116 Venice Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

My husband and I came 2 days prior to boarding Ruby Princess. Had an excellent tour of Padova and Venice, so we thought it was a good start. The food in Padova were excellent but not in Venice, esp Pizza.The embarkation process of Ruby ... Read More
My husband and I came 2 days prior to boarding Ruby Princess. Had an excellent tour of Padova and Venice, so we thought it was a good start. The food in Padova were excellent but not in Venice, esp Pizza.The embarkation process of Ruby Princess was very organized. Overall, the crew were very good, courteous and helpful and the entire process was excellent.The entertainment were not all very good. The magic show was a little bit obsolete but the other performers were from good to excellent. The daily dancing lessons and exercises were commendable. Bingo added fun to the whole package.Food in all areas esp the buffet were excellent.The shore excursions were generally good except that one that we had a guide who was sick with cold (AnnaMaria). She was not as good as the other guides we had in other excursions maybe because she was sick. A sick guide should have not been allowed to work. Shore excursions that include shopping should allot more than 30 minutes for shopping esp in places like Florence.We stayed in Barcelona for 3 more days. Sorry that I lost some costume jewelries in my checked-in luggage. Can't believe that there are thieves even in Barcelona airport. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
• For our 30th wedding anniversary, we wanted something special and different. Although this was our tenth cruise (7th on Princess), it was our first transatlantic. We have done one 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean and the rest in the ... Read More
• For our 30th wedding anniversary, we wanted something special and different. Although this was our tenth cruise (7th on Princess), it was our first transatlantic. We have done one 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean and the rest in the Caribbean. We are a married couple in our early sixties. We like Princess because of the food, multiple dance venues, and a wrap-around Promenade deck for running and walking. • We flew in to Venice a few days early to do some sightseeing. We stayed in a 1200-year old hotel right on the Grand Canal. Early in the mornings we sat in our window alcove, sipping coffee and watching boats carrying school children, trash, groceries, dry cleaning, UPS deliveries, etc. We took advantage of the local seafood and pasta and even tried the local specialty drink, a Bellini (Prosecco and peach juice). Being ballroom dancers, one of our goals was to dance in Saint Mark's Square, so we headed there the first evening and danced to several dueling orchestras around the piazza. • We boarded the Ruby Princess Friday afternoon around 2 pm. There were no lines; embarkation was well organized and we were in our stateroom within 30 minutes of dropping off our bags. The average passenger seemed to be about 65-75 years old and surprisingly active. We were told that there were only four children on board. The Venice Chamber Orchestra performed in the Princess Theater the first night. They were excellent and played Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and Anderson's Syncopated Clock and Blue Tango. Sailaway was Saturday around 2 pm, complete with Sarah Brightman singing "Time to Say Goodbye". • Sunday was a relaxing day at sea. • Monday - When we docked in Naples, we awoke to a downpour, which lasted till around noon. That didn't stop us from going on a private tour arranged by a friend. 20 of us toured Pompeii and Herculaneum, with a stop for lunch in Pompeii. • Tuesday - Rome is over an hour away from the port of Civitaveccia so we opted for the ship's day-long tour. This meant no standing in line and not having to worry about the ship leaving without us if our tour bus was late returning to the port. • Wednesday - Cannes - This was an unexpected treat. Eight of us took a private tour. We had an excellent guide who drove us up the French Riviera, first to Antibes, then to the foothills of the Alps and inland to St. Paul de Vence, a beautiful walled city. • Thursday - Barcelona - Having been to Barcelona twice before, we decided to explore on our own. The Gaudi "Bone House", Casa Battlo, was the ultimate destination. A visit to Barcelona would not be complete without a stroll down Las Ramblas and the Boqueria (market) where we picked up a few gifts. • Three lazy sea days followed. Several times a day, performers entertained in the Piazza, including acrobats, singers, and a musical quartet. The nearby International Cafe had a good variety of snacks and pastries, along with specialty coffees. We took advantage of Princess' "Coffee Card" ($24), which entitles you to 15 specialty coffees and unlimited fresh-brewed coffee. Princess has no shortage of activities. Several lecturers spoke on a variety of topics (these were not your usual port shopping lectures!). During the day, the Crown Grill was designated the "Games Room" and Skywalker's night club was a quiet reading room. Movies were shown throughout the day, both on deck and in the Princess Theater. There were the usual trivia, bridge, ceramics, dance classes, Pub Lunches, High Tea, tours, so many things to do it's hard to imagine anyone being bored. • Ponta Delgada, on the island of San Miguel in the Azores was our last port. It was a beautiful green island with a lot of farmland. We took the ship's tour to a beautiful pair of lakes in the crater of an inactive volcano. • Five lazy sea days followed Ponta Delgada. Again, lots of opportunities to participate in activities or relax around the ship. On the last formal night, the Cruise Staff held the Ruby Red Ball in the Piazza, with music, dancing to Rhapsody, a balloon drop and a good time for all. General comments about the cruise: • Sam, the Cruise Director, was great, the best cruise director we have experienced in our ten cruises. She was quite friendly, very visible and full of enthusiasm. • We had one of six oversized interior cabins on the Riviera Deck. The extra storage space was well appreciated. Michael, our cabin steward, was very efficient, unobtrusive and responsive to several special requests. • Many of our fellow passengers were well-seasoned cruisers and shared stories of itineraries quite different from our usual Caribbean cruises. This inspired us to think about different itineraries for our future travel. • Ballroom dancing is an important part of cruising for us and we especially like live music. Princess always has several dance venues and bands, in addition to the house orchestra. There is always some place to dance from about 5:30 pm till the wee hours and most groups are quite willing to take requests. (Thanks a million DJ Marcus!). • We were concerned that the seas would be rough on the Atlantic crossing. The second day was a bit choppy, but overall it was a fairly smooth voyage. • Cruise food is a very subjective topic. We feel that Princess' food is not quite as good as it used to be (our first Princess cruise was in 1998). Nothing was ever bad, but the menu often seemed lackluster and we opted for the buffet on several occasions. We chose Anytime Dining because of the flexibility. Service was mixed, sometimes excellent, sometimes slow and average. • Entertainment - we enjoyed the production shows. The singers and dancers were quite talented. The house orchestra and the group "Rhapsody" were our favorites. In summary, we had a blast on our first transatlantic and we will certainly be back! A tip of the old pirate's hat to Commodore Romano and the crew of the Ruby Princess for a great overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Flew from the States to Venice on 10/4. Booked our hotel, which was recommended by a Cruise Critic member, in Mestre. We were advised to take the bus from the airport to the hotel. It was a smooth operation. The Starter greeted us as we ... Read More
Flew from the States to Venice on 10/4. Booked our hotel, which was recommended by a Cruise Critic member, in Mestre. We were advised to take the bus from the airport to the hotel. It was a smooth operation. The Starter greeted us as we came out of the terminal, he directed us to the bus we needed after showing him the name of our hotel. When the bus pulled up the Starter talked to the bus driver and advised him to let us know when to get off the bus. We were very grateful to him. Arrived at Al Vivit, a lovely little converted mansion on the Piazza in Mestre. We asked a woman when we got off the bus for directions, she could not understand us and we could not understand her but she pointed the way to walk and off we went. We came to a fork in the road and asked another couple who very kindly beckoned us to follow them until we could see the name of the hotel in the Piazza. It was about a 5 minute walk from the bus stop. The hotel staff were so kind and helpful. We neglected to ask if there was a lift and found ourselves starting for the second floor with 4 bags. The woman at the desk was quite adamant about us not carrying the bags. She carried all the bags up 3 flights of steps. The day we were checking out, there were 38 of us going the ship. We opened our bedroom doors and found the hotel had brought in extra help to carry all our bags down to the lobby. The breakfast staff were very friendly and we were also able to buy bus and vapparetto tickets at the front desk. There were cafes in the Piazza for drinks and coffee and watching the locals push their bambinos in their carriages with their dogs. It was lovely. Our embarkation was very smooth thanks to Annette and Lou who booked the bus from the hotel to the port. Can't say the same for disembarkation. Sharon, Future Cruise Director barked at us all morning without a mike. When my husband asked her to use a microphone she yelled "who said that, stand up so I can see you". My husband walked up to her and asked her to use the mike as we could not hear her instructions. She stated she was talking to the wheel chair people on the other side of the lounge and we did not need to hear what she was saying. We left our cabin at 8:00AM after the room steward banged on the door. We sat in the lounge from 8:00AM until 11:00AM before disembarking. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
An October cruise from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale on the almost new Ruby Pricess was a very enjoyable experience. This was our 9th cruise with Princess. Captain Giuseppe Romano ran a good ship and was always interested in talking with his ... Read More
An October cruise from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale on the almost new Ruby Pricess was a very enjoyable experience. This was our 9th cruise with Princess. Captain Giuseppe Romano ran a good ship and was always interested in talking with his passengers. His crew did an outstanding job of making our voyage one to remember. Chef Cozzoli served up a wonderful selection of meals. The only time he missed was the evening they served Prime Rib. The piece of meat that arrived bore no resemblance to any Prime Rib I've ever seen. Only God and Cozzoli know where it came from. I ate around it. Day in and day out, whether at sea or in port, the Ruby provided a long list of shipboard activities and entertainments. The library was very well stocked, both with fiction and reference books. The wine bar was a nice addition with the free snacks at lunchtime. The Intercontinental cafe with its free pastries was great for a quick breakfast. Platinum and above members were invited to a daily cocktail party in the Skywalkers lounge, 5:30pm to 7:30pm, with free snacks included. The stateroom was always clean and well taken care of. And there were plenty of laundromats with plenty of machines. The embarkation in Venice was very well organized. There was a cocktail lounge to wait in until your boarding number was called. The first night on-board was spent in Venice. If you wanted to take one last look at Venice, there was a shuttle boat available to take you to St. Mark's square. There were boarding tickets in your cabin, each costing $15. That fee was already charged to your account before you even came on-board. If you did not use the shuttle you had to return the tickets to the purser to get the amount refunded. A little sneaky, I think. From Venice the cruise stopped at Naples, Rome, Cannes and Barcelona, and Azores. The onshore excursions were a nightmare, and very expensive ones at that. The Rome excursion costs $130. For that we got a quick bus trip around town and a walking trip. Then we were dumped off at the Vatican, where there was a two-hour wait to go through. A good number of us sat on concrete benches for three hours waiting for the bus to take us back to the ship. What a waste. And the guide did not know what she was talking about. Naples was just a bus tour with a restroom stop. Cannes, we did on our own. Barcelona was a real disaster. For the four hour tour, we spent an hour and a half in a church that has been under construction for 128 years. Not much to see and certainly not worth an hour and a half. Following that ordeal, we were given twenty minutes for lunch. I ate a sandwich in SUBWAY. So much for the renowned cuisine of Barcelona. Then it was back on the bus for a cruise through town. Boring! The problem with excursions is that the cruise lines never do any quality control to see what they are charging their passengers to endure. They just charge you a bunch of money and deliver you into the hands of fools, idiots and nincompoops. I could have done Rome on my own at a fraction of the price I paid Princess. Beware of Spain. As soon as we entered Spanish waters, their government levied us with an 8 percent VAT for everything we bought on-board the ship, including drinks. I know their economy is in bad shape, but I did not know that they were robbing tourists to make ends meet. If you want a great cruise, sail on the Ruby Princess! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Flying into Venice, Delta lost one of my bags. Reported it at the airport, and went to the service desk on the ship and reported it there. Princess service desk acted like it was their fault! They gave me a kit full of toiletries, and ... Read More
Flying into Venice, Delta lost one of my bags. Reported it at the airport, and went to the service desk on the ship and reported it there. Princess service desk acted like it was their fault! They gave me a kit full of toiletries, and since our formal clothing was in the bag, they immediately offered formal wear, complimentary of course. They called my cabin three times to keep me informed. They called Delta and had my bag moved to our first port, Athens, where it showed up in my cabin. I was amazed at the Princess Service. We loved the ship. We are the type to eat early, and go to the Princess Theater to see the entertainment most nights. Of the eleven evenings on the ship, they had something new on 9 of them, and we saw 8. We loved most of them. Excellent: Scottish Violinist, Welsh singer and comedienne, the ships own singers and dancers (esp "Once Upon a Dream" show). Very good: Comedian guy. Fair: Magician. Loved "movies under the stars". Nothing like floating along under a beautiful full moon, watching a movie on a giant screen, and the ship people come by offering (free) WARM cookies and milk. Unbelievable! They would also go around about 3:30 every afternoon with warm cookies and (cold) milk. We had anytime dining. Between 5:30 and 6:30, walked right in every time. When we walked out ~7:15 - 8:00pm, the wait looked to be 5-7 minutes or less. Excellent food, and lots of choices every night. I went hunting for more food at about 10 pm :) and they have a theme buffet near the stern of the ship every night. One night was German night, WOW. The pizza is excellent, and the grill is great (fries, hamburgers, brats). The buffet is great. We never had trouble on this cruise finding a seat. Last year in the Baltic, it was much more crowded at times. I guess that is because on this cruise it was warm enough to go outside, so many did. We don't drink. The drink people come by a lot, but we just politely shake our head no, and they quickly move on. It didn't bother us at all. We bought a soda card, 12 days of all-you-want for $50. Not bad. Our cabin was always clean. Steward was friendly, and we never ran into him in our cabin. He seemed to watch carefully for when you left, then swooped in to get it cleaned up before you came back. Ports were great. My experience is that Princess almost always docks early, and leaves the port pretty much right on time. It seems like they will wait about one hour if someone isn't back on board yet. (you can tell, because they start calling for them, just in case they made it on board with out checking in (but also to politely publicly shame them into being on time next port :))) We don't use the expensive stuff like the spa, so no comment there. We had a window cabin, and walked down one deck and sat on deck 7 outside every night in a deck chair. We joked that it was our balcony, we just had to share it with a few passers-by. Overall, if you remember this is a ~$200/night cruise, and not a $600/night cruise (crystal, yachts of S, etc), I think it is nearly impossible to beat! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We had visited some cities before, so we could slow the pace a little. However the early morning tour starts were a drag even though we knew it would be too crowded and hot if we set off much later. This was our seventh cruise; five were ... Read More
