I visited 10 years ago, dirty and smelly with not much to see. Ok, it was a Sunday so perhaps a lot was closed. But we couldn't wait to get back onboard. Central Athens is very run down, graffiti is everywhere and apart from the main historic ruins, there is very little else to see. The audio guide on the bus only proved this when it started to point out the heart hospital, I mean really, is an old hospital specialising in heart conditions and point of note on a tour? Bonkers. If we did this cruise again, I wouldn't get off here. Venice -- sailing in was incredible and we decided to go up to deck 15 as music and commentary was playing. Get their early as it was very busy by the time we got close to the grand canal, 4 people deep in some places. Again we had been here before for a week so didn't feel the need to take a tour. Princess gave us tickets for a boat trip from the port to St Mark's square for $17 each which seemed to me like a con. It's also automatically added to your account unless you return them. We did return them and instead we took the people mover from the port to the station (1 euro each) and then walked to St Marks Square, taking in all the sights on the way, including the Rialto Bridge. We spent a lot of time on the way down, stopping in shops, down alleyways and taking lots of pics, getting lost etc so it took us a few hours. But the way back, directly from St Marks to the ship was 50 minutes and 2 miles. We did consider using the local boats which cost 20 euros I think for 24 hours use but walking and exploring was what we wanted to do. Couple of tips. On the main street, just off Rialto Bridge is a McDonalds which has free wifi. Along from there is a supermarket which was drinks and food much cheaper than anywhere else (we'd heard rumours of 20 euros for a coffee in St Marks which wouldn't surprise me and 10 euros for a drink of coke). Other points to note. Laundry -- there is a room with all facilities to do it yourself but it didn't seem that expensive to me, $2.20 for t-shirts I think so that was good. In before 9am and returned next day with same day service costing 50% more. Phone / Internet access -- I am with the UK provider 3 who currently have an unlimited internet use deal within the EU for £5 a day. I used this a few times so didn't need the ships internet which is apparently expensive and incredibly slow. Regarding phone service, I found that we got a good signal probably 95% of the time with mostly 3G and occasionally GPRS service when 3G wasn't available. TV -- We didn't really watch any TV other than to see the daily Wake Show which we found really useful. It's filmed onboard at 6am daily by the entertainment team and gives you a heads up on the places we are visiting that day and what's happening onboard the ship. 10/10 for this, I thought it was excellent. Views - The outside Deck 7 was quiet and very pleasant to watch arrivals/departures and you can walk the entire ship at this level. 2.5 times round = 1 mile so we saw a few people using this to exercise. For sail-aways we always went to the platform above the bridge. Not many people either knew about this or could find it. There is a secret door that leads out that isn't marked. To find it just go to the Lido deck and go all the way forward. You will see a door on either side. Go through those doors to another door that leads to a few steps leading to this deck. However, these doors are locked while at sea I believe. There are some great views from the stern on different deck levels. Up on deck 18 was a club with a spectacular view looking aft. The primary (Lido) deck has the obligatory pools; hot tubs; bars; MUTS; and entrance into the buffets. So in summary, we had a fantastic time and I think I can saw we are now cruise converts. I would most definitely recommend this cruise and princess and were now thinking about looking into another cruise for next year so any suggestions would be much appreciated! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
My wife and I recently returned from a 12 day Barcelona to Venice cruise on the Ruby Princess from 10th August to 22nd August. This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it (more of that later!). As this was our first cruise we ... Read More
My wife and I recently returned from a 12 day Barcelona to Venice cruise on the Ruby Princess from 10th August to 22nd August. This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it (more of that later!). As this was our first cruise we used this website a great deal to find things out about the ship, ports and a whole lot more. As someone that doesn't usually write posts on forums, I felt compelled to write a post about our cruise because reading other people's posts helped us so much. Hopefully I can add some additional valuable information that might assist others! Before I start, I should mention that the Ruby Princess is a wonderful ship, as a couple in their mid thirties who have travelled a great deal and experienced many different holidays, this cruise was up there on our best holidays list. Cruising wasn't something that we had thought about really, and it was only when we saw a good deal we thought, hey why not. And boy are we glad we did! It was a great experience and I think the first of what, will most likely be, many cruises. The cruise overall was brilliant and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending a cruise with Princess. We utilized private tours in 1 port which was good. We utilized two Princess ship tours -- 1 was ok the other not so much. Ports. This cruise visited Barcelona, Monaco, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Naples, Mykonos, Istanbul, Ephesus, Athens, and Venice. The Ship. Ok, so, as per the photos, it's a big ship. Lots to do, lots to explore. To get the most out of it you need to be organised and work out just what sort of a cruise you want. Whilst this cruise is very port intensive, we found you can still have a relaxing time in-between visiting some amazing places. We found the ship very clean, with everything open & working well. We didn't find it crowded, even when at sea when the 3,000 passengers and 1,100 crew were all onboard (and I think the ship was full with no spare cabins). We always had seats at both Movies Under the Stars and in the Princess Theatre. We saw all three production numbers and enjoyed them all. We also saw the illusionist who was great (and my wife usually hates magicians), we saw the crew show which I thought was soooo funny. We also saw a couple of comedians who were good. When we visit hotels if I am honest we don't usually sit through the entertainment laid on as they are not usually that good. However, we were both really impressed with the entertainment onboard Ruby Princess. We also saw 3 or 4 films at Movies Under the Stars which was great. We usually got there 10 mins before the film started and always found a lounger. We were also always offered Pizza, popcorn and milk and cookies during the films which we found was a nice touch. Embarkation/Disembarkation. We embarked at 3pm in Barcelona and witnessed no queues, walking straight on once we had our cards. After a little look around the ship and a bit of food we returned to our cabin to find our cases outside our room. Disembarkation was a little more complex due to our flights being late in the evening (9.40pm). We had to check out the room by 8am and our bags had already been picked up the night before. However, we were allowed to stay on board all day, leaving the ship at 6pm to take our transfers. Everyone was great, we had food and drink onboard all day (and a nice 3 course lunch in the di Vinci restaurant). It did feel slightly strange as more and more new passengers came aboard but it was funny as many of the staff recognised us and asked when our flights were. Top tips if you are getting off late. The tables in Piazza on deck 5 all have power sockets by the side of them if you need to charge devices. Room. We were at the back of the boat in room B739. I expected the room to be relatively small but actually it was more spacious than I thought it would be. Plenty of places to store clothes and belongings. The only major problem we had was sockets. I had read somewhere (incorrectly as it turns out) that the room had UK, EU and US sockets. It doesn't, its US only and whilst I thought I a US adapter, I actually had everything but. By the time I realised the shop had none left, neither did our room steward or customer services. In the end we got one in a port a few days later. A great tip though is to take a cheap extension lead. We plugged it in and then had 4 sockets to charge multiple items at once which was very handy. There is also a spare socket behind the TV that many people miss. The room had a safe (with no additional fee) and the bed was really good. At home we have a huge expensive and very comfortable bed so I often joking complain on holiday about the bed but no complaints on the Cruise, the bed was ace. The room has a lot of hangers but if you need more, just ask your steward and a large hanging rail for clothes. Drinks. Not a great deal to report, drink prices were as expected, $5 for a beer, $8 for cocktails and always 15% added on service charge. We got the soda package and were glad we did, it seemed quite good value ($45 for the cruise / $4 a day) and included coke, diet coke, sprite, tonic water etc. You get an insulated drink holder included and we filled up and took these out on excursions (although be careful as they are not completely water tight). Water is free and available at the drink stations located at the horizon cafe and cafe caribe. We took a couple of 0.5l water bottles with us and filled up with ice and water when we needed to, all free and useful on trips where the weather gets hot. The drink stations also have tea, ice tea and coffee facilities and it's all free and help yourself (inc milk, sugar etc). I love a cup of tea before bed and so always stopped here before retiring to bed and the tea was ok, English breakfast, earl grey and Darjeeling (the supposed champagne of teas -- really?!) I had taken a few of my own as well. One tip if you feel like splashing out $1.50 is the pot of tea you can get at the international cafe, it was premium and you could get a good 3 cups out of it and it was very good tea. During mealtimes lemonade is also offered for free and was good. I'd heard that bringing alcohol was limited to one bottle of wine but a few people id spoken to had managed to get other stuff onboard. I only saw one person get booze confiscated and this is returned at the end of the cruise. Wine wasn't too badly priced as well, when ordered with the meal the dining staff keep the rest of the bottle if you don't finish it and bring it out the next meal for you. Restaurants. We opted for anytime dinning and after trying both the Michelangelo and di-vinci, found the service in the service in the Michelangelo to be the best. We only had to wait twice to be seated on our own and both times it was formal nights when we were at sea for the day. On these days people seemed to go early for dinner and we had a 30 minute wait only. You can also book times in the anytime restaurant by calling them up on the day and we did this a few times. The staff were incredible, so attentive and the service was amazing. The food was also of an exceptionally high standard, so very tasty. One tip (for free drinks) is order anything on the menu that has alcohol in it. There was a peach Daiquiri soup on the menu one day and it was simply a free cocktail. The Di-Vinci restaurant was good for breakfast as the Horizon breakfast buffets on deck 15 can get very busy and you feel very rushed there. When we did eat the breakfast buffets I found it very stressful, where as nobody uses the Di-Vinci restaurant for breakfast, the food seemed warmer and cooked to order and the atmosphere was much better and not so rushed. The same goes for lunch, Di-Vinci is open for lunch and not many people seemed to know this. We had a couple of amazing lunches. Don't get me wrong, the food in the Horizon cafe is lovely, but it's just more hustle and bustle. The burgers were also very good by the pool and the pizza was too. Ice cream is also fee and I highly recommend the international cafe, serving up lovely desserts 24 hours a day as well as great salads and toasted sandwiches, all included at no additional cost. I would also recommend going to the cooking show in the princess theatre which includes a tour of the kitchens after, that was a great hour and very funny. How they managed to create 250,000 meals per cruise and retain such high quality food is simply staggering to me. With regards to the other supplement restaurants (crown grill, Sabertini's etc) we didn't use them because the food was so good in the main restaurants. We meant to, but just didn't get around to it and were not bothered that we didn't. Room service. Great service, all included, no extra charge, and very useful for tea and coffee in the mornings! You could also order fruit in the room which was nice. Trips This is a tricky one as everyone has different ideas. We had visited quite a few of the ports already and had invested £10 in Rick Steve's Mediterranean cruise ports book which was absolutely invaluable. I think a new version is out in September. It gave great information on all places included where the boats dock, what the options were regarding transport and great coverage on what to see and what to miss. For each port, my tips would be as follows, noting we always docked in harbour and had no tenders:- Monaco -- Boat docked on the Marina and all places can be reached in short walking distance. We had been to Monaco before so knew where we were going and didn't book any trips. In all we covered 7 miles walking but it was a great day and relatively cheap. Seeing the changing of the guard at 11.55 was great. Florence -- for this one we booked a Princess excursion to Florence which was part tour, part own time and this worked well for us. We had the book and saw what we wanted in the time. It's a bit of a drive to Florence so it was good to have that part taken care of. Some people we spoke to had done Pisa only or Pisa & Florence and generally they wished they had done the same as us. Most people said there wasn't a great deal in Pisa and doing both meant much more time on the coach and not as much time in Florence. Naples (Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast) -- For this one we took a tour with an external company, cruising excursions. This was considerably less than the equivalent Princess tour and just as easy. We had a great day although I did feel a little green at the end of it driving up and down and round all the mountain bends. I've read a few other similar comments about tours driving around the Amalfi coast, especially around Positano. Don't get me wrong, the views are incredible, it's just that the local drivers seem to drive so very fast and it's not something I think I would do again (unless I was driving at a far slower speed!) A lot of people on our tour said the same- amazing views but scary journey. Pompeii was so interesting and out guide took us in the back entrance which wasn't as busy as the main entrance. Think we paid £45 each for the day cruise and although we were back an hour later than planned (roads were busy as it was a national day holiday in Italy) we were still back 2 hours before the boat left. As Rome -- We stayed onboard this day as we had spent a week in Rome a few years ago. We were pleased we did as the itinerary until this point had been quite full on. Mykonos - We got the Princess coach transfer from port to beach which seemed to take 5 minutes and cost 7 euros each I think. A little pricy for what it was and you could have walked it in 20 mins but I'd still take the coach again for ease. A great little place and we didn't feel the need to take a tour, we just explored the lovely back alleys and coastline. Istanbul -- For this one we again didn't take a tour, just the Princess bus to the Grand Bazaar. We did think about it but didn't get around to booking it. I was worried we wouldn't get to see all the things we wanted to but actually, it turned out great, we saw them all, toured around using the Rick Steves book and saved a lot of money over the princess tour which was $199 each for the same. It cost us 60 euros. The Grand Bazaar was both gigantic and interesting to walk through -- supposed to be over 2,000 shops (many of which sell the same items). You are required to remove shoes and have proper clothing to enter Blue Mosque. Women are given shawls to cover shoulders and head. And my advice, have a little decency and respect this by keeping them on whilst in the Mosque. Seeing people remove these was completely disrespectful in my eyes. Kusadasi -- For this one we booked a Princess excursion -- Ephasus and Terraced houses which was absolutely great. We loved it, a great trip. The only downside was that it was supposed to be 5 hours yet we were back in Kusadasi in just over 3 hours before our guide then wanted to take us on a carpet tour. We were not interested and declined and returned to ship before then doing some shopping. I felt a little short changed with this one given it was supposed to be 5 hours and complained onboard and got some of the money back. We bought a few items, a lamp and a pair of shoes. Haggling is good but you have to walk into the shops knowing what you would be prepared to pay for something. I saw some nice shoes and the owner started at 120 euros. I started at 20 knowing I would be prepared to pay 35 euros. It took a while but we got there in the end. Like I said to my wife, they are probably only worth 15 but hey, it's all about what you think something it worth and what you are willing to pay. For the light my wife bought, they started off at 30 euros and without her even saying anything it came down to 12 euros after about 5 minutes. Athens -- We decided to get the hop on hop off (HOHO) bus from the port that was 20 Euros each. There are two routes, the blue route from the port around a few harbours and into central Athens and then a Red route around Athens. The 2 routes cross at the Acropolis. I had been to Athens before but my wife hadn't. Visiting the ruins was amazing, the views from the top are breathtaking and we had a few audio guides (podcasts by Rick Steves) to help us understand it all. It was hot but very worthwhile. The tour of Athens itself (on the red bus line) was, to be frank, rubbish. I found Athens to be the same as it was the last time I visited 10 years ago, dirty and smelly with not much to see. Ok, it was a Sunday so perhaps a lot was closed. But we couldn't wait to get back onboard. Central Athens is very run down, graffiti is everywhere and apart from the main historic ruins, there is very little else to see. The audio guide on the bus only proved this when it started to point out the heart hospital, I mean really, is an old hospital specialising in heart conditions and point of note on a tour? Bonkers. If we did this cruise again, I wouldn't get off here. Venice -- sailing in was incredible and we decided to go up to deck 15 as music and commentary was playing. Get their early as it was very busy by the time we got close to the grand canal, 4 people deep in some places. Again we had been here before for a week so didn't feel the need to take a tour. Princess gave us tickets for a boat trip from the port to St Mark's square for $17 each which seemed to me like a con. It's also automatically added to your account unless you return them. We did return them and instead we took the people mover from the port to the station (1 euro each) and then walked to St Marks Square, taking in all the sights on the way, including