15 Barcelona to Europe - Western Mediterranean Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
This is our first ever cruise and won't be our last. The ship was lovely. The staff were excellent. The food was terrific. All in all we thought it was great value for money. We didn't think much of Monaco - for somewhere so ... Read More
This is our first ever cruise and won't be our last. The ship was lovely. The staff were excellent. The food was terrific. All in all we thought it was great value for money. We didn't think much of Monaco - for somewhere so wealthy it looks a bit dated. Venice - we've been before and loved it, but it was way too busy, St Marks was like a road works site, so sadly, we weren't impressed this time round. Would rather have had Dubrovnik on the itinerary. Swimming in Mykonos was excellent. Taxi to the beach is the best way to go. One nice touch from Princess - on returning to the ship on those very warm days, we were greeted on the pier by staff with ice cold towels. Very appreciative of that gesture. We went anytime dining and that was a good choice. Met lots of lovely people - didn't meet anyone we didn't like! Made lots of friends. We tried the Crown grill which was very nice, but Sabatinis was particularly good. The on board entertainment was also very good and the cruise director, Lisa Ball worked very hard to ensure everyone knew what was going on. Never having cruised before, we don't know what to judge Princess against, however we feel Princess to be top notch and will have no hesitation in traveling with them again - after all the Ruby Princess is mine! B520 - we were worried that we might feel as if we were in a cave. It would have been an extra £1000 for a balcony. We decided to put that money toward private tours and that was the best decision we could have made. The room was very comfortable, very little hum from the engines. Nice quiet location, easy access to lifts but not too close. We had asked for an egg crate cover top for our mattress and that was a good decision (based on other peoples reviews on cc)We had a very comfortable stay on board the Ruby. We were hardly in the room as there was so many days off ship and things to do at night. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Your comments were: Overall a very good experience but many corners cut by Princess. The shore excursions were great. If you book through the cruise line, you are over paying a huge amount. There are alternative choices at every port at ... Read More
Your comments were: Overall a very good experience but many corners cut by Princess. The shore excursions were great. If you book through the cruise line, you are over paying a huge amount. There are alternative choices at every port at much lower prices. A good small example is Rome. We chose the on our own for us and the Elite for our friends. We paid $89 for the bus trip that was ok but the Princess guide lost two people just because she didn't pay attention. These people ended up taking a cab back to ship at $350 cost. At the docks, a train ticket to same drop off was less than 10 Euros. Bus fares were equally as low. The same tours for "Elite" type guided tours were also equally as low. I would suggest that you look on line and book elsewhere rather than through Princess. Also, there really are alternatives to Princess at every port so don't worry about being shut out if you don't book anything. Dining was disappointing. We had "Anytime Dining". This means you can reserve dining before 6:30 or after 9:30. If you wait between 6:30 and 9:30, it can be a long one. We waited over an hour on many occasions. It is not anytime dining. It is wait to dine until there is room for you. The food was fair at best. The buffet varied from good to horrible. We gave up waiting for anytime dining some nights and went to the buffet. Service varied from terrible to excellent. The staff complained they did not have enough people working the dining rooms. Forget about bringing your own bottle of wine. They charge $15 to open it. If you have two bottles it is $30. They clearly want to squeeze every dollar out of passengers. We had four or six in our party for dining so maybe two people would get seated sooner. Itinerary was great. We loved every port except Monaco. We did Monaco and Cannes and it was very boring. I would stay on ship on that day. Nice area but not worth the money to get off the ship for us. All others were really great. Don't miss this great itinerary that made this cruise such a great experience. Ship was nice. Even though it was a full ship, they did a great job of making things seem uncrowded. They only exception is the buffet at breakfast and dinner. There was no place to sit on many occasions so we took our food back to our cabin. Our cabin