Grand Mediterranean....and it was!: Ruby Princess Cruise Review by Kennykat

Ruby Princess 5
Member Since 2008
1,611 Forum Posts

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Grand Mediterranean....and it was!

Sail Date: May 2010
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
We are platinum Captain's Circle members on Princess which provided a couple of nice perks (250 internet minutes-didn't use them all) some of which we used some we didn't need, such as embarkation lounge.

We spent 3 days pre-cruise in Rome, 2 days in Venice and 3 days post-cruise in Barcelona (should have made that 4 or 5).

EMBARKATION: Couldn't have been easier. Checked out of our hotel (Westin Europa-Regina at Per San Marco...beautiful!) at 3:00 PM and walked on board. We were in our room within 5 minutes of getting to the ship. TIP: Arriving later is almost always better. Let the early birds stand in line.

DISEMBARKATION: Walked off the ship with our bags caught a cab and were at our hotel (Le Meridian on La Rambla...another beautiful place) in 15 minutes. Do NOT believe Princess about long cab waits. They just want to scare you into purchasing their over priced shuttle to town. Our cab was a quarter the cost.

SHIP: Beautiful as a new ship More should be. Never seemed crowded although it was sold out.

ROOM: Originally had a balcony on Riviera deck, but were able to upgrade to a mini suite for $99. Great deal for a great room on Dolphin deck. Will probably book Mini's from now on. The room had a full tub in the bathroom which is a huge bonus, 2- 36 inch flat screen TV's and a nice sized living room and balcony. I can't see 2 people needing anything larger...sometimes more is just more. The location toward the stern (rear) was perfect. Close to the self serve laundry and just far enough away from the elevators. Our room steward, Marlon was perfect. I appreciated having ESPN2 to keep me company, although I did miss the re-runs of Get Smart, Gilligan's Island, A Team etc from previous cruises, but maybe that's just me...yeah probably is. All in all, there were no negatives.

DINING: We had anytime for the first time and it worked out just fine...lots of options and we actually ended up eating less than usual as we only went to the dining room twice the whole cruise. We were able to get into the Chef's table one night and it was fabulous! Worth every penny of the $75 cover charge. Sabatini's Well worth the $20 cover. Crowne Grill was OK, but I doubt I'll do it again. The unexpected jewel for me was Vines on deck 5. Good wine at decent prices, but it's the food that makes it special. The sushi was fresh, cold and delicious, the tapas were very good as were the cheeses. My favorite was the sea bass ceviche...some of the best I've ever had anywhere and I've been a fan for 30 years. We ended up eating dinner there more than any other venue. The chefs and waiters were personable and very competent. Horizon and Caribe are good, standard buffets...'nuf said. Trident grill and Pizza. Excellent hot dogs and pizza, but why oh why do they have to turn the hamburger patties into tasteless, dry hockey pucks? All in all, if you can't find anything to like on this ship, it's your problem!

A special shout out to room service: It was prompt and very good. I ordered the black bean chili con carne the first night and it was some of the best I have ever had anywhere. If you like chili, try it.

ITINERARY: Terrific, even with missing Athens (OK by me as we have been there, but I'm sure many were looking forward to this stop). The extra day in Venice was a nice bonus. This cruise really did give the best of the region. If you have been to Ephesus before, go again. They have uncovered some amazing new relics in the last few years that are a must see.

TIPS: 1. Go on the boards on this site and arrange private tours for small groups (8 to 10). You will have a much better experience at a lower price, avoid some of the crowds and see more. We also met lots of wonderful people!

2. Use the public transportation at the ports to get where you're going if you're not on an organized tour. It's not hard and very inexpensive. These are "walking" cities. Use the metro subway in Rome. It's no different than the ones in the US or anywhere else-cheap, easy and FAST (traffic in these cities is a bitch! avoid if possible.) If you go to Sorrento via van or bus, take the ferry back to the ship, as it's fast, cheap and drops you off right next to the ships. You will also get a great view of the area.

3. I found the port areas to be much more attractive and interesting than the ship led me to believe. They all had open air markets, and a number of good little out door places to get a beer, snack or a gelato.


1. Internet: The main complaint is that it is slow...Yep, it's via satellite and can be slow if you try to down load or transmit large files like pictures or videos. I had no problem with basic emails or web searches.

2. Launder mats: On every deck. Bring a roll of quarters with you. Washer and dryers each take $1.50 as well as the detergent. A great value which allows you to pack lighter. Less

Published 06/05/10

Cabin review: MSD630

We were able to upgrade to a mini suite from a balcony for $99. We're converts. The room was of good size with a very comfortable bed and an good sized living room with a sofa, desk, table and chairs. Balcony was just fine, although it was open to all viewers from above...sorry about the times I was out there in my boxers. The full tub in the bathroom was a huge bonus. PLENTY of storage. 2- 36 inch flat screen TV's. I appreciated the ESPN2 channel, but I have to admit, I did miss the Get Smart, Gilligan's Island, A Team etc re-runs from past cruises. This is the way to cruise. I can't imagine needing anything larger as there were just 2 of us. Our room steward, Marlon was terrific, as was the daily delivery of fruit and juice for breakfast promptly at 7:00 AM each day. There were no negatives.

Port and Shore Excursions

Great city to do on your own. Use the tram to get to all the locations. Easy, easy,easy. You will see the Blue Mosque, St Sophia, the palace and by all means don't miss the underground cistern which is incredible (Think James Bond, From Russia with Love). Lots of places to hang out on the downtown pier and in the Grand Bazaar.

Read 403 Istanbul Reviews

This is all about Ephesus. A must see. Also a good place to bring on your bottle of Gin (me) or what ever, as the duty free shop is inside the terminal and the security check for the ship is in front of it...Sweet.

Read 614 Kusadasi Reviews

Do this on your own! The tours are a waste of money. This is very pretty, small city that is perfect to explore on your own and get lost much like in Venice.

Read 840 Mykonos Reviews

Arrange a small tour with 8 to 10 people in a van which will take you to Pompei (an absolute must see) Sorrento, The Amalfi Coast, Postano. Take the ferry back to the ship. It's a very scenic trip across the bay, cheap and fast. It will take 2 hours by van vs 30 minutes by ferry. This is a great stop.

Read 1173 Naples Reviews

We had already been in Rome, so we stayed local and enjoyed the country side and Civitavecchia and its open air market and sidewalk cafes. If you're going into Rome, take the train as it's a short walk to the station and will drop you off in the center of Rome in half the time and a fraction of the price for a shuttle. Once in Rome use the metro to get to the places you want to visit quickly and cheaply. The maps in the terminals and stops are clear and easy to understand. This is another walking city. You will find tour guides at all locations if you want one. I would highly recommend doing a pre-cruise stay in Rome as there is much to see and do. Stay in the downtown area. We were outside the city and wish we were in the city...nothing going on outside the city.

LIVORNO: Arrange a small group tour for Pisa and Florence. Excellent stop. The leaning tower and Michelangelo's David are must sees.

MONTE CARLO: Arrange a small tour of the area, or just walk around the local area and people watch. A beautiful port with the ship docked right at the marina.

BARCELONA: Plan to spend at Least 2 extra days here (4 would be better) as there is so much to do and see. Think Picasso, Dali, Miro, Gaudi, Guell Park, Las Ramblas etc. This may be my all time favorite city...seriously!

A great place to get lost in and oh will you get lost (and have fun doing it). This is the ultimate walking city as there ZERO cars of any kind. Lots of sights, eats, drinks, slurps. Just a great place to hang out with about a million of your closest strangers.

Read 1149 Venice Reviews

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