116 Venice Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

Overall we enjoyed the cruise, the ports and transatlantic crossing. There's plenty to eat and activities galore. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, we were not able to dock in Marseille. We'd recommend the cruise to ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed the cruise, the ports and transatlantic crossing. There's plenty to eat and activities galore. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, we were not able to dock in Marseille. We'd recommend the cruise to anyone. We are however not as glowing of some specifics of the cruise as some posters. A summary of specifics follow: Cruise Highlights The following on-board sights were especially memorable: Departure from Venice, transiting through the Straits of Gibraltar and entry into Lisbon. Overall, the employees were friendly and helpful, especially the waiters and waitresses in the Wheelhouse Lounge and Crooner's Lounge. Venice Embarkation While Princess had some sixteen check-in counters, there were only three security scanners. Consequently, we stood around for three hours waiting for our boarding number to be called. Ft Lauderdale Disembarkation All passengers were requested to leave their staterooms by 8:00AM to allow for cleanup. We then waited in a public area for three hours waiting for our turn to officially disembark. Our scheduled departure time was 1.5 hours later than scheduled. Stateroom We had an interior stateroom midship on the Baja deck. It was quiet and well-sized. I would have hated to have had a room further down the hall adjacent to the dish washing area. In walking past that section, you could frequently hear the loud clattering of dishes in the hallway. We also talked to a passenger who boarded at Barcelona and was assigned to a stateroom beneath one of the lounges. After considerable complaining about the noise, he was moved to a different stateroom room in Venice. Public Areas The SkyWalkers lounge was excellent for a quiet reading location and great view. In general, the public entertainment areas for shipboard events and showrooms are generally too small to accommodate 3100 passengers. Consequently, the Princess Theater and the Explorer's Lounge have the same shows multiple times per day over a couple days. Also, the Piazza is woefully inadequate for events such as the Captain's reception. Entertainment The major entertainment was fairly good, especially the comedians and solo singers who were very good. In general, the lounge entertainment was merely "acceptable". An exception however was the rock group "Junction 21" which was very good. Unfortunately, the timing of entertainment in the various venues was awkward. Most of the performances are scheduled at the same time and the entertainers took breaks at the same time, making it difficult for passengers to enjoy the wide variety of groups and a full evening sampling of the different entertainers. Food and Dining You could eat at anytime. We especially enjoyed mid-day snacks consisting of ice cream, cookies, pizza and hot dogs (what a combo!). In the evening, we usually ate in the Michelangelo dining room. The food ranged in quality from excellent to average. It seemed that dining room service was better earlier in the evening. Perhaps as the evening progressed, the staff was getting tired. We tried the Cafe Caribe on the German and Curry buffet nights. Both meals were disappointing. "Movie Under the Stars" We attended one of the movies at night for an authentic theater experience. You need to arrive early to claim a "good seat". The theater event includes a lap robe, popcorn, cookies and milk. Information Desk In general, the ship's information desk was dismal. They gave incorrect information as to when we were passing Gibraltar. Additionally, they were unable to provide any useful information on the upcoming ports. Money My advice is to bring your own shore spending money. The ship's on-board ATM charges a minimum of $6 (or $8) for ATM withdrawals. Transportation in Ports If you are traveling as independent passengers (i.e., not scheduled on a Princess cruise excursion), each passenger is charged approximately $8.00 per person per port for bus transportation from the dock to the town center in several of the ports. Considering the overall cost of the cruise, this seems excessive. In several of the ports, the bus transport was necessary since the ports are large industrial areas lacking other transportation options. The bus drop-off points were located conveniently near rapid transit options and information centers with return schedules maintained throughout the day. Cruise Director James Ibrahim, the cruise director, seemed both patronizing and immature. The ship's "The Early Show" is intended to be an important source of information for passengers. Unfortunately, the television program was frequently frivolous and superficial, lacking quality information concerning ports and events on the ship. You had to intently listen through the whole program to filter significant information from the blather. Communication It used to be that passengers would get a daily news summary of current world events. Princess does not provide that. The assumption is apparently that we will access the internet or watch the news on the television. This however is not always possible. During the Atlantic crossing, most network channels including CNN were not available on the cabin televisions. As for the computer center, it is quite small for the size of the ship, and it was not always easy to access a computer. Also, the cost of accessing the internet promotes cautious, careful use. Laundry The ship has numerous high quality, self-service laundry rooms spread throughout the ship. Most of the laundries are small (2 washers/2 dryers). Our experience was that they were frequently very busy. The machines were efficient. We were able to dry a full load of jeans, t-shirts and socks in one drying cycle. You need to plan a couple of hours minimum depending on how long you have to wait for the machines. The change machine did not work one day, so I'd recommend you come prepared with plenty of quarters. Each machine costs $1.50 (quarters only). You can also purchase soap and fabric softener. The laundry room also had two ironing boards and Rowenta irons with automatic shut-off timers. In this day of luggage weight restrictions, there is no need to pack a personal steamer. In closing The above commentary is intended as an open assessment of the cruise. Overall, the cruise was enjoyable, relaxing and worthwhile. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
My husband and I just got back from 12 days on the Ruby Princess. We left from Venice and cruised to Athens, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Monte Carlo, Naples, Rome, Florence, Mykonos, and ended in Barcelona. Overall we had a great time on the ... Read More
My husband and I just got back from 12 days on the Ruby Princess. We left from Venice and cruised to Athens, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Monte Carlo, Naples, Rome, Florence, Mykonos, and ended in Barcelona. Overall we had a great time on the ship. We had a balcony cabin on the Lido Deck due to a last minute upgrade from Princess. Cabin and staff: The cabin was small but very comfortable with a nice balcony with two chairs and a table which we spent a lot of time outside on. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was standard (great shower pressure). There was two dressers and a chair and a TV on top of a cabinet with a refrigerator. A complimentary robe was provided. The walls were a bit thin but overall we enjoyed the cabin and had no complaints. Boarding and disembarking the ship was very easy and Princess has it down pat. They are very organized with regard to tours and getting on and off the ship. Most of the staff was extremely helpful and nice (especially our cabin steward). Food: The food was okay. We ate breakfast in the buffet and it was large and full of hot and cold items. We avoided lunch at the buffet and dinner after the first night. Food wasn't so great. Service at the buffet was hit or miss. The anytime dining was great as we were not hungry the same time each day due to all the ports we visited. The main dining rooms was very organized and the food was good. I would say not outstanding but we didn't expect 5 star food. Most of the food was good and you had a lot of choices. We had pizza and a hamburger at the grill which was very good. We did not pay the extra to eat at their signature restaurants. Entertainment: We are not into the typical cruise shows and spend many nights up on deck watching movies under the stars which were great. I think we watched 6 of 8 movies including Star Trek, Terminator, The Proposal, Angels and Demons, etc. Something for everyone. There was plenty of room and the lounge chairs were cushioned and comfortable. The staff handed out blankets and popcorn and then came by at the end with milk and cookies (a very nice touch). Other than that I cannot comment on the larger shows. Tours: The cruise tours were very expensive and I researched options and we booked private tours at less money. There were a lot of complaints about the tours among fellow passengers (too many people and could not keep up with the guide). I would suggest if you are able to book private tours or find you own company in lieu of Princess. That was you save money and get a much better and more personal experience. For example we paid 350 euro/$500 (4 of us) for a tour of Pisa/Florence and the same tour on princess (only difference was lunch included) was $369 a person. Spa: I did have a massage as there were a lot of special deals. I didn't see that many people using the gym facilities which were clean and very nice. I used the treadmill and stair stepper a few times and there was no wait. The spa staff was very nice and helpful. Overall, the Ruby Princess was a great ship (very large) and comfortable with lots of choices for entertainment and food. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship. Likes and dislikes of food is subjective so I will not review this subject in length. I do want to say that for those past time cruisers you can see little ways they have cut corners such as the ... Read More
The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship. Likes and dislikes of food is subjective so I will not review this subject in length. I do want to say that for those past time cruisers you can see little ways they have cut corners such as the desserts are not as varied, etc. The food at the International Cafe was very good and it is free for most items. Vines also has free food and the Wheel House Pub will have free British lunches at different times during the cruise. There is no obvious omelet station in the buffet area, but if you ask one of the cooks, they will make you an omelet. The tours were definitely not for the physically challenged. I am in pretty good shape and every night I was exhausted. Please be aware that everywhere except Venice and Pisa is an uphill challenge. Lots of stairs. At all ruins you are walking on very uneven ground. I think we walked at least 4 of the 7 hills in Rome. Even the Vatican/ Sistine Chapel has an upward spiral staircase. I suggest if you go to Ephesus you wear sneakers and not open shoes. Surprise, someone was stung by a scorpion while we were there. If you sit at a sidewalk cafe in Italy, make sure you know the price before you buy. Sitting down and standing up to eat may reflect 2 different prices. We paid 32euros for a pizza pie and 3 waters in Amalfi. It was delicious and we did not argue over the price, but we saw the price in other restaurants and we know we were ripped off. Also, always bargain at the sidewalk souvenir booths and the bazaars. In Venice you can take a water bus from St. Marks to the Piazza Roma on the Grand Canal. We took a water taxi for a negotiated price of 80 euros because we were exhausted and did not want to stand on the water bus.It is the number 1 bus. On arriving at Piazza Roma it is a good 20 minute hike to the ship, especially when you are already tired. The ship usually left the port when stated on the Patter so make sure you are back to the ship on time. If you did not book a tour, at different ports there was sometimes a free shuttle to the main part of the city or train station. Other times there was a minimal charge. The guide shown on the ship's TV told you how to get around each city independently of a tour. We had a balcony cabin and was very glad we did. We used our balcony more than on any other cruise, so were grateful we spent the extra money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
The welcome at Venice airport and transfer to the pre-cruise hotel (Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal) was flawless. Bus and water taxi were waiting, luggage handled. Andvantage of this hotel is mainly the fact that you walk off the water ... Read More
The welcome at Venice airport and transfer to the pre-cruise hotel (Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal) was flawless. Bus and water taxi were waiting, luggage handled. Andvantage of this hotel is mainly the fact that you walk off the water taxi directly into the hotel. Since we spent two days in Venice on the pre-cruise, sitting in the port for another day and a half was not exciting but gave us the opportunity to go through the ship. Ruby is a huge, new addition to Princess. Dining, activity, shopping, service ... was not much different from the previous Princess cruises. What was new to us was: - Anytime dining (good but often with lineups) - Sabatini Restaurant ($20 pp. extra) - good but not better then any upscale Italian place in Toronto - Tipping as the part of the price - I find this quite offending - the text justifying this is presumptuous. It is simply an addition to the price. Every time you get a drink and sign, there is a prominent space called Gratuit - Constant and sometime impertinent push of various discount cards - for coffee, beer, wine ... Organization of port tours was flawless as always. We found it annoying that in Istanbul the first stop was a Sales presentation of carpets. Also, the guide was insisting on giving us education in modern Islam but that you listen to or not by choice. The worst part of the trip was the post-cruise (Barcelona) disembarkation and hotel (Merridian) check in. We had to physically load our luggage into a truck (and there was about 60 of us. Then, in the hotel there was a huge lineup for check-in handled by 3 people whose computers did not work all that well. However, the hotel is great, rooms smashing, and in a good, central location. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Ruby Princess is the newest of the Princess Cruise fleet, and the best! Me and my family have sailed 27 times and our 26th cruise on board, Ruby was the best we have ever been on! We do not usually sail during the Summer Holidays but it ... Read More
Ruby Princess is the newest of the Princess Cruise fleet, and the best! Me and my family have sailed 27 times and our 26th cruise on board, Ruby was the best we have ever been on! We do not usually sail during the Summer Holidays but it was the only time I could get time off. When we first arrived off the plane to Venice we waited 2 minutes and we were straight on the coach to the boat. Normally when we arrive we have to wait around for about an hour for security, Some how it was over in 15 minutes or less! When we first got on the cruise staff were there to say hello and we were shown to our cabin on deck 11. The cabin was beautiful! Everything was clean and tidy, wine, chocolates and soft bath robes awaited us. And we had a bonus that the stewerd was lovely and made towel animals every night. The ports are beautiful, we have done them many times before but we went to, Istanbul, Naples,Venice, Monte Carlo, the usual and of course the weather was hot and they were beautiful too see once again. If your looking for a first cruise the Med is perfect! The cruise had many languages and different types of people which me and my family loved! I was 15 years at the time and I made friends from America, Spain, Puerto Rico and Brazil! That's another thing the kid's club is fantastic and the staff are great with all ages! The food was beautiful in the main dining areas and in the cafetiria. Me and my family were able to sit with different people every night, As there was only three of us and we met all different types of people, We ended up keeping in contact with all of them! Everything was spic and span, All nice and clean and the toilets were looked after VERY well, cleaned every half hour. And the cabins were kept beautiful too. Entertainment was beautiful and fantastic! Broadway like shows every night and Movies under the stars was fantastic too with popcorn, sweets, Hot cookies and milk etc. It was perfect! This cruise would be perfect for famalies as it is fun but still reserved. This would also be an ideal first cruise, As they really no how to show the shp off. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