We had visited some cities before, so we could slow the pace a little. However the early morning tour starts were a drag even though we knew it would be too crowded and hot if we set off much later. This was our seventh cruise; five were with Princess but had been in the Caribbean. Princess generally has a class act when it comes to organisation. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze and the transfers to/from the airports were efficiently accomplished. The only downside was that the flight desks at Barcelona will not open until exactly two hours before take off so as we were dropped off earlier we had a forty-five minute wait standing in line with our suitcases. (The same happened to us earlier in the year when we did an NCL cruise. However they dropped us off nine hours early!!! At least with Princess we got to stay on board and were fed and watered until our transfer time.) The food was good overall. The steaks and roasts were terrific. We really cannot get the quality of beef that the Americans can. As usual the desserts were nothing to write home about. Bottled water was much cheaper to buy ashore (with no gratuity to pay on top). The only hiccup in the supply chain was - shock, horror - they ran out of Budweiser half way through the cruise. Honestly, we did not drink that much!!! The evening of the stop in Civitavecchia (port for Rome) the buffet was over-whelmed because so many people had had a really long day's touring and could not be bothered with the dining rooms. The practice was to only open the Cafe Caribe section in the evening and it just could not cope with the volume of people. With regard to the breakfast bun fight, Princess had already sussed out that with so many people setting off on early morning tours they would need more than just Cafe Caribe at 6a.m. The entertainment consisted of the usual mix of shows, cabaret and musical entertainment. Our usual venue had been Wheelhouse Bar but the singer there was not great, even though the band was okay. We do not do the shows in the theatre but the cabaret acts we saw in Explorers Lounge were very good. There were not many ballroom dancing opportunities. Crooners Bar had a regular pianist and there were also short "street" acts in the Piazza on a number of occasions. The weather was good for the whole trip with only two rough occasions; one slightly choppy sea mid-way through the cruise and one very rough sea between Monaco and Barcelona. The captain indicated that the latter was normal and that we were fortunate because it was usually extremely windy round Mykonos (hence the windmills). Temperatures were in the mid-twenties generally and it only got a little cooler as one might expect towards the end of the cruise (26th September) and further north in Monaco and Barcelona. PORTS OF CALL We booked late and had not been able to take up the option of extending the tour in Venice. However, our mid-afternoon arrival allowed us sufficient time to get off the Ruby Princess and take the Princess boat shuttle into St Mark's Square. Princess handily supplies each cabin with shuttle tickets (at 15 euros, not as cheap as if you took the vaporetto). I was disappointed that the boat went down the Guidecca Canal and not via the Grand Canal (which the vaporetto does). Late in the afternoon was ideal for seeing Venice because there were less tourists and it was not too hot. The sail-away from Venice next morning really was fantastic with great views and photo opportunities. After two days at sea we did an Easy Athens tour mainly just to avoid sitting in Piraeus harbour. (Most of the docks we stopped at were ugly working ports.) We had visited Athens before and the city was just as frantic and crowded as we remembered. However we got the obligatory Acropolis photo and were rewarded with an excellent refreshment stop in the Hotel Grande Bretagne (worth a viewing). Kusadasi seems like an interesting holiday resort but we saw little as we had opted for the Ephesus trip, which meant a very early start. (There was a note in the cabin saying that trips would begin early to avoid the crowds as other ships were expected in port. Some ships dock at Izmir also.) There are headsets so the guide can communicate without shouting. These were very necessary in a number of ports because everywhere was overflowing with tour groups. You are dropped off at the top of the site and you walk down through the ruins back to the coach park. The path is uneven and you are standing or walking for most of the tour. There is little shade so you need a hat or umbrella and sunscreen and plenty of water. It was a hot morning (only a half day port) but not too bad. For us the purpose of the whole trip was to visit Istanbul. It was a full day tour but the morning was a frenzied rush around four sites whilst, after lunch, we were only taken to a carpet showroom and then had free time to do not much (as it was Sunday and most shops were shut). It is certainly worth doing an organised tour because the tickets are pre-purchased. However you still have to wait in line with all the other tours! The Blue Mosque photographed well because the decoration is best overhead but I can only recall how crowded it was on the ground. We both liked the Topkapi Palace and at least we did not feel pressured to rush around. Then it was time to move on to Aya Sophia. Again the crowds were so thick it is impossible to gain an impression of the size and ingenuity of the building. Our final stop before lunch was the underground cistern. Very tricky to get around – crowded, wet underfoot and pretty dark too. Then it was on to lunch – no choices (people were complaining) but the meal was very good. The main complaint on the tour was the timing but the other problem was lack of appropriate toilet facilities. The only toilet stop (apart from the hotel lunch) was at the Topkapi Palace before you get your ticket. Also be prepared for security checks going into the Palace and having to take off shoes for the Blue Mosque as well as cover up, if inappropriately dressed. Mykonos was a pleasant afternoon break in the hectic schedule of city sight-seeing. There was a shuttle bus from the pier to the edge of the very pretty town. A beer was advertised as five euros in one shop. BEWARE We were stupid enough to sit down at the Veranda Cocktail Bar and order cokes without first checking the price and were billed twelve euros for the two. We understand that they have to import everything but that was even more expensive than on the ship! Naples port meant trips to Sorrento, Pompeii, Capri or Amalfi. We opted to walk into town which was an easy walk even with manic traffic. The major sights are all grouped together – starting with the Castello Nuovo, Piazza Plebiscito, Galleria Umberto, and Palazzo Reale. Civitavecchia is the port for Rome, which is one and a half hours drive away. So those on trips had another long day touring. We had visited Rome before and opted for the medieval town and olive oil tasting. It was an interesting drive but Toscania was unsurprising. The hospitality and the explanation of the olive picking were fine but we did not get to try different olive oils, only a buffet consisting of different foods made with olive oil. No explanation was given about the different pressings of the oils so that was disappointing. However the buffet was great. Livorno is the port for Florence or Pisa, which are a couple of hours drive away. We took the tour to Lucca an hour away and even so we had an early start. This was a lovely town, which was easy to get around and, at that time of day, very quiet. Fascinating buildings surrounded by a huge wall, used for walking, jogging and cycling. One of its main claims to fame is the Tintoretto painting of the Last Supper in the cathedral. Monte Carlo was a half day port. A mile square means you could see everything easily, if you do not mind climbing the hills. We managed to find the elevators and got up to the casino. SUMMARY You definitely need some stamina for this cruise if you are to see all the sites. There was a lot of walking and most of the excursions were classed as “active/most active”. It is to be expected that in any major city with interesting historic sites there will be crowds and traffic but this trip seemed to pack them all into one hectic cruise! Worth the effort though. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
First of all a wealth warning with the internet! I used it for a round 20 minutes on pay as you go at 75c per minute, came to 42 USD, I didn't notice each email sent cost $3.95, what a rip off !!! Anyway now for the cruise, ... Read More
First of all a wealth warning with the internet! I used it for a round 20 minutes on pay as you go at 75c per minute, came to 42 USD, I didn't notice each email sent cost $3.95, what a rip off !!! Anyway now for the cruise, overnight at the Hilton at Manchester Airport on the 13th, first room stank of smoke, I refused the room and was given another one no problem. Flight on time, arrived Venice and transferred with no bother, checked into room, but no luggage for almost 3 hours. We used the shuttle boat into Venice and had a couple of hours wandering around. Princess charge $15 for the shuttle even if you do not use it, so get a refund if needed. Great sail away from Venice, a real highlight. First day at sea gave us plenty of time to get to know the layout. We had an inside stateroom number P338, I did some research prior to leaving, it was perfect, a few paces from The International Cafe and the Atrium. Athens we visited the Acropolis on the Princess Tour, very busy! Kusadasi, organised tour to Ephesus, we could have done this too very cheap, cabs at port available, You could just have lazy day on the beach, only a short walk. Mykonos, we used the Princess official coach to the beach, what a rip off, around $35 each for a 10 minute trip, we complained and received 20% off. Great beach though, bought a few bottles of beer and wine for on board There was a FREE shuttle outside the terminal are to Mykonos Town and a beach nearby, lesson learnt! Bought a genuine fake Rolex for 5 Euros, it still works!! Istanbul, we had a short walk outside to one of the Palaces, the line was way too long, got the Princess shuttle bus into the city and walked around, price 10 Euros, the metro system was across the road and very cheap. Naples for Pompei Tour to Pompei was $79, we went to the information booth at the terminal and got info about the local coach, it was 800 metres away, price less than 5 Euros return, every thirty minutes. Spent 3 hours at Pompei. If we had had longer we would have gone on the Vesuvious on another local coach. Coach was operated by SITA, buy your ticket at the office first. Had a walk round Naple on return, good prices in the shops! Rome. Organised tour of which you are dropped into Rome for 6 hours free time $59. Info booth at cruise terminal we bought tickets to Rome Termini rail station for 9 Euros each, 70 minute journey, don't forget to punch your ticket in the machine prior to boarding, on the spot fine could be incurred if not done !! Hopped onto open top tour for 20 Euros, get off for as long as you like at each stop. Trains are about every 30 minutes; love the graffiti on them all J Naples we did the organised tour to Pisa, another we could have gone solo with ease. Monte Carlo we have been before, so just got the tender over, this was the only port we had to tender into. Lovely walk up the stairs to the Palace etc, great views too. There is an elevator somewhere for those who cannot climb stairs. You definitely miss out if you take the walking tour and coach, poor value from those who did it too. Ship was great, staff excellent, and on the whole great entertainment, Uber Rossi the acrobat/comedian and US comedian Cary Long stand out. There was also a great UK comedienne whose name I forget, sounds as though she does lots of cruise ships. Also a Scottish lady who sang and played the fiddle and piano was superb! We did any time dining this time, as last time we used fixed dining we missed a lot of shoes. We dined in the MDR a few times and met some great people but it did span several hours. We then discovered Cafe Caribe and used it lots as we did a lot of bar hops to catch lots of entertainment. Food was normally very good, although some busy periods. Some people still in shorts, but we felt fine in smart casual. Received my bill on morning of embarkation, my GBP had been converted to USD plus 3% fee and a poor rate. I went to the Pursers desk, but too late to try and sort out. I emailed Princess on returning, got a prompt reply, I was asked to scan and send the last page of my invoice. I received a reply the same day that they would send me a Sterling cheque to pay into my bank, this will not then cost me anything. Great service I say! My wife and I used the gym a fair bit, well equipped but a number of running machines were out of action the whole trip, I wonder when they are service? Some of the belts also needed tensioning, I used to almost stop some of the machines when in full flight. I have posted a gymnasium clip on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUMfXXK5poo There are around 20 spinning cycles for classes, I enquired to the fitness guy if I could use them when not being used for classes, the response was no, it could be dangerous! I couldn't quite work that one out, I had used the running machine during a force 10 late in the cruise, perhaps I need a seat belt fitting! All in all, a great cruise for our Ruby Anniversary! PS What really annoys me is photographs, there are thousands printed and displayed, many will be shredded and recycled, why not move to an Internet system like Florida Disneyland. I was given a card with a number there, I could go home, log onto the Internet, input my number and purchase prints, it is a massive waste of resources, Princess preach the green image, all that wastage is not green. The ship is very high tech, it would be easy to set up to view in your stateroom and order prints. Hope this was useful. Steve Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We sailed on the Ruby Princess in September 2010 from Venice and enjoyed the cruise and ship, there was one big problem - where our cabin was located. When we found out the cabin number, we checked the deck plans and found a blank space ... Read More
We sailed on the Ruby Princess in September 2010 from Venice and enjoyed the cruise and ship, there was one big problem - where our cabin was located. When we found out the cabin number, we checked the deck plans and found a blank space above the cabin. We mistakenly assumed it was a storage area or equipment room. It turned out to be the galley and the banging and noise from above us started in the middle of the night and made it impossible to get a good night's sleep. We complained several times to the purser but it didn't do much good. One of the people at the purser's desk did let it slip that Princess knows which ones are the noisy cabins, but books them anyway. This was obvious because Princess offered us a $400 credit for our inconvenience. Lesson learned. Never, never book a cabin under an empty space or any of the public areas, including restaurants, theaters, bars, pools, etc. You will be sorry. If you do get stuck with a noisy cabin, complain often and loudly and maybe the cruise line will offer you some sort of compensation. I also noticed that the new Princess ships have smaller cabins. The older ships had more space per passenger. We always used to like Princess because they didn't try to cram as many people on the same size ship as some of the other lines, but not any more. One more observation. If you are taking a cruise with a lot of ports you have never seen before, don't bother paying the extra money for a balcony. You won't have time to use it. Oh, and be aware Princess is now charging $3 to deliver your room service order -- it used to be free. What next, a charge for food! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
I booked this cruise to travel in August with Thomas Cook on line but would do so independently next time, arranging a overnight stay in embarkation port and arranging my own flight. We travelled on the Grand Mediterranean cruise Venice to ... Read More