the Rialto Bridge. We spent a lot of time on the way down, stopping in shops, down alleyways and taking lots of pics, getting lost etc so it took us a few hours. But the way back, directly from St Marks to the ship was 50 minutes and 2 miles. We did consider using the local boats which cost 20 euros I think for 24 hours use but walking and exploring was what we wanted to do. Couple of tips. On the main street, just off Rialto Bridge is a McDonalds which has free wifi. Along from there is a supermarket which was drinks and food much cheaper than anywhere else (we'd heard rumours of 20 euros for a coffee in St Marks which wouldn't surprise me and 10 euros for a drink of coke). Other points to note. Laundry -- there is a room with all facilities to do it yourself but it didn't seem that expensive to me, $2.20 for t-shirts I think so that was good. In before 9am and returned next day with same day service costing 50% more. Phone / Internet access -- I am with the UK provider 3 who currently have an unlimited internet use deal within the EU for £5 a day. I used this a few times so didn't need the ships internet which is apparently expensive and incredibly slow. Regarding phone service, I found that we got a good signal probably 95% of the time with mostly 3G and occasionally GPRS service when 3G wasn't available. TV -- We didn't really watch any TV other than to see the daily Wake Show which we found really useful. It's filmed onboard at 6am daily by the entertainment team and gives you a heads up on the places we are visiting that day and what's happening onboard the ship. 10/10 for this, I thought it was excellent. Views - The outside Deck 7 was quiet and very pleasant to watch arrivals/departures and you can walk the entire ship at this level. 2.5 times round = 1 mile so we saw a few people using this to exercise. For sail-aways we always went to the platform above the bridge. Not many people either knew about this or could find it. There is a secret door that leads out that isn't marked. To find it just go to the Lido deck and go all the way forward. You will see a door on either side. Go through those doors to another door that leads to a few steps leading to this deck. However, these doors are locked while at sea I believe. There are some great views from the stern on different deck levels. Up on deck 18 was a club with a spectacular view looking aft. The primary (Lido) deck has the obligatory pools; hot tubs; bars; MUTS; and entrance into the buffets. So in summary, we had a fantastic time and I think I can saw we are now cruise converts. I would most definitely recommend this cruise and princess and were now thinking about looking into another cruise for next year so any suggestions would be much appreciated! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The Ruby Princess is a pretty ship! I'm a Platnum Circle Member which only means that I've traveled on Princess Ships several times before. This trip was a family celebration. Many wonderful Port excursions leave those who ... Read More
The Ruby Princess is a pretty ship! I'm a Platnum Circle Member which only means that I've traveled on Princess Ships several times before. This trip was a family celebration. Many wonderful Port excursions leave those who partake exhausted and amazed!! This is one way to view many of the worlds wonders without the transport hassles!! The balcony rooms allow for a beautiful sail-in to these exotic locations ours began in Barcelona and ended with a spectacular ride into Venice......a memorable day forever. If you have never sailed these ports a balcony room ( tip: starboard) is a must. Now the pros and cons: Pros: lovely ship, exotic ports to view, decent food, movies under the stars, many helpful staff(not all), relatively easy check-in and waiting area, some stewards are wonderful as the butler service years ago. Cons: questionable pre-cruise hotels (Grand Hotel Central terrible), variable costs (seems many European guests received better room upgrades and prices!), expensive yet more reliable (for firsttimers) excursions, tea service is not what it used to be, rude sometimes nasty wait staff, small seemingly competitive (different cultures) wait staff groups, sometimes anti-American feel among this mostly European staff, couple centric (where is the husband tonight stated in the dining room to a mother and daughter waiting for dinner and were ignored ) mindset , constant sales pitch for wine or upscale dining room, a feeling that dining staff did not have enough to do yet would ignore ( one couple walked out because it took to long) waiting passengers at tables, and this was not avoidable if you went to the buffet some of the same problems existed as though the wait staff as a whole was not properly trained or organized.. I will finish with two surprises that were not explained prior to or afterwards. First we received a note just after our second day that all passports were to be taken from non-europeans no option!! This was before we were to leave for Athens(walking around in Greece without passports would feel unsafe) and Turkey. We questioned why we were not told and the answer given is that they assure us it was in the contract that basically says we are at the mercy of the company. Second just prior to and at sea around nine at night 4 military fighter jets swooped over our heads and if you have witnessed these you know how loud they are not to mention unsettling!!!!! The only explanation after first claiming that they had no information was that it wasTurkish military. Overall I am thrilled at the world wonders witnessed during this celebration cruise and that was the primary focus of the trip! I have read most reviews written by my co- passengers and they have summed up pretty well other issues that I didn't mention. I hope that this review offers a few more insightful reflections that will help others have a wonderful cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
June 23 sailing on Ruby from Barcelona, family of 4 with daughters 13 and 12 yrs. Had the best time, perfect weather, good service, food, ports etc on our 4th cruise and first with Princess. Big ship with 3200 on board and 700 kids we were ... Read More
June 23 sailing on Ruby from Barcelona, family of 4 with daughters 13 and 12 yrs. Had the best time, perfect weather, good service, food, ports etc on our 4th cruise and first with Princess. Big ship with 3200 on board and 700 kids we were told, many multi generation families and from all parts of the globe though the Americans take the majority. Ship layouts seem similar to us but the Ruby seems to be partitioned off with many different areas to avoid any feeling of crowding and we could always find deck chairs. Embarkation well organized and flawless, as was any movement on or off the ship for the port stops. We did our own port excursions and while we didn't save much we seemed to get so much more by hiring local guides and traveling in a small group which allowed for flexibility and little advantages by beating crowds by entering through exits thanks to the guides and hitting more stops. Although the best value of all was Athens where we hired a taxi for 140 euros for all four of us to see all major attractions, if we were braver we'd have done that more often in other ports to lower the bill. Did Venice on our own and found a gondola in the backchannels to take us all for 70 euros for a 2 km ride, we weren't even considering it until they approached us and it was a big highlight. This cruise is port intensive but we saw so much, many historical headliners and had such a great time we would highly recommend it. Two cautions: the weather will get really hot in this region and two, many ports are dominated by jewelry stores and souvenir shops so get away from the ship whenever possible to get the most out of it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Overall impressions of this cruise:1. It was a great itinerary. Only 2 sea days, but the port locations were fabulous. About half of the stops we had never been to before. We can't complain about any of the stops.2. The Ruby ... Read More
Overall impressions of this cruise:1. It was a great itinerary. Only 2 sea days, but the port locations were fabulous. About half of the stops we had never been to before. We can't complain about any of the stops.2. The Ruby Princess is a great ship. We've sailed on several Princess ships, and while we enjoy some of the smaller ships in the line, we never felt really crowded on this cruise. We're used to taking books with us to the Theater 30 minutes before a show to get good seats, this cruise we could walk in a few minutes before showtime (usually early shows) and get good seats.3. Our cabin was P247 (Cat. EE, unobstructed oceanview) located near the art gallery. It's a good location and was not noisy at all.4. Really enjoyed the Cruise Director Ron Goodman. He was very personable and was very visible around the ship. He's also not bashful about telling passengers where his office is and if you have a complaint, to stop in anytime (don't let it fester until the end of the cruise).5. Our cabin steward Noel was excellent. He was very attentive to our cabin, and got our laundry back to us very quickly whenever we sent some out to be cleaned.6. Art Director Chris has a personality that is always on the go. He tries to make everyone feel welcome.7. Elite Perks -- first cruise since we got Elite status and we really enjoyed these perks. It's amazing what people will do to get free laundry service!8. Dining Rooms -- we did anytime dining. We didn't do any specialty dining this cruise. Thought it was easy getting in at 6pm for dinner each night and we had very good wait staff. Service at dinner was good. Breakfast and lunch service was hit or miss. One morning for breakfast they never did bring around the pastry tray that we saw going thru other sections of