1 Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Mediterranean

This was our first cruise ever as we had previously thought that we might feel bored or claustrophobic being on a ship for an extended period of time. We viewed a cruise ship as like a large hotel and no matter how nice the hotel is, we ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever as we had previously thought that we might feel bored or claustrophobic being on a ship for an extended period of time. We viewed a cruise ship as like a large hotel and no matter how nice the hotel is, we could not imagine staying there for 12 days. Also, we had traveled overnight on large ferries in the past and found them to be crowded, loud, smelly, unstable in bad weather, and with very limited and poor food. Despite this poor attitude at the start, we must admit that we were wrong. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and would recommend it to anyone. Here are a few of the highlights that we particularly liked. The ship, Ruby Princess, is beautiful and huge with a large variety of onboard amenities to dispel any feelings of boredom or claustrophobia. She's fairly new, beautifully designed and appointed, and well maintained. We were particularly impressed with the grand 3-deck central atrium in which there were many seemingly impromptu performances including piano, strings, ballroom dancing, etc. The grand theatre in which there were several performances every night was also impressive. the beautiful 3 pools (we particularly liked the smaller but quieter aft pool), Other beautiful physical amenities which we noted but personally did not find any use for include the numerous (5?) bars, a casino, several shops, a huge spa, and gym. Moving throughout the ship was fairly easy after you became familiar with the general layout. There are several banks of beautiful elevators making short wait times except during rush periods such as following a performance in the theatre. Also, you can often find a quicker alternative route by taking a corridor or stairway to a different elevator. Also, although we did not encounter any bad weather, we found the ship to be very comfortable. There was no instability, engine noise or vibration, and no noise in our cabin from the corridor or from activities above or below us. We had an "ocean view" cabin. It was rather small, with just barely enough room on either side of the bed to move, a small table at the end with small bar fridge and tv, a small bathroom with shower, and a small closet with a combination safe. Although we found the ocean view cabin to be small, it was sufficient for the small amount of time we spent in it, and for us, the extra $500 or more cost of a balcony room wasn't worth it. As another passenger we met at the aft pool noted, "who needs a balcony in your room when you have a much better view from here". And, this guy was speaking from experience. This was his 7th time on this cruise! If you happen to read this Ian (from the Baileywick of Jersey), thanks for the great advice. I think next time we may go for an interior cabin as well, although it was nice to take a quick glance out our window now and then. The crew are marvellous. Most of them are truly beautiful people. At first their attention to our comfort seemed a bit "over-the-top" until we realized they actually meant it. You could see the sincerity in their eyes. We particularly liked our steward and the numerous waiters and bartenders. They seemed to come from all parts of the world including the Philippines, eastern Europe (Albania, Croatia, etc), South America, and Mexico. The senior crew members were also great. Often we would see them around the ship and found them all very approachable and generous with their advice. We particularly noted the Commodore, Captain, and Entertainment Director ? (Dan Stein) as being very nice. Princess seems to have done an excellent job scouring the world to find the very best employees for its ships. The food was great in terms of quality, quantity, and variety. Ruby has 2 large main sit-down full-service dining halls, one main self-serve cafeteria-style dining room (Horizon Court), 2 specialty restaurants (extra charge of $50? pp), and numerous small bars near the pools which served excellent burgers, fries, pizza, etc. The dining rooms are available for every meal and you can choose either to reserve your time and table, which is nice if you are travelling with a larger group of family or friends, or "anytime dining", for which you might have a short wait at the door before being seated at any table and with any other passengers. We chose the latter option and quite honestly enjoyed the company of the other passengers from all parts of the world (US, Canada, Australia, UK). Except for 2 "formal" nights, at which I recommend that men bring a suit and tie, dress