I booked this cruise to travel in August with Thomas Cook on line but would do so independently next time, arranging a overnight stay in embarkation port and arranging my own flight. We travelled on the Grand Mediterranean cruise Venice to Barcelona for 12 nights on Ruby Princess. The airport transfer was excellent and embarkation was very proffessional and all completed in less than half an hour. We were shown to our stateroom which was on deck 10 room 309 which was fairly centrally located. The room was excellent and spotlessly clean with a fairly large balcony. We then disembarked the ship and took the shuttle provided by Princess into Venice and stayed until about 9.00 going for lunch in the Horizon Court restaurant as I had got traditional dining first sitting. I would definitely go for anytime dining next time as the early dining option means the trip feels like you are in a hamster wheel, returning onto the ship at about six in order to maximise very limited time in port then having to rush a shower and hurry down to Boticelli's restaurant which is not easy to find. The next day when I got up and showered I noticed that there was no European plug socket, a fact that I had not noticed in any of the literature or been notified of by Thomas Cook, so I could not use my hair straighteners which would have been a major disaster for me as my hair is very unruly. I went down to the pursers deck to ask if they had an adapter and he said he thought they had all gone but checked and came back with the very last one which I had to leave a 50 dollar deposit for. Unfortunately the very next day the eve of the formal night when good grooming is essential the adapter turned out to be faulty. returning to the pursers desk I was informed that there were no more on board and that they were not sold on board the ship. Panic set in at this point but I decided to ask my steward who very kindly borrowed one from a colleague for me for the rest of the trip. The room steward was excellent and very friendly and so were all the other staff who cannot do enough for you. All the bar staff are excellent especially in Crooners bar where they ensure that the atmosphere is very good and friendly. The ship is amazing and has so many different facilities. Fist impression was WOW. The food was excellent in every venue but was superior in the main dining room Botticelli's where we ate most evenings. The Sushi was amazing in Vines wine bar and the Sushi chef and wine waiter were very nice. We were very disappointed with the entertainment. It is very repetitive. The singer/pianist in Crooners bar is very good but sings the same material every night moving to other venues throughout the cruise but singing the same material in these so it gets very boring. The singer in the wheelhouse bar has a very limited range, again doing the same material every night and the bar was empty every evening with passengers using it as a walkway, or only staying for a few minutes. We went to a few shows, the violinist and the crew show which was quite good and we saw a comedian in another bar on one evening. We spent quite a lot of time in vines wine bar or in the atrium where the entertainment was good, although again very repetitive. We only went on one organised trip, to Athens as the other were too expensive and it was easy to arrange your own transport to the other ports. Rome and Florence can be easily reached by train, a shuttle bus provided in Livorno in order to catch the train which is about 10 euros return to Florence. Rome is also easy accessed after a short walk off the shuttle bus to the train station. We also went to Capri, catching a ferry from Naples which is very easy to do as the ship docks right in the port. Mykanos is also easy to access and Princess provided a shuttle boat to drop us in the harbour where we walked over the hill to little Venice had a beer waterside then went swimming on a small beach for a couple of hours. I enjoyed the cruise but found it very exhausting due to the travel to different places, and our early dining time. Princess cruises are also very expensive with a surcharge of 10.50 dollars fifty added per person per day to the bill, which can be removed if so wished(which we didnt as all staff do such a good job and are not well paid) but what I really objected to was the fifteen percent surcharge also added to to bar bill. I think if I went again I would not book with princess and would do my homework with regards to the bar charges and the entertainment. The disembarkation was also very good and arrival at Barcelona airport was good, but do not go through passport control too early as if you are at gate ten there are no shops and only one cafe and once through you cannot return Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We last cruised with Princess 10 years ago when we did a very similar itinerary that began in Barcelona and ended in Istanbul. That was our first every experience of cruising and it was a great success - we have cruised almost every year ... Read More
We last cruised with Princess 10 years ago when we did a very similar itinerary that began in Barcelona and ended in Istanbul. That was our first every experience of cruising and it was a great success - we have cruised almost every year since. Generally we cruise with P&O, preferring to sail out of the UK, but we have also cruised with Celebrity and Cunard. Anyway, we came back to Princess this year excited to be sailing on such a new ship and also by the itinerary which included many ports that we especially like. Our party comprised myself and husband Bob and our two daughters, Lucy - 20, and Daisy - 18. We decided to go for an inside cabin for reasons of economy and after a lot of research picked one on Riviera deck about 3 doors back from entry to the Terrace Pool - a great choice and one I would repeat again. We had a fantastic cruise, absolutely loved it and would highly recommend the Ruby and the itinerary to all. I do have both positive and negative comments in a few areas so here is my review: The Ship: I really cannot fault the ship. She is beautiful, particularly the atrium area and feels spacious inside. I did feel the upper pools were somehow crowded but it was easy to avoid them if you were with an adult party. We loved the Terrace pool and spent all the time available there - it felt like a private yacht. Our cabin was spacious enough and comfortable, enough storage, quiet and very well positioned. We could be outside in about 10 seconds, in the pool in one minute. The buffet and Cafe Caribe was one deck directly up, Sabatinis 2 decks, Skywalkers several more. We also liked Vines for a glass of wine and sushi plates, the International cafe for wonderful salads and desserts and Crooners for late night drink. The Food: Again, we thought it was very good. We ate breakfast and most lunches in the buffet finding that the quickest and most convenient option. Generally we had no problems getting a table. At first we were slightly disappointed with the choices on offer at both meals but we soon learned that you could ask for omelettes (rather than an omelette station) and almost anything else you wanted and it would be provided. We had almost every dinner in the main dining rooms and found the food excellent especially as you could always have the lovely Beef Tenderloin steak if you didn't fancy one of the main courses. We had Anytime dining and it worked well for us. We generally ate with our friends (another family of 4) and when we didn't we enjoyed meeting lovely fellow cruisers. One night we ate at the Crown Grill. While we found the food to be good, to be honest, there was just far far too much and we left feeling uncomfortably full. We had intended to try Sabatinis but the Crown Grill experience put us off a bit. The wine list was good and varied, starting at about 22 USD per bottle. We bought soda cards for the two girls and got extremely good value from them. Also bought coffee cards which were slightly less good value. Had burgers on deck one day which were very good (for lunch) and ice cream once (rather runny but tasty!!) The Entertainment: This was imo very disappointing. We are used to seeing perhaps 4 or 5 shows on a two week cruise. Ruby offered 3 from my counting, each repeated 3 times and audiences were very small. We attended the first "show" which was not a show but a sales pitch for the rest of the shows. Oddly enough this was the fullest we saw the Princess Theatre all week - possibly it put people off the rest of the shows. I also felt the show team were less than sparkling in comparison to the standards I have seen on P&O and Celebrity. A pity because the theatre is absolutely state of the art with many bells and whistles. Club Fusion which is the alternate large venue was also misused imo. It seemed to stage endless karaoke competitions rather than provide venues for alternate artists or shows as per most cruises. There was a fantastic comedy acrobat on board who would have done well in there but most of the time he was in the atrium and missed my many people. I do think the management of the entertainment needs a real shakeup. Often shows were cross-timetabled to the embarrassment of the artists and audience. We went to see Philippa Healey who has starred in London musicals and she was put on against the world cup final and we sat with maybe 40 other people in the Princess Theatre which was very uncomfortable. The Ports: FANTASTIC!!! The weather was hot and sunny throughout except for Istanbul and there was soooo much to see. I suspect that many came home as we did with memories that need time to settle. I must explain we have been to all the ports several times before so our plans are not perhaps usual. Venice: HOT and HUMID!!! Thank heavens we had prebooked tickets for St Marks. We also very much enjoyed the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, wandering the streets, the St Marks Museum, the Rialto Markets etc. Athens: HOT! We got a cab from the port to the Acropolis - 20 USD. Thank heavens we got there early and walked right in with relatively few people about. As we walked down there was a HUGE queue of cruise parties waiting in the heat. We also visited the new Acropolis museum which was superb and a wonderful display of the treasures from there shown as if they were still on site. Kusadasi: A private tour with Tayf Tours. Absolutely fantastic. We were the second people through the turnstile and I have never seen the main street of Ephesus empty before. We probably had it quiet for the first hour. Visited the terraced houses as well which were superb. Got back to Kusadasi around 1130 and did a little bit of shopping in the bazaar. Istanbul: Pouring with rain. :) Taxi to the Topkapi and toured there including the harem. Then walked through the old town to the Santa Sophia, Blue Mosque and Roman Cistern (wonderful). Walked to the Grand Bazaar and spent several hours there and had lunch (great) Walked down through the market streets and visited the Spice (Egyptian Market). Great day and I always want more time. Mykonos: we took the ship's tour to Delos which is a superb place. It was quite rushed and not really long enough. Barely 5 mins in the museum. Had about 90 mins to shop and snack in Mykonos town afterwards. Another place I would like to spend more time in. Naples: got a taki to the Phlegrean Fields Underwater Archaeology Park and dived the sunken city of Baia. Marvellous to swim among the Roman villas and temples - fabulous mosaic floors and statues. Rome: got the train and visited the ancient sites. It was horribly hot - 98F - and quite gruelling. On the way back the train had no air conditioning. Never again. Florence. Had been before in the week before the cruise so we stayed on board. Monte Carlo - gorgeous. Strolled around the yachts. Barcelona - another great city. Visited the food market. Ate tapas. Swam on the beach. Shopped. All in all a fantastic holiday and we met lots of very very nice people. My only gripes consist of the entertainment which was not a big deal as we were all pretty tired by night time after the touring but which does need improving. The other thing was that we found the Princess alcohol policy really quite strange at least for the first half of the cruise after which it underwent a very noticeable change. In Europe it is legal for people to drink from the age of 18 upwards. Now, we knew that this was probably not the case on Ruby but we though it might be possible to sign a parental waiver as is the case on RCL, Cunard, and Celebrity - all US shipping lines. In any case, on these cruise lines, the policy is enforced in the bars and not with wine at dinner. We have never had a problem on any ship before giving our daughters a glass of wine with their food. Bear in mind that they are 18 and 20. Anyway, for the first half of the cruise we had to have a rather humiliating exercise every dinner time where we would agree with the waiter that he would pour our wine and then leave the bottle on the table for us to pour for the girls. Sometimes this needed the appearance of the maire d to happen. Then about half way through, it all changed and the waiters started serving the girls wine!!! I know a lot of other European families were upset by this so maybe there were complaints, I don't know. Don't misunderstand me,no one wanted to get sozzled or order cocktails, but a glass of wine with dinner with parental approval shouldn't be a problem on a ship flying a British (Bermudan) flag in European waters and - last but not least - charging these kids as ADULTS not children. Anyway, slight rant over: :) we loved the ship and would definitely sail on her again although probably not in preference to P&O at least in the next couple of years. It's a great itinerary though. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Just got back from a Venice to Barcelona Cruise on Ruby Princess. This was our first on Princess but our fifth cruise. I will just go through the points as I do not mean this to be a rant. Cabin - We had a Vista Suite. For the same money ... Read More
Just got back from a Venice to Barcelona Cruise on Ruby Princess. This was our first on Princess but our fifth cruise. I will just go through the points as I do not mean this to be a rant. Cabin - We had a Vista Suite. For the same money we had a suite twice the size on Norwegian and had champagne every night and a Butler, so that was a disappointment. However the cabin was kept well by the steward and everything was in working order. On other cruises, canapes were brought every night without fail. On Princess you had to fill out a card that had be left on the door handle if you wanted them, and there were times that the card was not given to us or times that the card was left and filled in, but either we did not receive them or the arrived after 8 PM when we had no interest in them. We were given a whole bottle of champagne and glasses for the first day which was more than the published glass of champagne. Food - In a word - disappointing. All the food looked and tasted as if it were prepared for 3000 people, even in the specialty restaurants. Some of it was so bad I had to send it back, and I am one of those kind of people that will usually just pick at the food if it not to my liking rather than raise the fuss. Sabatini's was the strangest. They served everything as a tasting menu, which meant once you were there once, there was no reason to go back as you had had it all. We usually opted for the a la carte method and only ordered the dishes we wanted. The food was good but not great and unimaginative. We went there a few nights but one night we went for my Birthday. I was looking forward to a good bottle of wine, only to discover that they had a smaller wine list then the other food venues on the ship and it was not possible to order anything not on the list from another dining room. Then there was the strange availability rules. One night we were there and another table of 5 was eating their dinner and finished as we received our entrees. A group of four walked up with no reservation and was turned away. They had the table and the staff, why would they turn them away. We tried one night to go without a reservation and were turned away as well though there were many empty tables. The food in the main dining room was worse, as there is where I received meals I had to return because they were just awful. One meal was so salty that I had to spit it out. Another had vegetables that were so overcooked they were mush. Since we had a suite we could breakfast at Sabatini's. I ordered eggs Benedict and you could tell they had been under heat lamps for hours as the Hollandaise had cooked into a solid. Food at the Crown Grill was decent as long as you avoided the awful wine reduction sauce the put on everything. It was bland and muddy and did nothing to enhance the meat. I recommend the Black and Blue Onion soup, and if you want lobster, get it here as Sabatini's cooks it in some sauce that overpowers the subtle taste of lobster. The ship - It had the usual amenities. The only thing it had that was special was the giant screen over the pool where they showed movies and the world cup on. The pools were small which made it hard to get in as people congregated at the edge all the way around and you had to squeeze by to get to the pool. Ended up using the even smaller pool aft as it was less crowded. Ports - The biggest complaint amongst all the passengers was the early arrival times to all the ports and how the excursions were returning up to two hours before sailing even if it meant that sites on the tours were shortened or skipped altogether. The was a tour that was supposed to go up the Tower of Pisa and they did not due to time constraints. Yet these same people sat on the boat over an hour prior to sailing time that could have been spent in the tour. AVOID the ELITE tours. The only difference which Princess will not tell you (yes I called and asked for details and they were not able to tell me what was included in the elite tours that was not in the regular tours) was there were 25-30 people per group as opposed to 40-45 on the normal tours and you got a better lunch, but not better enough to warrant the $200 price difference. Princess as a whole - I found that the information given by the representatives on the phone at Princess was almost always inaccurate. Information on tours, times and the cruise were never correct. I booked an extra night in Barcelona, and also booked a tour. I asked what time I could expect to be at the hotel so that I could schedule the tour. I was told no later than 9AM. Well, once on the ship we were given the excursion tickets and included was the ticket for transportation to the Hotel. It stated that we were to meet at 10AM, we did not actually get to the hotel till after 11AM. Three hours different then what I was told. Which meant we missed out on 2 hours worth of a day tour as it was my error in booking it based on the time I was told. Needless to say I will never sail Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We have previously cruised with Thompson (Destiny) and Royal Caribbean (Brilliance, Splendor and Independence) but this year as it was just Hubby and I traveling, we decided to change try Princess. This cruise was a big test as Hubby hates ... Read More