attendent Grenny was fantastic. The room was with balcony but on the 14th floor, the balcony was tiny. Ours friends were on the 10th floor and that had a much bigger balcony. We were on port side of ship and it was nice. There are more views from starboard side if you can book it. Also, lounge chairs around pool were very difficult to find because people camp out early in morning and reserve them. We are lucky that we booked balcony cabins. Watch out for smokers near your cabin. We had smoke coming into our cabin from neighbors. We wish there was something Princess could do to avoid this unpleasant experience. Dining service was very spotty from poor to excellent. We had some dinners with no attention and others with perfect attention. On one evening, we sat with empty plates on table for 45 minutes with no one coming to the table. We asked for manager and he couldn't have been nicer. He told us he was under staffed and apoligized. He personally removed our plates and took care of us. He even sought us out the next evening and made sure we had good service. So like I said, excellent to poor service. Overall, the staff went out of their way to be friendly. Service charges (tipping). This is difficult to figure out. Princess charges $10.50 or more per day per person. Our ship was full and Princess claims the Ruby holds 3,599 passengers. Not counting the manditory 15% service charge they add to anything you purchase, they collect a minimum of $453,474.00 for tips. They claim 1200 normal crew compliment. This comes to $378.00+ per crew member for tips, again not including the 15% they add to every purchase you make during the cruise. I asked a cabin attendent what his portion of that tip money was and he told me $2.44 per day per person and he had 30 cabins with 2 to 5 people in them. Bottom line is that I was confused about tipping. If I bought a drink for $7.00 at a bar and they add in 15% for a service charge, it seemed cheap not to add a tip because on the reciept there is a line for a tip. I ended up just tipping if I thought the service was extra good. My cabin attendent was deffinetly one of these. Be ready for Princess to be marketing everything. I felt gouged on many occasions about the way they were always selling something and charging for everything. You even have to pay to get off the ship in Venice at $15.00 per passenger and the tickets show up in your cabin and the fee is added to your account. Another $53,985+ for Princess unless you stay on ship while in Venice. We chose Princess because we thought the service and quality would be at a higher level. It was not any better than Royal Carribean but cost more. We would try a different line next time. Overall, we had a great time and would do this again. No regrets. We just wanted to share these things so your expectations aren't too high. Our biggest low was the quality of the food and "Anytime Dining". Our biggest high was the itinerary and the ship itself. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Overall 12-night cruise on the Ruby Princess, September 1st, 2009, from Barcelona to Venice. Ship is only 8 months old and the cruise overall went very well. Would recommend a future cruise with Princess. Utilized private tours in ... Read More
Overall 12-night cruise on the Ruby Princess, September 1st, 2009, from Barcelona to Venice. Ship is only 8 months old and the cruise overall went very well. Would recommend a future cruise with Princess. Utilized private tours in four ports/cities and were very please with them. Utilized two Princess ship tours and were lukewarm about them. Ports This cruise visited Barcelona, Monaco, Florence/Piza, Rome, Naples, Mykonos, Istanbul, Ephesus, Athens, and Venice. Embarkation/Disembarkation We got on about two hours before sailing - out of choice. Majority of folks had already gotten aboard and we had little delay. Both Princess and the folks at the Barcelona dock did a great job. We stayed an extra day in Venice and had a leisurely disembarkation there. Others had early flights and were leaving the ship as early as 3am. Overall Ship Observations The Ruby Princess is only 8 months old and looked very clean as would be expected. Everything worked well and there were no surprises. Given that the ship holds over 3,000 passengers (plus crew) the layout was such that it didn't seem that crowded when you were strolling around. Exceptions would included the Princess Theater shows and the availability of seats for the MUTS (Movies Under the Stars). Stateroom We were in an outside statroom (P204). Located just across the hall from the self-serve laundry (which turned out to be a big benefit). Room was very clean, everything worked. Size of room was pretty much standard. There was a very large open closet to hang your clothes and