We had a wonderful cruise on the Ruby Princess, Venice - Barcelona. We arrived at Venice airport on the 18th August and were met by a Princess representative who took us to the taxi, then water taxi to our Hotel, the Monaco and Grand ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on the Ruby Princess, Venice - Barcelona. We arrived at Venice airport on the 18th August and were met by a Princess representative who took us to the taxi, then water taxi to our Hotel, the Monaco and Grand Canal, the Hotel is very nice although the rooms are very small, it's in a great location only 2 minutes from St Marks Square and directly across from the well known Harry's Bar. We decided to eat in Harry's Bar on the 1st night, we had a nice meal and it has a nice atmosphere although it is expensive, we had a 3 course meal, a bottle of wine, a bottle of water and 3 Bellini's - 330 euro. The next night we had a meal of the same standard for a third of the price. If you are cruising from Venice it is well worth an extra day or two, it is simply spectacular- St Marks, Gondola ride etc - Wonderful. On the 20th we were taken by water taxi to the ship, as you would expect from a ship only 8 months old she is immaculate, great design and easy to find your way round. We were in cabin A750 at the rear of the ship, lovely cabin with a huge unobstructed balcony, 13 feet by 22 feet. This was an excellent cruise and I would certainly recommend the Ruby Princess, we were very lucky as we had 2 really lovely couples at our table and had some great evenings. The food was good, if you are looking for it to be "Michelin star" quality, then of course it is not, but to feed 3,200 people every night they do very well. The dress code was very acceptable, on formal nights ladies had nice elegant dresses on and I would say most men had a tux on. On the informal nights it was more casual than previous cruises but the ladies were always very smart and the men had trousers and a open necked long/short sleeved shirt, very few had a jacket or tie on. We saw a few people after dinner in shorts or jeans. The entertainment was very good. Only regret, simply not enough time to use all the facilities. We took the following Princess tours:- Athens;- The Acropolis (Wonderful to see although we had been here before) Kusadasi:- Travelled to the House of the Virgin Mary, this is believed to be where Mary lived after the Crucifixion of Christ. Then moved a few miles away and we arrived at Ephesus, this is the remains of a Roman city - it is simply amazing - DO NOT MISS THIS TRIP! Then on to the Basilica of St. John, built over the tomb of St. John the Apostle. Istanbul:- The Topkapi Palace (Wonderful to see although we had been here before) Mykonos:- We did not take a trip here, we walked around the town which is lovely. Naples:- Trip to Pompeii - quite unbelievable. Civitavecchia:- Took the elite tour of Rome, again a great trip, the Colosseum, Trevi fountain and the Vatican. Livorno:- We went to Pisa, saw the leaning tower etc, lovely place and worth visiting. Monte Carlo:- We did not take a trip here as you can easily walk around yourself, we visted the Catherdal, the Royal Palace and took a small trolley train on a 30 minute drive around Monte Carlo passed the Casino etc. On the 1st September we arrived in Barcelona, we stayed for two days in Le Meridean hotel, which was very nice, toured the city on open topped buses. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
As soon as I stepped on the Ruby Princess I knew it was perfect, The pure elegance and class of the ship was outstanding. After travelling with Princess Cruises several times in the past we knew what to expect. But the Ruby was different ... Read More
As soon as I stepped on the Ruby Princess I knew it was perfect, The pure elegance and class of the ship was outstanding. After travelling with Princess Cruises several times in the past we knew what to expect. But the Ruby was different to any other cruise line I have ever been on in my 15 years of cruising. We were welcomed with a steward who showed us where our cabin was and carried some of our many cases :) We settled in to the Cruise right away and loved every minute. Our first stop was Istanbul. As we were Elite members we got taken off the Cruise first. There was little fast and the whole procedure was quick and easy. We decided to spend the day in the little town where the offered beautiful jewelry and different clothes shops. We came back to a beautiful meal in the restaurant and a dip in the pool. This is how most relaxing days went about. We had 10 ports. ***** The best thing about the Ruby Princess was the amount of different cultures who went on the cruise. We are British and we had an amazing time sharing tables with people from the USA, Canada, Spain and Porto Rico. I am fifteen and I attended the Teen Youth club as I do every cruise and it was great! With over 800 teens we had pool parties, Movie nights, Deck parties and non stop fun! I really recommend going it was the best yet! ***** The shows in the evenings were rather good but some better than others. On board our cruise we had a Hypnosis - The best show I have ever seen! Volunteers came on too the stage and what more can I say! Of course there was a few down falls and that was the Comedians - They were not the best on this cruise. But the music in the bars, Atrium and other areas around the cruise. There was Karaoke and discos till early in the morning and lots of quizzes too! **** The Deck areas were also great. There was plenty of Deck chairs and the only cruise where I think people did not save them for others. There was 3 pools. An Adults pool which from what I can see looks very nice. You must be over 18 to use this pool. It was always quiet and perfect for relaxation. The Kids pool was also very nice and was very clean and safe. The only problem is that it did get rather crowded in the afternoons but you can work around that. There is also a spa pool which is heated and round. There are 8 Jacuzzis they are always very hot and not crowded. The food was the HIGHLIGHT! With 24 hours of free dining you could never get hungry. With pancakes, waffles and full cooked breakfasts in the morning to Lobster, Steak and Pasta in the evenings there is always something to bite in to in the cafeteria. We had no problem finding a seat as the cruise was a warm one and we tended to eat outside but if you are going on a colder cruise you may struggle to find a seat at Breakfast and Lunch. The food in the Restaurants was Delicious and pure class! There was a themed menu every night and we loved it! There is a Grill where you can get Cheese Burgers, Chips, Hot Dogs, Chicken burgers and Kebabs! They were VERY yummy! ***** Overall the cruise was great, From the cabins to food and destinations. I will be doing A Ruby Princess Cruise in the Future it's a real GEM! Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
We have cruised roughly 20 times on a variety of cruise lines, including Princess, Norwegian, RCCL, Celebrity, Holland America and Carnival.  No cruise ship or cruise is likely to be perfect.  The "Grand Mediterranean" ... Read More
We have cruised roughly 20 times on a variety of cruise lines, including Princess, Norwegian, RCCL, Celebrity, Holland America and Carnival.  No cruise ship or cruise is likely to be perfect.  The "Grand Mediterranean" itinerary on the Ruby Princess comes close, although there were occasional glitches that could be easily addressed.The ship is very tastefully decorated, spacious and easy to get around.  We had a balcony on the back of the ship on the Caribe deck.  This was a wonderful cabin affording great views, especially when leaving port.  We must have sat and looked at Naples and Mt Vesuvius for at least an hour as the ship moved out to sea.  There was an occasional odd smell wafting up from somewherenot the ship's exhaust, but more like passing a landfill quickly on the Florida turnpike. This was rarely noticable (occured outside only on the balcony) but at the same time unmistakeable when it happened. I would happily occupy the same cabin again as this was a very minor problem.The service was consistently excellent from almost everyone throughout the cruise.  Our room steward, the waiters in the dining rooms, the reception areas and the shore excursion desk were all staffed by top notch, knowledgeable and friendly people.  I asked one of them if Princess selected only the best from their other ships when they staffed the Ruby.  I was told that was not the casebut indeed the customer service was great.The only slight isssue I had was in the Vines barnot once, but twice.  It almosy seemed like I had a sign on my forehead saying "persona non grata" when I stepped into that area.  The Vines bar serves wine, tapas and sushi.  For unknown reasons, when I asked for a plate of tapas with our wine, we were not offered any choice but given a small plate of two or three tapas which was fine at the moment (other guests who seemed to have an inside "understanding" of the rules walked away with huge plates of sushi, cheese, assorted meats, etc.).  Given that there were two of us and lots of wine. I approached the sushi chef later and simply asked for some bread.  I was told to go "back to my seat" and someone would bring the bread. It never happenedeven after I asked again.  This would have been forgivable except for the hordes of children and non-paying people returning time and time again to get plates of fresh sushi and tapasfor free.  The second incident occurred one night when I stopped in to get a glass of wine as we were waiting (with a remote pager) to be seated for dinner ("anytime dining" can mean anytime they are ready for youand not the other way around).  