This was our family's first cruise, and everyone had a great time. We traveled as husband, wife, 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son.
We flew from Boston to Rome and spent a few days in the city. From Rome we took the train to Venice and spent two days before the start of the cruise. Venice is the most beautiful city I've ever seen and a great port to begin a cruise.
The ship is very large and offers more activities than you could ever experience. Since we were traveling with children, Movies under the Stars was big part of our evening experience. Each night a different movie was offered with a showing at 7:30 and 10:30. The movies are current (e.g., Hunger Games) and the showing is on a very large screen by the pool. The pizzeria, grill, ice cream stand and buffet are close by if you want a snack during the show. Popcorn, cookies and milk are offered by the staff.
My son and I also used the gym and worked out every day. The gym is first rate all the way. We also spent about an hour each day playing basketball. The courts are busy, but we usually managed to get in for some play time.
We went to a handful of shows, including a four season's concert, culinary show, and magic show. The shows were very good to excellent. We were so busy and tired from our shore excursions, however, that we didn't take advantage of more shows.
We had two cabins side by side with ocean balconies. We were able to connect through the balcony, so we were able to keep our family together through the entire trip. The rooms were spacious and comfortable.... Better than we expected. The air conditioning was very comfortable. Housekeeping was excellent.... We had no issues at all.
The food on the ship was fantastic.... Especially the traditional dining. The breakfast buffet was very good, and fairly traditional. I'd compare it to an excellent breakfast buffet at an upscale hotel. Since we were very busy with shore excursions, we had room service most mornings and it was good and dependable.
For lunch you had many choices. On sea days, we usually ate by the pool. The Pizzeria was absolutely first rate (better than the pizza in Italy) and the grill was decent (burgers and fries). We occasionally had lunch in the buffet and the food was very good. There was usually a theme (e.g., Mexican) and there we many choices.
Dinner was our favorite. We LOVED the traditional dining. The meals were 4 courses and FANTASTIC. The service was as good as the food. On the outside, these meals would cost you $50 to $75 a person. We did not expect the food to be this good.
We went on one private shore excursion. The remainder we did with Princess. The Princess expeditions were very good and two of them were OUTSTANDING. One was cheese tasting in Sorrento, and the other was visiting Orvieto (with a meal at the Tipica Trattoria Etrusca, a 5 start Italian restaurant). We were very pleased with the excursions.
The employees on the Ruby Princess were pleasant and helpful. They were never far from your table during a meal, and the pool and bar staff deserve special mention.
To sum it up, we were very satisfied with our experience. It was truly a trip of a lifetime.