plenty of hangars. If you opt to have the bed arranged as a Queen, this room only had one night table - one one side of the bed. There was no sofa in our room - just a single chair. The safe allows you to set your own password through the numerical keypad - a big improvement over the safes that you swipe with a credit card (and possibly damaging the electronic strip on your card). TV received about four ship-related channels; CNN International; BBC World News; several movie channels; couple of kids channels; some others - some foreign language. No towel animals on this ship (don't think Princess does them). Overall Ship Plusses Don't laugh, but the laundry rooms on each floor really were great. We only took enough clothes for about half the trip and washed as needed. Carried our own combo washer/dryer sheets and quarters for the machines. $1.50 per washer/dryer. Being right across the hall we could check on machine availability. The only wait for washer/dryers was on the two at sea days. There is also a iron. We happended to check one of the laundry rooms on a higher deck - much larger - probably eight washer/dryers; four irons; etc. The outside Deck 7 was quiet and very pleasant to watch arrivals/departures. It was always interesting to look out from that deck as the ship was getting ready to depart and watch for the late folks running to catch the ship. 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. Dec 16 has the spa/gym and a private area for chilling out that costs something like $50 a half day and $100 a full day. Overall Ship Negatives There really are a lot more positives to the ship, it's just that some of the negatives stand out. Disappointed in the self-service stations in the buffets. The Ruby gave you a choice of water, ice tea, coffee and sometimes lemonade. On prior cruises we had more juice options that were always available; along with self-service ice cream machines. On the Ruby, the ice cream had to be purchased except during certain hours - which we just couldn't remember. The pizza station on deck 15 was supposed to be open 24-hours. Yet we went by around 10pm and were told it was closing and that you also could not order any pizza from room-service. It's the little things that are disappointing. Ruby has signs that say they will remove towells from empty deck loungers after being vacant for 15 minutes. Didn't see that happen. Usually not a big deal. The shows in the Princess Theater included two production numbers; two magicians; juggler; singer; etc. All were okay - nothing great. The first comedian we thought was the funniest but he was only given a limited time to perform. Although the theater is large (maybe 600-700 seats??) the place could fill up 30 minutes prior to show time. We had "anytime" dining (6pm to 10pm). You could call and make a reservation - but only during the hours when you were usually off the ship at a port. You had the option to be seated with others at a table or wait for a table for two. That wait was usually around 30 minutes. I really am not not sure why, but the food just didn't taste all that good. Maybe a bit bland? Prior cruises on Carnival Valor and RCL Empress of the Seas had better food. The lobster was offered on the second "at sea" night. Formal nights were on the two "at sea" nights. Neat things we learned Even though the stareroom breakfast room service says they do not deliver prior to 7am - that's not true. You can just write in a earlier time (we used both 6am and 6:30am). That really helped when we had to get off the ship early for the 10 different ports on the cruise. We had absolutely no trouble bringing on alcohol at embarkation or at each port. You are allowed one bottle wine/champagne per person. You could definitely bring more. We brought on Roki from Turkey (45% alcohol - powerful stuff); etc. You can go to any bar and ask for two empty glasses (wine) to take back to your room. You can take your glass of wine (or whatever) when you go to dinner. No problem. Leave a note for your room attendant and he will always make sure you have new wine glasses each day. You can have a fresh bowl of fruit brought to your room each day - they give you a card to fill out in your room. The water shuttle tickets that are left in your room (for Venice) turned out to be worth their $15 cost. You can ride back and forth from the ship to St. Mark's square as often as you want. We shopped during the day; back to ship for dinner; back to Venice for late nite drinks;etc. The putt-putt golf is free and wasn't very busy. The couple's massage we had is a toss-up. Pretty expensive. Keep track of the time or you may not get your full 50 minutes of massaging. As on other ships, gym showers are bigger than your room. The sauna and steam rooms are free. If you like walking/jogging