We arrived at Heathrow at 7:30am the day prior to the cruise and walked to the National Express Station to take the bus to Southampton. Having not reserved our seat ahead of time because we were not sure of time of arrival, we purchased our tickets at the station. The price was 3 times the price for our return ride from Southampton to London.(which we had booked online.) Therefore, if you can, book online for much better price.
Arrived in Southampton and had booked a room at the Dolphin Mercure Hotel. What a lovely boutique hotel. Check it out, and the rate was very reasonable.
This review describes our amazing cruise to the British Isles on the Ruby Princess on May 23-June 4th. We arrived at the Southampton port at 11:00AM and were at the Horizon Court buffet for lunch at 12 noon. A very smooth boarding process. All Princess staff was very welcoming, warm and polite. Shortly after, our rooms were ready. A painless drill took place a little later and then off we went toward Le Havre France.
Staff: The staff on this cruise ship is second to none. Everyone on board was extremely polite and helpful. They couldn’t do enough for the guests. They made our cruise a memorable experience.
Ship: This ship is huge and beautiful, breathtaking… It is super clean (staff cleaning all the time). Easy layout to understand. Beautiful pools, hot tubs, lots of lounges etc….
Stateroom: We liked our balcony stateroom. We had booked a Guaranteed stateroom and were assigned our room upon boarding. Yeah…. Way up on the Lido. The room did not have a sofa, just a chair but we made due. The bathroom was small but we managed well. The shower has two dispensers: one soap and one shampoo/conditioner. (Ladies, bring your own conditioner.) The hair dryer is in the drawer in the desk. The closet was spacious and open- easier to
maneouver. The bed and pillows were very comfortable-GREAT! Nice balcony! The room was tended twice every day with the ship’s Patter -newsletter and chocolates in the evening.
Food: The food on this cruise was simply delicious, from the buffet area to the formal dining room menu. We cannot fault anything with regards to the food. We must mention our waiting pair who took excellent care of us the entire time: Valeria and Ronnie (table 219) made our dining experience amazing with their competence, sense of humour and smile every evening. Kudos to them. The onion soup and the souffles are super delicious. In the Horizon Buffet, there were always tables available as the staff cleaned away very quickly and were always ready to serve us juice or coffee. Also there was food available till very late. Something for everyone.
Entertainment: This ship knows how to hire great entertainers. The orchestra was amazingly talented. The singers and dancers performed magically. Every musical venue on board was very good. (I know because I’m a music major) Outstanding: Thalia String Quartet.
The cruise director Martyn did a great job at entertaining us and informing us as needed. Just the right amount of english humour.
The crowd was of mature age mostly and quite polite on the whole. There were a few younger couples.
Ports: (We opted to visit on our own at most ports.)
Le Havre: Shuttle to downtown 16$ return.This city is rebuilt from WWII. A good blend of new concrete and whatever is left of old architecture. Easy to walk around. Beautiful church at the end of town. It rained today..
Edinburgh, Scotland: tendered port. A dock shuttle to downtown. It rained a lot today. Edinburgh Castle is beautiful indeed and grand. Super long line to get in.Worthwhile to book online to avoid queues. We walked to Royal Mile down from the castle. Very pleasant, like going back in time.
Invergordon: walked around town. Locals are very warm and welcoming.
Liverpool: Oh how we enjoyed this beautiful city. Visited the Liverpool Museum.Took a Magical Mystery Tour (33 Euros) from the dock area. Saw the home of the Beatles, the Cavern, and much of the city. We walked around the downtown some more before boarding. Great day, it was sunny. There were fireworks on the rivers just before the ship sailed. Thank you Liverpool. Belfast: Wonderful and beautiful sunny day. Free shuttles to town provided by the city. Took the Hop/On Hop/Off bus and toured the entire city. A great blend of old and new architecture and the the stops, The Titanic Museum, the Belfast Castle and the Murals.
Dublin: Very nice city easy to walk. We took the ship shuttle to center city and took HOHO bus. There were a few taxi at port entrance. Many historical building, Trinity College, Guiness, it was sunny, we were so fortunate for the good weather.
Greenock: We opted to stay in port and visit Greenock. At the pier terminal, we signed up for a 2 hr free tour of Greenock and its surroundings. A very pleasant morning. Afternoon by the pool. Locals are so friendly and welcoming. A beautiful coastal town.
Cork: free shuttle to city center. Went to tourist Info and were given a detailed map of city attractions. We walked for hours- enjoying this very pretty city- civic bank holiday and a local marathon-seemed like the entire city was attended. Sunshine!! Really enjoyed this port city of many bridges.
Guernsey: My husband visited this port as I was under the weather. He really enjoyed this port. The town was lovely, colorful, by the water- shops and restaurant. Lots of old charm.
*The only annoying thing on this cruise is the constant sale of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Please stop trying to sell this every day at breakfast. It makes us feel like the juice that is served is below par quality. Why not just include this better juice in the menu. It would make everyone happy.
This was a marvelous cruise! We must commend Princess for providing very good service and quality food and entertainment. But, for us, the staff made the cruise extra enjoyable. Thank you all.
Stateroom: We liked our balcony stateroom. We had booked a Guaranteed stateroom and were assigned our room upon boarding. Yeah…. Way up on the Lido. The room did not have a sofa, just a chair but we made due. The bathroom was small but we managed well. The shower has two dispensers: one soap and one shampoo/conditioner. (Ladies, bring your own conditioner.) The hair dryer is in the drawer in the desk. The closet was spacious and open- easier to maneouver. The bed and pillows were very comfortable-GREAT! Nice balcony! The room was tended twice every day with the ship’s Patter -newsletter and chocolates in the evening.