72 Venice Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

Pre cruise we stayed on the Grand Canal at the Hotel Santa Chiaria in Venice right off of Piazza Roma. This hotel is convenient to the airport bus drop off location (6 Euros per person for the airport bus) and also to the People Mover that ... Read More
Pre cruise we stayed on the Grand Canal at the Hotel Santa Chiaria in Venice right off of Piazza Roma. This hotel is convenient to the airport bus drop off location (6 Euros per person for the airport bus) and also to the People Mover that you can take to the port for embarkation (1 Euro per person). The ship was a delight. It is quite spacious with many public areas to lounge/linger in. There are activities that would please a variety of tastes. We enjoy the bingo (yes we were winners several times!), the dance classes, just wandering around the ship "people watching" and the shows in the theater. We thought the shows were great and there was a nice variety between production shows, comedians and musicians. We found all to be very entertaining. To us, the most important Princess employees on the ship are our cabin steward and our main dining room waiters. These people were superb. We find the ship board employees of Princess to be one of their biggest assets. Everyone is so very helpful and will go out of their way to assist you. We enjoyed dining in the main dining room and the sharing of our daily activities with our table mates. There were always food selections that pleased us and the food was prepared to perfection. We did participate in the Chefs Table experience one evening and that was a total delight. The meal was one of the top five meals I have ever eaten. This is an experience that I would suggest in a heart beat. It is not offered on all cruises and is just by luck of the draw as far as participation. Check with dining via ships phone as soon as you get on board on the day of embarkation to put your name on the list. Our disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale was a tad late but overall very unremarkable. U S Customs did not have enough personnel to handle the size of the ship and things got a little backed up on board. Overall, this was another GREAT trip with Princess and the Ruby was a delight to call home for our 27 days! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was my sister and I's first cruise. We booked a mini-suite, on the recommendation of others. It was wonderful! Nice, roomy, decent bathroom and closet space, plus a cabinet and safe. The room also had a "living area" ... Read More
This was my sister and I's first cruise. We booked a mini-suite, on the recommendation of others. It was wonderful! Nice, roomy, decent bathroom and closet space, plus a cabinet and safe. The room also had a "living area" with couch, chair and table. Two TV's, storage and counter space allowed plenty of places for our collections along the way. Also included was a small refrigerator. Of course, the balcony was wonderful, also. We spent time out hanging onto the railing, watching as we left port and occasionally, as we entered a new port. How these big ships can maneuver and turn is amazing. I was impressed with the speed and organization at Check-IN (embarkation) I've heard horror stories about other cruise lines! Many employees around to guide you in each direction, as needed, for each step of the way. ALL the staff was extremely friendly, always with a smile, no matter how many questions I asked. Our luggage was quick to arrive to our rooms. We hurriedly unpacked. Our Room Steward brought us Champagne and fruit. How nice! We later wandered around the ship. I took the "SHIP TOUR", which was offered. I met a new "Assistant Cruise Director", Catalina, (Cat, for short) Throughout the length of the cruise, when we saw each other, she always recognized me and said a warm, "Hello, Miss Laura". We often chatted for a few moments, as she would tell me how her new job experience was developing. She was such a genuine person! All the staff had smiles and seems willing to help or offer their services. (even when NOT requested) I loved the decor and theme of this ship!! Beautiful beyond imagination! My taste, for sure. Even Fresco paintings on the walls, mosaics and water falls, dark wood paneling. Very elegant,lovely, and quite calming. (I looked at photos of other cruise line ships. Their decor would give me a migraine, what with all the colors, shapes, patterns and craziness!) The TV had a channel that kept everyone updated with location and another channel describing the cities we would visit. The nightly Theater shows were mostly OK. A few were really good, (the song and dance numbers) The magician wasn't very good. The shows filled up so fast, we had to get there about 30 mins. BEFORE show time to get a good seat. The pools looked lovely, but we were not into swimming. We DID enjoy the outdoor movies. Really fun, with popcorn and a blanket to keep us warm. We choose ANYTIME dining....thinking it was the Buffet. It was NOT...it was in a choice of two BEAUTIFUL, Elegant dining rooms. Very fancy, with white table cloths, servers for all our courses. We were quite impressed! We did eat in the buffet often, for dinner. Many items to choose, all the ones we tried, we liked. We never did eat breakfast, choosing ROOM SERVICE, because we had to get off the ship so early to see each city we visited. We were disappointed in the offerings for Room Service Breakfast. Beverages were good, coffee, tea, milk, juices, etc. Food choices very limited. Oatmeal available. I ordered the Egg McMuffin with cheese and ham. Small, dry, (no condiments) and muffin not tasty. Croissant was very small, so my sister started ordering two. We thought to have sandwiches delivered, to take along on our tours. That did NOT work out, as they came DRY, no condiments, no lettuce, and UNwrapped. We put them in ziplock bags we had in our room. We didn't order sandwiches anymore. One thing that was GREAT.....being an American ship, I was able to get money from an ATM, on board. There is also a Money Exchanger for Euros.A small fee of $4.50. was charged. Throughout the cruise, live music was playing in the Piazza, on the 5th deck center. This was so wonderful. Even as we left Venice, the Venice Symphony was playing. Great moment to remember. This was a very exciting time for me. I hope to take another cruise in the future. Thank you to Princess for a memorable time. Plus, good weather! All-in-all, a GREAT first cruise and I hope the beginning of many more! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Decided to chance going on a cruise at this time of year.For first 8 days the seas were really calm and only the overnight from Naples to Rome was really rough.The flight to Rome was excellent with BA,embarkation was slick as usual.Cases ... Read More
Decided to chance going on a cruise at this time of year.For first 8 days the seas were really calm and only the overnight from Naples to Rome was really rough.The flight to Rome was excellent with BA,embarkation was slick as usual.Cases were in room in an hour.Met Joseph our room steward who always had a smile and his service was wonderful.This ship always has good feel about it and out of all the cruise ships we have been on, its our favourite. We chose anytime Dining,but not sure if we would do this again as we never really got to know the dining staff and missed out on meeting other cruisers which set dining allows.On one evening we went for diner in the Crown Grill,fillet steak was superb as was the service.On another evening we went to Sabatinis on our wedding anniversary and this was an absolute treat. Waiter Vanilson Carvalho excelled throughout this experience, highly recommended.I would say that the Horizon Court has improved signifantly since we were last on this ship.We bought a speciality Coffee card which was worthwhile as our room was near the International cafe. Another treat was Vines wine bar,Joy the wine waitress remembered our names from the first night and she really looked after us.Another tip about Vines they don't really promote is the Flights of Wine which are excellent value , served in Chrystal glasses and served with Tapas.Never really felt ripped off with drinks on this ship(not like some other cruise companies ).As this bar was in the Atrium we were also able see the other entertainment treats going on. The entertainment started with Dan the cruise director and Colin the deputy.They make a fantastic team and probably the best I have come across.They could do a show on there own as the humour was fantastic.Breakfast show was also fun.The theatre shows were also very good but the best was the Freddie Mercury Tribute,we went to both shows and were blown away.The Guitarist doing the Brian May music was also brilliant as were his solos in the Atrium. Been on this Itinarey before so did most of our own thing.I would say most of the Islands are starting to close for winter and its starting to get much cooler in places.We decided not to overdo the trips as the last time we came home worn out.Decided to spend more time on the ship when everyones off. A mistake we made was going on a Naples and coast open top bus tour.We got off before the coast bit as we had seen enough.What a state this City is in !!!,shall go to Capri next time.On the last night and the voyage to Rome,the seas were real rough,it never put us off as we really enjoyed this cruise and met some lovely new friends. Princess arranged our flight back to Heathrow and we were stuck in Rome Airport for nearly 6 hours,not a good end to a holiday especially when we found that others were on a flight to heathrow 3 hours before us. Highly recommend the Ruby Princess with its lovely staff.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Our 21st cruise, 3rd Princess, was all we expected and more. No rain, one overcast day, the rest were picture perfect--50's at night...high 60's days! Embarkation was a breeze once we got to the terminal. We were in Venice one ... Read More