around the outside of deck 7, you half to climb up/down two flights of stairs near the front of the ship. The British lunch-time food (fish & chips; bangers; shepherd's pie) in the lounge is fantastic. But they only serve it from 11:30 to 2:30. The international cafe has sandwiches and desserts (most of which are free). We would grab a couple of sandwiches to take with us into town. If you eat breakfast at the buffet, you have to ask for orange juice - the self-service stations don't have it. Although there are about 20 computer stations in the internet area, they were usually being used except late at night. Usually the connection speed was very slow and the basic rate was 75 cents per minute. You can print to a printer. When you are finished make certain you have logged out or someone can come behind you and see you current session usuage info; name; etc. Smoking - pretty much limited to outside of deck 7 and on the upper, open-air decks. I think there is one small lounge for smoking but did not see it. We never smelled any smoke walking down cabin passageways. Tipping - we stuck with the ship's option of taking out an automatic amount for each person/each day. But we also left an extra tip for our room steward. We gave him part of the tip after the first couple of days. It might have helped with getting better service - who knows. Anytime dining - This cruise visited ten different ports and only had two sea days. For us it was a no-brainer to eat when we wanted to. I know there are more things to pass on - but since we just got back yesterday our brains are whacked. Our ports (briefly stated) Barcelona - we flew in two days early and had a great time seeing the many sites. The subway and the HOHO (Hop On, Hop Off) busses got you pretty much everywhere. Don't miss the Gaudi structures; Miro and Picasso Museums; Las Ramblas. Most museums closed on Mondays. Monaco - Princess said we would tender here, but we actually docked. I think it depends on if you are the first cruise ship for the day. We had to run like hell but we got to the changing of the guard. Also viewed the burial locations for Prince Rainer/Priness Grace. This is one of the locations (our opinion) you could skip if you wanted a bit more time on the ship). Florence - We were very, very happy to use the RomeInLimo private tour. Group of eight for a 550 Euro tour. We were able to visit both Florence and Pisa. Most of the ship tours only went to one or another locations. Don't miss David in Florence. Rome - Also used RomInLimo. These private tours user smaller vehicles; get you closer; get your tickets in advance; have less tourists; take you to nicer lunch restaurants. When the cost is split eight ways you are paying very close to the same as the ship tour. Usually far superior to the ship tours. Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica - don't miss. They did check for no exposed knees/shouldars at St. Peter's. Naples - Probably best to pay for a tour guide at Pompeii. The Amalfi coast is great. Our RomInLimo tour got us to a fantastic restaurant overlooking the bay. Mykonos - We walked to a local bus and went to a nearby beach. The busses go in two directions - both have beaches. Water too cold for most. Plenty of restaurants right on the beach. This is another possible location to skip if you prefer to relax on the ship. Istanbul - Took the ship tour because the Topaki Palace is closed on Tuesdays but Princess has an arrangement for them to let you in if you take the ship's tour. It rained and the crowds were pretty bad. We were told there were over 300 tour buses (the big ones) in town that day - we believed it. Have to remove shoes and have proper clothing to enter Blue Mosque. Lunch at Topaki Palace was pretty good. The vendors really do get in your face. The "rug demonstration" is a blatant attempt to sell you their rugs. 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). Ephesus - This was a very pleasant surprise. We used EKOL tours or our private tour. Our tour guide was Ski. Ask for her - highly, highly recommended. She was informative, fun to be with and went way out of her way to help us find things. The ruins at Ephesus (we thought) were more impressive than Pompeii. The Virgin Mary's house was also on the tour and enjoyable to view. Athens - You can indeed take the metro in and get around to the major attractions. Do not miss the Architecture Museum!!! It is huge and has a fantastic number of statues; etc. The Acropolis is under rennovation but still worth climbing to the top. Very nice views from the top. Venice- The ship got into Venice around 1pm and we stayed there until disembarkation the next morning. Great places to view are the Doge's Palace; St. Mark's Basilica (which rivals St. Peter's in Rome); and the four museums located in the nearby Correr building. They do check for proper clothing at the Basilica. It was also fun to walk through the narrow streets (and the many, many people) to view the shops. If you choose to take a private gondola it will cost you around 100 Euros. If you decide to use one of the private water taxis it will cost you between 70 and 100 Euros. Try to use the local commuter bus service - which costs about 10 to 15 Euro. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This was our fifth cruise & the first that we did with another couple who are good friends. We're all in our 60s but young at heart. My one minor regret is that we didn't arrive a day or two ahead of embarkation to get the ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise & the first that we did with another couple who are good friends. We're all in our 60s but young at heart. My one minor regret is that we didn't arrive a day or two ahead of embarkation to get the jet lag out of the way. However, we arrived in Barcelona at 10:30AM & were on the ship around 1:00PM. Embarkation was a breeze with absolutely no problems. Each couple had a mini-suite because of the lenghth of this cruise & they were wonderful. The extra room made such a difference & the balconies were delightful. There was plenty of closet & shelf space as well as toiletries. No disappointments there. The ship itself is beautiful.And the staff was so friendly & helpful. If one even looked lost, there was someone who was happy to asist. As for the activities, there was always something to do. I seemed to take advantage of the spa more than I ever had before simply because I had a friend to go with. Each night we went through the Princess Patter & I was glad to have a highlighter with me so we didn't overlook anything the next day or evening. And the entertainment was very well done. I highly recommend 'Once Upon a Dream'. It was a musical extravaganza. Through CC we knew about the Ruby Ball & the New Years Eve Party so we had tge appropiate attire. As for the Dining, we selected Anytime Dining, because the excursions that we booked got us back to the ship between 5:00 & 7:00PM. This was a good decision. Our dining experience was the best. Godwin, our Maitre'D was the only constant of our 12 days. We really looked forward to seeing him each evening. There was never a wait & he made us feel so welcome. Also, we saw him at The MaitreD's Wine Tasting which I can only rave about. It was worth the extra charge just to taste Opus1, not to mention the knowledge we took from it. As I told Godwin, he 'stole the show' with his great knowledge of wine & great personality. But, I digress. Dinners were very good & our wait staff actually anticipated our needs. We also had one dinner at The Crown Grill which is another must-do. We had many breakfasts at the International cafe, especially when we had a 7 or 8AM tour scheduled. It is a great place for coffee to go & there is a nice selection of pastries,cereals & breakfast sandwiches. As for the ports, I was fortunate to have discovered Cruise Critic a few months ago. After logging about 100 hours, I confidently booked all but 1 private excursion. Through CC I located some fabulous couples to share the cost & fun times with. I did book a Princess tour of Naples,Pompeii & Capri. It exceeded our expectations for the 'big bus' thing. We had a very knowledgable guide ( Francesca) who showed us a very good time. However, the private tours were more cost effective & personal. Also, the small vans could get closer to the attractions. We actually needed & looked forward to the sea days because we were so busy in the ports. We were able to sleep later & got to enjoy the ship. There was much more walking & climbing than anticipated but how else does one get to The Acropolis or through the Vatican or The Blue Mosque or the beach on Mykonos. Oh, the places we saw! Disembarkation was very easy with no stress until we got to the airport. But that was only the usual crowds & customs thing that not many airports are equipped to handle. This cruise was everything we expected & then some.It was a real gem! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This is our second European Cruise, the last was 2 years ago and some of the ports were repeaters, however you only get a day in port and there is always something new to see. DH and I are in our 50's, we chose to go to the Med in ... Read More