the dining room. And it was sometimes difficult to get coffee at lunch to have with dessert.Below are daily details of our cruise.We flew in to Barcelona a day early and arrived about 8:30 am. We claimed our luggage and went to the Hotel Continental Barcelona, which is located on La Rambla. The hotel is reasonably priced and in a very good location. We dropped our luggage off and left to catch the Barcelona Bus Turistic, which offers a Hop On/Hop Off bus service around the city. We ended up doing all 3 routes on Saturday. This is a good way to see a large area of Barcelona.On Sunday (June 6) we took a taxi over to the port. Check-in was extremely easy. We dropped our bags off, went thru the Platinum/Elite check-in line, and were on board within 20 minutes of our arrival. When we got on board, we called room service for some wine glasses so we could enjoy some of the wine we bought in Barcelona and carried on board. We had lunch at the Horizon Court and explored the Ruby for a while. When we got back to the cabin, our luggage had shown up so we got unpacked. Muster drill was at 1715 hrs, so we went to our location in the casino. When we got back to our cabin, we were surprised to find a platter of chocolate dipped strawberries from the Art Director (Chris) to welcome us back on board. We do enjoy the nice touches from Princess!That night we went to the Princess Theater for the welcome aboard show. Best part of the show was comedian Tom Drake, who we enjoyed at other shows that upcoming week.Monday we arrived in Monte Carlo. We were fortunate to be able to dock and not have to use the tender service that was originally scheduled. We ended up this cruise using the Princess tours. In Monte Carlo we did the Old Monaco, Royal Palace & St. Nicholas Cathedral half-day tour. The tour was very enjoyable, and we saw them setting up for the Grand Prix race that was the next weekend. The tour was not too physical, which was good considering what was coming up the next few days. On board ship that night, we saw comedian Tom Drake's full show in Explorers Lounge. Definitely worth seeing.Tuesday we arrived in Livorno for tours in and around Florence. We booked the Florence, The Chianti Region & Wine Tasting tour. Since we had been to Florence a few years ago, we thought this would be a good chance to catch a few areas we had not seen in Florence during the morning. The morning in Florence was mostly free time, so we did some souvenir shopping and toured the Basilica of Santa Croce where Michelangelo and Galileo are buried (we missed this somehow 5 years ago). By lunchtime we had taken the bus up to Tuscany, where we had a nice lunch featuring some good Chianti wine. After lunch we went to a wine tasting. We were able to sample about 10 wines, and purchased some bottles to take back to the ship (Over the 15 cruises we've been on, we have bought wine in several ports and have never had any trouble taking it back on board to our cabins). That night, the first production show Stardust was in the Princess Theater. We hadn't seen this one before so we went and did enjoy it. The singers and dancers always do a good show on the Princess ships.Wednesday was another full day after we arrived in Civitavecchia. This is the port for going in to Rome. We did the Forum, Trevi Fountain & Time On Your Own tour. The morning part of the tour is a walking tour thru Rome that started at the Trevi Fountain (where we did throw coins in so that we would get to return to Rome again) and went around to the Coliseum and Forum areas. Very physical tour just as Princess described. The afternoon we were dropped off near the Vatican for a few hours of free time. We ended up doing the Vatican Museum tour and got to see the Sistine Chapel this trip. Allow a few hours to visit this Museum. On board ship that night, we went to see Ventriloquist Damon Scott in the Princess Theater. Our opinion, find any other show or activity to go to. His show was very lame and judging from the comments we heard most everybody else that was there agreed with us.Thursday meant we arrived in Naples for another day of tours. We did the Pompeii & Amalfi Coastal Drive. This was a great tour. We enjoyed the drive up the Amalfi Coast that morning, there is a lot of scenic coastline to see. One word about this tour -- many of the towns have traffic control because some of the roads can't handle buses passing each other on some spots along the curving road. You'll see some vehicles a few inches from the bus as you're on the road. We had a nice lunch in Amalfi, then drove back to Pompeii. The ruins they've uncovered there are amazing. One of the people on the tour said he was there over 20 years ago, and that it was nowhere near as impressive as it is now. Touring Pompeii is over a lot of cobblestone streets and going up/down thru the city. Some areas are pretty congested where people are trying to see the wall decorations that are still visible after 2,000 years. On board ship entertainment that night was vocalist Michelle Montouri in the Princess Theater. Her show was definitely better than the ventriloquist, but was not very well attended. Theater was over half empty for the early show.Friday arrived which meant we finally got a day at sea! Time to rest after several busy port days. On board we did our usual -- played trivia, went to the art auction, and had some pictures made since this was the first formal night. That night the Captain's Welcome Aboard party was in the Atrium, and Princess has combined that with the Champagne waterfall (which used to be a separate event but which I guess has been combined to save costs). It's amazing how many people attend to get the free champagne they serve. One nice perk we enjoyed during our first cruise as Elite was ordering the chocolate dipped strawberries as the complementary Canapes before dinner. After dinner we saw the second production show of the cruise Broadway Ballroom which was also a very good show.Saturday meant we arrived in Mykonos. Contrary to what our itinerary said, we were able to dock and did not have to use tenders to get ashore. This day we decided to use the shuttle service into town (it was 7 euros/person roundtrip). I would definitely advice using this service instead of taking a tour. It is very easy walking through town and finding your way around. The white buildings with the blue or red trim are what you expect to see on this cruise. While in town, we saw the pelican which is the mascot of Mykonos. The pelican is very used to people -- you can get very close to make some great pictures. This is one of those ports where you get to set your own pace and enjoy the people and local cuisine while resting up for some more busy port days ahead. Sunday was Istanbul, Turkey. We did the St.Sophia, Topkapi, Blue Mosque & St Irene Church tour, which was a good all day tour. Being Sunday, the Great Bazaar was closed. It's too bad Princess couldn't have rearranged port calls so that we could have visited the Great Bazaar. In town, we also got to visit a Turkish rug factory. The demonstration and skill of the people is amazing and their creations are amazing. Be cautious outside the demo, the street vendors are selling LOW priced so-called Turkish rugs and items, and these vendors can be aggressive. One followed a lady to our bus and knocked on the windows trying to get her to come out and bargain. While many of the locations we toured were impressive, the area around the Blue Mosque is worth seeing. One site we had not expected to see were the boys in ornate gowns with their families near the Blue Mosque. Our guide told us these boys were celebrating going to be circumcised the next day and looked forward to the day they got to dress up and go around town. We also got to go in the Blue Mosque, which we were surprised to find allows pictures inside. It is a very beautiful building. Expect to see large crowds there. Monday we were in Kusadasi, Turkey. This is near the ancient city of Ephesus. However, we had seen so many ruins at earlier stops we decided to take it easy and just tour Kusadasi on our own. This town is definitely the place to shop for fake goods. As our cruise director said on the Wake Show, this is one of the best ports for buying good fakes. In town, they also advertise that. One shop had a sign with large lettering across the window "GENUINE FAKE WATCHES". You name the brand and they had it. Also had a lot of cheap RayBan sunglasses for sale. In town, there is also an information location where you can get information on using the city bus to get around town. The Ladies Beach (it's now open to men and women) was maybe a 10 minute ride from the center of town. Back on board ship, the entertainment that night was comedian Al Katz. We saw part of his show in the Princess Theater (we had to leave early so we could go play Country Music Trivia which my wife won easily) and thought he was very funny. Luckily he was going to be in Explorers the next night so we didn't feel too guilty about leaving early.Tuesday we arrived in Piraeus, Greece which was the port for Athens. This was definitely one of the highlights of the cruise for us. We had looked forward to seeing the Acropolis for years. We did the Acropolis, National Museum and Plaka tour. The tour starts with a bus ride to the Acropolis, where you have to climb the stairs to get to the Acropolis. Restoration work appears to be a very on-going activity. But the restored ruins are amazing and are the highlight of any cruise. We also got to visit the Olympic Stadium which was used the last time Greece hosted the Olympics. The National Museum has a large number of relics on display, including many beautiful statues and gold jewelry. The day ended in the Plaka, which is the opportunity to do some shopping for souvenirs on your own. That night we went to Explorers and caught Al Katz's comedy show. Glad we got to see his whole show.Wednesday