We have previously cruised with Thompson (Destiny) and Royal Caribbean (Brilliance, Splendor and Independence) but this year as it was just Hubby and I traveling, we decided to change try Princess. This cruise was a big test as Hubby hates water and didn't enjoy cruising when he tried it a couple of years ago and vowed never to do it again. However, because I love cruising he decided to give it another go. His only request was that we had an inside cabin and that I didn't talk about it much in the lead up to the cruise. I took quite a bit of time choosing the deck and cabin.....I wanted a cabin mid-ship and went for Baja Deck ( deck 11) cabin number 416 which was very close to the lifts. At the time of booking I was asked if I would be interested in an upgrade if one became available which given the time I took choosing the cabin, I declined. We decided to play safe and use Princess for our flights. This is something I would look into more closely in the future. We flew Air France from Manchester to Paris, then Air France again, from Paris to Venice. We left Manchester Airport at 9.40am and didn't get to the ship until 6pm that evening. Coming back we flew from Rome to Paris and from Paris to Manchester. We left the ship at 9.15 am and got into Manchester at 9.40pm - more about that later. To say we were pleased to finally get to the ship was an understatement. It was dark but the ship was lit up and looked stunning in her birth in Venice. Check in was painless and done in minutes. Cruise card in hand we boarded the ship to very welcoming crew and were shown to our stateroom. We were met by our stateroom attendant Fernando who was lovely and took time to chat to us and check what we wanted with regards to ice, egg crates and so on. By the time we had been for tea our cases had already been delivered to our room. I will say that I was a little worried about having an inside stateroom because I like a balcony or at the least a window but I shouldn't have worried. The room was very light and airy. The room had light coloured walls with huge mirrors behind the bed (the full wall above the headboard) a full wall mirror opposite to bed and above the dressing table, there was also a full length mirror in the "dressing area" and of course in the bathroom. Ladies you may want to know the hairdryer provided was powerful enough to dry my long hair quickly. The room layout worked well. The two beds were pushed together (yes they were hard beds but we found them very comfortable)and we had bedside tables on each side with a lamp. Opposite the bed was a long dressing table with a cupboard on the left and fridge on the right. A big bottle of water was $3.95 sodas were $1.20 ( I think) There were shelves on the left next to the cupboard. On the right above the dressing table was a corner shelf with a big flat screen TV. Princess provided a channel guide booklet telling you what was on each channel during your cruise. The one thing I loved was the wardrobe.......the back of it formed the wall behind the dressing table and this gives you a dressing area with the bathroom off it. The storage area was massive - put it this way, princess had provided 56 hangers - I added a couple of my own, never have I had that much space on a ship or that many hangers!!!!!! silly I know but this sort of thing is important to some women! In addition the hanging space there is a long shelf above it which stores your life jacket but leaves plenty of space for additional storage and there is a floor to ceiling cupboard with 7 shelves , one of which holds the safe. The bathroom was small and functional and despite the shower having a shower curtain and not a screen the shower worked well. The curtain stayed in place when the shower was in use, it didn't float up and stick to you like some do. Princess provide shower gel, shampoo and body lotion. Our original plan was to pop and get something to eat then get off the ship to explore Venice. We headed off to the Horizon Cafe and found it very quiet. We had no problem finding seats, everywhere was spotless and the waiters quick to check if we wanted drinks with our meal. The food was tasty and just what we needed to give us a much needed spurt of energy after such a long time traveling. All fueled up we headed off the ship. Princess had left 2 water taxi tickets in our staterooms and charged $15 per person to our on-board account. They could be returned for refund if unused. I decided given hubby's fear of water I wouldn't push the water taxi so we walked into Venice. It was an easy walk and we were able to explore the area around Rialto Bridge with ease. We had a lovely evening and retired to our stateroom shattered but happy. The following day I headed up to The Sanctuary to try to book 2 places for the full cruise. Seeing as this was our first holiday without our son for 7 years we quite fancied being in the adult only area of the ship. To my disappointment despite it being only 7.45am we were told that the spaces available for the whole cruise had been fully booked. This was something I suspected would happen given our late arrival on the ship ( it was closed by the time we arrived)- something out of our control and totally within Princess' control. I wish they would allow you to pre book this space especially if you are using their flights and have no control over them. Feeling rather dejected we decided to head straight off the ship and too my shock hubby wanted to use the water taxi - you could have picked me up off the floor......before he had chance to changing his mind I almost threw him on the water taxi and before I could say "here is a sick bag" we were on our way! We were back on Terra-firma within 10 minutes and the video cam was in full use to gather proof that hubby had actually been on a water taxi. Little did I know at the time but that had been the test he had set himself to see if he would have the nerve to use the tender at Santorini. We started to take all the usual tourist snaps of the canals when the heavens opened and it started to rain.......and boy did it rain, the gondolas were doing jigs on the water, the tourists were soaked to the skin and the street sellers were doing a roaring trade in brollies printed with Venice scenes. The rain was coming down so hard it was bouncing back up off the pavements and places were flooding. We looked around the best we could then headed off back to the water taxi to get back to the ship. When we got back to the ship we were greeted by staff with big warm towels which was a lovely and welcome touch. We dried off and headed off to find somewhere to watch the sail-away and headed off up to the Sky Lounge on the top deck. Just as we started to move away from the dockside the rain started to ease and although we didn't have any sun we had a fabulous sail-away. We have sailed from Venice before in bright sunlight, somehow this sail-way was more dramatic- when we have watched it back ( we recorded it) we think it is because the sky is darker, the colours of the buildings look so different from our last sail-away. We were on our way. We went off to explore the ship and I will say it did take some time to find our way around it. I haven't really had problems finding my way around the ships I have been on apart from this one and the smallest ship I have been on, The Destiny. I think this is because both of them have decks which you can't right across without going up or down then across to where you want to be. I think they could do with extra ship plans around the ship. There are plans near lifts but not all lifts go to all floors. We were on first seating for our meals and were assigned to the Botticelli Dining room - we got in the lift near our stateroom and couldn't see it listed, turned out we had to walk to the end of our floor the get the lift down. We didn't find this out until the 3rd or 4th night, we just kept "going wrong" until we found it. We had our Muster Drill that first afternoon. I did ask hubby if he had brought the video as we walked to our meeting point. He looked at me as if I was daft and asked why he would want to do that, I replied that something always happened.....and it did - he regretted not having it with him. The Muster Drill was done inside, everyone was asked not to put on their life-jacket until asked and everything went very smoothly. It was much better not having to go out on deck as I have previously. Hubby is a Union Health and Safety rep and it takes a lot to impress him when it comes to health and safety. He was so impressed with how organised this was that he spoke to the staff about it. We always found the staff on the ship (apart from one in the photography department) very cheery and helpful. At the start of our cruise our stateroom attendant called hubby a few times when he had headed off in the wrong direction - I'm not sure how many times the first few days we heard Fernando call "hello Sir, this way" We ate our breakfast in the Horizon Cafe each morning sometimes you had to hunt for a table but if you couldn't get a table in the Horizon Cafe area you could go into the Carribe Cafe area and you could get a table in there without any problem you could also eat outside should you want to. The tables were always cleared quickly and the staff very attentative. There was always plenty to choose from, cooked breakfasts, great selection of fruit, salmon,continental meat, cheese, cereal, pastries, muffins, soup, far eastern food, omelets, yoghurt, muffins, pancakes, toast, eggs Benedict and bacon and egg muffins. If you didn't want breakfast there you could pick up muesli, waffles, bacon and egg muffins at the ice cream / pizza place near the pool or you could pick up the same things plus pastries to die for at the International Cafe in the Piazza. We ate lunch in either the Horizon or Carribe cafe depending which was open. There was always plenty to choose from. There was always fish, a joint of meat, meat dishes, pasta, sandwiches, soup, fruit, cheese,breads,quiche and chips and plenty of desserts including jelly and sugar free options. Lunch is also available at the International Cafe (sandwiches, quiche and pastries), Pizza is available from.......you guessed it......the Pizza Station (where you can also get either vanilla or chocolate ice cream for free). Burgers and hotdogs with chips are available from Trident Grill up on the pool deck but it you want to get away from the pool and crowds lunch is available in the dining room. We never had the space in our tummies to head off to the dining room for afternoon tea but that is on my list to do next time. We had decided to eat at first sitting in the evening and were assigned to the Botticelli Dining Room. We were on a table for 8 and had great table mates. Our waiters were very good and got all our orders correct. We did confuse our waiter one night when I fancied my hubby's desert and swapped his for mine, the waiter shot back over to the table to apologise for getting the order wrong! Bless him. The food was far superior to our last RCI cruise and unlike RCI the meals were 4 courses. Whilst I like rather plain food my hubby likes spicy food and he was in his element. There was always a good selection of fish, veggie and meat in addition to a regular selection of beef,fish, pasta and so on. The veg served with the meals was always varied and well cooked ( and by that I don't mean overcooked ) Sorbets and ice cream were always on the desert menu should you fancy a light desert. There was one occasion when I didn't like my choice and the waiter noticed straight away and wanted me to order something else. To be honest I was already full from bread (always plentiful and a good selection of different breads and breadsticks) and soup so didn't bother with a main course that night. The waiter was very concerned and took some persuading that I really didn't want anything. 3 of the 4 couples were celebrating on this cruise and all got a cake and card signed by the Captain which I thought was a lovely touch . The stateroom attendants also put balloons up above the doors or those celebrating birthdays, weddings, wedding anniversaries. Although we had informed them we would be celebrating our anniversary I didn't expect theses little touches, to be honest I didn't know what they would do but I know I certainly didn't expect them to be free. We didn't feel the need or inclination to try Sabatinis or the Crown Grill We fell into a routine on the holiday which suited us really well. We would head off the ship very early and be back on board by lunchtime which gave us plenty of time to recharge our batteries by the pool. There are plenty of pools on the ship and despite the disappointment of not getting a place in The Sanctuary for the entire cruise I didn't want to queue at 7am every morning to try and secure a daily place. We found the Terrace Pool area at the back of the ship on the first day of the cruise. It is an Adult only area and we did observe this rule being brought to passengers attention should they venture into the area with children. The pool isn't very big and it was colder than the two main family pools but it was a lovely area to sit, especially at sail-away time We always found a nice breeze there too.. You could walk up to the decks above the terrace pool and had the choice of whirlpools or another pool. We loved this area and soon forgot the disappointment of not being able to get into The Sanctuary especially when we heard people saying that there was no breeze in The Sanctuary. We did sit around the movies under the stars pool during the day when there was something on that we fancied watching. I will admit though that I didn't find the sound very clear and at least twice gave up on films (once during the day and one at night). The live band played around the other pool. We attended all of the Princess Productions in the Theatre. I attend Theatre Productions quite a bit, I know what I like and what I don't like but I am able to be objective and acknowledge a good production / talent when I see it even if it isn't to my taste. I don't really know what to say about the 3 productions on this cruise except the person who had put these shows together in LA needs to be sacked or at the very least a very strong talking to and warning from head office. There was some talent on this ship which wasn't given the opportunity to really show. One singer just didn't seem to have been given anything that suited her voice during each show we waited and waited thinking this song will be the one .....to find it wasn't - she murdered the Shirley Bassey version of "Get The part Started" . The other 3 singers were great. The dancers didn't really get chance to show their skills until their final show "Once Upon a Dream" There was no real story to this production. It starts with a girl falling asleep and having dreams which go from mad hatters tea party, to under the sea to fairies at the bottom of the garden with a few nightmares thrown in for good measure with no links between....then she wakes up to find it all a dream! If that wasn't bad enough the show was billed as a multi media extravaganza. By this they meant they projected the background onto 3 white walls on the stage. The only props uses were a bed and dressing table at the beginning and end of the show. From where we sat we could see the white walls and the "multi media extravaganza just did not happen. It was as though someone picked some songs and struggled to put a story to them. I have never seen anything so bad either on sea or land. I know we were not alone in our opinion, nobody we spoke to rated the show infact nobody at our table in the dining room or those who we spoke to at the pool rated the production shows. We did watch some shows in the lounges with the entertainment team which were funny which is more than can be said for the comedian who was on board. He used to write for Benny Hill and having seen 5 minutes of his painful show, should have quit when Benny Hill died. The Piazza had something going on each night and we saw some great musicians there and a couple of great acrobats. The production team sang in the piazza and the dancers danced there too. We also had a great show put on by the bar tenders making cocktails. The best production show on in the theatre which involved Princess staff was their talent show which gave us behind the scene staff singing and so on. The entertainment team finished with "if I were not upon the sea" which was very silly and funny. I went back and watched it again later and as I expected it was a little more blue. There was a really good part atmosphere in the theatre that night and everyone seemed to enjoy it. This was the first time I had experienced a female Cruise Director (Lisa) and she worked hard her assistant was Eric and he complemented Lisa really well. The captain was Tony Yeomans and had a bit of a wicked sense of humor which showed every night at sail-away, often taking the micky out of his staff. I will that our favorite place on the ship in the evening was the Wheelhouse Bar. We loved to sit and listen to the band playing swing music whilst drinking cocktails. I wish we could dance....maybe thats an objective for the next cruise. We had a laugh one night when a group of Japanese passengers got up to dance, lets just say dancing didn't seem to come naturally ...neither did their balance, how the band kept playing I just don't know. We also liked Crooners bar (or should I say their gin martinis) but it did get busy especially on formal night. We didn't find the drink prices too bad at all, cocktails started from $7 which more than compares to a restaurant in the UK. As I said we tended to get off the ship early to do our own thing. We did do one trip to Pompeii which was very well organised. We found that we liked to have the ships web cam on the TV in the room as we were getting ready to start the day. We tended to find that we always got into port earlier than expected and nearly got caught out a couple of times when we wanted to film us coming into port. We found ourselves on the first tender of the day in Santorini - off the ship before 7.30am. This gave us plenty of time to explore the Town walk up and down the cliff, watch the donkeys being taken to work and see the place whilst quiet. It really was a spectacular view one that never fails to take my breath away. We sat overlooking the caldera with early morning mist clearing as the day woke. It was quite eerie watching ships come into the caldera through the mist as we drank early morning tea . The shops opened and we were able to explore them before the crowds descended on the place. Watch out for Ernesto's shop with his wooden carvings from Olive wood which are divine and Diporto which sells amazing oils and olives and herbs and other yummy stuff. By midday we had walked passed everyone still queuing to get up to the village happy that we had done it and were on our way to jump into the cool pool back on ship. Now I will say, I don't know if this was a fluke or good planning by Princess, whatever it was it worked to our advantage. I have been to Santorini quite a few times and there have usually been 3-5 large ships in the caldera. This time we were the biggest and there were 2 other very small ships there. This seemed to be the case at very port if any other ships were in port they were small ones so the crowds weren't as bad as previously been experienced at this time of year.. I have always liked to buy a good selection of photographs on my cruises and spend quite a bit on them. I have