Our 21st cruise, 3rd Princess, was all we expected and more. No rain, one overcast day, the rest were picture perfect--50's at night...high 60's days! Embarkation was a breeze once we got to the terminal. We were in Venice one night before the cruise and took a water taxi to e maritime stazione. Princess had a bag check on the pier which was great---the downside was it was still a 10 minute walk to the cruise terminal. A five minute wait for our turn with the check-in crew, got our room cards and walked on the ship. Our room was ready (R702-a port side balcony 10 steps away from the aft elevator on the 14th floor). The only complaint I have on the whole cruise was the size of the cabin in general and the bathroom in particular. Smallest balcony cabin we have ever stayed in. Great location for our traditional dining though--straight down to floor six and the Bottecelli dining room. Table for eight with great table mates from Canada. Our servers, Edgar and Leah, were excellent--very attentive and great sense of humor. We thought the food was great. It was served hot and was very tasty with a great selection if you were not into fancy fare. This was a port intensive cruise so breakfast was a quick bite in the buffet or room service. Buffet was very diverse and met our expectations. Serving areas are not as large as some other ships but no delay in getting groceries. We didn't eat lunch on the ship but a few times but thought food and selection was fine. We went to the Crown Grill steakhouse one night. The service was great but we have had better food and ambiance but ok for $25 pp cover charge. The entertainment was your usual ship board quality. Ok but not great--production shows as well as specialty acts. Cruise director Dan was a hoot! Made up for some of the entertainment doldrums. For a full sailing, the ship never seemed crowded. Public areas, casino, shops and pool areas were very spacious. We did our own excursions with CC acquaintances. We believe you always get a higher quality experience at a lower cost. We were not disappointed. Neither photographers nor drink servers were pushy with their wares. All the staff was very friendly and the ship was clean and in good condition. Our third Med cruise, all with different cruise lines. Good, not the best, but a great itinerary with good food and great companions. All in all good experience. Recommended.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I reached my 60th Birthday in August but my celebration was my first cruise with my husband in October. It proved to be well worth the wait. We flew from Manchester to Venice via Frankfurt and the embarkation process went very smoothly. ... Read More
I reached my 60th Birthday in August but my celebration was my first cruise with my husband in October. It proved to be well worth the wait. We flew from Manchester to Venice via Frankfurt and the embarkation process went very smoothly. We arrived at 8.40 pm and were able to get a beautiful evening meal in Horizon Court. Choice was plentiful and flavoursome throughout the Cruise. After our meal we had a quick look around the ship to check out the facilities. From Day one the staff in the Wheelhouse Bar were friendly and attentive, making us feel special quickly calling us by our names which is a lovely touch. The International Cafe was lovely especially when the musicians played there. Beautiful snacks and drinks served here throughout our stay. For the first 24 hours I must admit to feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of the ship and unsure of the protocols around cruising. During our first day at sea we became much more comfortable and familiar with everything. The entertainment was very good, particularly the ships dancers, vocalists and musicians. The Mercury Rising Show was the highlight of the entertainment for us. We would travel to Venice just to see this act again. Ruby Princess and her crew helped me celebrate a very memorable 60th Birthday. The staff on the customer information desk were helpful, especially Tom. We witnessed some customers being very rude and demanding but the staff maintained a professional and helpful attitude. The only down side for me was the disembarkation which was done at 8.30 a.m. We were at the airport at 9.30 for a flight which left at 3.20pm. We were unable to check in until after 12 noon and the only seating available was for disabled persons, consequently we had to stand for nearly three hours with our suitcases before check in. This spoiled an otherwise lovely holiday. This was the only time that we didn't feel like valued customers of Princess Cruises.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We just returned from a 7 day cruise from Venice to Athens. Background information: we have been on 30 plus cruises on Princess, RC, Celebrity, Holland America, NCL and Carnival. We chose this cruise for its length and ports of Venice, ... Read More
We just returned from a 7 day cruise from Venice to Athens. Background information: we have been on 30 plus cruises on Princess, RC, Celebrity, Holland America, NCL and Carnival. We chose this cruise for its length and ports of Venice, Croatia and Istanbul. We flew from NY to Venice the day before the cruise left. After landing in Venice, we took a water taxi to our hotel. It is a little expensive but the way to go. We booked it on-line, Viator, greet and meet option. They meet you once you arrive, take your luggage and walk you to the water taxi. The boat ride into the city is wonderful. We stayed at the Violino D’ Oro hotel. It is a small hotel and our room was overlooking a small canal where there was a gondolier station. The hotel is centrally located, close to St. Mark’s Square. It was reasonably priced and listed as a 3 star hotel. We loved it as it gave us a flavor of Venice. The next day, we boarded the ship late in the day as the cruise ships are about a half an hour from the city central. We checked out of our hotel, left our bags there and explored the city. We took bus boat for 8 euros to the cruise ship. The city was very crowded as 13 cruise ships were in port. Check Inn was easy. The walk to the ship was quite a distance. We stayed overnight on board in Venice but did not go back into the City as we were leaving at 1 o’clock. Princess offers unlimited boat service to the city central for $15 per person which is automatically charged to your room. We didn’t use it and it was credited to our account. Room: We had a balcony on the 10th floor which had an expanded balcony with 4 chairs and a table. We loved it. Food: We were pleasantly surprised. The food was excellent and the buffet was one of the best we have seen. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room, we didn’t do any specialty restaurants. Entertainment: We didn’t do much but what we did we liked. The comedian was very good, the deck party was fun, and the Venice strings were wonderful, offered lots of movies. Ports: Venice-sailing out of Venice past the city was wonderful. Dubrovnik " we took a tour to Ston as we had been to the old city before. Croatia is absolutely beautiful. Corfu-nothing special-lots of shops selling the same stuff. Istanbul: We took an all day tour that went to the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia Church, the Palace and the Marketplace. It was very interesting. Mykonos: we went to the beach. Athens: we did early walk off the ship as we had a 12:30pm flight. It was very easy and there were tour vans and taxies waiting. We took a tour with VIP Mini Van of Athens and they dropped us at the airport. Our driver and tour guide was Tasos who was great. The company’s email address is athensvan@yahoo.com. We were able to go places the tour buses could not go. He took us to the highest peak overlooking the city. It was beautiful. Cost $250 euros for 4 people. Well worth it. All in all, a great cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Sailed on the Ruby, 21-night Venice to Barcelona, September 21-October 12, 2013. This was our 4th Princess cruise, 2nd on Ruby. This was a great trip - ZERO complaints. Husband is gluten free. I can not tell you how absolutely fabulous the ... Read More
