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We really enjoyed this cruise – primarily because of the interesting ports and the tours we took. This cruise was unique because so much time was spent off ship. This cruise was more about the ports and onshore experiences rather than shipboard experiences. We will always remember the things we saw. We are late 50’s and early 60’s, Platinum cruisers on Princess and Carnival. Our last cruise was a 15 Day Panama Canal repositioning cruise aboard the Carnival Miracle. This cruise has been on our “to do” list for some time and we booked it for the great price and ports of call offered. It was a 12 day Grand Mediterranean cruise departing from Venice with ports of call at Athens, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos, Naples, Rome, Florence, and Toulon ending at Barcelona. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and was in great condition. It was very easy for us to find our way around. The crew is great. Our cabin was Dolphin 218 – a mini-suite with an uncovered balcony. We used our balcony very little during this cruise but the extra room was greatly appreciated and worth the cost. Our Cabin Steward was Catharine and she was wonderful. We bought air transportation through Princess Air but probably won’t do so again. Three weeks before departure our flights were changed to less favorable flights. Cruise Critic’s Cruise Air board was a very useful source of information about the Paris and Barcelona airports. Upon arrival at Venice, there was no immigration or customs check. We used the Princess transfers which went very smoothly and thankfully, we didn’t have to wait for the bus to be completely full. Embarkation went very quickly and we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. We spent the afternoon in Venice and took the evening gondola ride and serenade offered by Princess. It was expensive but an excursion we’ll always remember. Venice is a quaint, charming, and picturesque city but a city that dumps its sewage directly into its main attraction. Muster drill was held the following morning at 845am and the ship set sail shortly. The departure from Venice was spectacular. The weather the next two days was windy and overcast and would be that way most of the cruise. It was quite cold in Florence. We took Princess shore excursions in every port. Six of them were all day tours that included a lunch. We enjoyed all of them. Our tour guides were excellent and the food was good. Most of the tours required quite a bit of walking. A couple of the tours were late returning due to traffic so it was comforting to know the ship would be waiting on us. Several times we had to wait for people that showed up late from “on your own time”. During several tours people just disappeared and were left. I don’t know how they found their way back to the ship. The most irritating episode was at the completion of our Rome tour. The missing persons were crew members. We must have waited 30 minutes waiting for approval to depart without them. When we returned to the ship, the two were already in line and laughing. They had taken another tour bus instead. Wendi and the entire shore excursion staff were very helpful. Jet lag and long excursions made this a tiring rather than relaxing cruise. Several of our excursions met as early as 645am in the Princess Theater. 7am to 730am was average. As tiring as it was, it was a very satisfying experience. We really liked Dan Styne, the Cruise Director, and his staff. They were very personable and entertaining. All the production shows were great and well attended. Shows were scheduled for 7, 8, and 9pm meaning those of us with late seating could go to the 7pm show. This helped tremendously considered that some excursions met in the Princess Theater at 645am. There was plenty of musical entertainment throughout the ship in the evenings. The entertainment was the best we have seen on a ship in some time. We had dinner in the Botticelli Dining Room – late seating. Our waiters were Art and Bryan and they were very good. We thought the food was very good although sometimes we had difficulty finding something interesting on the menu. There were several evenings I almost opted for the “always available” hamburger. We requested a table for four but were seated at a table for six. We dined by ourselves during 10 of 12 nights. There were numerous vacant tables and couples dining by themselves at large tables. We ordered room service four or five times for breakfast on early tour days. The first time it was 20 minutes late – outside the 30 minute delivery window. Three other times it was early – only once did it arrive within the 30 minute delivery window. Breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court was chaotic. The Horizon Court on the Ruby seems to be approximately the same size as on smaller ships such as the Grand and Golden and always seemed crowded during breakfast and lunch. The routine was . . . look for a table and if you are lucky enough to find one it normally needs clearing and cleaning so you have to find someone to clean it; then have one person save the table while the other goes through the line and then look for someone to serve you drinks. The week before the cruise, I dined at a restaurant in Iola, Kansas and its salad bar was comparable to what I saw in the Horizon Court. Princess’s salad bar offerings have declined greatly over the last 10 years. I am thinking that a cruise ship should be able to run a buffet as effectively as say - the Golden Corral. We filled out the forms for Future Cruise Credit – ordering two for each of us and left them at the office. Several days later we received our letters and noticed we had only been sold one each. We went back and talked with the Future Cruise representative and she told us she would take care of it. She didn’t take care of it. This is the first time I’ve been on a cruise ship and they didn’t want my money. Princess Air scheduled our departing flight from Barcelona at 955am. I had concerns but they assured me it would be no problem. We were told to meet at 6am on debarkation morning. The Horizon court was open for full breakfast at 5am but only one person was there serving drinks. Princess needs to rethink how we get our drinks at the buffet. Thankfully, there were plenty of juices available in the VIP lounge that morning. We were off the ship by 610am and at the airport by 650am. There were no customs or immigration checks at Barcelona and no problem making that early flight. We used the Princess transfers at Barcelona. The European porters do a very professional and efficient job of handling baggage. At Venice, they picked our luggage up in the airport lobby and they delivered it to the airport lobby at Barcelona. Aside from our issues with the Horizon Court, we really enjoyed this cruise. We have reservations on the Ruby for a 12 day British Isle cruise in 2014. However, the price is nearly double what we paid for this cruise and we aren’t certain it makes sense to pay that much for a port intensive cruise. Our next cruise is on the Carnival Legend out of Tampa on January 5th.  