only ever experienced 10 x 8 being one price regardless of when or where they were taken. On Princess I saw a price $19.99 and thought OK I think its more expensive than RCI last year but hey-ho, never mind - only to find that some were an extra $5. This pricing wasn't clearly displayed on the photo wall. I saw the $19.99 and was shocked when I went to get a few and found them to be $24.99 each. It seems that they add a sitting fee to formal night and dining room pictures. To add insult to injury I had to go back 3 times to try and collect a picture which I had paid for but was never ready. This included queuing for 1 hour because they were late opening up and insisted in opening all the photo wall before serving customers. They failed to apologise for late opening and both the people in front and behind me and myself were all told our pictures were not ready. We asked to have them delivered and they refused I then asked for a call to my room from them to confirm when they were ready. They failed to do this and I spent another hour the following night queuing to get it. Not the way I wanted to spend my last night on board. That brings me onto the last night on the ship. We decided to eat in the cafe rather than dining room on our last night, mainly because we had had such a great time sunbathing by the pool and drinking cocktails and it was late by the time we left the pool. The plan was to have a late tea, pack then go to Movies under the stars. Each time we had gone to MUTS sunbeds were out and covered with thick cushions and covers, a blanket was provided, the bars were open, the ice cream and pizza place was open and popcorn machines were out. On the last night the sunbeds were out, the bar was open and that was it. The shops all closed at 9.30. I have never known anything like it. You could almost see the tumbleweed. We really felt like Princess had decided that out holiday ended at teatime. Like I say I have never experienced that before and felt cheated out of a night of my holiday. We ended up back in our room by 10pm. Disembarkation the following day was very easy. We had to be out of our room and in the explores lounge ready to leave the ship at 9.15am. Now interestingly a few days before the end of our cruise we had a note in our stateroom stating that as our flight home wasn't until 5.20pm we had time to fit in a tour of Rome to the tune of $150 per person. Needless to say I decided I wasn't interested in a tour before we started the marathon 2 leg journey home followed by another 2 hours in the car from airport to home. How glad am I that I didn't book that trip! We were taken off the ship at 9.15am and put on a coach and given a free tour of Rome. We were taken to The Vatican City and given time there. We had a great Tour Guide throughout the whole journey and we were at the Airport for 2.15pm. If I had paid the cost Princess had asked for a few days before I would have been very angry. I do think that Princess should tell you at the time of booking if they are planning on taking you on a tour to fill time between getting off the ship and catching one of their flights. I said earlier we put a lot of time and effort into choosing this cruise and Princess and a lot was riding on this cruise. I knew that if I didn't get it right I would be cruising alone in the future. As much effort as I put in I could only achieve so much in putting my hubby at ease at sea - something which terrifies him. The rest was down to Princess. I will say thank you Princess from the bottom of my heart although there were a couple of things that annoyed or disappointed us- you came up trumps and we will use you again. More importantly my hubby is converted and has even subscribed to the Cruise International magazine. I won't be cruising on my own in the future. It also means that if our son achieves the goals he has set himself my hubby and I will be able to watch him at work sat together as very proud parents. Thank you Princess - we will see you again next year. If anyone wants to know how I thought Princess and RCI compare I have made some comments below. we had breakfast in and lunch in Horizon / Carribe Cafe and equal evening meals in the Dining Room or Horizon / Carribe depending on what we had eaten earlier in the day. For anyone wanting to compare RCI and Princess , in my opinion Princess take the lead in this catagory. The quality is far greater. the courses on Princess are 4 and the quanity greater We enjoyed the swing band in the Wheelhouse Bar and the Staff show in the Theatre following by the Entertainment team "if I were not upon the sea". We also enjoed the shows in the Piazza apart from that the shows were poor through no fault of the dancers and singers. For anyone wanting to compare RCI and princess, in my opinion RCI take the lead in this catagory we only did one excursion to Pompeii which was for half a day and was well organised. The only thing I would say is the obligatory stop at the cameo factory was not needed - the only cameos worth looking at cost thousands. If you stop here don't waste your money. our stateroom attendant was great and always made sure we were ok and often found hubby wandering the wrong way, bringing him back to where he needed to be. The cocktail waiters who put on the cocktail shows were great and their personalities shone. Apart from one member of staff everyone seemed happy and were helpful this was our first holiday without teenage son so didn't seek out anything to do with activities for kids. Having said that I think our 17year old may have been a little bored on this cruise - unlike RCI last year so they have this catagory. games were available to use most still in wrapped boxed never been opened, There were planty of activities going on each day such as port talks, art auctions ( and boy did people buy), dancing, arts and crafts, computer lessons to name a few. In my opinion it is hard to separate RCI and Princess on this. I was dreading having an inside cabin but I was very happy with it, very clean,light and airy and spacious with plenty of storage. In my opinion this was the best inside cabin I have stayed in and nicer than an outside on Brilliance. It was kept spotless and would say Princess have it over RCI here This cruise only slips points because of the lack of activities,level of service at things suchs as MUTS and things available such as shopping in the final night Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
My first ever cruise and I absolutely loved it. The Ruby was a beautiful ship. I spent a lot of my time in the International cafe and piazza area relaxing with my books and coffees. The staff were excellent, the food was fantastic, I ... Read More
My first ever cruise and I absolutely loved it. The Ruby was a beautiful ship. I spent a lot of my time in the International cafe and piazza area relaxing with my books and coffees. The staff were excellent, the food was fantastic, I really loved the Terrace Pool for adults only, thought it was great to have a quiet pool! Shops were nice and I REALLY loved the art gallery area, walked through it every morning! Everything was great, the little bad thing in my opinion is that I thought the entertainment shows in the theatre could have been better, I found them quite boring. But the timings of the entertainment at night was great, especially loved that they repeated shows from the theatre or explorers lounge the next day so didn't have to cram in at night time. The ship was so clean and tidy all the time so I never felt that I needed to keep putting gel in my hands 24/7! Everything is in easy access, (once you get to know the ship!) and well, I can't wait to sail on the Ruby again ! I'd recommend this to other first time cruisers. The captain was really really nice and spoke to us on a few occasions. Cruise director Lisa Ball was a bit 'QVC' for me, I felt she was quite patronising but she was very informative and I recognise that she works very hard at what she does. I would like to add that I think I'd have been very lost if I hadn't been glued to cruise critic forums before I went! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We booked this cruise while on the Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean late April cruise in 2009. That was a family cruise and this was just for the adults. It's a great itinerary and we enjoyed the Crown and booking this cruise seemed ... Read More
We booked this cruise while on the Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean late April cruise in 2009. That was a family cruise and this was just for the adults. It's a great itinerary and we enjoyed the Crown and booking this cruise seemed to be a natural. Our only problem with the Crown was pretty bad food for dinners in the MDR. We don't cruise for food and like the Princess ships and the crowd it attracts. I actually started the roll call after getting a suggestion from someone on Cruise Critic who did this itinerary in 2009. I figured we'd meet some people and set up some private tours. We wound up meeting some great people and set up some amazing tours. As for the roll call, it's over 1,100 posts and nobody seemed to care that no officials from Princess showed up our Meet & Greet at Adagio's on the sail away day (second day of the cruise). The cabin itself was a typical Princess BD balcony, Baja 419. Typical Princess small room and covered balcony. After having four of us in a great mini-suite last year, this was fine for two people. No complaints and thank you to our surrounding balcony neighbors as there was no smoke at anytime we spent on the balcony. Room steward was satisfactory. My impression is that these guys have more rooms to cover than our previous Princess cruise and that impacts service a bit. But there were no complaints. The biggest surprise to us was the improvement in both service and food in the Main Dining room for dinner. We always went to the Da Vinci dining room and the Maitre D took good care of us and sat us in a great area on the first night. Service was great and we stuck with the same waitress for just about every dinner and we went at various times between 6:15 and 8:00 pm. There was never a wait. I have never been treated so well as we were by the Maitre D in that room. First Maitre D I have ever tipped for service after the fact. I can't explain why the food was better. It's possible that we caught Princess on a bad week last year. Who knows? We also went one night to Sabatinis and another to the Crown Grill. Both were good nights out with two other couples from the roll call. Enjoyed food at Crown Grill more. Maybe I'm just spoiled by going to so many great Italian Restaurants in the North End of Boston and Federal HIll in Providence. Before getting to the rest of the review, including ports of call and reviews of private tours, I want to point out areas for improvement for Princess. The first is the decline of Vines and International Cafe. I don't mind paying for the good things that were available last year. In 2009, for $1.50, you could get almost a full plate of sushi rolls and pick your ingredients. There are no longer rolls on demand. Yup, it's "free". But once we had to put up with the suggestion from the Princess server that the sushi is really for those who order wine and same for tapas (not much to offer from). When you asked, they would give you two small pieces, consisting of rice with a piece of fish on top. Downhill for Princess. Second beef is with internet, which would slow to a crawl at times. At those prices, Princess should do something about it and look to increase bandwith. My other issue is the gym opening at 7. Why not 6 and why not increase the number of eliptical machines considering waits for them. An even smaller issue is the water shuttle from the ship back into Venice where Princess puts the onus on the passenger to use it or get charged anyway if you don't return a card within two days. No thanks for making passengers go out of their way to do this. It didn't bother me that Princess collected our passports on day 1 of the cruise. But it would have been nice to get to be notified ahead of time that they were going to do this. Entertainment was generally very good and they brought Philippa Heatley on board. What a singer. There was a very good comedian (Carey Long) and a good magician. There was an awful comedian on the first couple of nights (name is Brown and Princess should never hire this lack of talent again). The first production show was very good. The second big one called Once Upon a Dream was not so good. Movies Under the Stars mainly had World Cup Soccer. This drew big crowds. For those of who don't like soccer, too bad. Cruise Director Lisa Ball sent an e-mail promising the Steve Carrell movie Date Night. But they never showed. Maybe Lisa never contemplated that all they would show would be World Cup Soccer. Sheesh, they even showed the consolation game. Our cruise plans got a bit sidetracked by Aer Lingus when the airline changed a long layover in our Boston-Dublin-Venice flight to a full day layover. But it was a bonus. We have never been to Dublin and spent a great day in a beautiful country with friendly people. We walked around Dublin and did a day tour to Powerscourt/Wicklow Mountains. Hey, now the next non-family cruise could be British Isles with Princess. We stayed at Locanda Orseolo in Venice for our oe night and got upgraded to their best room. This boutique hotel, while not cheap, has a great location (our window was over two canals that met) great service, and great breakfast included. Wow!!! Venice is a great port. We took the Venice Link Shared water Taxi. We later found out that it does not go directly to the hotel. A porter greeted us at the Alilaguna stop and walked with us as he wheeled our bags in a 5 minute walk to the hotel for 25 euros. On the way to the cruise port, we met a couple going on the Celebrity Med cruise and shared a private water taxi right from the hotel to the cruise port. We happily split the 90 euro cost among the two couples. While in Venice, we walked through the city, went to a decent restaurant, took our own gondola ride at 10 pm, and toured Doge's Palace before leaving for the cruise port. Embarcation was easy upon our arrival at 1 pm. We went straight to the Princess employee and got put in Group 15 and Group 14 was boarding at the time. We spent 12 minutes in port facility. After boarding the ship, we ate lunch and then I made the 15 minute walk the supermarket near the cruiseport (The Coop). Picked up three bottles of wine, two sixes of diet coke, a six of MOretti beer, juices, and some other things that we just needed. Upon re-entering the ship, Princess made no issue of the extra wine or beer. Note that we picked up wine in Kusadasi and later from a winery in Tuscany. Thank you Princess. But they made it up with the corkage charges. Oh well. The first couple of days were really sea days (first day was sail away at 8 am - muster drill at 11 am). Our meet and greet was on sail away day and we had roughly 60 at Adagio. First port was Athens. We had a large group booked with Paul of Athens Taxi. Paul hired a great licensed guide for us. While Paul drove, the guide went everywhere with us and he was the one with the mic on the mini-bus. His name was Basili. If you use Paul and want a licensed guide for the day, I would recommend asking him to book Basili, if he's available. Tour was outstanding and Basili provided so much information and answered all of questions. The price was right too at 120 euros per couple. Lunch was extra and the big group went to the area of the Plaka that had all of the Tabernas. Great day. Next up was Kusadasi. We used Kusadasi Tours and one of the principals, Melih, was our licensed guide (not sure who the driver was) for our trip to Ephesus. We included the Terrace Houses in our group of six. Melih great to go with and a nice guy as well. Price was in the mid $50s (US dollars) per person. Melih also booked us for Istanbul. One of his associates, a young lady name Pinar was our licensed guide there for our same group of three couples. Istanbul is an amazing city. In addition to one of my favorite meals of the vacation, we saw the typical highlights including the Palace (we added on the Harem), Sophia Haggia (sp?), the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. I will mention the benefit of doing a private tour is that you tell them "NO RUG SALES" and you are not subjected to that like you may be on a ship tour. Great day. Price at $78 per person included all admissions and even lunch. That's the way to go. Even with some rain in the morning, it was a great day. The next port was Mykonos. A member of our roll call contacted a couple of hotel resorts and spas and one agreed to provide us transportation back and forth and full use of facilities for the day for 30 euros per person. It was the Saint John Resort and it was a great day. The pool practically overhung the sea and went for fairly inexpensive massages and swam in the sea and the pool. Great day. After a sea day, the big three ports in Italy were up in three successive days. First up was was Naples. We put together a group of 16 on the roll call and took an AP Tours trip to Pompeii/Positano/Sorrento. With the large groups, AP gives you a free licensed guide for the day. Georgio was the guide. The Pompeii tour was very good and Positano was amazing and we spent significant time there. Unfortunatley, although we ate lunch in Sorrento, we didn't get much time there. With tip, I think the cost for the tour was 65 euros per person. Lunch and admission (€11) to Pompeii were extra. It was a good day. Having a guided tour of Pompeii is a must. But I wonder if we would have been better off with two groups of 8 and paying more to get more flexibility. Next up was Rome and my favorite tour. Francesco was both our guide and driver and we had a group of six. Francesco is part of Miles & Miles tour company. They got incredible reviews on Trip Advisor and it is more than a limo service. Francesco got out with us at every stop with the exception of our own requested stop of the Great Synagogue of Rome (they run their own tours). Francesco showed us "his Rome" which included the typical