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I have mixed feelings about this cruise. We booked it because of the all the great ports and the slamming airfare deal that Princess Air gave us. But, a month or so before the cruise, we are informed that we now have a five (5) hour layover in Germany. Princess Easy Air had us walking across the tarmac 5 different times and FAR away from our next connecting flights. In this case, Princess Easy Air was NOT EASY and we probably won't be booking anything other than a direct flight with Princess Air again. We arrived in Venice the evening before the cruise and took the airport bus to Piazza Roma. We stayed at the Hotel Arlecchino. It is perfectly located near Piazza Roma and the People Mover that takes you to the cruise ships . We booked and got a corner room with a double canal view. Very nice hotel, full of Venetian charm! . This hotel was clean, affordable and the staff was VERY helpful and welcoming. The rooms here are small but cozy and the included breakfast was good. We would definitely stay here again. Embarkation was a breeze, as usual, this is something that Princess has down to a fine art. We were checked in and dropping our bags off in our cabin in about 15 minutes. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and is in great shape. The crew works hard to keep her clean and shiny! The crew on this ship was great. Everyone we came in contact with was very friendly and welcoming. I have to say, that this may be the best cruise for "service with a smile" that we have ever had. And the entertainment was absolutely the best ever! Now onto the downright BAD. The food on this cruise was terrible. We ate in the Crown Grill four (4) times trying to avoid the dining rooms. The food in the Horizon Court was even worse than the dining room. We ate onshore or ate hot dogs and pizza most of the time. We weren't trying to sneak booze back onboard with us, we were bringing back food! I filled out our Princess feedback surveys and complained about the food. I think they've taken the cutbacks too far in this area. I was searching the menu each night for the entree that I thought sounded the least offensive. If we had been in a regular restaurant, I would have walked out without ordering. Ox -tails and floppy potatoes??? Have you ever seen them on a menu (anywhere) before? I don’t think I’m a food snob and I understand that food is a very subjective area… but they took the NY Strip off of the “anytime” menu and replaced it with a hamburger. A hamburger for dinner and you still want me to change out of my blue jeans before I come to the dining room? Hamburgers are for lunch and I don’t have any clue when Ox-tails and floppy potatoes are for. The bar has been lowered. Ok, enough of my food rant. We attended the Cruise Critic meeting and met all the wonderful people we had been writing to online. It’s so much fun, finally putting a face to the name! We also attended a wedding on board. Well, not really a wedding, they were already married. It was a recommitment of their vows. The Captain “re-married” them in a very nice ceremony. Had a good time, glad I went. PORTS: This was our 2nd and/or 3rd time to these ports, so we didn't really do the big touristy stuff this time around. Venice was amazing as usual. We explored away from the tourist areas and found ourselves walking through the parks with the locals on a Sunday afternoon. Great day! In Athens, we joined other CC members for a tour to the Corinth Canal and Ancient Corinth. We also stopped in Athens at the Parthenon and the Olympic Stadium. We ended the day with an amazing view of the Acropolis and Parthenon at sunset, seen from another hill in Athens. Istanbul and the Grand Bazaar were awesome! I bought some very nice pashmina scarves (at least they are tagged pashmina) and think I got a pretty good deal. If you don't like to haggle on prices, just walk the bazaar, don't shop it. The scarf price started out at 20 Euros each. I ended up paying $7.50 American. I bought a couple pair of silver earrings, a nice Turkish tile to frame and a couple of woven tote bags and make-up bags. So many neat shops to browse! We got to go up to the 2nd level of the Bazaar and see where they filmed the latest James Bond movie scenes. Pretty neat. Istanbul is a very cosmopolitan city, don't worry about wandering around by yourself. Take a good map and hop the tram to see an amazing city. Naples was a great day. We took the tram to the train, to get to Herculaneum. Herculaneum is amazing, smaller, but much more complete than Pompeii. Then, we took the train back in to the subway stop. We took the subway to the Naples Archaeological Museum. This really is a top museum, but, I was a little miffed that so many of their ancient mosaics were currently on loan to other museums. Mykonos was just a wander around the city day. It was too cold to eat a gelato on the