The bartender insisted on knowing what I was going to "do" with the wine glass as he did not want it leaving the bar.  I finally told him to keep the wine and the glass since taking it into the dining room seemed to be a mortal crime.  PleaseI think anyone paying thousands of dollars for a cruise at my age (early 50's) is not trying to run off with a Reidel wine glass.  They sell them now at Target nowI'm not that impressed.  Give me a break!  I complained to the "head" bar manager who listened and assured me he would address it.  I avoided the Vines bar after that.  I probably contributed to the incident in some way so I will give the benefit of the doubt. Back to the positives, this really was a great experience.  The entertainment on board was goodespecially the comedian, Billy Vader (or something like that).  The food was very good in general except for the buffet breakfast, which was average and not as good as I recall on other Princess ships.  In contrast, both Sabatini's and the Crown Grill were absolutely superior in every way.  I was disappointed in the main dining room's attempt at Grand Marnier souffleit was more like a cold orange breakfast muffin stuffed into a dish with vanilla sauce, devoid of Grand Marnier.  In contrast, the expresso creme brulee was wonderful.  I have never before eaten dinner at the "buffet" on any shipbut we did on one evening as we were very tired.  This ended up being the "pasta buffet" night and it was excellent; in fact, it surpassed many nights in the main dining room.We are independent types as a rule, but this time the majority of shore excursions we booked were with the ship.  The notable exception was Athens.  My advice is do not plan to take the metro into Athens on your ownthe metro in Piraeus must have been a good 30-45 minute walk, at minimum, from where the ship docked.  Taxis would not take us there because it was not a long enough trip for them.  We were exhausted before we ever got to Athens, which ended up being our least favorite port.  Ephesus and Istanbul were outstanding and pleasant surprises.  Mykkonos was our second least favorite stop as there is really nothing to do there but walk around and have a beer.  The ship mentioned that we would be sailing past an active volcano, Stromboli, at 11:30 pm en route to Naples.  We sat on the balcony and watched Stromboli erupt at  least three times in about half an hour.  This was much more dramatic than what you see in Hawaiithe lava seemed to shoot straight up into the air for a good distance from the top of the volvano, although we were too far away to really photograph it.  I would highly recommend the tour that does the Amalfi Coast drive and Pompeii.  The Amalfi drive hands down beats almost any coastal road I can think ofincluding Australia's Great Ocean Road, US 1 in California and the Road to Hana on Maui (although that one may be a tie).  I have done this excursion twice (in 5 years) and was fortunate to have the same tour guide both timesKareem with Aloshi Bros.  If there is any way you can get the bus with Kareem when you do this tour, request it as he is extremely funny, entertaining and seems to be the most popular man in town wherever we stopped.  He said he has been doing the tour for 16 years.  He's the best, bar none in my opinion.  He called our tour bus group his "family" and oddly that's exactly how we felt.What can you say about Rome?  Rome is one of the great travel experiences anyone can have.  We took the Princess-booked train into Rome and did it on our own.  This was my third trip to Roime and the third time the Vatican musesum has been closed while I was there. Not a problemthere's plenty more to see and do.  There was a crazy person literally standing in Trevi Fountain shouting at the crowd which ruined that photo op, but added to the experience,  If you have already been to Florence, or even if not, consider doing something in the Tuscan countryside.  We did the tour to San Gimignano and Pisa and had a great timehighly recommended.  The village of Eze is a great excursion near Monaco.Last but not least, this cruise itinerary starts and ends in two of the most fascinating cities in EuropeVenice and Barcelona.  Venice was like a good, long, slow dream from which you hope you never wake. Forget the maps and GPS devices in Veniceyou'll be totally lost in no time no matter how many maps you bring, but you can always naviagte by the major landmarks.  By a two or three day pass on the Vaporetti (water taxis) and just explore with no agenda is my recommendation.  The same goes for Barcelona, although it is easier to follow a map there.  The Hotel Antiche Figure in Venice is close to the ship dock, but also on the Grand Canal, so a great overall location.  The MonteCarlo in Barcelona is similary strategically located at the top of Las Ramblas. Both are top-rated and well worth the Euros.I apologize for the length of this review.  Any comments are offered in the spirit of helping all the contributors on this site who have been so helpful to me in planning the best cruises.  Any criticism I offer with regard to the Ruby Princess should be heavily outweighed by all the positives.  It is a near-perfect experience and a near-perfect ship, and perhaps as a result, only the minor problems come to mind with regard to the overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
I have been following cruise critic reviews ever since my wife and I booked our cruise of the Mediterranean from July 3rd to 15th.Over time I have read over 70 of these reviews and learned many valuable tips. I felt I was prepared for ... Read More
I have been following cruise critic reviews ever since my wife and I booked our cruise of the Mediterranean from July 3rd to 15th.Over time I have read over 70 of these reviews and learned many valuable tips. I felt I was prepared for the trip and all the negatives associated with the cruise. I guess I hoped for the best but was ready for the worst.I don't know what people are expecting from a cruise, but some reviews are completely rediculous.The pre boarding took less than 10 minutes. The Ruby was absolutely stunning. The staff were gracious, helpful and always, and I mean always , working to keep the ship clean. Our room was fantastic and well prepared every day. Even the shower seemed a little wider then on previous cruises( It was still a snug fit though). The food was great and catered to everyone. From the pizza, burgers, veg burgers and ice cream by the pool, to the buffets with many good choices, to the dinners which were a visual and taste treat every night, my wife and I were always satisfied. With 3000 people, the ship never felt crowded and we never waited in line for anything. We always got a seat at a show and only waited for an elevator.The staff were always helpful, from the internet guy, to the DJ, to the guys at the international cafe to the buffet staff, I can't say enough about the quality of service and care.I applaud Princess for making our cruise a wonderful and memorable experience. We would not hesitate to go on another Princess cruise and hopefully, in the near future, we will. To all those people who complained about everything, maybe you should just stay home. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
This is our 8th princess cruise and it won't be the last going by this experience,previously having been with P&O and Royal caribbean.I travelled with my wife and 14year old son who both have the same positive impression as i do. ... Read More
This is our 8th princess cruise and it won't be the last going by this experience,previously having been with P&O and Royal caribbean.I travelled with my wife and 14year old son who both have the same positive impression as i do. The trip started from Edinburgh with a flight to Gatwick and then a 5 hour wait for our flight to Venice.This wait was a bone of contention as 4 other flights to Venice departed while we waited in a lounge and never reached the ship until 9-30pm by which time check in was a table on the pier .Princess wouldn't change the flights despite meeting people later in the week from Scotland who arrived on the Ruby at 4-30.Our Cabin steward thought we were not coming.Also we missed dinner in the main restaurant and made do with the buffet,not a good start. As we were so late we never had the chance to enjoy Venice that evening but used the shuttle boat in the morning which was very well organised.A real pleasant experience on board on the first evening was Luciana Pavarotti concert on the movies under the stars screen which set the scene ,wonderful. We never booked any trips but did our own thing in Venice. Ruby Princess set sail at lunchtime and this must be one of the most fantastic experiences in cruising with Andrea Bocelli's Time to say goodbye playing throughout the ship, and the amazing backdrop.The day continued with exploring this amazing ship. Our first Dinner in the Botticelli restaurant was another unexpected