highlights, but also much more. It included a private visit to the Vatican department that makes mosaics. We saw five artisans in action making this incredible artwork. We didn't request a Vatican tour. But Francesco wanted us to see this. He also showed us incredible views including the famous "keyhole" and the great view from next to the Garibaldi statue. Wow!!!! The family that runs M&M caters their tours to english speaking tourists only. Francesco told me his Dad asks that all family members spend considerable time in the US and that explains why his english is better than every other guide we did business with. I cannot recommend any tour more highly. The final Italy stop was Livorno for Florence/Pisa, etc. Eight of us were in my group for a tour with Papillon Service. The owner, Roberto, did the tour for us. It was a packed day and Roberto was great. For €540 for our group of eight, included was Pisa, where we climbed the Leaning Tower, Florence, where we went to the Accademy to see the David, and spent another couple of hours and also ate lunch on our own, and a trip to a winery for a demonstration and a tasting. It was another great day. The final full day for this cruise was the port of Monaco. A group of eight of us contracted Azur Connection for four hours for €270. We wanted to make the most of our time and see two key things. One was see Cours Saleya and the other was the Chagall Museum. We were dropped off at Cours Saleya and told to meet back there at 10:30 for a ride to the museum. At 10:20, the driver called and said he had to leave for an emergency and to meet him at 10:50. To us, that wasn't acceptable. While the time was made up on the back end, we all believed that when you contract these services, you have the services of the vehicle and driver for the time purchased. We enjoyed Cours Saleya and the Chagall Museum. But others were able to do one on their own and spend time in Monacao for a pretty low price. In retrospect . . . . Debarcation in Barcelona was as easy as I have every seen. We met at the designated meeting point at 8:45 and were off the ship at 8:47 and in a cab to our hotel ten minutes later after locating our luggage. Post cruise was two days in Barcelona. This is a great port and we were happy to do it on our own and decided to walk whenever possible to get a good feel for the city. Others on the roll did the hop on hop off bus. We did take cabs to and from two sites (Parc Guell and the Magic Fountain) and also saw and attended a symphony at the Palace of Catalan Music (Vivaldi's Four Seasons). I know some just do tours of that facility and the facility itself is amazing. We also saw and toured Casa Battlo, saw Sagrada Familia from the outside, walked through Las Ramblas, Arc de Triomfe, and the Old City. We had dinner at the famous 4Cats restaurant. While some have claimed it's a tourist trap that overcharges, we had a great meal and they got us out in time to see our show. The other restaurants we went to include Citrus, Tapas Tapas, and Tenorio. All were good. A couple things I want to address with respect to this cruise. There is a gentleman (non-employee of Princess) named "Hutch" who provides help for cruisers on how to do ports on their own and gives tips on what to see. He has a cult following and it's great that Princess hires him even though he won't talk about Princess tours, plug them or recommend them. He knowledgeable and provides individual consulting as well. He's a good resource. I was a bit surprised that he didn't know about the Palace of Catalan Music, considering that Trip Advisor has it rated as a top site in Barcelona. He also insisted one day that a museum was closed that was actually open. All in all, he was great. Nobody's perfect. The other thing worth mentioning is that this ship could not handle internet usage of its passengers. They charge a lot for service and the service was awful at times and there were many upset passengers. I hope some find some of this information of some use. It was a great and very special vacation on a great ship with the best Med itinerary I have seen. We spent a lot of time planning this thing and planning is the key to a great Med cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We travelled as a family of four, one daughter aged 14 and son aged 10. We sailed from Venice after spending our first night on board. Princess laid on shuttle water taxis, which you could use as many times as you needed for the price of ... Read More
We travelled as a family of four, one daughter aged 14 and son aged 10. We sailed from Venice after spending our first night on board. Princess laid on shuttle water taxis, which you could use as many times as you needed for the price of one ticket - ideal if like us you wanted to visit Venice in the evening, and then I took the opportunity to go back the next morning on my own to have a wander around in peace - no children! First impressions of the ship were very good, huge, clean, lots of bars and dining rooms and good kids clubs. We were in an inside cabin, enough space for 4 so long as you all didn't want to get ready at the same time, but to be honest we don't spend a lot of time in it, just sleeping. Only downside was their was no kettle/tea/coffee - bit of a let down for the Brit's! I think it's so princess can charge you for a coffee card - which we didn't purchase but did take advantage of the soft drinks package - very good value at $50 for as much cola/sprite/cherry drink as you could get down you. We ate in the main dining rooms 10 nights out of 12 - never waited long for a table, so long as you didn't mind sharing, which is a good way to meet other people and share cruising experiences. Went to movies under the stars a few times, the blankets/popcorn/cookies all nice extras. Didn't do many of the shows, not our thing but most people we spoke to seemed to enjoy them. Photography was very good and lots of pictures were bought, I would particularly recommend Dominic, he was very good at putting you at ease. Our cruise was very port intensive - only one sea day, but the ports in the greek islands are a delight and would highly recommend a cruise to the eastern end of the Med. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Since our return , my wife and I have have debated if cruises really are for us.So I have tried to give an honest and balanced view of our hols. What did we expect ? Our expectations were high.Expecting a 5 Star floating hotel ,excellent ... Read More
Since our return , my wife and I have have debated if cruises really are for us.So I have tried to give an honest and balanced view of our hols. What did we expect ? Our expectations were high.Expecting a 5 Star floating hotel ,excellent service ,first rate facilities and a wide variety of entertainment , with relaxed and informative shore excurtions . Did this meet our expectations? Overall no ! So here is a brief summary. Embarkation was fine , 3pm.Then had to wait until 8.45pm for our luggage.I fetched it myself after the cabin stewards politely refused as they were "busy". Was told there was no need to book a table that evening only to have to que for one.Ended up with the staff clearing up and moving tables around us for the next morning.They just wanted us out of the way. The next morning 9 am , we left our room armed with life jackets for the drill , only to be met by our "cabin steward" who then told us it was at the 3pm without an apology.So our morning trip to Venice was off.The drill was actually 2.30pm. We had evenings at Sabatinis and the Crown Grill , but got the same lines of insincere conversations from the staff as we did at the other restaurants. Be careful, as a table for two might mean 2 inches away from the next table for two.The food throughout the ship was fine , but not outstanding. Mykanos , Rhodes , and Santorini are beautiful , but not with 3500 plus cruise passengers swarming around them .Mykanos was a farce. We were expecting " West End style productions " ....there were none ! I love football , but not in Sky Walkers night club when people can view the game on a superb screen as big as your house on deck. I have no issue with the items on my account , but we were promised the summary on our doorstep on or prior to the morning of debarkation.It did not arrive , so they blamed children for "swapping the accounts about in the corridors ".Believe me this was not the case at all .Any children on the ship were very well behaved.The "discetionary" 264 dollar tip had been automatically applied to our account.I promptly removed this as we had tipped staff individually and paid the automatic gratuity applied to every bar bill.Believe me , we spent a fair amount. The entertainment was drab at best throughout the cruise , apart from the pre arranged deck party towards the end of the trip which was an uplifting experience and should have been repeated.Passengers were crying out for more of this atmosphere. We visited Crooners bar where the " Internationally acclaimed " pianist was repeatedly asking for requests.To assist , I asked for Sinatra's' , The Tender Trap.His blunt reply , "never heard of it !" Now this guy was about 60 , and we are talking Sinatra.He was more intent on publicly announcing he couldnt wait to leave the ship , in not so many words , and counted down the days each time I heard him. On our sea day they decided to try and liven things up......with a " gents sexy legs competition " ...it was cancelled due to lack of interest.Was this Butlins ? The bars and theatre were physically outstanding but with little or no atmosphere .People , including us , often walked in and straight out again. On the plus side , the ship itself was outstanding , with wonderful facilities and first rate comfort and decor.But what is the point of having all this with empty bars and no atmosphere.Our stateroom with balcony was faultless , and the cleanliness of the entire ship was 5 star . The ships excurtions were very good , coupled with informative and entertaining guides. The on deck bar staff were a delight , but the majority of staff gave the distinct impression of not wanting to be there. Believe me , we are open minded people with a broad taste in entertainment and interests , but when I pay good money I expect a good return , and was disappointed . In summary ....A 5 Star Ship with a 2 Star atmosphere . Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Our family of four (teen daugher and pre-teen son) just returned from the 12 day Eastern Mediterranean on the Ruby Princess, Venice to Rome. Overall, it was excellent but mainly because of the itinerary. The weather was unseasonably hot, ... Read More
Our family of four (teen daugher and pre-teen son) just returned from the 12 day Eastern Mediterranean on the Ruby Princess, Venice to Rome. Overall, it was excellent but mainly because of the itinerary. The weather was unseasonably hot, but nothing Princess can do about that -- just make sure to wear lots of sunscreen and drink a lot of water. As for each area: Embarkation - excellent. We selected the Princess transfer so as to not have to worry about it ourselves while seriously jet lagged, we got on a bus with many others and were checked into the stateroom just a little over an hour after landing, which is awesome. Cabin - we had a mini-suite with balcony, one double bed for my husband and I, the couch pulled out into a bed for our daughter and they pulled down a bed from the ceiling for our son, with a ladder, which he totally loved. It was roomy enough, and I can't imagine ever going on a cruise without a balcony. The bathroom was significantly larger than bathrooms we have had in the mini-suites on Royal Caribbean, and we had a large closet, so high marks here as well. Dining - we chose anytime dining, which I highly recommend for flexibility. Some nights we went to the dining room, other nights the buffet, room service one night, bottom line - whatever we felt like, when we felt like it. We never ate lunch on the ship except the one day at sea, but ate in the port stops. Thank goodness, otherwise we would never have had Greek food on this Greek island cruise, which is one of our main areas of complaint. On the ship, there was no link whatsoever with where you actually were, a few Greek dinners and desserts would have been nice. An Indian curry buffet? When you are in Athens? Is simply wrong. In other words, I really missed the fact that there was no attept to tie the meals and the entertainment in with the ports of call and think this would have greatly improved the cruise. As for the meals, they were just OK. Not great food, not bad food. We ate at both Sabatini's and the Crown Grill for a change of pace. Crown Grill was great, Sabatini's food was good but the service was ATROCIOUS. We seemed to be repeatedly "forgotten" and, no exaggeration, our dinner took 2 1/2 hrs. without any lingering. And the few times we reminded our waitress that we were still waiting for our pasta course for example, or our main dishes, she was brusque and made excuses about it being busy. Waiters in the main dining rooms were much more pleasant and although this was only one bad service experience in the 12 days of the cruise, it did leave a bad taste in our mouths. Entertainment and public spaces - another caveat here, we aren't big on the entertainment and nightlife aspects of a cruise. We view a cruise as a very convenient method of transporting us from one stop to another, with a pool and areas for relaxation, but we don't get into the deck parties and formal nights and that sort of thing, and never stepped foot on the casino or made significant purchases in the shops. So I won't say much except to say that I LOVED that they had a Venice orchestra perform the first night, great and very unique and that got my hopes up. But they were later dashed, as a few nights later the headliner was one of the cheesiest, corniest, cruise-lounge-singer type of entertainers I have ever seen, almost like a parody of cruise entertainment with the snapping fingers and shuffling around while crooning. The British comedian, British magician, and British opera/showtune singer were all good but, obviously, British -- on a cruise through Italy, Turkey and Greece. More local entertainment and music would have made this far more enriching. I don't mean to beat this point like a dead horse but it was almost bipolar, getting off at these stops stepped in certain cultures and music and foods and history and then getting back on the boat which seemed to be in a completely different place. Pools were nice but I wish Princess would actually enforce the "don't save a seat with your towel all day" rule, as there were some times we couldn't get seats by the pool together as a family yet each seat on the deck was "occupied" by a towel and we never saw an actual person go anywhere near it the hours were were there. A pet peeve of mine - the first cruise line that actually does something about this obnoxious behavior will get my future business, it is that simple. Ports of call - this is why I chose this cruise and this ship, for no other reason than that it went to many different stops, including Athens and Santorini (many other lines do one or the other but not both). The only thing that could be better is if we stayed in some a bit longer than late afternoon so you could see the location lit up for the evening. The write-ups on this site allowed me to determine when we should sign up for a shore excursion and when we could go it on our own, which was very helpful. In short: Venice - can easily be done on your own, I highly recommend splurging for a water taxi ride down the Grand Canal, it was one of the best experiences of the whole trip for us, also toured St. Marks' and the Doge's Palace on our own and had a wonderful pasta dinner at a restaurant we stumbled across as this is a wonderful city for just wandering. Split, Croatia - can easily do on your own, the old palace is a 5 min. walk from the ship. Corfu -also manageable on own, excellent archaelogical museum and can tour both the old and new forts, very short cab ride from port to town and cabs easily available to get back to ship. Katalakon - we did a shore excursion to Olympia, which you need because it is an hour or so drive from port and you really need someone to give you the background on what you are seeing, followed by an afternoon at the beach which was great, umbrellas, sand, lunch service to your beach chair, woo-hoo! Athens - here too we did a short excursion to the Parthenon, but could have done with more time there and less at the Plaka, as we aren't big shoppers, and then a drive to the Temple of Poseidon which was interesting but not a must see. If I did it again, I would have done the afternoon on my own after a guided tour of the Acropolis. Mykonos - we took a shore excursion to Delos, also necessary to understand what you are seeing, and then spent the rest of the day exploring Mykonos town on our own, which is very easy and close to the port. We had the best gyro lunch ever there, the kids still talk about it. Kusadasi - here too we took a shore excursion to Ephesus, also necessary as it is a bit of a ride from the port, had a very informative guide. We also saw the House of the Virgin Mary which was very moving and a highlight for us. The included lunch would have been much better had it not been served outdoors, in almost 100 degree weather with no breeze whatsoever. Shopping at the bazaar was fun and we actually bought a beautiful Turkish rug which I never thought I would actually have done but the quality was fantastic and we decided we didn't know if/when we would ever be in Turkey again Rhodes - did it on our own, also very easy to do, the main city is right next to the port, and easily walkable, had a fantastic Greek lunch in a garden restaraunt off the main drag. Here I highly recommend getting off the tourist streets and walking around the side streets which gave us a great view of authentic Greek island life. Santorini - took a shore excursion just up to Oia, which was worth it to get up there for the fantastic views, spend some time up there and then down to Fira, which can easily be done on your own with a return to the boat whenever is convenient for you. Naples - we did this on our own and stayed in Naples, only because we toured Italy last year and spent a few days in Sorrento, and saw Capri, the Amalfi Coast, and Pompeii then. So this time we headed for the archaeological museum in Naples and saw much of the materials found in the homes at Pompeii, so it made a nice coda to last year's trip and is a really great museum. You must have pizza in Naples, it was everything we hoped it would be, then we explored the city on our own. Rome - had to get back to work so didn't tour Rome this time, just went right from the port to the airport, but Rome is, of course, fantastic and in the past, a guided tour of the Vatican was worth every penny. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Beautiful ship with a port intensive 12 days - only one day at sea. The itinerary however was difficult to accomplish- too much each day we found out due to the weather constraints of heat and then more heat. Even with starting out each ... Read More