beach, so we just searched the back streets for Petros. When we found him, he boldly posed for us. What a ham, he loves the attention! In Rome, we set up a tour with other CC members to see some of the "different" tourist areas in the city. We traveled the Appian Way to the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, went to the Castel Sant Angelo, saw the Pantheon, got some great view of the forum and other monuments. But, the most unusual thing we did was to visit the Church of the Immaculate Conception where the bones of 4000 Capuchin Monks are decoratively arranged on the walls and ceilings. Honestly, this place is jaw dropping! Florence was cold…very cold. (This is the chance you take traveling in November) So, I had to buy a pair of gloves…Italian leather with cashmere lining, naturally. :) We visited Santa Croce Basilica and there was a huge Christmas market in the square in front of the church. Countries from all over Europe were represented in the market. They were selling hot mulled wine and it made the weather seem much more bearable. We had a great day wandering the streets of Venice. Barcelona and the end of the cruise. We stayed 2 nights here before we flew home. This has become one of my favorite cities. We wandered around and soaked up all the Christmas displays, street musicians and holiday markets set up in the squares. We learned the "interesting" customs of this area of Spain. The Caganer or “the crapper” was a hot item and was sold everywhere...as was the Tió de Nadal, or pooping log. Who knew? Google these two items, it’s hysterical! All the weird Christmas customs aside. The city was lit and fully decorated for Christmas and we walked it day and night, stopping in for Tapas and wine all along the way. La Boqueria was about a block from our hotel and we literally ate our way through this massive food market, not once, not twice, but three times! We had the best food of the whole trip here. I’d like to spend more time in Spain and explore some of the smaller cities and towns. There you have it, great ports, great ship, great crew…terrible food.  

Mixed Feelings.

Ruby Princess Cruise Review by artsy-girl

Trip Details
I have mixed feelings about this cruise. We booked it because of the all the great ports and the slamming airfare deal that Princess Air gave us. But, a month or so before the cruise, we are informed that we now have a five (5) hour layover in Germany. Princess Easy Air had us walking across the tarmac 5 different times and FAR away from our next connecting flights. In this case, Princess Easy Air was NOT EASY and we probably won't be booking anything other than a direct flight with Princess Air again.
We arrived in Venice the evening before the cruise and took the airport bus to Piazza Roma. We stayed at the Hotel Arlecchino. It is perfectly located near Piazza Roma and the People Mover that takes you to the cruise ships . We booked and got a corner room with a double canal view. Very nice hotel, full of Venetian charm! . This hotel was clean, affordable and the staff was VERY helpful and welcoming. The rooms here are small but cozy and the included breakfast was good. We would definitely stay here again.
Embarkation was a breeze, as usual, this is something that Princess has down to a fine art. We were checked in and dropping our bags off in our cabin in about 15 minutes. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and is in great shape. The crew works hard to keep her clean and shiny! The crew on this ship was great. Everyone we came in contact with was very friendly and welcoming. I have to say, that this may be the best cruise for "service with a smile" that we have ever had. And the entertainment was absolutely the best ever!
Now onto the downright BAD. The food on this cruise was terrible. We ate in the Crown Grill four (4) times trying to avoid the dining rooms. The food in the Horizon Court was even worse than the dining room. We ate onshore or ate hot dogs and pizza most of the time. We weren't trying to sneak booze back onboard with us, we were bringing back food! I filled out our Princess feedback surveys and complained about the food. I think they've taken the cutbacks too far in this area. I was searching the menu each night for the entree that I thought sounded the least offensive. If we had been in a regular restaurant, I would have walked out without ordering. Ox -tails and floppy potatoes??? Have you ever seen them on a menu (anywhere) before? I don’t think I’m a food snob and I understand that food is a very subjective area… but they took the NY Strip off of the “anytime” menu and replaced it with a hamburger. A hamburger for dinner and you still want me to change out of my blue jeans before I come to the dining room? Hamburgers are for lunch and I don’t have any clue when Ox-tails and floppy potatoes are for. The bar has been lowered. Ok, enough of my food rant.