and we're having our second sea day of the cruise. Sea days are meant to relax -- unfortunately with this itinerary you don't get very many of them. Besides playing trivia we got caught up on laundry. We sent off what dirty clothes we had to be laundered on board (yes, we do like the free laundry service we now get after becoming Elite) so we could pack clean clothes for the trip home. Also went to the Princess Grapevine wine tasting (another Elite perk). That night was the second formal night. We went to the Past Passengers reception that night. The statistics were interesting -- out of 2,960 passengers we had 1,100 Gold, 300 Platinum, and 87 Elite. That meant over half of the ship was first time passengers on Princess. The show that night was the Once Upon a Dream production show. Probably the best production show on the cruise. We also saw the Marriage Game Show -- it's funny watching some of the answers you get from the contestants.Thursday we arrived at our last stop, Venice. It's enjoyable standing along the rail listening to the music on the PA system as you cruise along and see the canals for the first time. We were the fifth ship to dock that day -- Venice was certainly hopping with tourists. After we got in town we found out that qualifying races for the America's Cup were scheduled thru the weekend in the canals. In town we did the Ca' Rezzonico, Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica tour. St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace were definitely worth seeing, but much of the best sites in Venice can be found just wandering around thru the town on foot. This tour had a tour guide that was not our favorite -- she had an annoying habit of telling the group a description of a room or item, then asking a tour member if they understood what she said and asking them to repeat it back to her. Then she'd complain that she might have to repeat her speech. Once or twice was OK, but this went on for several hours.Friday we got off the ship and went to our hotel near the cruise terminal. Disembarkation was very smooth. Only took us a few minutes to find our bags and get the our bags dropped off for transfer to our hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Olimpia. This is a very nice hotel. Rooms are comfortable and the morning breakfast that is included was very good. When we got to the hotel we dropped our my backpack off and got water bus tickets for the entire day to ride any of the canal routes. We toured around the city that morning before going back to St. Mark's Basilica, where we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Then we found out the water buses and taxis were shutting down due to the America's Cup quarterfinals from lunch until dinner. Talk about disrupting traffic on the water! We found a good viewing spot on the canal and watched the ships sailing up and down the canal. After a few hours we walked back about 1.5 miles to the hotel. The walk was enjoyable and we got to see some areas away from some of the big tourist areas.Saturday we got up and caught the airport shuttle bus about 300 yards from our hotel. Hotel was definitely in a good location and the shuttle bus is a cheap way to get to the airport. At the airport, expect to stand in line. Took us about 45 minutes to check in and drop our bags off. Then had to go thru security before we got to go to the gate. When we boarded, I got stopped for another security screening of my backpack and camera bag (full hand search which took several minutes). Finally got on board for our return home from a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
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, ... Read More
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 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 Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
As parents, my DH and I have recognized that time was passing by so quickly when our beautiful 15 year old twin daughters where standing in line for their driver's permits 4 months ago. We were in a complete dilemma as to how to spend ... Read More
As parents, my DH and I have recognized that time was passing by so quickly when our beautiful 15 year old twin daughters where standing in line for their driver's permits 4 months ago. We were in a complete dilemma as to how to spend the summer. A little more background, we are a avid travelers both born with wanderlust in our genes. In October, my DH and I spent 2 weeks exploring China on our own. As for our kids, they have traveled to the Middle East, London, the Caribbean and the US extensively. This cruise was to be a great introduction for them, an opportunity for them to see a few highlights of each location and for us, to share their excitement. We booked the Ruby Princess, departure July 27 out of Barcelona with stops in Monte Carlo, Florence, Rome, Naples, @ sea, Mykonos, Istanbul, Athens, Kusadasi (Ephesus), @ sea and ending in the magical city of Venice, solely because of the itinerary. My expectations for the ship, meals, entertainment and accommodations were not very high as I really didn't care too much about those elements. We booked the trip through an on line Travel Agency about 2 months prior to the trip after ensuring we got flights that worked well for us (out the Miami area) in both timing and price. I would not use the Travel Agency again as they did not provide information in a prompt and adequate manner. Our flights, on paper, looked great but US Airways really let us down (that is a WHOLE other review!). We booked 2 guarantee obstructed cabins and that was exactly what we got, rooms E517 and E519 which were assigned within 2 weeks of us booking. Our flights, Miami to Philadelphia, and Philadelphia to Barcelona with return on Vueling from Venice to Barcelona, Barcelona to Philadelphia and then back to Miami, were done in that we had a day before the cruise and a full day after to see more of Venice. Our flights were terrible, missing our connection in Philadelphia by less than 10 minutes and they sent us to Frankfort and then onto Barcelona. We met up with fellow cruisers in Philadelphia which made out trip easier as we worked together to find an earlier option to Barcelona. We are so ever grateful for their companionship and friendship. In Barcelona, we took a taxi with 4 large suitcases and 4 carry-ons for 35 euros to the Onix Liceo off of La Ramblas. It was a very quick trip from the airport and although we had lost the majority of the day (3:30pm vs 8am), we dropped our luggage at the hotel and spent the late afternoon exploring the La Ramblas area. We were exhausted but happy to be out of the airport. The next day, the hotel held our luggage while we went to La Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila. From there we went back to the Hotel and within a short walk, we were at the Port Shuttle from the Colombus statue. The wait for the shuttle was very long, more than 35 minutes but finally, the ship was within sight. Check in was fast, and we were on board within minutes. We found our rooms easily and were very happy with the location. Located on the Emerald deck, deck 8, we were right in the middle of the ship, very stable and very convenient. We met our Steward, Antonio, who within an hour had transformed our rooms into the configuration we wanted, twins in one room and a king in the other (with a mattress topper), bathrobes in the rooms, refrigerators cleaned out, ice buckets filled and a couple of extra towels. During that transition we got extra key cards so that we could have the girls with their own cards and ours done as well. We also grabbed late lunch at the Horizon Buffet. Lunch was lovely with a massive salad bar option. The kids got the unlimited soda/smoothie option sticker for their card right at the Buffet. They got nice To-Go cup and twisty straw. The To-Go mug was great for my DH's coffee in the morning. We explored the ship and although very nice, it appeared to us very basic and generic. After our trips on Royal Caribbean's amazing ships, we understood that this ship was transportation to amazing ports and not the destination, as it was on our Caribbean holidays. Nevertheless, it is a lovely ship, in excellent condition but with very small gathering spots. We signed our kids into the Teen Center and found out there were 363 kids between the ages of 13-17, PERFECT!!! The Teen Center was well stocked with the requisite video monitors and games. The staff was excellent, enthusiastic and made sure the kids were happy at all time. We are more than impressed with them. We continued to tour the ship. We LOVED the MUTS. We did not find it too loud, as a matter of fact on more than one occasion we found ourselves sitting out there conversing with new friends. They showed current film and music concerts. In the evenings, they covered the chairs with special towels, handed out blankets and popped popcorn. It is a wonderful option. We loved the multi-level viewing. We went deck by deck exploring the ship. We headed back to our cabins and were very pleased to see that our luggage was already in the rooms. I unpacked and then we headed up on deck for the sailaway. A few notes about our room. These 2 rooms have boats in front of the windows and are totally obstructed. The room itself is the smallest room we have ever sailed in but it was adequate. There is a lot of closet space (Antonio also brought us more hangers), drawers. We brought our own outlet strip and it was needed for our camera recharging and other items. We also could easily connect our computer laptop and dvd player to the tv for our own movie night. The bathroom is very small. The room was very quiet and very stable. We did the Anytime Dining and LOVED it!! With such a heavy itinerary, we loved having the option of dining when we wanted. We never had to wait for a table as we always said we were willing to share a