This is our second European Cruise, the last was 2 years ago and some of the ports were repeaters, however you only get a day in port and there is always something new to see. DH and I are in our 50's, we chose to go to the Med in Sept as the last time we went in July and it was very hot! This time the teperatures were perfect and we didn't get one drop of rain, the seas were like a millpond. There were only about 10 children on this cruise, a few honeymooners and I would say the average age of our fellow cruisers was about 65. We flew from Toronto to Barcelona via Munich independantly 2 days prior to embarkation. We hadn't been to Barcelona before and we loved it, very vibrant and clean city, there was a major festival called Merce, on while we were there and there were many concerts and a huge parade. We stayed at the Hotel Jazz which is ony about a block from Las Ramblas and we were more than happy with this hotel. We particulary enjoyed the Gaudi buildings and used the HOHO bus to get around. Watched out for pickpockets, gypsies with babies etc and saw nothing except the wonderful city. We took a taxi to the ship at around 2 pm and were in our cabin within 10 mins, we had preferred embarkation but didn't need it as there were no lines at that time. The ship is lovely, sparkling and clean and we never saw a disgruntled crew member, everyone was so friendly. We noticed there wasn't as much pushing to sell items on this cruise either. We had anytime dining and lucked out after 2 nights getting a table for 2 by a window with amazing waiters in the Michaelangelo DR. The Head waiter, Jan was very accommodating and we reserved the table for the rest of the cruise. Food is subjective but we found it to be very good this cruise. We didn't use the specialty restaurants as we have used them before and are happy with the main DR. We used the buffet for lunch and breakfast, usual buffet food but always something that we liked to be found. We also used the laundry on 4 occasions - no lineups at all. We didn't do any of the shows as I'm not a fan. Because this cruise is so port intensive Skywalkers tended to be empty at night (most nights, we checked)We sat in Crooners with friends we had made most nights but wasn't too keen on the singer. Had to use the medical clinic once for a minor medical problem and the clinic staff were effecient and helpful (I'm an ER nurse so I notice these things!) I used the fitness centre to work off some of those souffle desserts and it was always nearly empty, no lining for anything and had good equipment. Used the spa for a manicure and it was very good too. We did either independant tours or "on your own" at the various ports. I absolutely hate the large organised expensive ships tours and found great advice and tour companions on the CC boards. There were just two things that really niggled me onboard. Given the age demographic of this cruise, I was really surprised at the rudeness and nastiness I encountered by many of our fellow passengers towards the crew members. Never a please nor a thankyou, very rude if the crew member didn't understand what was being said immediately. It wasn't just once, it was many times every day. I had to bite my tongue sometimes, I had never noticed it on previous cruises. The second thing was the door bangers, on our corridor the doors seemed to be banging all the time from early morning to late night. People can to be very inconsiderate to fellow passengers it seems. Just small niggles and it didn't spoil our cruise. Monaco was a little rough tendering across, we only got a short time here because of the lineups for the tenders, they could only be half filled and travel slowly. However we fulfilled DH's dream of travelling around at least some of the F1 circuit, would have liked longer here. We climbed the Rock and visted the cathedral and caught the little train that takes you around the town. In Livorno we used Rome in Limo. I can't say enough good things about this company or our guide, David. They were marvellous. We arrived in Pisa before the crowds and DH and I climbed the Tower on the first climb of the day. We had heard the wait was about 4 hours long later in the day. We had plenty of time to see what we wanted and then onto Florence going through some lovely Tuscan countryside. We had wonderful stopping points to get good views of the city and had lunch in a great restaurant in the square outside the church of Santa Croce. Our guide was so knowedgable and we had lots of time to see what we wanted to in Florence. He had already reserved tickets for us to see the Statue of David so we had no waiting. A great day! Rome was the next day and we decided to have a day on the ship. We had visted Rome for 3 days previously and felt we needed a nice quiet day which we certainly had on a nearly empty ship. In Naples we again used Rome in Limo with friends from the roll call. The guide wasn't quite up to the standard of David but he was good enough. We drove down the Amalfi coast to Positano and sorrento where we had lunch and a chance to wander around. We then came back to visit Heraculaneum. Having visited Pompei previously