Beautiful ship with a port intensive 12 days - only one day at sea. The itinerary however was difficult to accomplish- too much each day we found out due to the weather constraints of heat and then more heat. Even with starting out each day early, the hot weather usually slowed us down a bit in our perhaps overly ambitious desire to see as much as possible. Our eight year old did her best the last 2 days of the cruise in Capri/ Naples and then Rome because the cooler air prevailed. Our total experience was weighed against however 2 other recent cruises in the past 16 months- one in the Caribbean, the other Alaska- both on the NCL Jewel and NCL Pearl respectively. I will use bullet type points as my best method of summary. Venice Hotel: Flew Delta, DFW to Atlanta to Venice; Antony Hotel (Airport): 3 or 4 star - worked great for us due to flight/ jet lag - helpful staff- Embarkation: taxi next day to port- Princess was like precision clockwork. Cabin: very nice size interior- rarely in room except to sleep. Activities: Well equipped ship - daughter enjoyed swimming, miniature golf every sail away, bingo with me (Dad), ping pong, (when Princess rarely had the tables set up for use). Service: the usual quirks of great and not so great- but so was NCL. Juan our Cabin Steward was superb. The Captain decided to wake the entire (every cabin intercom) vessel at 3am around the 3rd night at sea with a 45 second non emergency search for an employee. Princess at the gangplank gave me incorrect info in Athens on which pier terminal would be open after our DIY trip. Seemed the gate was locked at 1pm costing us a 13 Euro taxi go around and a family squabble. Many crew members had no idea where a lot of features were on the ship like the ping pong, etc. I had a similar experience on other ships, but this seemed worse. How can you work on a boat and not know where the features are that passengers want? Entertainment: Weak compared to NCL. It had an understandable European bent to it. Movies under the stars was nice sometimes- other times annoying the areas around it. Classical Gypsy style group playing on Promenade lobby was excellent however. Dining: Very good and sometimes great. Dining rooms were nice in ambiance, but I give Norwegian Cruise Lines the nod here with a superior buffet for breakfast especially and better overall food, in particular meats, salads and fruits. Specialty restaurants were limited. We ate ashore some also. Daughter missed hand dip NCL ice cream vs. bland soft serve. Children clubs: it appears Princess does not attract many children - they had programs but it always appeared empty. The teen center had a few every time we went by there. We always went ashore as a family. Disembarkation at 7:30 was flawless, Romepickup.com limo took us to our Hotel 'Sant Anna in Vatican Roma area on time. Rome was cool and inviting. Summary: This was a port intensive trip (we did a lot on our own as we had studied quite a bit months before the trip and visited each port) which I will review OUR experiences separate, so the ship was somewhat secondary. It was very hot 10 of the 12 days but the itinerary Princess set up was why we chose the Ruby. All said and done, it is hard to believe that cruisers in the know choose them over the newer NCL ships where service, food and entertainment were a tad better in my opinion. The Ruby Princess is overall a good experience.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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 ... Read More
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 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. ON BOARD SERVICES: 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.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our second Princess sailing. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship, and even though it is a large , it was pretty easy to find our way around. The crew that we had contact with, the waiters in the dining room, our room steward and ... Read More
This was our second Princess sailing. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship, and even though it is a large , it was pretty easy to find our way around. The crew that we had contact with, the waiters in the dining room, our room steward and the medical staff were always cheerful and helpful.... often going above and beyond to serve us. Our biggest disappointment was the food. Sure, there was plenty of it, but it was mediocre at best. Our waiters went out of their way (finding fresher lettuce for the caesar salad, exchanging bad tasting meat for another dish and just trying to please). If you want a good meal, go to Sabatini's or the Crown Grill. You have to pay a minimal amount, but the food was really good. Why can't they do better in the main dining rooms? Our food was much better last year on the Emerald Princess. Are they cutting back on quality to keep prices low? We loved the ports that we visited. We were very disappointed that we could not go to Athens due to demonstrations there. Instead, we had another day in Venice. For some, this may have been a bonus, but we had gone early and spent two days already in Venice. I wish we had been able to go to another Grecian port. Having an extra day without leaving port (making three ship days in a row) was bad enough, but they charged everyone on the ship to take the shuttle to Venice and individuals had to stand in line to get that fee back if they chose not to go to Venice. We booked Private Tours for the two ports in Turkey and in Napoli to go to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. All three were wonderful. We took a ship tour to Tarquinio and had a wonderful guide there. On our trip to Cinque Terre, our bus guide from the ship's tour was great, but the Cinque Terre guide spoke very broken English and hardly had much information about the area at all. We were very disappointed in this tour. Overall, we loved the trip, loved the ports and had a fabulous time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Ship Info Having already sailed before on Emerald and Star looked forward to the latest trip on the Ruby. The ship is a large one, but with plenty of places to find your own special space. Travelled with my wife and another couple ... Read More
Ship Info Having already sailed before on Emerald and Star looked forward to the latest trip on the Ruby. The ship is a large one, but with plenty of places to find your own special space. Travelled with my wife and another couple in Balcony cabins on the opposite side of the ship so we could enjoy shared views of sunrise/sunsets and ports. Liked to people watch on deck five around the Piazza with Vines (winebar) our favorite. We tried to get a seat by the window to watch the waves when we were not taking in the parade of ship entertainment including pianist, violins, gymnasts, and singer dancers. Ship Activities Enjoyed the naturalist lectures and other ship lecturers. Took in a few ship shows when we weren't too tired from the extensive sightseeing days and even found the time to lose a little in the Casino. With lots of sea days across the Atlantic we had a chance to unwind and do lots of reading. Nothing better than a good book and watching the ocean...or even a mediocre book and doing the same. Service Always friendly whether from the room steward, the folks at the bars or in the dining room. It felt like coming back home after the long days of seeing cities we had only dreamed of getting to see. Stateroom Room enough for us to relax and store the tons of luggage that we brought with us. Having a balcony again helped us with another place to sit and watch port and sea. Dining We had late seating traditional dining. We found the food to be varied, well prepared and nicely presented. We ate twice in the Crown Grille and felt that the meal there was very good with matching service. We ate at the buffet for breakfast and lunch. And found the pizza selection and quality much improved over our last trip with Princess. On this trip we also tried there pub style food in the Wheelhouse Bar to be a nice change of pace. Getting On/Getting Off The Ship Getting on was very smooth and easy. Getting off another matter as we reported as directed to the Explorer Lounge at the time called for and then waited at least 1/2 hr. before beginning to get off the ship. Luggage while color coded as usual was really a jumble of numbers. It took a long time to find our luggage. Used ship transfers in Ft. Lauderdale and that seemed to take a long time too. We left early enough so that any delays were frustrating, but did not impact our getting to our flights. Entertainment Production numbers were great with excellent cast and production. The Princess theater had all of the hi-tech bells and whistles to make the show sizzle. Also liked the mix of movies on TV/Open Deck and Princess Theater, though it was somewhat hard to understand the dialogue outdoors. Visually that screen was very sharp and clear. Shore Excursions All except one were informative and met our requirements. The one had a guide who was not easy to understand and did not provide much information except to keep saying that Pisa was the best. And his coming from Pisa would explain his repeated promotion of his home town. Took a private tour with Rome-In-Limo for Rome. Vincenzo (Vinnie) was great!! He got us close to all of the sights, was a good though fast driver, and helped us understand the city before us. With only 1 day in Rome he saved us time and in fact we probably got to see twice as much as a ship tour. He found a nice restaurant that fit our need for casual, but authentic. The day was long, but after throwing in the coin at the Travi Fountain we hope to come back to Rome!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was our second Med - Trans Atlantic cruise, third cruise in a row on Princess, and tenth cruise. DW and I are in our 50's. We did this cruise to celebrate her retirement. I unfortunately still have to work. We had originally ... Read More
This was our second Med - Trans Atlantic cruise, third cruise in a row on Princess, and tenth cruise. DW and I are in our 50's. We did this cruise to celebrate her retirement. I unfortunately still have to work. We had originally booked a northern route T/A but switched to this itinerary due to scheduling conflicts at work. An added bonus at work on switching was we sailed with several couples from last year's Med - Trans Atlantic on the Emerald. For our pre-embarkation stay we flew to Paris for two days. In Paris we saw the sights. We also had dinner in the Eiffel Tower, took a Seine river cruise, and saw a Moulin Rouge show. Paris is truly a magical city and we really wish we had an extra day or two to spend there. Our flight to Venice from Paris was short and uneventful. We were met by a Princess rep at the airport and quickly ushered to a shuttle bus for our short ride to the dock. The Princess rep was very helpful. One thing I found at the airport in Venice was the exchange rate for Euros was much better than what I paid at the airport in Los Angeles. Embarkation was a breeze. Since we arrived around 1530 hours (local time) there were no lines. We basically walked right on the ship. One thing I noticed about boarding was there seemed to be, in my opinion, more crew members to assist passengers in finding their way to their accommodations. The Ruby Princess was a truly magnificent ship. The ship was clean in every respect. The crew was outstanding and always had smiles on their faces. They always seemed willing to go the extra mile to assist passengers. The captain (Tony Yeomans) was always visible and very approachable. Twice DW and I rode an elevator with him and enjoyed pleasant conversations on both occasions. The Cruise director James ) was very professional as well and seemed to do a good job keeping us entertained. DW and I were cruising with a large contingent of fellow cruise critic members. Our group was known as the "ruby Stars." Our meet and greet was well attended. The captain and several other ships' company showed up. We also had several other events that were also well attended. As far as dining goes, we had second seating traditional in the Botticelli dining room. The Botticelli was a very nice venue. Our waiter Gabriel and his assistant did an acceptable job in making sure we enjoyed our dining experience. The food was very good to excellent. I did however send two main courses back because they seemed a bit cold to suite my taste. We enjoyed Sabatini's and the Crown Grill. Both were very good but not great. We also enjoyed Ultimate Balcony Dining and found it to be outstanding. The lobster tail was the biggest I've ever seen. I enjoyed the suite perk of breakfast at Sabatini's. It was a very nice experience and the food was quite good. The mimosas were a great way to start the day. Food in the horizon court and Cafe Caribe was your typical buffet food. Nothing great but there was a good variety to choose from. I did note that Cafe Caribe was always crowded during dinner time. The choices offered seemed to be very tempting. The International Cafe was good and Vines served good sushi & Tapas. The Trident grill served great hamburgers and hot dogs. Pizza on the pool deck was also a great way to add on the extra weight. We had a PH suite (R408) and enjoyed all the perks that came with being a suite passenger. Our cabin steward Angelito was very good and did his best to ensure we enjoyed our stateroom. My only negative outlook regarding the suite was the size of the balcony. It is very narrow and with the upgraded wood furniture it seemed rather cramped. As far as onboard entertainment goes, we saw two production shows that were quite good. Several of the princess singers were great. We also enjoyed a couple of shows in the Explorer's lounge that were also quite good. During the cruise there was a variety of entertainment in the Piazza. All were quite good. The fitness center had a wide variety of equipment and was always well utilized by passengers. I only had to wait once for a treadmill. I also visited the thermal suite and noted the temps of the steam rooms varied and sometimes seemed not hot enough. I also noted this in the steam and sauna rooms in the men's locker room. DW made very good use of the salon and massages services and enjoyed all the treatments she received. She told me all staff members were friendly and very professional. Yes she did purchase some products after the usual sales pitch but we all know it's coming before we go there. The boutiques were staffed by friendly and professional crew members who were very helpful. I thought the selections in the various shops were good with the exception of the souvenir shop that had set out Caribbean items shortly after we left Venice. DW and I did several private excursions with other CC members that were all very nice. The highlight of the excursions for me was standing inside the Coliseum in Rome; truly a memorable experience. We also did two ship sponsored excursions that were very well run. During the six day crossing there were many things to do. It was also nice to just relax and recover from the port intensive portion of the cruise. Overall, the cruise was a great experience. I would not hesitate to sail with Princess again nor would I hesitate to recommend the line to a friend. I may not however choose this itinerary again as it has been cut to 16 days with the removal of Florence and Lisbon as ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This is my quick review of the Ruby Princess Transatlantic that started in Venice 10/07 and landed in Ft Lauderdale 10/25. We have sailed on Princess 21 times and 8 times on other ships. There were 8 in our group-2 from CA, 2 from RI and ... Read More