table. We loved meeting new people, sharing experiences and getting hints for the next stops. It is one our favorite parts of sailing. We dressed for dinner for those evenings. We did not do formal tuxedos or gowns (although about 30% of the men wore black tie, we wore cocktail dresses and my husband, jacket and tie for the 2 formal nights. The rest of the evenings, I wore silk tops with a black skirt and he always wore a button down shirt in the dining room. No one wore shorts or tshirts. When we wanted a less dressy night, it was up to the Buffet for us. Two of the nights that food was poor, the rest of the time, it was very good. Desserts were fantastic, as was the service and presentations. We never felt rushed. The only part of the cruise that I felt that the ship needed real work was the Entertainment department. The shows, the comedians were so bad it was if they had created the shows with the most elderly audience in mind. The exception was the new "Dream " show. It was cleverly staged and performed. We were very disappointed in the shows. The art auctions were the same as every other ship. We were hoping for some real different educational experiences on board (glass blowing, art education, history lectures etc). Nothing like that. Loved Zumba classes! They were very well attended and were really fun! Great job Princess - we had people from 8-80 in the class and everyone was having fun. We checked out the Sanctuary but it was not really our thing. The Fitness area was really nice, had good equipment and we used it a couple of times. One area where we had a problem is with the Princess Tour desk. There was a tall young blonde representative there who had a really bad attitude, never willing to listen and just trying to upsell everything, there always is one person that will get under your skin and she was it for me. With the taxi drivers in Athens on strike, I wanted to figure out what other options would be good for our family. She interrupted me so many times, I requested someone else help me. The gentleman was great, got me on the perfect tour for us and as well , got me onto an Istanbul combo tour and DIY option that also worked great for us. I had 2 encounters with this woman and they were both the same. I wasn't the only one having an issue with her. The Sailaway was a letdown only because the Entertainment staff was so busy doing a raffle giveaway that they didn't notice that we had been moving more than 10 minutes - very anti climatic. The addition of a Tour Guide named Hutch was great. He gave us hints and directions of each port the day before each day. He was very informative and enjoyed his slides and presentation every day. They show it on the tv. Speaking of tv, programming was very good, there was something to watch almost all the time. The final stop into Venice was breathtaking with the sail into the city of Venice. The entire ship is up on deck and it is a party. Music is souring as we entered the port. Water taxi coupons are given to you in your cabin at the cost of $15 pp for the first day. You may return them, as we did and arrange your own transportation. We choose to use the vaporetti option for 36 hours for our 2 days in Venice. The People Mover at the port made departure very easy. We took our luggage off the ship ourselves and stored it at the Piazzale Roma and arranged for the ATVO express bus to the airport ourselves with ease. Many thanks to our Florida fellow sailors and to Rick Steve for the best Med Cruise tour book ever. Our Floridian friends were the gift of the trip providing companionship, comradery, guidance, comfort and a great time. Can't wait till the next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our first cruise and we're sold. Princess had the whole process well organized from beginning to end. We booked our own flights and stayed a day or two at each end (Barcelona and Venice). The transfers to/from the ship were ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we're sold. Princess had the whole process well organized from beginning to end. We booked our own flights and stayed a day or two at each end (Barcelona and Venice). The transfers to/from the ship were easy. We took a combination of ship's tours and independent tours of ports. The ship's tours were very well organized (especially considering that over 2000 passengers take tours at each port). However, we felt that the time involved in gathering, waiting, following the group, waiting for stragglers, etc. was too great compared to the actual touring time. The independent tours allowed more flexibility without the administrative time. Our cabin (a mini-suite) was great and the steward was very responsive. We were amazed that the ship never seemed crowded. There was always some place to go that was relaxing. We were on the ship for 12 days and were discovering places up to the last day. We highly recommend the eastern Med cruise. The ports were interesting. If anything, there are too many. We kept wondering when we would be able to sleep late and do nothing all day. This was our first cruise and it was a great experience. We already considering others. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This will be my review of our 6/9 - 6/21 cruise on the Ruby Princess, Grand Mediterranean, Barcelona to Venice. We flew into Barcelona from Indiana - 6 of us - arriving on the 8th. We loved, loved, loved, Barcelona, stayed at Le Meridian ... Read More
This will be my review of our 6/9 - 6/21 cruise on the Ruby Princess, Grand Mediterranean, Barcelona to Venice. We flew into Barcelona from Indiana - 6 of us - arriving on the 8th. We loved, loved, loved, Barcelona, stayed at Le Meridian on La Rambla - perfect location, lovely hotel. So excited to see our new ship, and our first time on a Princess. We are Emerald on Royal Caribbean, and sailed on the Celebrity Solstice also. Embarkation was a breeze. I believe everyone has this down to a science, and Princess is no exception. The beauty of the Ruby blew us away, lovely ship, well-maintained, she still looks brand new. Our stateroom was on Baja deck - 630. I was told that we would find it small, we really didn't. Loved the layout of the closet....the balcony, though small, was very pretty with the blue floor. Wished for glass doors on the shower, but can't have everything! Our traveling companions were on the same deck, so it was very nice to "meet in the hall" the whole trip. We had done the Med before, our friends had not....we warned them that we wouldn't be able to enjoy the ship as much as in the Caribbean because of being so port intensive. After long days of sightseeing you are just ready to have dinner and crash! As we were exploring we were handed the card for the scavenger hunt. Look for locations all over the ship, get a stamp - when completed you could enter a contest for prizes. Thought it a brilliant idea, good way to get acclimated to the ship quickly. At the Horizon we bought the coffee card (after reading lots of discussions on Cruise Critic about the coffee). The young woman selling the card gave it to us, but wrote on our receipt that we had to go to International Cafe to pick up our thermos. Hey, we needed that stamp so away we went. Oh my.... as we arrived we handed our receipt and asked for our thermos. Wow! Never in all my years of cruising have I been treated so rudely. The manager said she would not give us the thermos, it would confuse their inventory, and we would have to go back up to deck 15 (from 5) and check at the bar and see if they had them....evidently they might, ......or might not. I explained to her that I was looking at the huge stack of mugs behind her, her inventory problem was not really the passengers issue, and we were given a receipt and asked to get them from her. No voices were raised, it was very civil on our side, but the mug was finally almost thrown at me. (The other employee in the cafe at the time was rolling his eyes, btw!!) Not a great introduction to the ship...but one bad apple, yada, yada, yada. Our next stop was the Lotus Spa.....relaxing, right? Our other friends just happened to be there already, and were on the other side of the doors changing an appointment. We started through to meet them and were told we absolutely could NOT enter! Really? There were no crowds, we were trying to stay together, but we were evidently supposed to stay put for a sales pitch. Again, so rude, and so unnecessary....Luckily we met Max at the bar, got a great drink, realized that we would not have rude mean-spirited people everywhere on the ship, and enjoyed the rest of the "hunt". (My husband won a prize, free massage at the Lotus Spa, which I truly enjoyed - and was billed for!!! ....but Princess says it will be taken off). Met our waitress, Clara, and really enjoyed our two weeks with her. She did a great job, great sense of humor, and very competent. Didn't see much of the head waiter, can't tell you his name, stopped by our table twice in twelve days. Thought Rooster was a good name, so that is what we called him. The assistant was not much help either. We were happy that Clara was as efficient as she was. On our previous cruises it seemed that assistant waiters did a lot more, don't know if it was a Princess thing, or just this assistant. Since we were on a 12 day'er we went to both specialty restaurants, and had lunch at the Wheelhouse. Loved the fish and chips lunch, it was a great break from the norm. Sabbatini's was first on our agenda. Had a great start to our dinner, liked the waitress, beautiful surroundings...then...the basketball game started above our heads. It did not stop - the pounding, the noise, and the aggravation was terrible! Who designed this ship??!!! The wait staff acted like they were supposed to brush it off..."oh, yes, the kid's area is up there...". Believe me - it was more than annoying. Food was good, but ambiance not so much! Crown Grill