Sailed on the Ruby, 21-night Venice to Barcelona, September 21-October 12, 2013. This was our 4th Princess cruise, 2nd on Ruby. This was a great trip - ZERO complaints. Husband is gluten free. I can not tell you how absolutely fabulous the staff was in accommodating his needs - and many other people with various food allergies. NEVER had an issue, had multiple waiters, but Francesco, the head waiter, oversaw every meal that was served in the dining room. Pizza station prepared gluten-free pizza upon request, and it was delicious. The excursions we selected were all worthwhile, with very satisfactory guides. The shows were average, but as it turned out, we met so many nice people at "share" tables, that we lingered at dinner and rarely made it to the shows. The ship is very clean, the staff everywhere on the ship was very gracious, friendly and helpful. We are now booked on the Ruby for a 5-day Carribbean, and the Panama Canal trip from Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale next fall. We are very satisfied with Princess and hope this good relationship continues. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We loved our cruise on the Ruby Princess. The ship is very nice except that the cabins are a little bit outdated. We actually got a sheet with a hole in it and they all looked a little worn out. Princess needs to consider changing their ... Read More
We loved our cruise on the Ruby Princess. The ship is very nice except that the cabins are a little bit outdated. We actually got a sheet with a hole in it and they all looked a little worn out. Princess needs to consider changing their sheets when needed. But the public areas were good and the service was excellent. The only area on the Princess ships that leaves it open to think that the person that designed it was not thinking straight is the Horizon cafe. It is cramped and people run around like the food is going to run out. We try to go early or late to avoid the feeding frenzy. This was a very port intensive cruise so we hardly had to deal with the Horizon Cafe. This cruise was 3 in 1, but we did only 2. First part was Venice to Athens. Second part was Athens to Rome. Third part was Rome to Barcelona. One thing we could not believe is that they put the same menu in the MDR. So I can imagine that those that stayed for the 3rd part ended up eating from the same menu three times. Princess needs to rethink this issue. I am sure that if they can sell a 21 day cruise, they can come up with 3 different menus. Venice, Santorini and Istanbul was the main reason we booked this cruise. We were not disappointed. We spent a few days in Venice before the cruise and loved every minute of it. Best way to enjoy Venice is just walking around and getting lost. The ship leaving Venice is a definite must. We booked a balcony on the port side and were able to enjoy the view without mobs of people trying to see over each other in the upper deck. The view is incredible. Dubrovnik was a wonderful stop. We took the funicular and enjoyed breathtaking views of the old city. We also went up on the wall, but I didn't care much for walking around it. They tell you that they will take euros in town, but a lot of the places refused to and one place even told us that it was illegal. We didn't care much for the cold and uncaring attitude of the vendors in the old town, but overall this place is well worth it. You don't need a tour, you can take the shuttle bus into town and back to the ship. Corfu could have been skipped. We took a tour that took us up mountains in this huge bus. It felt very unsafe. One of the villages you have to go through, the bus could hardly get through because the road was as wide as the bus and it was lined with houses. The guide thought it was funny, but one mistake by the driver and we would have beens stuck. The Virgin Mary monastery was not appealling. It smelled up cat urine and feces. Definitely a waste of time. Istanbul was a great experience. Ladies you have to cover your hair to enter the Blue Mosque. They didnt tell us that in the port lectures, but you do. As you enter if you dont have your own hair cover, they will give you this blue piece of cloth that a lot of other people use. If you are wearing shorts, men and women will have to wrap one of those blue wraps around their body. They also make you take your shoes off. Make sure you were socks, the place smells like feet so I can only imagine how dirty the carpet is. The Blue Mosque was nice, but I liked the Haiga Sophia better. Overall we loved our visit to Istanbul and would go again. We felt safe all the time, except when those annoying kids would push against you to sell you perfume. I bought one for $20 and all I got was alcohol with a smell. THEY ARE FAKE!!! But I was tired of the kid. Mykonos was very nice to walk around and get lost. Go up to the windmills, the view is beautiful. They have an area that they call Venice and it's very nice. You can sit there and have a drink or get something to eat. Athens was a nice experience, except that besides the Acropolis, there is not much more to do. To get up the Acropolis you have to walk A LOT of steeps steps. There were thousands of people there and it was a miracle nobody tripped. It's worth the climb, but very very strenous. Santorini was incredible. We took a tour that first took us to a winery at 8:00am. We didnt have any wine, but the views from up there were breathtaking. From there we went to Oia for 1.5 hrs. The drive to Oia is incredible. You are on the side of a mountain on one of those big buses, but you get incredible views. Oia was wonderful and we got to walk around take a lot of pictures of th blue dome, etc. We went back to Fira and there we were left on our own. We took the funicular down to the ship. Rhodes was a nice place to walk around, do some shopping and sit to have a drink. The place is very crowded. The Gran Master Palace is so full of people at one time that it's hard to even walk around. But it's worth a visit. Crete was a waste, we definitely should have skipped it. We took a tour that took us to Knossos Palace for about 1.5 hrs then they gave us 40 mins in the downtown area that was a waste. I would not even care to get off in Crete again. Kusadasi was interesting but we had bad weather so we chose not to go on the tour to Ephesus. We walked to the Gran Bazaar, did some shopping and went back to the ship. As we were sitting in the Sky Walker lounge, a horrible storm broke out. All of the sudden the ship was pushed by the strong winds, the ropes broke and the ship started drifting sideways. We could feel the ship tilting to one side. The capt came on the speakers to call out an alert. He sounded out of breath. Within minutes he took control of the ship. Thank God we did not hit the pier or anything else when the ship was shifting out of control. The day stayed pretty much the same, so we just stayed on the ship. Our last stop was Naples. We took a tour to Capri. This is an incredible place. It is worth going back to spend a couple of days. The tour was quick, but there wasnt much time. You have to take a water ferry for 50 mins and you have to make sure to get on the 4pm ferry back to make it on the ship on time. We loved Capri and Annacapri. Beautiful place with an incredible view. Our desembarkation was in Rome. We took a tour of the Roman Countryside with RomeCabs. Michele (Michael) our driver was incredible. He knew where to go and always got there on time. We went to Odelgasi Castle where Tom Cruise and Katy got married. Incredible!! We also went to the Necropolis. Very interesting place. He took us to a town named Ceri that is on top of a mountain. There is only one road in and out. We had lunch at a restaurant that was incredible. The best fettucine I have ever had. The service was impecable. We definitely recommend them. Our day ended in the hotel Hilton Garden Inn near the airport. We rested and took our flight back home the next day.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and the Sail Away from Venice was magic. We had a balcony cabin r626 on deck 14. No noise either late at night, early morning or during the day from the public deck above - Horizon. Our cabin steward was a ... Read More
Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and the Sail Away from Venice was magic. We had a balcony cabin r626 on deck 14. No noise either late at night, early morning or during the day from the public deck above - Horizon. Our cabin steward was a gem, kept the stateroom immaculate, responded to any of our requests with a smile. Embarkation was a breeze and our luggage was in the cabin promptly. We had 18 ports and only 3 sea days so it was a full-on cruise. We would have enjoyed a couple more sea days but wouldn't have liked to miss out on any or the ports, even those we had previously visited. We noticed on the sea days the ship seemed a lot more crowded. We had 'any time' dining and only waited when we wanted to have a table for 4. We were travelling with another couple and occasionally we liked to spend a meal just with each other. Met some lovely fellow cruisers and have kept in touch. The meals on Ruby were good but not as good as we have had on previous Princess Cruises - this could be due to the fact that the ship was full. We have been on longer cruises but never on a full ship before, and we could see the difference. I can't comment on the entertainment as we didn't attend any other entertainment except the musical shows, we tended to spend time with our friends and new people we met which was fun. We did a mixture of Princess excursions, those arranged thru CC and some just the 4 of us. We felt the Princess excursions which were the long full day ones, although expensive, very good value. All in all a terrific holiday on a lovely ship and we look forward to the next cruises booked for 2014.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We sailed on the Ruby on Sept 21st from Venice with stops in Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu, Kusadasi, Naples, and Crete. It was a very port intensive cruise but that is why we picked it! The ship was in good shape ... Read More
We sailed on the Ruby on Sept 21st from Venice with stops in Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu, Kusadasi, Naples, and Crete. It was a very port intensive cruise but that is why we picked it! The ship was in good shape and we were warmly greeted by every crew member. We had arrived a day ahead of time and stayed at Ca'Doge which is right next to the People Mover and the bus station. It was a great place to get to a ship however..... the Ruby was a good long walk from the people mover! Would have appreciated a shuttle of some type! We checked in later in the day so it was a breeze to get on. My DH however, had carried on his Multi tool and it was confiscated. He was not happy. He got it back later in the cruise however. Our meals were mainly in the buffet for breakfast and lunch and the anytime dining rooms for dinner. Most things were good and replenished often. The layout is a little hectic as people criss cross bake and forth around the buffet area. We sometimes had excellent service for juice and tea and sometimes we had to search it out. Coffee is just not good.... but somehow it grows on you. We also ate at the International cafe for snacks and it was always good. The food in the dining room has changed.. and on a 2 week cruise the menu began to repeat. Service was great some nights and just ok on others. We tried to sit with the same server a couple of times. He was a joy !When sitting in a group table of 8, we found the acoustics make it hard to hear our table companions. We did go to the shows. The individual acts were quite good but the production shows were lacking. They tried hard, but just not enough talent. The cruise director, Dan was a riot!! Very quick on his feet and the rest of the social staff was very engaging. The pool area was easier to access than on a Caribbean cruise. Never had trouble finding a seat but only got there 3 times! We did go the the Muts one night and enjoyed that. We found all tours and transfers to tenders, were pleasant and well organized. They sent you to an area of the ship to get the tender and gave you a group number and called you by group . No standing in line. All the staff helped to keep folks happy while waiting. The day we landed in Civetevechia the weather was awful!! Pouring rain and windy... the staff did a great job of getting folks to their transfers, running back and forth with umbrellas through large puddles. I felt the organization was very good. This was a dream trip for me due to the ports. The ship was full but rarely felt crowded. We enjoyed our stay on the Ruby! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We caught a water taxi to the ship door to door from our Venice Hotel to the port where we were met by Princess staff. Embarkation was easy and we settled into our room prior to having some lunch in the buffet. We had chosen the 6:15 ... Read More
We caught a water taxi to the ship door to door from our Venice Hotel to the port where we were met by Princess staff. Embarkation was easy and we settled into our room prior to having some lunch in the buffet. We had chosen the 6:15 dinner seating and had a table for 2. We enjoyed the company of the people near us and we thought the food was excellent. This cruise was 3 weeks and many people were on different sectors of it. We have only cruised once before this and we really enjoyed the longer cruise although I did mention in my evaluation with Princess that this cruise was marketed as a 21 day cruise in Australia (not 3 back to back weeks). There were some changes in staff and the menus were repeated but we were too exhausted from walking around ruins to be worried!! We took a couple of Princess tours which were good (they do a good job organising a crowd), several private tours with people we met on CC and in other ports we just wandered around or swam. I loved the ship, the staff and everything about the whole cruise experience - great entertainment, lots of fun activities to join in or just watch. Great cocktails, beer and wine!! Enjoyed meeting up with CC members before, and during the cruise. This was our first trip to Europe and it was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We sailed the Ruby Princess from Venice to Rome on the 12 Day Greek Isles on 4 August. This was our 13th cruise and the first on Princess. We were very pleased overall with the ship, crew and dining. We flew in a day before and took the ... Read More
We sailed the Ruby Princess from Venice to Rome on the 12 Day Greek Isles on 4 August. This was our 13th cruise and the first on Princess. We were very pleased overall with the ship, crew and dining. We flew in a day before and took the Alilaguna Water Bus from the airport to a bus stop right at our hotel for 15 Euro each. We chose a hotel, the NH Manin because it is right at the Sant' Angelo bus stop on the Grand Canal. You walk off the landing and take an immediate right and the door faces the canal. It was a good location; only minutes walk from St. Marks Square and the Rialto Bridge. The hotel room was a good size for Europe and they provide a full breakfast. We shared a water/land taxi combination to the ship which deposited us right at baggage drop off. We arranged the transportation through our hotel and it cost 100 Euro which we were fortunately able to share with another couple. All transportation in Venice is expensive, including the local vaporetti or water bus. Embarkation was well organized; we checked in quickly and were provided a number for boarding. We waited only about 20 minutes and by the time we boarded around 1:00PM, our cabin was ready. Our cabin was on Deck 14, all the way aft. It was a great location, near the Terrace pool, a bar, and the buffet. The ship was clean and well maintained. The wait staff and cabin steward did a great job and were friendly and helpful. The food in the buffet was among the best we have had in over 13 cruises. The quality and selection was excellent. There always seemed to be plenty of room to sit and service was excellent for water, coffee, and other such refreshments. We had the second seating for formal dining and the food too was quite good, although I must say some of the more unusual dishes we have encountered. We had great table companions and spending many enjoyable evenings conversing. This is a port intensive cruise with only two at sea days. But you really see a lot of beautiful scenery and ancient ruins. It is fascinating how advanced the Greek and Roman civilizations were 2000 years ago. One of the highlights of this cruise was the stop in Kusadasi Turkey which gave us access the ancient Roman city of Ephesus which was one of our more interesting stops. This city is huge and still partially buried. We took the