Cruised on the Ruby Princess and loved it: Ruby Princess Cruise Review by neella

Ruby Princess 5
Member Since 2011

Overall Member Rating

Cruised on the Ruby Princess and loved it

Sail Date: May 2011
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
My wife and I cruised from Barcelona to Venice on the Ruby Princess in May, 2011 and just loved it. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise before and did not think it would be something we would enjoy mainly because we had heard about all the food that is available 24 hour a day. We also imagined that your ship is sailing all the time and there would be nothing else to do. We were wrong! Another couple finally talked us into taking a cruise in September, 2010 with them but after flying to Venice and boarding the Ruby Princess, we had a death in the family and had to return home. We did not get to sail but we were glad we took out cruise insurance. We did arrive in Venice a day before checking in to board the ship and got to see St. Mark's Square, the Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Basilica, Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge. We stayed overnight at the Westin Europa & Regina Hotel in Venice which we fell in love with. It's only a quarter mile from St. Mark's Square and we enjoyed a More great breakfast at their outside restaurant right on the Grand Canal.

We finally got to take our cruise this year but without our friends. We chose the "any time" dining and we met some wonder people each time we ate. Usually all the table were taken but if there were two seats open at a table, the other passengers were happy to let others join them. We met other passengers when we took the excursions and everyone was happy to exchange cameras so that couples could be in pictures together.

A few tips I would pass on to anyone taking a cruise are first to really consider taking out cruise insurance when you book your trip. It may cost a couple of hundred dollars more but it is worth it. Next, plan your itinerary so you know how much time you have in each port, what you most want to see in that time and read up on the different ports and attractions. I was able to find and tape shows on television about each port we were visiting by some travel advisers like Rick Steves, Rudy Maxa and Samantha Brown. Lastly, plan an extra day at the beginning and end of your trip. If flight delays occur, you will still be on time to the ship and catching your flight home after your cruise. Less

Published 08/10/11

Cabin review: BDB431 Balcony

Cabin was a little tight when two people are walking around at the same time. The balcony was great to have. Closet space was adequate for the amount of clothes we brought. Cabin location was on the port side in the center of the ship right next to the elevators which was very convenient. The washroom was a little tight.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Athens was interesting but also disappointing with all the graffiti everywhere plus we were there when Greece was going though their economic problems. We took a bus tour of Athens, getting off to see the Parthenon, the Olympic Stadium and other sites.

We arrived in Barcelona a day before boarding and had a prearrange for a limo to meet us at the airport to take us to the Hotel 1898 right on the Ramblas, the main drag in Barcelona. If we ever return to Barcelona, we will definitely stay at the Hotel 1898 again. It had nice rooms and restaurants, roof-top pools and bar. Just do a web search of Hotel 1898 and you can see for yourself. All of this, the cruise, flights, limo to our hotel and the hotel was arranged through the travel agent. I bought maps and tour books for Barcelona and Venice and had made my own itinerary of what to see in the time we had in each port we were visiting which is important because you can't see everything.

In Barcelona, we bought a 2 day Tourist Bus pass and got to see the main attractions, the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell to name a few. We wish we had another day there. We had to try a famous sandwich at the Cafe Viena which was only a block from our hotel. A writer for the New York Times had said it was the best sandwich he had ever eaten and it was great. It was fun to visit the Ramblas at night and eat at a tapas bar.

Read 1750 Barcelona Reviews

In Naples, we took the Capri excursion which was really nice and quite an experience. We had to sample some of the Limoncello (not Lemoncello) there. Capri is probably one of the prettiest cities to visit on our cruise. The motor-ride to the top of Anacapri was like an amusement park ride, up and up and up the side of a mountain with two lane traffic on a one lane road.

Then in Mykonos, Greece, we decided to do a self tour. Right next to the ship, local buses took the ship passengers from port into town. It was nice just to stroll though the city, go in and out of the shops and try some ouzo. We had a nice gyro lunch before taking a bus back to the Ruby Princess. Mykonos is a pretty island and town with all of its homes and building painted white.

Read 41 Capri Reviews

In Livorno, we took the "Florence and Pisa on your Own" tour. I had purchased tickets before leaving home to get into Accademia Gallery to see the original statue of David and the Uffizi Museum and Gallery in Florence. It was a good thing because the lines were long and we were able to walk right in. We also enjoyed a nice lunch with wine at an outdoor cafe near the Uffizi Gallery. On the way to Florence our tour guide asked us what we had planned to do in Florence and I told her that we planned to visit the two galleries. She wished us luck because she knew about the long lines to get in. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was a must see but that's about it in Pisa.

In Istanbul, we took a city drive excursion figuring we would be tired of walking after our previous excursions. We got to see St. Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and cross the bridge linking Europe and Asia. Our tour guide took us to a carpet store to show how carpets are made there and then they try to sell everyone carpets to ship back home. We then visited the Grand Bazaar on our own.

Our next port was Kusadasi, Turkey. We figured there wouldn't be that much to see so we didn't plan an excursion. We thought we would just walk around the port and shop. At the last minute we changed our minds and decided to take the tour of Ephesus and the Shrine of the Virgin Mary. To walk the streets of a city dating back to the times of Christ is quite an experience. It turned out to be one of the best excursions of our cruise. This is a must do tour!

Read 403 Istanbul Reviews

In Monaco, we took an excursion an got to see old Monaco, St. Nicholas Cathedral and the Royal Palace. We left the tour group and took a bus to the Monte Carlo Casino which opens at 2pm and you must show your passport to get in. It was great to venture off on our own for a while. We then took a local bus back near the port and walked to the ship.

In Rome, we got to see the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica and the Coliseum which were all amazing as were the ruins of old Rome. We were awed at the structures that the Romans were able to build way back in time when they invented concrete and how they actually built machines to lift concrete blocks up fourteen stories in erecting the coliseum and other structures. To see parts of the aqueducts that brought fresh water over 25 miles to Rome still standing reminded us of how and why there was a Great Roman Empire.

It seemed that all of the excursions we took so far involved a lot of walking to get to and from the tour buses.

We were at sea all the next day but before arriving in Venice, a cook jumped overboard during the night and the ship had to turn around to try to rescue him. They did locate and save him but the Ruby Princess pulled into the port in Venice about 2 hours late which made all the excursions late. Since we had seen Venice in 2010, we decide to see a glass factory on Marano and visit Burano Island which we enjoyed.
Read 1149 Venice Reviews

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