treat as Princess put us at a table with a family from Wales who had a son of similar age to ours they became great buddies and still keep in touch. WE the parents and an other couple from New York got on great throughout the cruise and on occasions met for pre dinner drinks.On many occasions we were about last out of the restaurant.Great people and great fun. The quality of food provided was excellent and didn't feel the need to go to the speciality restaurants especially when waiters Jani and Pavel were doing such a sterling job,nothing was a problem to these guys and smiled all the way. On our arrival the room Steward called Ronaldo asked my young lad if he liked cookies and each evening fresh ones were delivered throughout the holiday,this chap provided us with a brilliant service and room was kept to a high standard. we only had one day at sea, this proved quite tiring .We decided on a few days to return early so we could enjoy the feel of the ship.We made a point to use the Sanctuary,this is a must do as the staff really look after you with chilled drinks I-pods etc. Another good point which I learnt through cruise critic is that a Speciality Coffee card can be obtained ,anyone who enjoys a nice coffee shall appreciate this . Our 14 year old had a great time ,off on his own meeting new friends . He did say that more sports activities would have been good but it certainly didn't spoil his adventure. A special mention to first officer Daniel Wood who spent a lot of time with our son who is interested in a career of navigation. Daniel was informative and very helpful. The Captain was out and about and not one of the invisible types, he ran a happy ship which came over in his staff who were courteous and willing and always smiling. The cruise photographers weren't "in your face" but i am sure a lot more pictures would have been purchased if they were sold at a reasonable price, its such a shame that at the end of the cruise all these pictures are binned. The ship was quiet at night after 11pm, but then was this because of a full on itinery or an entertainment which wasn't all that great! The art auction was an experience,especially to us virgin auctioneers, very tempted to buy, only too scared to put my hand up, maybe next time. I would say that this has been a wonderful experience and recommend Ruby Princess ,It must be said the itinary didn't make it relaxing but the feel of this ship is magic. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
This was a very special cruise for us. It was our first time to Europe and we selected this ship due to the date, fact it left from Venice, and was a brand new ship. It would also be a new experience for us since first time sailing on ... Read More
This was a very special cruise for us. It was our first time to Europe and we selected this ship due to the date, fact it left from Venice, and was a brand new ship. It would also be a new experience for us since first time sailing on Princess. We are a couple in our mid to late 40's. Many on this cruise were seniors and honeymooners, fine with us. We flew to Paris first and spent two nights before spending one night in Venice. Being upgraded to a room overlooking the Grand Canal was the highlight of our stay. We are glad that we booked our gondola ride in advance since once you get there, you may not know which company to use and they are all different. Have your travel agent do this for you if possible. Also have them arrange for your transfer from your hotel to the ship in advance. If you do not, you may get various prices quoted to you. Although we would have preferred more sea days, this turned out to be the fastest cruise we have ever been on with the most beautiful ports we have ever seen. THE SHIP The ship, although elegant and clean, was lacking in shade both on the balconies and by the pool areas. Due to the design of the Princess ships, the lower your deck is, the less privacy and shade you will have. The mini-suites are mainly on these lower floors, so if you cannot tolerate the sun, you will be unable to sit on your balcony on this cruise. To us, this was a big minus for Princess. We have also traveled on RCCL (Voyager, Brilliance, and Radiance), Carnival (Victory), and NCL (Dreamward and Gem). What we enjoyed most about this ship was the large screen TV at the outdoor pool, the Sanctuary at the Spa, the productions shows, and the newness of everything on the ship. EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION The embarkation process from Venice was very quick and pleasant, the best of any ship or port we have ever been on. We walked immediately onto the boat in less than ten minutes. Debarkation from Rome was sad scene due to a huge flood from the rain and only a tent with our luggage left there soaking wet. Passengers were expected to walk through about two feet of water to get to the buses for their transfers. THE PORTS The ports were breathtaking. The shore excursions were fantastic. You must be organized in advance, know what you want to see, and become a morning person if you are not already one. Take the half day tours and go early. Then spend the afternoon relaxing on the ship. Although the tours are not intensive, you will need to renew your energy since there are no sea days in between on this one. Know in advance how much walking you can do and how much sun you can take. Schedule your massages in advance. And do study your itinerary to be aware of what day of the week you will be in each port. This will determine how busy it will or will not be and what will be opened or closed. Our favorite ports were Dubrovnik, Rhodes, and Santorini. We also enjoyed Mykonos and AnaCapri (from Naples). Kusadasi and Athens were fine - but you must go early! Corfu and Katakalon were not as memorable. For Venice and Rome, there is not enough time to enjoy from this cruise, so hotel stays are recommended in either port. This cruise is all about the excursions, so choose the right ones and do it from home. We found the cruiseline excursions to be very well organized and perfect for us. CONCLUSION It is the itinerary of a lifetime and you must enjoy. The weather in mid-June was perfect although still hot. We would do it all over again the same way by staying in Paris and Venice first. Plan well, know what you want, and have your travel agent assist you for this one with the details. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
I hardly know where to start except to say that this was the best vacation I have ever taken.  The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and the Greek Isles were amazing.  Our cruise started in Venice and ended in Civitavecchia and went to ... Read More
I hardly know where to start except to say that this was the best vacation I have ever taken.  The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and the Greek Isles were amazing.  Our cruise started in Venice and ended in Civitavecchia and went to 11 ports over the course of our 12 day cruise.  The only black mark on the whole trip was the result of Princess Air. Because I am very tall I had requested a bulkhead seat or an exit aisle seat.  They said it was taken care of... yeah.  On the flight over DW and I were in the center section of a 747 in the last row of economy.  The seats in the last row do not recline, however the seats in from of those seats do.  The head of the passenger in front of me was practically in my lap and I had no way to relax or recline, much less sleep.  The stewardess took pity on me and let me sit in her jump seat, which was far less cramped but just as uncomfortable.  Without a doubt the most miserable flight I have ever been on.  That being said, the rest of the trip was spectacular.  Food:  We generally ate breakfast on the Lido deck, lunch in port and dinner in the Boticelli Dining room.  The food was great both the portions and quality.  A breakfast note for those that like omelets; the square center section in the kitchen on the Lido deck is where the cooks work on the griddle.  Ask one of the kitchen staff behind the counter and they will relay your order to the cooks and call you when it is ready.  We also spent time most every evening at Vines, the wine bar.  In addition to an extensive wine list they also serve sushi, cheeses and other appetizers that were delicious. Cabin: We were in a balcony stateroom.  The cabin was comparable to those on other ships however there was one misleading aspect of the Princess web site.  The website showed the cabin having a very large balcony that was the width of the cabin itself but was square in shape and large enough for four patio chairs and a small table.  We were on Deck 11 (Baja) and that was NOT the size of our balcony, which was only half the size they pictured on the web site.  The decks below ours had the balcony stateroom with the larger balcony.  The layout of this closet in this cabin was great as we had ample space for clothes, shoes, luggage, etc.  