optional tour of the Terrace houses which is not far out of the way, just a lot of steps. It was well worth it to see how the wealthy lived long ago. We took the ship's excursions in all ports which may be more expensive then local tours, but they proved to be excellent. The guides were very knowledgeable and spoke fluent English. The buses were new and comfortable. The meals provided on two of our tours were excellent local fare. We found the theater entertainment lacking in variety and quality. The ships singers and dancers were excellent but we did not see as much of them as we would have liked. Some nights there was no theater production. One comedian was OK but the mentalist put us to sleep, maybe he was really a hypnotist. This poor showing of shows was the only drawback to an excellent cruise. We particularly enjoyed the "Movies Under the Stars". This is a great feature for Carnival and Princess, we watched several movies. Disembarkation in Civitavecchia was well organized. Within a couple days of boarding, we were provided a form to indicate when we wanted to go ashore. We had to be out of our cabins by 8:00 but could stay in the lounges or Buffet until leaving. Once we left, our luggage was readily available and our transportation to Rome was right on time. We stayed over a few days in Rome and used Bobs Limo for transportation. It was a pleasant ride to our hotel in downtown Rome. We stayed at the Hotel Adriano. The room was comfortable with great air conditioning along with a full breakfast. Additionally, it was a great location, within walking distance of most attractions; Vatican City, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and the main shopping street Via del Corso.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We had always travelled "by land" in Europe so this was a huge change for us. We thought this would be the best way to see Greece and it really was. We were delighted with our perfect cabin and wonderful stewart Apolonio from The ... Read More
We had always travelled "by land" in Europe so this was a huge change for us. We thought this would be the best way to see Greece and it really was. We were delighted with our perfect cabin and wonderful stewart Apolonio from The Philippines .. he could not do more for us from the first glass of champage to repairing my suitcase ! In fact the people on the ship were consistantly excellant and had a smile for all occasions. I had been abit worried about certain aspects of cruising - since we always travel alone and like it that way but we opted for casual dining and every night found a table of new friends. The food was varied and after having a large table for 10 which we found hard to speak around - we just asked for 6 or 8 seating - we never waited more than a couple of moments for a table as we always shared - I cant imagine sitting by ourselves and not getting "into" it. And wasnt it nice to not have people on their phones or texting - it is such an annoying habit that we really were pleased to not see !! I find generally British travellers are the ones you want to share with - they have the right attitude to travel - they want to enjoy themselves and are open and friendly (I am abit predjudiced as my husband is Scottish). Other travellers really shouldnt leave home - always finding something to complain about - but when we found ourselves with a couple like that - well we just chatted around them and let them natter away to themselves then avoided them in future ! Most cruisers seemed to be very experienced ! The things we were disappointed in was the expensive and poor quality internet access - and that is only because we have to keep in touch with our office and most of the time it took a long time of your paid allocation to connect - it should really be a free service.We took several excursions and they were really well organised and the guides obviously well versed in their destinations. We felt we got good value for our money. We also went on our own for some places - Corfu, Olympia, Dubrovnik and Naples - it is very easy to get around on your own in any of the ports actually. We also had a good experience embarking - we were in our cabin before noon and cases there soon after .. and leaving went smoothly as well as we had an early flight from Rome. Although we probably wont be cruising again any time soon - we still prefer the freedom a car has - we would recommend this tour for anyone wanting to see this area. We really liked our cabin location too - it was very private and close enough to the elevator we could go to 15th deck easily and stairs to 7th deck for promenade. Although we were right above Club Fusion did not hear a peep (although in saying that - it was never busy ..)The only sound we had was when coming into port - but after the first time - we knew what the noise was and just ignored it ..I am sure seasoned travellers would not notice it. We were also pleased with the comfort of our beds - and used our balcony every day - just relaxing with a cold bottle of wine There are so many places to relax on board that it was easy to find a quiet or active spot - and lets face it the food is available all the time .. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We sailed Ruby Princess on her Mediterranean itinerary in July 2013, a 12-night voyage from Venice to Rome with stops in Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Italy. Our party consisted of us, two parents in our early forties with our 8 and 10-year ... Read More
We sailed Ruby Princess on her Mediterranean itinerary in July 2013, a 12-night voyage from Venice to Rome with stops in Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Italy. Our party consisted of us, two parents in our early forties with our 8 and 10-year old daughters. This was our 21st cruise, 3rd on Princess having previously sailed on Dawn and Grand. These are our thoughts on the line, ship and voyage. The line Since our last Princess cruise was in 2001, we had somewhat forgotten the unique differences that Princess offers. For us, the most glaring one, after recent cruises on Disney, Carnival and Royal Caribbean, was the subdued, lower key atmosphere of the line. Princess, like fewer lines these days, actually still seems to pride a more conservative cruise experience and one that doesn't try to make you forget you're on the ocean. This is expressed through the more classical design of the ships and attempt to not cast too much shadow over the fact you are on water with exuberant ship features or obnoxious activity programs. Don't get me wrong, I very much enjoyed Oasis and Allure of the Seas and similarly-intended contemporary vessels but on a port-intensive European outing, the quiet interludes that Princess provided in between stops were quite welcome. The ship For a 2008 ship which hasn't yet gone through a major refurbishment, it is certainly in more than decent condition. Frankly, having a recent cruise history dominated by new ships, we were worried. However, these were quickly put to rest. The line has done a good job keeping Ruby ship shape. If we noticed significant wear, I would say it was in the mini-golf and perhaps in the gym where treadmill reliability was hit and miss but that's about it. Couldn't name another area where upkeep was deficient. Ditto for our cabin. Furniture, beds, fixtures and the like were in good condition and our home away from home would have scored almost perfect if it wasn't for cleanliness. Our cabin steward was friendly and quick, never in the way. However, he probably as a result of his efficiency skimped over details too much like putting back in place dirty glasses, serving welcome aboard bubbly in lipstick-adorned flutes or going a tad too easy on refreshing the bathroom floor. While on the topic of our cabin, we had booked a mini-suite. Before you all ask, no we did not mind the open air balcony. The size was a major plus and the ability to look up was also fun. But above and beyond everything else, we think this cabin layout is the best we've seen on a cruise ship to accommodate a larger party without splurging for a full suite or two cabins. The four of us felt quite comfortable. Food was more than decent. Buffet pleased us 9 times out of 10 and the dining room 7 out of 10. In the latter, we had Anytime Dining and barely ever waited. We tried both Crown Grill and Sabbatini's. Both were enjoyable experiences though we would not rate them at the same level as what we experience on Celebrity, Royal or, frankly, even Carnival's steakhouse. Nothing here was horrible, quite the contrary. Food quality and service were high caliber, just not as elaborate as similar venues we've tried at sea. Finally, two points worth noting on the ship. Service is decidedly friendly throughout. We met