was next. Lovely room - and no fault of Princess, an obnoxious passenger was in our area. Demanded to be moved, loud and disruptive, which put our waiter in a bad mood, mumbling and grumbling under his breathe the whole dinner. Overall I believe the food was better on this ship than any other we have sailed. Loved the soufflEs for dessert, thought the entrees were better thought out. We did have a couple of strange combinations of entrees, but overall I enjoyed my meals. Okay - coffee..really Princess - what are you thinking? I love my morning coffee, I love my coffee after dinner..when we bought the coffee card we did not know that only one location - on the entire ship - for 3000 people - would have brewed coffee. Seriously?? What if you only had beer in one location????!!! I know it is a small thing...but a daily irritant. I did not feel all that elegant walking around in my full length gown with my insulated mug in hand. I even paid extra over my thousands for the cruise to have normal coffee. There has to be a better answer than this. We did not really see shows....too tired. We did absolutely love the comedy team on the ship. Don't know their names, if they performed anywhere but "traveling" around. The day we saw them they were in the cafe dressed as explorers looking for Antarctica. They were hysterical. We all loved them, and kept looking for them, asking where they were, but never saw them again. Did go to a couple of parties, including the White Hot party on deck. Love the band, they are just awesome.....all the music on the ship was excellent, and very well done. I felt sorry that more people could not enjoy them because if the itinerary we were on... Okay - back to the White Hot party. The entire staff - Lisa Ball and her group were on the pool deck, dancing, teaching, etc. A passenger jumped up and joined them. As soon as that happened I knew (and I am not staff) that there would be trouble. They let her stay, don't know why...dancing in her 5" heels and she fell in the pool...hmmmmm..not a big surprise. She was fished out, (fell in the net, so not too wet), she decided to show off her attributes by removing her shirt and bra, and fought off anyone trying to cover her. Entertaining? To some I am sure, but there were children there, and I felt if I knew it was going to escalate I am sure the staff should have known also. Very poor judgment on this one. (My husband might argue this point, however..) I am not going to review each port, we arranged our own excursions, had really, really great ones, which I will recommend under each individual port on Cruise Critic. We had lovely weather, smooth seas, great companionship, couldn't ask for more. We had an early flight, so we carried off our own luggage, found a driver, and had a safe trip home. We will probably continue to do our own disembarking, made it very easy. Overall we had a lovely cruise. A couple of sticking points for Princess, but all in all a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I try to visit Europe once or twice a year and this was my first European cruise. I relied a lot on these boards for advice so I want to pay-it-forward. Dining: We had an 8:30 seating for dinner. We were a group of 35 and depending ... Read More
I try to visit Europe once or twice a year and this was my first European cruise. I relied a lot on these boards for advice so I want to pay-it-forward. Dining: We had an 8:30 seating for dinner. We were a group of 35 and depending on what table you sat at, your waiters varied. They all aimed to please but as always, some were better than others but the service was what I would expect in a nice restaurant at home. The food was above good - and some things like the lamb chops and the passion fruit souffle - rocked my world. The one time I ordered something that I wasn't satisfied with, it was taken away without judgement and replaced by another dish. Buffet/Food Options: I only did the buffet for breakfast and it was fine. I did get tired of serving myself towards the end of the cruise and took advantage of doing the sit-down dinning at breakfast in the Davinci dinning room. It was nice but the food was the same as the buffet but the coffee was MUCH better : )I did the Fish-n-Chips at the Wheelhouse Bar on one sea day - it was good and I would recommend it. I also did the cheese burger a couple days after returning to the ship and that too was enjoyable. The International Cafe did have very good chicken salad and a shrimp salad that I would frequently pick up and snack on before dinner. I tried the gelato everyone raves about - it is $1.50 extra - and in all honesty, I would not waste my money. I did not think it was worth it; it was more like ice cream than gelato. Vines Wine Bar: Being our seating was so late I would stop at the Vines and have a glass of wine and either a plate of cheese or tapas. The cheese plate was awesome and the tapas were not anything to write home about. I do not like sushi so I can not review it but a couple I met there came every night for sushi and said it was fabulous - they used to own a sushi bar in Boston. What I really enjoy about the wine bar was Cyril the bartender. He was very professional and knowledgeable about wines. He took the time to learn my taste and recommended some perfect wines. I never planned on purchasing a bottle but ended up buying 3 or 4. He also did not suggest the most expensive wines - which I appreciated. As far as pricing for the wine, beer, and cocktails - I thought the prices were fair and what I would typically pay at a chain restaurant in Minnesota. A bucket of domestic beer was $22 for 5, happy hours for a pina coladas was $3.99 (3 - 6 pm) and an Amaretto Sour at the night club was $6.84 including gratuity. Stateroom: I was sharing a room with a friend's cousin whom I never met. We had an inside stateroom on the Caribe deck. Our room was the last room on the port side, right before the suites. The ride was smooth and I liked the hum of the engines. I was surprised how large the space was. They do a nice job laying out the room to make it the most efficient and I liked that the bathroom was separated by the closet from the sleeping area. I did take the advice and brought a "shoe rack" to hang over the bathroom door to store things. I am glad I did. There was plenty of space (drawers, shelves) to put stuff in/on but I do not like clutter and like the feeling of being organized. I was able to put everything I did not immediately need for the shower in the shoe rack so I did not have to wait for the bathroom to be empty before I could get ready. I also stored all my chargers, shoes, lotions, curling irons, camera, and many other misc. things in it. As for the hair dryer - it is bad. I have fine hair and even my hair took a long time to dry. If it is important to you to dry your hair, I would recommend bringing your dryer from home. I did bring the power strip. It did come in handy when I was charging my camera battery because my charger is larger and the strip just made it easier. Activities: I am not much for group activities but I did do Movies Under the Stars and went to the Galley Tour/Cooking Class - I really enjoyed both. I spent most of my free time by the pool and I never had a problem finding a chair. Tours: I did the Ephesus tour with the Terrace Houses in Kusadasi. It was wonderful and the up charge to visit the Terrace Houses was TOTALLY worth it. That was the only tour I took from the ship. Others in my party regularly did tours through the ship - they enjoyed the tours but they had MANY complaints about the staff who worked the excursion desk. They found them rude, short, and uncaring. The people I was with are the most low-maintenance people who never have a harsh word to say so I believe that they were treated badly. Boarding/Leaving: Both processes were painless. I would highly recommend logging on and entering all your information on Princess website before going and checking prior to leaving that everything you requested is correct. I also got a copy of my bill the day before we left to check it against my receipts. It was correct. I am not a cruiser and I probably won't do another one for awhile because I do like more freedom and staying in cities longer to really feel the culture - but this was a great way to see so many countries in only 12 days. It also made me more comfortable with Turkey and Greece (this was my first time there) and I now know that I will definitely go back to Istanbul and Mykonos and skip Athens and Kusadasi. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My wife and I cruised from Barcelona to Venice on the Ruby Princess in May, 2011 and just loved it. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise before and did not think it would be something we would enjoy mainly because we had heard about all ... Read More