The bathroom was a typical cruise ship bathroom with an undersized phone booth for a shower. Weather: We had no rain on this trip until the last day in Civitavecchia.  It was sunny every day with the hottest day being Athens and that was only 84 degrees with low humidity and cool breezes blowing up from the sea.  Santorini was very windy.  We asked one of the locals if it was always that windy and they said, "No, sometimes its worse". Ship: The ship was fantastic.  The public decks were laid out well and were very spacious.  On my early morning walks around the ship crew were every where meticulously cleaning and maintaining the ship. Crew: Without exception the crew on this cruise were great.  Very friendly and would bend over backwards to serve the passengers. Chair Hogs: We only had one sea day on this trip and the chair hogs were out in force.  I was strolling the deck at 7:30 AM the morning of our only sea day and while there was only 2 people in the MUTS pool at that time, there were hats, towels, shoes, and books on a couple of dozen chairs. Again it was 7:30 in the morning... Shows: The entertainment on this cruise was exceptional.  I detest the Vegas style revues that seem to dominate cruise entertainment, but the shows in the Princess Theater were great. Movies Under The Stars (MUTS):  We went to two movies on this trip. One was the Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  The wind was so loud that evening we were having trouble hearing the audio and left 30 minutes into the movie.  The other movie was Mama Mia. What a hoot to be watching a movie set in the Greek Isles on a cruise of the Greek Isles. Dirty Banana:  This is a frou frou tropical drink, but is it ever great.  It was the 'drink of the day' on day and once we discovered it we ordered it regularly at the pool.  The rest of the time we consumed either wine or martinis. Ports: Venice was amazing.  We of course went to St Marks Square, the Rialto Bridge and dined at a sidewalk cafe on the Grand Canal.  The day of our sail away we went down the Canal Della Guidecca with an incredible view of the city while the PA system on the ship is playing Time To Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli.  Magical...  Dubrovnik is an undiscovered gem.  To a person all of the people in our group (6) said they would move there in a heartbeat.  We walked the wall, dined at a restaurant by the harbor, and took boat tour around the city and the island just offshore. Corfu Greece was a bit of a letdown and in light of the port intensive nature of our itinerary we should have used that day as an extra "sea day" and stayed on the ship.  Katakolon was fantastic.  We took taxis to Olympia for the morning taking in the ruins and the museum at that site, and then returned to shop and dine in Katakolon in the afternoon. In Athens we caught taxis to the Acropolis and spent the day poking around the ruins.  We also dined at a fantastic Greek restaurant in the Plaka called Scholario.  The food is family style Greek and it and the Mythos beer were great.  In Mykonos we rented ATV's and cruised around the island stopping at a couple of different beaches and we had lunch at a restaurant near Little Venice.  In Kusadasi we took the only excursion on this, which was to Ephesus.  What an incredible place. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the ruins there.  In Rhodes we wandered through the old city, had lunch in the new city and went to the beach near the cruise terminal. On Santorini we explored the town of Fira on foot and made our way partway up to Oia.  We stopped at a great cafe for lunch called Cafe Vallas.  After the lunch and the beer we passed on making the rest of the journey up to Oia and headed back into Fira.  Our next port was Naples.  Honestly I don't know why Princess chose this as a port.  It is the ugliest, dirtiest city I have been to in quite some time.  Judging from the sidewalks of the city everyone in Naples smokes, as the streets were littered with cigarette butts and trash.  We took the train from Naples to Sorrento and spent most of our time there.  The train however turned out to be an antiquated subway with no A/C that was hot and smelly.  Because of the 30+ stops we made the trip took a little over an hour. The plan was to attempt to do Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi on our own, but the logistics of doing this on your own are too great a hurdle to overcome.  Save yourself the grief, go ahead and spend the money for the ship's tour.  Once we realized we did not have the time to do Positano and Amalfi our fall back plan was to take a hydrofoil out to Capri and then another one from Capri back to Naples. Once again this was the best vacation I have ever taken and I would go again without hesitation... Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
This was our 4th Princess cruise, and 10th cruise overall.  We selected this cruise mainly for the ports, but also for the new ship.  We were on the June 9 sailing from Venice to Civitavecchia.  We had an amazing time.  Venice - We had ... Read More
This was our 4th Princess cruise, and 10th cruise overall.  We selected this cruise mainly for the ports, but also for the new ship.  We were on the June 9 sailing from Venice to Civitavecchia.  We had an amazing time.  Venice - We had been to Venice before, but took the opportunity to spend another 3 days (including Embarkation day) in this fantastic city.  We stayed at the Hotel Becher.  It was great.  The room was quite spacious.  It was close enough to the Piazza San Marco, but far enough away.  The staff took excellent care of us.Cabin - We had in a balcony stateroom on Deck 10 (Caribe).  As other passengers have noted, our balcony was quite large.  The size of the cabin was what we expected.  The bed was very comfortable.  We had read that Princess had upgraded its bedding and we were pleasantly surprised.  Dining - We found the food to be among the best we have had on Princess.  The hot food was hot and the cold food was cold.  The menus have been revamped and there was a lot of variety, particularly on the dinner menus.  Everything tasted very good.  We ate breakfast in the Horizon Court or Caribe Cafe.  We were able to order freshly made omlettes at the Horizon Court.  This was a welcome service, as the powdered eggs were tasteless.  There was also a waffle station in the section where they served pizza for lunch.  We never had a problem finding a place to sit.  The servers were very attentive and brought coffee, tea and juice quickly.  We ate dinner in the Da Vinci dining room.  Much to our surprise and delight, we recognized Godwin, the head waiter.  He was also on the Coral Princess when we sailed the Panama Canal 5 years ago.  He recognized us too and took very good care of us.  We sat in the same general section each night and had the same waiter/bus person, Joey and Maila.  Joey was outstanding.  He remembered what we liked to drink and made great suggestions on the food.   We also went to Sabatini's one night.  As with prior Princess cruises, the food was excellent.  Entertainment - There were 3 production shows.  We saw two and were pleased.  As other passengers have noted, they also had comedians.  Two were good.  The one with the Duck puppet was awful.  The bands in the lounges were good.  The piano player in Crooner's was terrible.Bars - The staffs in Adagio and Crooner's were excellent.  They were very friendly and attentive.  We did not go to Vine's.  After looking at the tasting menus, we saw wines we can get at home, and didn't see the need to pay Princess's prices for them.Service - As mentioned above, the dining room service was top notch.  Our cabin steward, Rolando was also very good.  He cleaned our cabin promptly.  When we asked for things like robes and ice, he brought them quickly.Another passenger commented at how poor the service at the Purser's Desk was.  We agree with that.  We were on a 2:00 p.m. flight home from Rome.  We got our disembarkation information and noticed that they put us on a 5:30 am shuttle.  We stood on a long line, questioned it and they changed it to 7:15 am.  However, that shuttle was not scheduled to stop at the international terminal.  We returned to the Desk and stood on line for another 20 minutes.  We were directed to Paul, a supervisor, and explained that the person who changed our reservation had made an error.  Paul told us that it was not his problem or mistake, but was instead, ours.  After we asked to speak with a manager, he calmed down and explained that the latest shuttle he could put us on was at 6:15 am.  We had no choice, so we went along with it.  We got to the airport at 8:00 and had to sit there for 6 hours.  We were very disappointed in the lack of courtesy and respect.  Everyone else on the ship provided such excellent customer service.Ports - This itinerary was very port intensive.  We knew that going in, and really enjoyed each one.Dubrovnik - We took a taxi into town and walked the wall.  