very crew members not smiling and quick to accommodate requests. And the pools. After sailing on Carnival Magic two years ago with clearly not enough pools (just two small ones) for the thousands on board, Ruby's 5 pools were welcome. And not only are there many, but they are spread out and offering different ambiances so as to disperse the crowds. Smart. The voyage We chose this itinerary over others, including on Celebrity, our favourite line. This Ruby 12-night cruise starts off (or ends) with two days in Venice. Always a good thing. And though we added 3 nights in a hotel before the cruise, one could opt to fly in straight onto the ship knowing there's another day in port in case you get delayed. We opted not to in an effort to board the ship cured of jet lag. Then, while the ship stops at the fascinating ports of Dubrovnik, Kusadisi and Naples, it gives you a thorough overview of Greece with five port of calls there: Corfu, Olympia, Athens, Mykonos and Santorini. Our favourites stops were clearly gorgeous Santorini and Naples. In the former, we took a full tour of the island through the ship. Quite good though we opted to walk down to the ship from Thira and that ended up being quite a task with two kids and high-heeled spouse. Recommendation: Take the cable car and plan for a wait. In Naples, where we had been before, we hired See Amalfi Coast for a private tour to Sorrento, Positano and Ravello. Beyond the breathtaking sights in each town, the personalized service of a private tour and flexibility to adjust the itinerary as we go were tough to beat. Caution: This is a port-intensive itinerary with only two days at sea. Beware if you are looking for lots time at for onboard R&R. I filmed key public rooms and our mini-suite. Take a look at my video at the link below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_hnr2vPdb4   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Second experience with a meditteranean cruise, and with Princess a much nicer one: Soft embarkation, and the best disembarkation I ever experienced! A nice ship, with nice service, few noise, few announcments and so comfort despite number ... Read More
Second experience with a meditteranean cruise, and with Princess a much nicer one: Soft embarkation, and the best disembarkation I ever experienced! A nice ship, with nice service, few noise, few announcments and so comfort despite number of passengers. Quite impossible to imagine beeing on a mega-ship (despite od course number of proposals ans activities). In fact all the advantages of a mega-ship without the inconveniences, and all of the pleasures of a smedium sized ship (like Pacific Princess) with the offers of a mega. I do not know how Princess gain this result? But wonderful! And "Movies unders the stars" is far awy from a gadget, it 's a very plus. I appreciate too the advices of the port lecturer as I have been abble to sightsee individually, as I prefer generally.Of all my cruises it's the first time I got such nice and pertinent advices. As a frenchman, used to gastronomy (by education an culture) I can say too that cooking on board was a great experience. Furthermore what to say more than the only thinking of my 14years daughter upon end of the cruise was to cruise again with princess next year. Thanks to my fantastic travel agency whick recommended me this cruise, thanks to Princess Crusies team for everything! Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We flew into Venice a couple days earlier. We loved Venice. We walked and walked and got lost a bunch of times. Our hotel, Hotel Antiche Figure was excellent! Embarkation We paid a foot taxi to lug our bags to the port from our hotel (it ... Read More
We flew into Venice a couple days earlier. We loved Venice. We walked and walked and got lost a bunch of times. Our hotel, Hotel Antiche Figure was excellent! Embarkation We paid a foot taxi to lug our bags to the port from our hotel (it would have been impossible for us to do because of all the bridges) while we walked alongside him. $15 per bag - well worth the $30! There is a vodofone right inside the terminal that can help you buy phone packages for Europe (we are Canadian). Embarkation was smooth, especially since we were platinum members and had preferred lines. Room Our room was A439 and it was as expected. Nice size, nice balcony. Typical balcony room. Shower may have been a touch bigger than previous Princess ships. Our luggage arrived within a few hours - which was great. Our room attendant, Tommy, was excellent. We gave him an extra $50 USD at the end of the trip as our room was always in tip top shape. Service We found the service to be good. Typical for Princess. Our dining room was Concerto and although Alfredo was just okay, Michael (the assistant waiter) was excellent. Other services were good too. Spa was excellent although extremely pricey! Food Food was great - we both gained 8 pounds! The international cafe was one of our favourite spots. Coffee, a drink, light snacks, sweets - and always something going on in the Piazza - made it a great place to spend time! Our restaurant's food was also excellent, breakfast lunch and dinner - yum! One thing different that we enjoyed was Alfredo's. Italian fare and included! Great for those nights when we arrived back on the ship late and didn't make our dining time! Itinerary The itinerary was jam packed. We were seriously exhausted at the end of our vacation. I think we had 8 (or 9?) ports in 12 days. I really enjoyed them all. Only thing is its incredibly hot in the Mediterranean in July / August. Like disgustingly hot. If you don't like the heat - consider going in the Fall. Venice is gorgeous (reviewed above). Note - you need a couple of days in venice. We did our own thing here. Athens was great - one day was good. We did our own thing because I can speak Greek. We took the subway to Athens from the port. No worries. We saw the acropolis (packed!) and then roamed the streets. Had a nice lunch, did some shopping in the Plaka. Very good day. Kusedasi - Ephasus & Virgin Mary shrine Excursion - worth it - I enjoyed this but it was so hot and the line ups were so long that if I had known this ahead of time, I would have made this a sea day. Istanbul - Blue Mosque, Agia Sophia and Grand Bazaar Excursion - enjoyed this also. Seriously felt like I was in ancient civilization class though at this point! Grand Bazaar was neat to see. Didn't buy much. The two churches (well, one mosque, one church) were beautiful. Mykonos - did our own thing here. Walked, shopped (so much shopping in Mykonos) and enjoyed the beaches and the food! Great day. Naples - Amalfi Coast Excursion - The best money I've ever spent. A great day driving along the amalfi coast - Sorrento, Pasitano, lunch with an incredible view. Really the most beautiful place I've ever seen and I plan to return for a week sometime in the near future! Citivachecia (Rome) - we did this on our own because we've been before. Exhausting! So hot and so busy (have I said this before???). Far cheaper than a cruise excursion, and if you're organized, you can do it. We saw the Spanish steps, the trevi fountain, the coliseum and Vatican. Buy your tickets in advance online!!!! We also had time for lunch in Tresteverde SP? It was an exhausting day but beautiful none the less. Livorno - we took the Florence on your Own Excursion - just to get into Florence and back - kinda a waste of money, but it was nice to get the history lesson chat on route (about a 1.5 hour drive each way). Florence is great - with lots of shopping and walking and sights to see! Leather bags everywhere!!! Toulon - South of France - we just took the water shuttle over (were disappointed we had to pay for this!) and walked around. Not much to see really. Just a giant market to walk around. Should have made this a sea day or went to see the more of Provence. Disembarkation Super smooth! Two days in Barcelona were great. Our hotel was beautiful, great location, but the staff were rude. Hotel Jazz. Barcelona is a nice city with lots of activity and an incredible night life. NO one get up until after noon it seems, and continues to party until 6am! Great shopping, lots of walking, good food! We really enjoyed Barcelona! Notes The photo studio did not have any sort of special. Last year there were all sorts of specials on Crown Princess (eg. buy the portrait, get the digital image free, buy 3 portraits, get the 4th free...etc) The lack of a central stair case beyond the 6th floor is stupid. WE noticed that they changed these stairs to service stairs for staff. I would have booked a different room had a known this ahead of time. Entertainment was very good. Deputy Dan (the deputy cruise director) was hilarious! Enjoy!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Accommodation- We had a lovely balcony room on the 14th Floor- R620- this spacious room had more than adequate storage space for suitcases under the bed and a huge walk in wardrobe area with plenty of hanging space for clothes. This floor ... Read More