this was a nice "add-on" It was very quiet there and we really enjoyed it. Our next stop was Myknonos, another repeater for us. We had explored the island quite extensively last time and our visit here was only half a day so we had a coffee at the port and then caught the ferry to Delos and spent the morning there exploring the ruins, very interesting, the quide you obtain at the ticket office was enough information for us to enjoy the island. In Istanbul we had hired Ekol tours to visit the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, I particularly enjoyed the Palace especially the treasures of the Sultans. We had a really good guide here - Tulah. We had a local lunch and then she dropped us at the Grand Bazaar with advice on how to shop well there, we caught a taxi back to the ship. I would have liked longer in the Bazaar to explore more We also used Ekol tours in Kusadasi to visit Ephesus which was a higlight for me. We had previously stopped at Kusadasi and decided to have a port day, when we got home everyone who has been to Ephesus told us we had missed one of the best sites and they were right. Our guide was Oskar and he was very good. We had included the Terrace houses and Mary's house in this tour, well worth visiting, we also had the Temple of Athene and that's entirely missable in my opinion. The Terrace houses are spectacular and large tour bus groups are not allowed in there. The only negative about Oskar is that we ended our tour in a carpet shop!! I don't know how he managed it but we felt quite pressured and embarrassed as we wouldn't buy anything as expensive as a carpet without researching it previously. However our tour companions saved us by buying a rug and the pressure was off!!! I would have preferred not to have gone there. I have learnt since that guides get commission of up to 25% of the purchase price so that was why he was so keen to have us "meet his friend" Athens was another repeater and I truly had been disappointed last time we had visited as I'm a Grecophile and have had many land based vacations on Greek islands. Our roll call members invited us on their tour and as the price was good we decided to go along. They had booked Jordan and he was an absolute hoot. Very passionate about Greece and it's culture. He taught us alot too, we had to remember it all as he tested us and you only had one chance to get it right! Hilarious, but I remember all he taught me! We were at the Acropolis as it opened, there was no entrance fee to monuments that day as there were Greek elections on. We saw the changing of the guard, had lunch at a marvellous restaurant and spent the afternoon in the Agora and Plaka, he prsented us with baclava, wine and a book about Greece. I would highly recommend him www.greek-tours.gr We sailed into Venice at around lunchtime, this was our second visit and we disembarked from here the following day. We spent 2 nights at the Al Ponte Mocenigo hotel, a 2 star which really should be a 4 star hotel. It was absolutely charming, in a quiet residential district about 5 mins from the Rialto Bridge. We didn't take a Gondola ride, saving that for the next time we visit! We took the vaporetta to Murano and toured the Doge's Palace. We had a wonderful 2 days in Venice one of our favourite cities and really explored it walking miles and using the vaporetta. A perfect end to a perfect vacation Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
The Ruby Princess is a wonderful ship.  Staff were very attentive and friendly.  The common areas were very clean and well maintained.  Food was wonderful.  Don't miss the Crown Grill, well worth the $25 extra for a great ... Read More
The Ruby Princess is a wonderful ship.  Staff were very attentive and friendly.  The common areas were very clean and well maintained.  Food was wonderful.  Don't miss the Crown Grill, well worth the $25 extra for a great meal.  Those who get a balcony room and you want an unforgettable, romantic, "lifestyles of the rich and famous" meal, reserve a balcony dining experience.  They only offer four per night, so reserve early.   For a quiet after dinner drink find Adagio on the 16th deck aft!  Try their variety of olives!Unfortunately, wind prevented us from getting to Rome.  But the extra day at sea was a nice break.  This is a "marathon cruise", not for the "just relax" crowd.We visit more than 6 ports, but he pull down did not allow for more.  Athens and Ephesus were the two not reviewed below.  Visit the ruins at Ephesus and see the Acropolis, they are not to be missed.  Both days exceeded 100 degrees so bring an umbrella to creat your own shade! Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
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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