We got there early and beat most of the crowds.  We then took the ferry to Cavtat and had lunch at a lovely restaurant.  The day were in Dubrovnik was a local holiday, so a lot of the shops were closed.  After lunch, we took the ferry back to town and went back to the ship.Corfu - We didn't pre-arrange anything.  After getting off the ship, we hired a taxi driver, George, for a 4-hour tour around the island (e-mail autoxrisida@yahoo.gr).  Since we were by ourselves, we were able to stay ahead of the crowds everywhere.  We went to the Paleokastritsa, monastery, and Achillion Palace.  He stopped at a local bakery where he gets pastries, and suggested some treats for us.  They were incredible.  Our last stop was Pontikonissi.  We got some great photos of the beautiful view.  We headed back to Corfu Town and George arranged for us to have lunch at a local, authentic Greek restaurant.  The food and service were wonderful.  We would highly recommend George.Katakolon - We did the ship's tour to Olympia.  The guide was very good.  We're not huge fans of large groups.  We did the ship's tour because it was the easiest option.  There wasn't much else to do in this port, so we spent the afternoon getting some sun on the shipAthens - We arranged a private tour with Jordan Daioglou (www.athens-tours.gr or www.greece-tours.gr; e-mail greek-tours@hotmail.com).  He met us at the pier and we saw all of the wonderful sites in the city.  We beat the crowds everywhere.  He arranged for us to have lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the Acropolis, which was excellent.  We ended up talking with several other passengers, who also had a private tour through Princess.  They paid up to 4 times what we did for the same thing.  We would highly recommend Jordan.  He is knowledgeable, entertaining and accommodating.Mykonos - We took the public bus to Paradise Beach.  We rented chairs and an umbrella and had a great Greek lunch.  We were there early in the day, so things were quiet.  Apparently, things don't get rocking there until late in the afternoon and evening.  Kusadasi - We arranged a tour to Ephesus (and the House of the Virgin Mary and Church of St. Jean) with 2 other people with EKOL Travel (www.ekoltravel.com). Our guide, Berkant, was great.  It was terrific being in a small group.  While Ephesus was crowded, we didn't feel rushed.  We also saw the Terrace Houses, which was totally worth it.  We would definitely recommend EKOL.    Rhodes - We wandered through the old city on our own.  We went to the Palace of the Grand Masters and walked the Street of the Knights.  After climbing the Bell Tower, we asked one of the employees for a restaurant recommendation.  She sent us to Mamma Mika, which was outstanding.  Santorini  - We connected with another couple on the tender from the ship.  We took the cable car up, walked to the taxi station and hired a driver to take us around the island.  The drive lasted 90 minutes and we ended in Oia.  We walked around, and had lunch at a little taverna.  We then took the bus back to Fira and walked around some more.  We contemplated taking a donkey ride down to the tender.  It was quite a hot day and we saw donkeys slipping all over the place.  We walked down instead and were happy with our decision.Naples - As others have said, Naples itself is not a great place.  We arranged a private tour with 6 other people and DriveAmalfi (e-mail driveamalfi@hotmail.com).  Our guide, Salvatore, met us at the pier and we immediately headed down the Amalfi Coast.  We drove through Sorrento, Positano, Ravello and Amalfi, stopping along the way for photo opps.  Salvatore lives in Amalfi and has an amazing passion for the beauty and history of the whole area.  He arranged for us to have lunch at a wonderful restaurant in a small village overlooking the coast.  The view, food and service were indescribably wonderful.   After lunch, we went to Pompeii, where Salvatore arranged a private guide, Allesandro, to take us around the site.  He was fantastic.  While we didn't have a lot of time at Pompeii, he made sure we saw the main highlights.  We would highly recommend both.Closing comments - The Ruby Princess is a wonderful ship.  It has many amenities, which we weren't able to take advantage of, as we only had 2 days at sea.  We loved the itinerary.  We had become huge fans of private tours and will try to see other ports like that in the future. 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Sail Date June 2009
After many other cruises, my wife and I decided to try Princess. While the ship itself is indeed well maintained and clean, the level of service in certain areas will leave you wanting. Let's begin with the embarkation.If you ... Read More
After many other cruises, my wife and I decided to try Princess. While the ship itself is indeed well maintained and clean, the level of service in certain areas will leave you wanting. Let's begin with the embarkation.If you don't take Princess' transfers, you are left to your own devices to find your way to the ship. There are no signs or directions in Venice to help and Princess Customer Service prior to departure is of little help. There is a causeway from the Santa Lucia train station in Venice that you can use to get to the Piazza where for anywhere from 6-20 Euros a taxi will take you to the pier. There you will be able to place your luggage with cruise staff. From that point, it is fairly smooth sailing to further check in and board the ship according to a number system.Our cabin (an inside job) was very large and nice. We were pleasantly surprised. We were also most pleased with the service rendered by the cabin steward-great job Pramotebut that is de rigueur on cruise ships.There ended the pleasant surprises.We are not gourmands, but the food on the vessel was poor. Baked goods were over baked. Hot food that should have been cold and cold food that should have been hot. Desserts that were generally not sweet (with the possible exception of a chocolate-type cake/pie) and dry and cooks that came from the School of, "Let's Make This Look As Froo Froo As Possible So That People Will Think It Is Good of Cooking." Service in the Lido deck for breakfast or lunch was spotty at best; try to get coffee or ice tea...After a awhile, pizza and/or a cheeseburger became our lunch meal.Entertainment: The comedians were good. Billy Vader was very funny as were the others. The shows in the Princess Theater were also good. However, the rest was designed for a much older audience. The piano bar was pathetic. The other acts like Chucky the Duck were so stupid as to be insulting. Club Fusion was mildly entertaining. Our cruise director, James Ibrahim was a joke; not very funny, very good or very creative; kept using a variation of the same schtick!While many cruise ships "sell," Princess practices this incessantly!! Constantly!! Not just with the jewelry, but with the pictures and excursions and the pictures and the wines and the water and the pictures and the wine and the...anyway, you get the picture. It is oppressive!The ports of call are great. What could be bad about the Greek Isles, Venice, Italy & Ephesus? Some beautiful scenery and absolute antiquity that you can experience and relive. It would be nice if Princess didn't charge to get you into town in some stops like Venice...pretty chintzy, Princess!!!!But the worst of all was our disembarkation in Rome (CIVITAVECCHIA). It was a cluster!! While the rain didn't help, Princess just plopped the luggage in rows under some leaky tents in puddles of water with no signs. After a short while you figured it out but it would have been nice if they had some help available. Also, there was supposed to be a free shuttle from the pier to the gate but once again, no sign or direction of where these shuttles might be. You had to figure it out and there were two different areas where shuttles were parking. Bad planning for a cruise line that has this much experience!!Lastly, a word of caution: my wife and I are in our early 50s.For those of you looking for a younger crowd this (and I understand Princess in general) cruise won't be it. Looking around at our fellow passengers, I'd say that 80% were age 65 and greater. I take no issue with that, just stating a fact. That age demographic could explain the Princess Experience.I know that while generally we had a nice time, we could not recommend Princess nor would we set sail on another Princess ship.  Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
About the reviewer I am a 49 Y/O married man with 2 kids ages 11 and 12.   This was our 5th cruise and 2nd with Princess.  I am a Naval Officer.   I selected this cruise due to the itinerary and the brand new ship, Ruby Princess. ... Read More