Accommodation- We had a lovely balcony room on the 14th Floor- R620- this spacious room had more than adequate storage space for suitcases under the bed and a huge walk in wardrobe area with plenty of hanging space for clothes. This floor was great as the buffet and main pool were only one floor up. The bathroom, like on most ships, is very compact- the running joke on the cruise was ‘what happens when you slip over in the shower? - nothing, you can’t go anywhere’. We never had any issues with water temperature or pressure. There was also a handy drying line in the shower where you could hand up any clothes you had washed by hand. My word of advice is that if you like to use a hairdryer to blow dry your hair make sure you BRING YOUR OWN! The hairdryer in the room is useless, it was easier for me to sit on the balcony and let my hair dry naturally, this was quicker than using the world’s slowest hairdryer! We were only woken up a couple of mornings by people moving around the sunbeds on the deck above us- but never heard any other noise. I was glad we were not further down the corridor toward the laundry room- there seemed to be an unpleasant ‘smell’ from a cupboard which I can only imagine was to do with the toilets- it wasn’t pleasant and was there for the majority of the stay, I don’t know if anything could be smelt in the rooms in that area though. Our balcony was spacious and being the top deck meant that no one was overlooking us which we liked, we however could see down into everyone’s balcony’s (I think people forget this and we did spot a lot of people in their underwear!) The sail was exceptionally calm- and we could only feel the ocean on one occasion- a very smooth passage indeed. Food We dined in the Botticelli dining room on a late sitting- we had a fantastic table of 8 people and I have to say we had such a great time- a lovely mix of people and the evening always went very quickly as we were chatting all night. Our waiter Tarra was fantastic- very funny and knowledgeable on the menu, he would go out of his way to ensure that everyone on the table was having a good time and enjoying their food. There was always a good selection of things on the menu, however I found that the menu was very fish heavy, which was great for me but no so good for my partner who can’t eat it, but he always found something on the menu. They tried to be very adventurous and on some occasions they combinations were very odd. The Medallions of beef on the everyday menu was very good and if the Duck in plum sauce comes up on your cruise ORDER IT- it was delicious. Our main complaint is that when the food arrives it was never very hot; it was always cooked but never as hot as I would want it. We ate lunch and breakfast in the buffet- there was always a varied choice- my partner was raving about their mash potato, he couldn’t get enough of it. The pizza in the outdoor café was delicious, I definitely advise you go and get some. Entertainment The entertainment on the Ruby was varied. Some days it was fantastic and some days I wished we could have walked out. The comedians Alfred and Seymour were incredible! Like nothing I have seen before. Just make sure you don’t sit near the front, you are not late, and you don’t walk out before the end, else you will be pulled up on stage! For those in the audience who were watching it was hilarious. Its prob not to everyone’s taste though. http://www.alfredandseymour.us/aboutbsb.html The final show- ‘Once upon a dream’- was very good. The staging was very technical with huge projectors and the costumes were fantastic, definitely a highlight. There were always plenty of activities to join in with on board and people seemed to be having a great time (we are more observers than joiners in) but we did feel that things got very quiet after 11 which was a shame, most of the bars were empty and we had to go to the Skywalkers night club to find some people! Destinations We did most of the ports ourselves (having been to a lot of them on a previous cruise)- here is some of my tips for the ports that we visited that I believe you can do yourself if you are willing to get out of bed early! The library on board also had lots of excellent travel books you can take out which helped for some ports. Athens- Once you exit the ship in the port of Piraeus all you need to do is to exit of the port gates and follow the road left- you will soon see a sign for the big red/Blue hop on/hop off buses- the blue line will take you straight from the port of Piraeus into Athens, you can then get the red line for 1.5 hour tour of Athens. http://www.city-sightseeing.com/tours/greece/athens.htm This total cost for the ticket for the red and blue line was €20- the timetable is extensive and we always found it ran on time. There is a bus every 30 minutes and you can get on and off as many times through the course of 24hours as you want. My only advice is that if you are travelling in the afternoon make sure you take something to sit on on the top deck- the plastic seats get unbelievably hot (I have learnt from my mistakes) Corfu- We took the local bus into Corfu old town and navigated the city ourselves- I would say go to the old fort- it is quite walk but the views from the top are amazing. We walked back to the ship- it only took us 20minutes. Santorini- There are lots of messages in forums about this place- and I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do this destination. If you take one of the organised tours you avoid having to go on the cable card or up on the donkeys. We decided to do Santorini ourselves. We left the ship at 8.15 and at this time there was no queue for the cable cars. We then walked to the bus station, about 5 minutes away out of town, and took the bus to OIA, this place is a must. The buses run every 30minutes and go directly there, we were lucky and got a seat both there and back. The ticket was €1.60, you could not buy a return so had to purchase on the bus. The buses were air-conditioned and comfortable. The queue back down for the cable car at 3.30 was 1.5 hours! This wait was tedious especially in the hot sun. We wished we had walked back down but had heard it was dangerous with all the donkeys using the same path. Katakolon (for Olympia) We used local transport for this again. There was a train but we missed the first and didn’t fancy waiting in the sun, so we used a coach tour that was advertised as soon as you get off the ship- this cost us €10 each and took us straight to Olympia- they gave you 2.5 hours here and this was plenty of time to go and see Olympia and the museum- total cost for dual entry was €8. Mykonos We used local transport again. DON’T WALK TO TOWN- the road was dangerous and had no footpath, the cruise put on a shuttle bus which cost €7 return- but you had to buy your tickets from reception before you left the ship. We eventually found the main bus depot, after asking several locals, and took a bus to the beach to Platis Gialos - cost was €1.60 for this- these ran about every 45minutes and soon filled up so I would advise you go early. We had friends who went on the beach shuttle from the cruise ship and this cost them $38 and they had to leave for 8am and were back by midday! So we saved a lot of money doing this ourselves. The beach was very clean and had lots of lovely beach bars and restaurants. It cost us €10 for the day to hire two very comfortable sunbeds and an umbrella. Be careful, some of the beaches are nudist only so do some research- I heard great things about Paradise beach and saw a local bus going right from near where the shuttle bus drops you off so no need to walk through town, buses here are very frequent too. NEWS FLASH- something I found out through experience, the sea is cold in Mykonos! Be prepared! Make sure you try and track down Petros the local Pelican- he is amazing and so friendly! All in all we had a wonderful time on the Ruby and couldn’t actually find very much to complain about at all. If people are hesitant about going because they are worried a cruise might be too ‘old’ for them, we are in our mid 20’s and had a great time. We had fun on the open deck party which went onto until 1am and you could always dance the night away in Skywalkers so there was always somewhere to party late and we made some great friends who we could always drag out for late night drinks after the show! This cruise was very port intensive but it was amazing to see so many places! we were certainly exhausted by the end of it but have come away with amazing memories and some excellent photos!