My wife and I cruised from Barcelona to Venice on the Ruby Princess in May, 2011 and just loved it. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise before and did not think it would be something we would enjoy mainly because we had heard about all the food that is available 24 hour a day. We also imagined that your ship is sailing all the time and there would be nothing else to do. We were wrong! Another couple finally talked us into taking a cruise in September, 2010 with them but after flying to Venice and boarding the Ruby Princess, we had a death in the family and had to return home. We did not get to sail but we were glad we took out cruise insurance. We did arrive in Venice a day before checking in to board the ship and got to see St. Mark's Square, the Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Basilica, Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge. We stayed overnight at the Westin Europa & Regina Hotel in Venice which we fell in love with. It's only a quarter mile from St. Mark's Square and we enjoyed a great breakfast at their outside restaurant right on the Grand Canal. We finally got to take our cruise this year but without our friends. We chose the "any time" dining and we met some wonder people each time we ate. Usually all the table were taken but if there were two seats open at a table, the other passengers were happy to let others join them. We met other passengers when we took the excursions and everyone was happy to exchange cameras so that couples could be in pictures together. A few tips I would pass on to anyone taking a cruise are first to really consider taking out cruise insurance when you book your trip. It may cost a couple of hundred dollars more but it is worth it. Next, plan your itinerary so you know how much time you have in each port, what you most want to see in that time and read up on the different ports and attractions. I was able to find and tape shows on television about each port we were visiting by some travel advisers like Rick Steves, Rudy Maxa and Samantha Brown. Lastly, plan an extra day at the beginning and end of your trip. If flight delays occur, you will still be on time to the ship and catching your flight home after your cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our first trip to Europe and finally decided we wanted to see a lot of different places and for that gave up time in any one place. We chose the Ruby because of our past satisfaction with Princess and we thought it had the best ... Read More
This was our first trip to Europe and finally decided we wanted to see a lot of different places and for that gave up time in any one place. We chose the Ruby because of our past satisfaction with Princess and we thought it had the best itinerary. The trip for us was fantastic and it exceeded our expectations. We knew the ship would be fine and it was in good shape and the service was good. We did a lot of the ship's excursions knowing that we would be herded about at all of the most touristy parts of each port. The crowds in the ports were immense, especially in Rome since there were 10 Mega Ships in port on our visit day. In Monte Carlo we went on our own and were quite happy with that as we found our way up to the Old Town area. The scenery was wonderful, and we got a good dose of life on the ritzy side. In Florence, we took the "Best of Florence and Pisa" tour and we did a lot of walking and looking at most sites from the outside. The weather was a bit iffy and we had umbrellas, but if you forgot yours the local vendors were quick to pull out weather gear for you. We did get to go inside the Academia and saw "David", but again it was very crowded and we were kind of herded through. All in all we did get a good flavor of Florence but one would need a week to really see all the wonders of that town. In Rome we had a great tour guide named Max, he was really into his craft and seemed to enjoy telling us about what we saw. We did the Coliseum and the Vatican. We got into the museum and the Sistine Chapel and then the wonders of wonders, St. Peter's Basilica. One thing about the organized tours, you have tickets to get inside, and get to go to a separate admission gate. That was good. In Naples we chose to take a bus to Sorrento for a couple of hours, and then to Pompeii. It was a good day and had a nice tour of Pompeii. The sea day that followed was welcomed, and along with a bunch of our new friends, we did some laundry. A lot of other cruisers had the same idea. With a 12 day cruise it was nice that the Ruby has a Laundromat. Our next stop was Mykonos, and we did it on our own. We saw the organized tours in town and were glad we chose to see the sites on our own. The ladies did some shopping, too. One of the problems with the tours is that there is never enough time for shopping. Not that we wanted to do a lot of it, but we had almost zero time except when they herd you into a shop for the privilege of using the restrooms. Our next stop was Istanbul, and we did it with a tour too. Lots of people at the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, the Aya Sophia, the Palace, and the Cistern. We were in awe of all these places except the Palace was a little less than we hoped for. us a bit. Next the ship goes to Kusadasi, and we went to Mary's Shrine and Ephesus. People had told us that there wasn't much at Kusadasi, but we found it to be on a building boom, with a huge marketplace, and a lot of new housing. They even have a brand new themed water park. In Athens we got a tour to the Acropolis and we were very lucky as we were the first group to walk through the gates that morning. For about a half hour we basically had the place to ourselves. The float into the harbor of Venice is thrilling. We did no tour, and if we would have understood the water buses better we would not have bought the Princess shuttle passes. They actually give every one on ship a pass for $15 and charge your account. You can turn them in prior to arrival if you want, and if we would have known how close the Pia Roma is to the ship we would have just gone there and gotten a two day pass since we stayed an extra night. One more comment about the excursions, the tour director was wonderful. I wish I would have his name. He managed the groups in the Princess Theater with ease and humor. He made you feel like it was going to go off well, and they did. If we ever go back to a Med cruise, we will be doing shore trips on our own, but in general we are glad we did it the way we did. I know a lot of cruise critic people disdain ship tours, but in general we saw a little of a lot. We found the dining to be fine. We did anytime dining and maybe because so many people skipped the main dining room because of busy days in port, we had no trouble getting in and getting a table for 4 and not having to share. The food was fine, and the service very good. We like the Princess system of the buffet since you can just go and get what you want, and do not have to wait in a line if all you want is something at the end of the line. We are Platinum and enjoyed that they gave us 500 free internet minutes. We didn't even use them all. We try to avoid all the up charge places on a cruise ship. It is getting harder to do that as they up charge so much nowadays. Not sure if we would ever even consider the "Serenity" place on the Ruby. All in all, if anyone is considering the Med Cruises, be sure you are prepared for hectic days if you are new to Europe and want to see as much as you can. The days begin at 7:00am and end at 6:00pm and you are going to be busy the whole time. You can ease this up if you focus your port time, I guess, but so many sites are a ways from the ship's dock that transportation time will be extensive and traffic in these cities is quite hectic. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
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 ... Read More
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 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. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Let me preface this review by saying that I am an experienced cruiser (my 18th cruise) and my wife is a novice (2nd cruise). That being said, I had very very high expectations going into this cruise since I took over a year to plan it and ... Read More
Let me preface this review by saying that I am an experienced cruiser (my 18th cruise) and my wife is a novice (2nd cruise). That being said, I had very very high expectations going into this cruise since I took over a year to plan it and I had been on Princess before and knew what to expect. My overall final conclusion is..... satisfied. There were many things on the cruise that met my expectations but only a couple that exceeded them and a few that disappointed. It is difficult to measure because of the very high expectations I had but I would say that things were solid. This cruise was extremely port intensive (which I loved but took some getting used to for my wife). While we are both young and are eager to see things I can honestly say that even we were exhausted. I planned all of our excursions independently through reviews I read on this site and I can say that those were absolutely amazing. I would never book excursions through the ship and it still baffles me as to why people do this. Here are the items that exceeded my expectations (cruise only) 1. shows (the new once upon a dream is amazing) 2. timeliness of the departures (all previous ships I had been were constantly late to leave port) Disappointments: 1. the continued requirement to pay for additional services. This one really bugs me. We paid thousands of dollars for this cruise and now we have to pay for a coffee card and a soda card? not to mention that tips are automatically included on everything and that they no longer procide juice machines. Also, my wife and I did a couples massage and even though it was very expensive ($300) the massage therapists came in after we were done and tried peddling the products they used on us which were ridiculously priced. I did not like this at all. 2. noise in our room. We could constantly hear the banging of the housekeeping crew on the 10th floor where we were located. Slight annoyance but still bothersome. 3. debarkation in venice. This is slighlty unorganized and no one told us to get off the ship even though we were sitting in our area for over an hour. The average age on our ship was 60 which didnt bother us all that much but next time I think I will take this into consideration more as it would be nice to have a cruise where the disco and shows arent all geared to the senior crowd. Overall we had an amazing honeymoon and I would cruise with Princess again but since I am a platinum member with Carnival I would still prefer them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Ruby Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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