About the reviewer I am a 49 Y/O married man with 2 kids ages 11 and 12.   This was our 5th cruise and 2nd with Princess.  I am a Naval Officer.   I selected this cruise due to the itinerary and the brand new ship, Ruby Princess.   Embarkation / Disembarkation Embarkation was flawless and fast.  We arrived at the Port of Venice at 1130.  From entrance to the terminal to boarding the ship, total time elapsed was 30 minutes.  Disembarkation did not fare as well.  Specifically, we opted for the "self disembarkation" status since we had our own arrangements to get to our hotel in Rome.  We were off the ship by 0730 only to discover our luggage had been placed in an outdoor tent way too small for all the luggage in pouring rain.  Upon entering the chaos in the tent, we found our luggage sitting in 4 inches of water!   To add insult, everyone and their luggage was so jammed packed under the tent, I had to carry each back at waist level tippy toeing around passengers to get out.  With all our clothes wet, it meant wearing the same clothes for another 2 days.   Service   As in the past with Sea Princess, room and restaurant service was top notch.   Our steward and waiter would do anything to ensure our satisfaction.   One note of difference, the servers in the buffet area were exceptional.   From the moment you sat down till the moment you left, someone was always ensuring your coffee was hot and your juice glasses filled.   If however, you tried to get a drink using your free refill card in any show lounge, FORGET IT, servers avoided us like the plague.    Ruby Princess gets failing grades with the pursers' desk, the two Brazilian individuals in particular were no less than awful, acting annoyed if your needs were not simple and quick.  In addition, another area terribly concerning was the level of response to a legitimate health concern within the room.  Immediately upon initial arrival in our stateroom (235 Aloha Deck) we noticed an overpowering smell of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) like varnish or paint thinner.  My wife was experiencing an immediate reaction of headache, nausea and dizziness.  Princess staff acted as if there was no smell.  It was not until I identified myself as someone with a Masters in Occupational Health they began taking action.  It took 4 hours to get a response to our concern whereby we were offered a temporary alternate cabin for the night.  Needless to say, our port day in Venice was ruined.   Itinerary   This particular cruise was very port intensive, calling on 10 ports in 12 days including Venice where we were docked a day and a half before leaving.   Each stop was very beautiful.  What was very disappointing was how early we were required to pull out each afternoon (4:30-5:30).  Trips between ports of call taking 3-4 hours by regional ferries (such as Athens to Mykonos) required we take 12-14 hours, crawling at 10 knots.   We can only assume Princess wanted us on board to spend money or they were too cheap to burn fuel a higher rate.  With excursions getting back at 3:30 or 4:30, it left little or no time to legitimately explore on your own.   Also of note, when 3080 passengers plus some crew descend upon quaint ports such as Mykonos or Santorini, you will find yourself dodging massive crowds and tour groups of 30- 40 people, not exactly relaxing.   Food   Food was hit or miss, overall I would rate is 3.5 out of five.   In general, we found the food in the buffet area for dinner to be bland and lacking.  I offer some details of foods not to be missed and foods better left alone.   Foods not to be missed -Pizza (YUM!) -Fettuccini Alfredo in main dinning room (best I have ever had anywhere) -Chocolate cake in main piazza pastry shop -Pork Belly in main dining room -NY cheese cake   Foods better left alone -Steaks (any and all) in main dining area, they were bland and tough -mousse -they tasted like eating grease -chocolate cakes in buffet area (bland) -Scrambled eggs in buffet, powered, YUCK.   On board experience   Overall Princess get high marks for keeping 3000 passengers apart using clever tactics such as two show rooms offering the same shows twice in a row so passengers can view both shows over two separate nights.   One feature that really really jumped out at us was how Princess constantly marketed to us. The "Welcome Aboard Show" featured 45 minutes of Princess hocking their wares, showing all the places you could spend additional $$ such as the optional dinning rooms, very disappointing.  If you are planning a cruise on Ruby, skip the opening show unless you like be shaken down to spend money.   On the first formal night there were no less than six photography stations set up, two blocking main passage way. I made no apologies for waling right through a photo shoot taking place directly in the path of passenger along the main Promenade deck.    Spirits, beer and wine are reasonably priced from 3.50-7.00.   Concluding remarks   Overall, the trip was nice, but I would caution expecting rest and relaxation.   With more time in each port and less being marketing to, the experience might have been more enjoyable and relaxing.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Greetings Everyone, I have no financial interest in Princess Cruise Lines or the travel industry in general. I write this review solely for the purpose of helping people out on Cruise Critic who want personal reviews of their experience ... Read More
Greetings Everyone, I have no financial interest in Princess Cruise Lines or the travel industry in general. I write this review solely for the purpose of helping people out on Cruise Critic who want personal reviews of their experience on a vacation. I do this to thank those who have done the same in the past and have helped me tremendously in selecting my vacation destinations and plans. So here goes the review. I can't believe what I read in some of the reviews. My family's experience on our June 9th cruise on the Ruby Princess from Venice to Rome via the eastern Mediterranean was nothing short of spectacular. I can't say enough about the ship and the itinerary. First let's talk about the family. Last year my family of four, two adults in their late forties and two boys ages 11 and 13 sailed to Alaska and loved the cruise on RCL. I had to fight to get them to go on a Princess Cruise because RCL is pretty much known for their family cruises and Princess was not so known, at least to us, as a family friendly cruise line. I can tell you unequivocally that the facilities were stellar and the kids had a blast. The only downside was that the facilities were not open as frequently as the ones on the RCL cruise we took. There were plenty of kids on the ship and my kids had a blast. The ship was totally family friendly and spectacular. The climbing wall last year was great but the movie under the stars was much more functional and fabulous for all the passangers. Next, let's take on the ship. Beautiful and Spectacular. That was easy. On to the entertainment: The shows were great and very entertaining. In comparison to other cruises the singers were slightly off of what we had experienced in the past but I can say unequivocally that they were great. The comedians were also great.  The cruise director was a little corny but I have to respect how hard he worked and what a tough job he has so I can't complain much. The food was wonderful. Yes it is cruise food and you kind of get the same stuff on most cruises we have been on, but I must comment again that the food was above average to excellent on the food bars. The dining experience for us was not good but we don't care to go to the dining rooms so we went once and settled in on the food bar. The service in the food bar dining area was excellent and I commend the people who work there for their hard work. Some of the night clubs were not very crowded and there was not a lot of night life on the cruise but I attribute this to the full exhausting itinerary of a port a day and the spectacular ports we visited. Not to say it was empty at night but I bet people were tired and just could not stay out late. You had to be superhuman to go out all day and party beyond 11:30. It is hard to find any negatives on this cruise but if I had to peg one macronegative about how Princess runs their business it is the incessant sales, cost of excursions, and watered down drinks.  Left me feeling like a dairy cow constantly being milked. I guess in this competitive environment with volume down and price going with it, the marketing focus must be get them on the ship and make it up wherever we can. In conclusion don't believe anyone else about the age of the passengers, the hassle of disembarkation, the bad food and so on and so forth. This is a must take cruise, a beautiful ship well operated by Princess who really wants to attend to their passengers needs. My sincere thanks to the crew and entertainment for the great experience we had in the Eastern Mediterranean. In one word to all those contemplating this Cruise this year or next: GO Read Less
Sail Date June 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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