We attended the Cruise Critic meeting and met all the wonderful people we had been writing to online. It’s so much fun, finally putting a face to the name! We also attended a wedding on board. Well, not really a wedding, they were already married. It was a recommitment of their vows. The Captain “re-married” them in a very nice ceremony. Had a good time, glad I went.
PORTS:
This was our 2nd and/or 3rd time to these ports, so we didn't really do the big touristy stuff this time around.
Venice was amazing as usual. We explored away from the tourist areas and found ourselves walking through the parks with the locals on a Sunday afternoon. Great day!
In Athens, we joined other CC members for a tour to the Corinth Canal and Ancient Corinth. We also stopped in Athens at the Parthenon and the Olympic Stadium. We ended the day with an amazing view of the Acropolis and Parthenon at sunset, seen from another hill in Athens.
Istanbul and the Grand Bazaar were awesome! I bought some very nice pashmina scarves (at least they are tagged pashmina) and think I got a pretty good deal. If you don't like to haggle on prices, just walk the bazaar, don't shop it. The scarf price started out at 20 Euros each. I ended up paying $7.50 American. I bought a couple pair of silver earrings, a nice Turkish tile to frame and a couple of woven tote bags and make-up bags. So many neat shops to browse! We got to go up to the 2nd level of the Bazaar and see where they filmed the latest James Bond movie scenes. Pretty neat. Istanbul is a very cosmopolitan city, don't worry about wandering around by yourself. Take a good map and hop the tram to see an amazing city.
Naples was a great day. We took the tram to the train, to get to Herculaneum. Herculaneum is amazing, smaller, but much more complete than Pompeii. Then, we took the train back in to the subway stop. We took the subway to the Naples Archaeological Museum. This really is a top museum, but, I was a little miffed that so many of their ancient mosaics were currently on loan to other museums.
Mykonos was just a wander around the city day. It was too cold to eat a gelato on the beach, so we just searched the back streets for Petros. When we found him, he boldly posed for us. What a ham, he loves the attention!
In Rome, we set up a tour with other CC members to see some of the "different" tourist areas in the city. We traveled the Appian Way to the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, went to the Castel Sant Angelo, saw the Pantheon, got some great view of the forum and other monuments. But, the most unusual thing we did was to visit the Church of the Immaculate Conception where the bones of 4000 Capuchin Monks are decoratively arranged on the walls and ceilings. Honestly, this place is jaw dropping!
Florence was cold…very cold. (This is the chance you take traveling in November) So, I had to buy a pair of gloves…Italian leather with cashmere lining, naturally. :) We visited Santa Croce Basilica and there was a huge Christmas market in the square in front of the church. Countries from all over Europe were represented in the market. They were selling hot mulled wine and it made the weather seem much more bearable. We had a great day wandering the streets of Venice.
Barcelona and the end of the cruise. We stayed 2 nights here before we flew home. This has become one of my favorite cities. We wandered around and soaked up all the Christmas displays, street musicians and holiday markets set up in the squares. We learned the "interesting" customs of this area of Spain. The Caganer or “the crapper” was a hot item and was sold everywhere...as was the Tió de Nadal, or pooping log. Who knew? Google these two items, it’s hysterical! All the weird Christmas customs aside. The city was lit and fully decorated for Christmas and we walked it day and night, stopping in for Tapas and wine all along the way. La Boqueria was about a block from our hotel and we literally ate our way through this massive food market, not once, not twice, but three times! We had the best food of the whole trip here. I’d like to spend more time in Spain and explore some of the smaller cities and towns.
There you have it, great ports, great ship, great crew…terrible food.
 
artsy-girl’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin L242
L242 turned out to be a great cabin choice! Especially on the beautiful sail away out of Venice. Location was perfect to just run down the hall and grab a burger or slice of pizza too.
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