This is my quick review of the Ruby Princess Transatlantic that started in Venice 10/07 and landed in Ft Lauderdale 10/25. We have sailed on Princess 21 times and 8 times on other ships. There were 8 in our group-2 from CA, 2 from RI and 4 from FL. The FL people opted to leave Sun 10/4 on USAir from Tampa to Philly changing planes after a 4 hour layover to Venice. I wanted to minimize the chance of our luggage being lost. We each checked one large bag and each had a carry on. Needless to say, they lost one piece from each couple that found it's way to our hotel on Tuesday. The flight was in coach and not too bad except for the man and his wife who reclined the seats before we took off and we had no room. The cabin attendant had to ask them to sit upright while we were eating and then they slammed them right back down. We stayed at the Hotel Molino Stucky and booked early enough to receive a promo of 149 Euros/night. Later were were offered and "Executive" upgrade for 59 Euros/night and we took it as it included a wonderful champagne breakfast plus hearty appetizers for lunch and dinner along with unlimited cold drinks, beer, wine and some liquors. The hotel staff was wonderful and very helpful in locating the traveling luggage. The rooms were rather large with very spacious bathrooms and the bed were comfy. The Molino provides limited transportation to St Mark's and P. Roma and we did use that a few times. They also have a taxi from Murano that will take you to a glass factory where they almost badger you into buying overpriced glass items. Had we known, we would have taken the vaporetto and gone on our own. It took them 45 minutes to call a water taxi back to the hotel. We bought a 72 hour Vaporetto pass online before we left and you get a discount and a voucher to turn into a ticket in Venice. The 1st night we went right to St. Mark's square and took in all the beauty there. No pickpockets were seen and no one approached us. We did find a few rude Venitians who don't consider themselves Italians. In a market, we checked out and was waiting for a bag and when I asked for on the lady screamed at me they were 10 cents....how did I know? We took a vaporetto ride from one end of the Grand Canal to the other just to soak in the sights. It was awesome. We took in the Secrets of the Doges Palace tour that we pre-purchased on line and it was fabulous. We also did a ship's tour "The nighttime tour of St Mark's Basilica" and it was worth every penny we paid. We boarded the ship at about noon on Wednesday and used it as home base. The ship is beautiful and her crew is wonderful. We had Captain McCharming-Capt Tony Yeomans. Having been on the sister ships, we didn't do too much exploring of the ship. We did enjoy the new Elite/Platinum lounge in Skywalkers each night. We also spent a lot of time in the Piazza people watching and using the International Cafe for coffees and goodies. The Chicken salad is awesome and don't' pass up the shrimp! Our cabin steward was one of the best we've had and he made our stay memorable. Always smiling, any requests answered promptly. The other passengers were mostly an older group of travelers. I never saw such a collection of scooters and rolling walkers in my life!!!! Some of them were quite rude-pushing on elevators before passengers got off etc. I often wondered how they got around Venice which is a walking city and getting on and off vaporettos requires a lion heart!!! Naples was beautiful and we had a private driver take us to Sorento, Positano, Amalfi and Revalo. Beautiful little towns. The weather was perfect while Venice was hot and humid. We had a guide to take us to the Herculanium-awesome. Rome was a marathon tour with Stefano of Romecabs. He is wonderful and I highly sing his praises. We saw things that I only dreamed of. The fountains, the Colloseum, the churches etc .... truly sensory overload! Florence was a rainy day and we had ponchos to get around and our private driver also had umbrellas. We did the Leaning Tower and it is a beautiful building even in the rain. We drove to the town center and visited the leather market. You could gently bargain but the stuff is still not cheap. We could not get in to Marseille due to high winds (60mph) and rough seas - 21 ft. Sounds scary but it really wasn't. We enjoyed another sea day to rest. Barcelona again had us in a bus with a private driver and guide and we concentrated on Segata Familia. The church is an emotional experience and I'm not that religious but was moved to tears. WE sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar and I was a bit disappointed! I remember reading the Iliad in school and remembered the "Pillars of Hercules" and was expecting two giant rocks guarding the entrance. Only one big rock. I'm told there is another rock on the African side but we didn't see it. But is was amazing to see Africa on one side and the windmill farms on the Spanish side. Lisbon brought another private tour and we saw all the statues of Prince Henry the Navigator and explorers. Of course we stopped in Belem for the tasty pastries! Ponta Delgada took our hearts away. We went with Amazing tours and it truly was amazing. Beautiful country-peaceful, clean and friendly. We will go back that again. We went to the top of the mountain and saw the crater lakes. Awesome times three. After Ponta delgata, we have 6 nights at sea and we needed them to recover from the hectic pace we set for ourselves. The sip provided entertainment and of course the casino was always open. The food on the Ruby was better than good bordering on great. They were trying out several new menu items-most were good with one clunker as in anything new. We ate in the DR for all meals except for a rare deviation for waffles for breakfast or Pizza for lunch. We had fixed early seating and our server Alex caught on to like and dislike quickly and made appropriate suggestions. After the first night, we didn't have to ask for tea-it was waiting for us. Great service. All in all it was a trip of a lifetime and we are planning to do it again next year. I will pack differently-taking more capris and fewer long pants. My touring shoes were comfy but I developed blisters on my swollen feet from the shoes worn on the ship for dinner. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We sailed on the Ruby Princess Trans-Atlantic Venice to Ft. Lauderdale 10/07/09. This was our third year doing the Princess Trans-Atlantic on this route, the first two years on the Emerald Princess. We spent three nights pre-cruise in ... Read More
We sailed on the Ruby Princess Trans-Atlantic Venice to Ft. Lauderdale 10/07/09. This was our third year doing the Princess Trans-Atlantic on this route, the first two years on the Emerald Princess. We spent three nights pre-cruise in a junior suite at the Al Ponte Antico Hotel in Venice. While it is very expensive, I can say that when we return to Venice we will stay in the same place and room. The hotel is just down from the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal and the terrace where one can eat breakfast or have drinks in the evening has a million dollar view. Matteo and his staff greet you like members of the family and cater to your every whim. Breakfasts are exquisite. As an aside, one of our bags didn't arrive when we did and Matteo made sure that his staff kept checking on it. The suitcase was delivered to our room the second night. We had a number of excellent meals I thought were worth mentioning. We had dinner one night at the Osteria Santa Marina and another at the Alla Borsa. We had eaten at both before and enjoyed them just as much as on previous visits. We also ate at the Osteria Barababao which was very enjoyable. The first two were more expensive than the latter. We are a little different from some cruisers in that we don't go to the casino or to any shows . We were in A753 (a category OS) aft starboard-side. We had cruised in the same cabin two years ago on the Emerald and loved it and this year was no different. The cabin is large with a dining area, large sitting room area and bedroom with the usual bathroom for suites on Princess. The balcony is very large with room for a table with four chairs and two lounge chairs with a table in between. We had a sailaway party with approx. 16 people and had plenty of room for everyone. Our cabin steward Angelo was outstanding. We had breakfast every morning we could in Sabatinis. The service, menu, and ambiance are wonderful. Marius and his staff were more than excellent. We began every morning with a Mimosa and proceeded to the delectable items on the menu. The Eggs Benedict were better than anything I had eaten in a dining room before. The waffles were outstanding served with whipped cream and essentially we found we could get whatever our fancy was for breakfast. We ate a few lunches in the Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court. We found the food there to be good for a buffet where many people are being fed. Not Princess' fault but we always found that we ate too much because there were too many choices. We only ate dinner in the dining room four nights; the remainder of the 18 nights we ate in either Sabatinis or the Crown Grill. I don't remember the names of the two anytime dining rooms, but we ate one night in the one on deck 5 and I was unhappy enough that I wrote a letter to the Maitre D'. The waiter and his assistant told us repeatedly to keep the cork for our bottle of wine so we could keep it for another night. We did not go to the dining room at closing time and there were people coming in after us so I thought we were being unduly rushed - not a fine dining experience. The other nights we ate in the deck 6 dining room with Godwin as the Maitre D'. He is a wonderful asset to Princess. He remembered our name from two years ago and made sure that we had a very nice table with great service. The food in the dining room was good, in fact, better than I thought it was on previous cruises. We did find that we like the ambiance in the two alternative restaurants better. We do not get the "Sabatinis Experience" when we eat there, but rather order what we want to eat. After the first time the staff understood that was how we liked it and we had no problems. We also found that the menu can be flexible. We found the service to be absolutely wonderful in both venues. Thanks to the efforts of one of our fellow passengers Gail we were able to do the Chefs Table one night. We had done it two years ago and it was once again a wonderful evening. I am so impressed with the galley operation and cleanliness! The appetizers in the galley and the food served at our table were outstanding.. For those who have not tried this, I recommend it. The visit behind the scenes is in itself worth the cost. Our favorite lounge is Adagio and that's where we went every evening before dinner. The pianist was outstanding and the little plates with olives and cheese breadsticks were wonderful. The place was never crowded and was a perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely cocktail before dinner. The only shipboard activities we participated in were Trivia games. There are plenty of opportunities for that. One of the sea days I think there were 5 separate trivia events. We did only one per day. The internet service was good. We were all the way aft and had good wi-fi reception in our cabin and even sometimes on the veranda. We spent a couple of afternoons at the Sanctuary. I think it's the best spot to spend an afternoon on a sea day. The lounge chairs are wonderful and the lunch menu is delicious. I had my hair done a couple of times and the service was good. Nobody tried to sell me anything. My husband had a pedicure and likewise no attempts were made to sell him anything. We took two Princess tours. We did the Elite tour of the Amalfi Coast which we had done before. We actually had the same guide as last year. He was wonderful and the tour was great. We love the Amalfi Coast and we love Le Sirenuse Hotel where we had lunch. We had 14 people traveling with us and essentially could do what we liked. We took the Princess tour to Cinque Terre and also enjoyed that. We had a little rain and the winds were such that we couldn't travel by boat between some of the villages, but we still had a good time. For the other ports we had private tours. In Civitavecchia due to a miscommunication we wound up tourless. We were extremely fortunate to find Stefano, a driver/guide at the entrance to the port. For a very reasonable price we had an absolutely fantastic tour for just the two of us to Rome. Stefano is a Roman who whisked us in and out of traffic, managed to find parking places close to everything we wanted to see and took us to an absolutely wonderful restaurant for lunch. While it was a tourist restaurant up front we sat in a back room and had a marvelous lunch without ever seeing a menu. In Barcelona we went on a private tour arranged by one of our shipmates with Pepito Tours. We visited Girona and S'Agaro. Jose was our guide and the tour was excellent. Girona is a splendid medieval city which I think most people don't get to see while on a cruise and S'Agaro was a beautiful seaside resort on the Costa Brava where we saw beautiful vistas and had a wonderful lunch. In Lisbon we had a private tour through Alliance4Drive with Karla as our driver/guide. She did an outstanding job guiding us through the Tile Museum, the Alfama District and Castle of St. George, the main square and the Belem District. Lisbon is such a beautiful city! We stopped at the cafe that serves the signature Pasteis de Belem. Next year Princess has eliminated this city as a stop and I think that's a shame because it is such a wonderful place. This year we only had a half day as opposed to the full day the two prior years. In Punta Delgada we had one of our most interesting experiences. We had arranged for a cab to drive us around the island. John was waiting for us when we disembarked and we proceeded on our tour. We had been to Sao Miguel before but hadn't seen much. Our tour took us all around the island to see it's geological splendors, its tea plantation and its magnificent trees and flowers. We had perhaps the most interesting lunch we've ever eaten. Near the town of Furnas there are hot springs where people cook in holes around the hot springs. Our lunch at a local restaurant was cooked in one of the holes in a large pot. It was a delicious stew of various meats and vegetables. The temperatures throughout our voyage were in the low 70s. The seas were quite calm including the 6 days of the trans-atlantic crossing. Only one night did we do some rocking and rolling but it was in the middle of the bight. We missed the port of Mrseille due to high winds caused by the Mistrals off the Alps. Despite the fact that the winds approached 70 mph and the seas were around 40 ft., we were running with the seas and experienced no rolling and the skies were a brilliant blue. We had a splendid time on this cruise. We liked the 18 day itinerary and despite the fact that it is very port intensive in the beginning , the days crossing the Atlantic do give you an opportunity to rest and relax. I do have to say that by day five in the crossing we were beginning to feel ready to be home. I think Princess does a wonderful job especially considering that they are catering to over 3000 people. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We chose this cruise primarily for itinerary. Having done the Med a few times before, we were very interested in the transatlantic portion, and being able to relax after our hectic pace in Europe. As we love Rome, we chose to fly in a few ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for itinerary. Having done the Med a few times before, we were very interested in the transatlantic portion, and being able to relax after our hectic pace in Europe. As we love Rome, we chose to fly in a few days early and spend 3 nights there. Stayed at the Artemide which was local walking distance to everything and was fantastic. We then took the train to Venice, to spend one night there prior to boarding the Ruby. Unfotunately our train ride was more eventful than we liked. We traveled with another couple, and sometime during the 4 1/2 hr ride from Rome to Venice, our friends camera bag disappeared right from under his seat! The camera wasn't the big worry, he had three weeks worth of medication in that bag!! To make a long story short, a very wonderful pharmacist in Venice was able to replace the meds in 24hrs. Whew! After staying at the Locanda Vivaldi one night prior (fab hotel) , we boarded the lovely RubyPrincess late afternoon on the Wednesday. At that point, we stayed on board to wander and explore. We used the Princess Water Shuttle tickets provided to go back into Venice the next morning. We had a minisuite on Dolphin deck. Enjoyed having the extra room but can't seem to get used to the totally exposed balconys on this class of ship. Common/Public Rooms Lots of places to meet and mingle, nowhere seemed crowded except the ever popular International Cafe. Adiagos, Crooners, Wheelhouse, all great spots to linger with a drink. We enjoyed the outside area of Adiagos where you could sit and stare out to sea. Beautiful. The Princess Theater is a little small, and I guess that's why they repeat the Production Shows over 2 nights. The casino was nice, we didn't spend alot of time there. Dining We had second seating and had fabulous staff. Meals in the dining room were usually good to sometimes great. Unfortunately it was the only time we could say that. The Horizon Court was a huge disappointment. Very little selection in my opinion for lunch. Soggy sandwiches wrapped in saran wrap (I've never seen this before!)At least you could get a decent salad. We tried the dining room for lunch one day and again experienced the soggy wet bread. Specialty Dining Had a nice meal in the Crown Grill. And the Ultimate Balcony Dining was the best experience, would recommend to anyone. Sabatinis was a disappointment though. Entertainment Production shows were well done. I thought for 18 nights they could have squeezed an extra show in there - we had three. There was a pretty good comedian. MUTS had lots of good movies to choose from, but we only went once. They had the White Hot Deck party and Ruby Ball also. Ports The magic of Italy, what can I say. We loved Venice, and having spent time in Rome prior, we chose to go to Tivoli the day we docked in Civitavecchia. We enjoyed Tivoli very much. In Naples, we did a private tour to the Amalfi Coast and it was outstanding. Certainly a highlight of the trip. In Florence we walked around on our own in the pouring rain, the only bad weather day in the trip. We missed Marseilles due to high seas and winds, so had an extra sea day. Barcelona is beautiful and we enjoyed Gaudi's as well as strolling Las Ramblas. Lisbon - oh how disappointing to be there only a few hours, how I wished we had more time there. And Azores was a quaint beautiful stop before we headed out to sea. The transatlantic portion was 6 days, and that meant about 2 too many for us. We got a little restless by day 4. There were activities on board during the sea days and venues seemed to be busy most of the time. As the weather was beautiful for the crossing, with calm seas and sunny warm days, we were able to enjoy the outdoor areas, by the pool, mini golf, etc. We overall enjoyed out trip, but I don't think another transatlantic crossing is in our future!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
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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