Grand Mediterranean on the Ruby Princess

Ruby Princess Cruise Review by jsmac3

Trip Details
We really enjoyed this cruise – primarily because of the interesting ports and the tours we took. This cruise was unique because so much time was spent off ship. This cruise was more about the ports and onshore experiences rather than shipboard experiences. We will always remember the things we saw.
We are late 50’s and early 60’s, Platinum cruisers on Princess and Carnival. Our last cruise was a 15 Day Panama Canal repositioning cruise aboard the Carnival Miracle.
This cruise has been on our “to do” list for some time and we booked it for the great price and ports of call offered. It was a 12 day Grand Mediterranean cruise departing from Venice with ports of call at Athens, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos, Naples, Rome, Florence, and Toulon ending at Barcelona.
The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and was in great condition. It was very easy for us to find our way around. The crew is great.
Our cabin was Dolphin 218 – a mini-suite with an uncovered balcony. We used our balcony very little during this cruise but the extra room was greatly appreciated and worth the cost. Our Cabin Steward was Catharine and she was wonderful.
We bought air transportation through Princess Air but probably won’t do so again. Three weeks before departure our flights were changed to less favorable flights.
Cruise Critic’s Cruise Air board was a very useful source of information about the Paris and Barcelona airports.
Upon arrival at Venice, there was no immigration or customs check. We used the Princess transfers which went very smoothly and thankfully, we didn’t have to wait for the bus to be completely full. Embarkation went very quickly and we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes.
We spent the afternoon in Venice and took the evening gondola ride and serenade offered by Princess. It was expensive but an excursion we’ll always remember. Venice is a quaint, charming, and picturesque city but a city that dumps its sewage directly into its main attraction.
Muster drill was held the following morning at 845am and the ship set sail shortly. The departure from Venice was spectacular.
The weather the next two days was windy and overcast and would be that way most of the cruise. It was quite cold in Florence.
We took Princess shore excursions in every port. Six of them were all day tours that included a lunch. We enjoyed all of them. Our tour guides were excellent and the food was good. Most of the tours required quite a bit of walking. A couple of the tours were late returning due to traffic so it was comforting to know the ship would be waiting on us. Several times we had to wait for people that showed up late from “on your own time”. During several tours people just disappeared and were left. I don’t know how they found their way back to the ship. The most irritating episode was at the completion of our Rome tour. The missing persons were crew members. We must have waited 30 minutes waiting for approval to depart without them. When we returned to the ship, the two were already in line and laughing. They had taken another tour bus instead.
Wendi and the entire shore excursion staff were very helpful.
Jet lag and long excursions made this a tiring rather than relaxing cruise. Several of our excursions met as early as 645am in the Princess Theater. 7am to 730am was average. As tiring as it was, it was a very satisfying experience.
We really liked Dan Styne, the Cruise Director, and his staff. They were very personable and entertaining. All the production shows were great and well attended. Shows were scheduled for 7, 8, and 9pm meaning those of us with late seating could go to the 7pm show. This helped tremendously considered that some excursions met in the Princess Theater at 645am. There was plenty of musical entertainment throughout the ship in the evenings. The entertainment was the best we have seen on a ship in some time.
We had dinner in the Botticelli Dining Room – late seating. Our waiters were Art and Bryan and they were very good. We thought the food was very good although sometimes we had difficulty finding something interesting on the menu. There were several evenings I almost opted for the “always available” hamburger.
We requested a table for four but were seated at a table for six. We dined by ourselves during 10 of 12 nights. There were numerous vacant tables and couples dining by themselves at large tables.
We ordered room service four or five times for breakfast on early tour days. The first time it was 20 minutes late – outside the 30 minute delivery window. Three other times it was early – only once did it arrive within the 30 minute delivery window.
Breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court was chaotic. The Horizon Court on the Ruby seems to be approximately the same size as on smaller ships such as the Grand and Golden and always seemed crowded during breakfast and lunch. The routine was . . . look for a table and if you are lucky enough to find one it normally needs clearing and cleaning so you have to find someone to clean it; then have one person save the table while the other goes through the line and then look for someone to serve you drinks.
The week before the cruise, I dined at a restaurant in Iola, Kansas and its salad bar was comparable to what I saw in the Horizon Court. Princess’s salad bar offerings have declined greatly over the last 10 years.
I am thinking that a cruise ship should be able to run a buffet as effectively as say - the Golden Corral.
We filled out the forms for Future Cruise Credit – ordering two for each of us and left them at the office. Several days later we received our letters and noticed we had only been sold one each. We went back and talked with the Future Cruise representative and she told us she would take care of it. She didn’t take care of it. This is the first time I’ve been on a cruise ship and they didn’t want my money.
Princess Air scheduled our departing flight from Barcelona at 955am. I had concerns but they assured me it would be no problem. We were told to meet at 6am on debarkation morning. The Horizon court was open for full breakfast at 5am but only one person was there serving drinks. Princess needs to rethink how we get our drinks at the buffet. Thankfully, there were plenty of juices available in the VIP lounge that morning. We were off the ship by 610am and at the airport by 650am. There were no customs or immigration checks at Barcelona and no problem making that early flight.
We used the Princess transfers at Barcelona. The European porters do a very professional and efficient job of handling baggage. At Venice, they picked our luggage up in the airport lobby and they delivered it to the airport lobby at Barcelona.
Aside from our issues with the Horizon Court, we really enjoyed this cruise.
We have reservations on the Ruby for a 12 day British Isle cruise in 2014. However, the price is nearly double what we paid for this cruise and we aren’t certain it makes sense to pay that much for a port intensive cruise.
Our next cruise is on the Carnival Legend out of Tampa on January 5th.
 
jsmac3’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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