in the dining rooms is "smart casual". You won't be turned away if you are under-dressed, but I think you will feel a little uncomfortable. We tended to go to the dining rooms for supper, but preferred a more-relaxed atmosphere in the Horizon Court for breakfast and lunch, or just grabbed some fast food at a pool bar. Except for the specialty restaurants, the cost of all food is included in the cost of your ticket. Unbottled water, milk, tea and coffee are also free. All alcoholic drinks, pop, bottled water, and specialty coffees cost extra and a service charge of 15%? is added to your tab. Finally and perhaps most importantly, all the ports-of-call on this trip were absolutely marvellous and we thoroughly enjoyed several of the tours that we booked. On that subject, we saved at least 50% by booking a tour with our fellow passengers on Cruise critic (CC). We particularly enjoyed Santorini which we did on our own. We started by taking one of the tour boats (35? E pp) at the main dock to the nearby town of Oia where we walked around on our own and grabbed a bus (included in the tour fare) back to the main town later. Oia is breathtaking, post-card perfect, a must-see. On the way back to our ship we took the cable car down to the dock. By all accounts that we heard, the donkey ride is only for the more adventuresome (slow, hot, uncomfortable, smelly - lots of poop). I could go on and on about the ports-of call, but feel it would take too long, so let me summarize. Rome- we were there several times before so we skipped it this time, but it is a must see, recommend 3 days, Rome airport is a long way from the port in Civatavecchia (1 hour by Rome Taxi for 75? E), can do for cheaper by train but not worth the saving - can take 2-3 hours, must make at least 1 transfer, watch out for pick pockets, and 1/2 hour walk with luggage from the station to the Port (taxis are scarce and very expensive there). Same for Venice except recommend 2 days and airport is easily accessible by the "People Mover" and the airport bus from the nearby square (Piazzale Roma), we walked around on our own and took a water bus ride. Naples - we took a private CC tour of the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, both a must-see, particularly loved our tour guide and lunch at the vineyard at the base of Vesuvius. Kusadasi, Turkey - CC Ephesus tour, amazing site, a must see, also great shopping in the bazaar in Kusadasi, good bargains (1/3 of asking) if you're willing to negotiate hard. Athens - on our own, 40 min walk to metro, and 20 min walk up to Acropolis (worth the walk), good shopping in the Placa but not as good as Kusadasi, stay away from people selling Ipads and Iphones (brand new in the box) on the docks - they are FAKE! Myknos - on our own, beautiful little town, windmills, tiny streets. Kokatolon - on our own, nice tiny town, we skipped Olympia - felt it wasn't worth it for seeing more ruins, and later heard we were right. Corfu - on our own, a big town, climbed up to the top of the old fort, great views, explored the square and shops. Dubrovnik - on our own, the old city is fantastic, a must-see, we paid to walk the walls and found a beautiful bar on the cliffs outside the wall, a must-see. We also recommend the tour guides and helpful comments from fellow travellers on the Rick Steve’s website. A couple of other general points in case you may not know. First, Princess charges all passengers a gratuity fee. In our case it was $12 per day per person I think, about $300 in total for both of us for 12 days The rationale is that this covers all staff except for those in the bars and casino where additional 15% gratuities are charged. We thought this was at the upper limit of our generosity but appreciated the freedom of not having to deal with deciding who to tip, how much, etc. Also, our fare came with an onboard credit of $120 I think. Some passengers complained, had the charge reversed, and said they paid tips as they felt it was justified. Make up your own mind on that one. Second, although the official policy is that any alcohol that you bring onboard from your shore excursions will be confiscated until you leave the ship at the end of the cruise, in practise we were scanned but not searched and did bring wine aboard with no problem. However, we kept it in our cabin and would not recommend bringing it elsewhere. Overall we rate the Ruby Princess and this cruise in particular at 4.5 out of 5. It's hard to imagine it being any better, but we feel we should withhold half a point just in case. Oh, and yes we are now hooked on cruising and planning cruises for the Caribbean, Baltic, Alaska, and Australia-New Zealand. Bon voyage!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Ruby Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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