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This was our 8th cruise, 2nd on princess. We arrived in Venice 2 days before the ship sailed, staying in Mestre. The cost of the hotel was a lot less than staying in Venice. It was only 10 minutes to Venice by train. The hotel Tritone had ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise, 2nd on princess. We arrived in Venice 2 days before the ship sailed, staying in Mestre. The cost of the hotel was a lot less than staying in Venice. It was only 10 minutes to Venice by train. The hotel Tritone had the best breakfast I have ever had at a hotel. They put out the kitchen sink. We spent 2 days touring Venice, naturally going to the rialto bridge, St. marks square. We also went to the back street behind St. marks square, and bought gifts for the family. Venice was the highlight of this cruise. Of course we did a gondola, right under the bridge of sighs. The ship was all you can ask for, having being only 4 years old. The decor was very ornate and beautiful. We had great service for the crew and we found the buffet and dining room food to our liking. The menus were different and interesting. Since the age group was so advanced, at about 8 o'clock in the evening the ship was a ghost town. One night We went to the sky walker and there was only about 3 couples in there dancing. In livorno, We hired a taxi to take us to Pisa. I had been to Pisa 50 years ago, and the tower did not look that good at that time. It was dirty and had a green appearance. This time it was pure white and was beautiful, I was really impressed. The driver gave us plenty of time for shopping, and took us back to the ship. Casablanca was a disappointment, a hodgepodge of shanty towns and garbage heaps. It was a good move that we had a ship tour to Rabat, which was a lot nicer than Casablanca. I am glad I saw Casablanca, but again i was not impressed. I would never go back there again. All in all this cruise was a cruise of a lifetime, 19 days on the ship very interesting ports, 7 days across the Atlantic. One more comment, Instead of going to the azores we went to madiera because of the storms at the azores. madiera turn out to be a better port, we loved it. In summary, everything on this cruise was to our liking, and I would take this cruise again in a heartbeat. Princess cruises are one of my favorites. Spent quite afew euros,but saw what we wanted to see.Get me on a ship! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We thought the whole trip was wonderful. Couple of things that we were irritated by. I'll explain as i go along. The balcony stateroom was perfect Deck 12 Aloha. Plenty of space for everything. We decided before we booked the trip ... Read More
We thought the whole trip was wonderful. Couple of things that we were irritated by. I'll explain as i go along. The balcony stateroom was perfect Deck 12 Aloha. Plenty of space for everything. We decided before we booked the trip that it was going to be a complete chill out vacation. And thats what we did. We had already been to some of the cities before on the itinary, and so were happy just to either stroll around or do our own thing. Most of the tours are over priced we think, but we already knew that, as we have cruised before.The weather really had a lot to do with our excursions. It was unbearably hot. It was predicted 97 degrees it could have been hotter than that. We were wilting after 5 minutes. Also we did not fancy getting up early and meeting the tour operator at 7am. We were meant to be on holiday. I did not want to set the alarm. We opted not to eat in the formal dining rooms at all. Our theory was, why should you have to choose from a small menu, when you can eat such a variety of foods in the self service restaurants, and you can go back for more if you wish.There was always somewhere open even late at night to get a snack. The entertainment was good. Not so much the comedy act though. The party band " Lots of fun " were brilliant. Now to the negatives. The staff were all great, but, in the self service restaurant they drove me crazy. Constantly in your space offering you " do you want this " Do you want that " then someone else comes along and goes through the same routine. I just want to eat my food in peace and quiet. I know its there job and they are told to work this way. It was hard to hold a conversation with eachother because we were interrupted all the time. We worked out that if you say yes to a glass of water, they would mostly leave you alone. I sound really grumpy dont i ?. The last thing i want to complain about are the Gratuities. Now before we booked our holiday, we told the travel agent that we do not want to pay the gratuities. We wanted to tip those people we came into contact with. We had been tipping along the way. So when we went to check our bill the day before we disembarked we were shocked to find that they had added them on. For example a Pina Colada was 6.50 dollars. During the night when they do the add ons, they put 11.50 dollars per person. I think thats shocking. When we complained at the desk, the assistant told us " well all the staff work very hard for you, and they deserve the gratuities, all the hotels around the world charge gratuities and everyone has to pay " Well let me tell you i worked two jobs to pay for this trip. Princess should pay there staff more. I felt i had been robbed of 400 dollars. They did eventually reduced the bill. It almost spoiled the whole holiday. So as soon as you get on the boat, go straight to the reception desk and get it sorted out. So we will be more aware the next time we cruise. By the way, we wern't the only ones complaining. There was a very long queue. On the whole, we loved every minute of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Cruise Critic - Ruby Princess Overall. Great Cruise. I recommend it Itinerary. Itinerary is intensive. There are only two days at sea. Port stops are from early morning until late afternoon. be ready to walk, walk, and walk. Ship ... Read More
Cruise Critic - Ruby Princess Overall. Great Cruise. I recommend it Itinerary. Itinerary is intensive. There are only two days at sea. Port stops are from early morning until late afternoon. be ready to walk, walk, and walk. Ship Facilities. Overall facility's are excellent. Gym is well equipped. Running track lap is only 1/12 of a mile. For walkers, there is another track on lower decks. Meals. Anytime dining tables for two are too close, easy to listen to the table next to you. For formal nights it is best to make reservations, or you will wait a lot. Buffet dining does not offer much Mediterranean fare. Food quality very good. No fresh fish. Tables fill easily and you end up waiting a few minutes with your food on hand for an available table. Hand sanitizing policy heavily enforced by waiters. Buffet waiter services were inconsistent. Some days they were on top of everything; in other days you had to grab a waiter to clean up the table and set it up for you. Ship activities. There are movies all over; Under the Stars, in the lounge, and in your stateroom TV. There were no Christian religious services on Sundays as previously done, only daily Bible Studies at 8:00 am when everyone is on a shore tour. The ship scheduled services for other faiths. There were get-togethers for veterans, Service Clubs, grandparents, First Responders,etc, but mostly on days when people were on shore tours. The ship also performed daily LGBT-oriented activities. Shore tours. Shore tours from Princess are costly but are very good and cover everything you pay for. For the full day in Venice, the ship will charge $15 pp for unlimited water taxi transfer from Ship to San Marco. We also booked three tours with CruisingExcursions.com for a lower cost, and in two of them the guides did not deliver everything we paid for. Weather is very hot. Wear light clothes. Travel light as you will walk for hours. Transfers to and from Ship. if you arrive to Venice airport, you can take the Alilaguna water shuttle for a few euros, but will take 75 minutes to get to San Marco. Private water taxis are way expensive, but if you come with a party, you can share the expense. For debarkation, if you can, use the walk-off option. You keep your bags for the last night and you leave the ship straIght from your cabin. If you are staying in Barcelona after the cruise, you get better off getting a taxi at the pier for ship to hotel door service. Princess charges you $21 per person to drop you off at either Plaza Espanya or Plaza Catalunya for you to roll your luggage to the hotel. Taxi fare is cheaper than that. Other Issues. You will receive paper, paper, and more paper. Everything is printed and placed in your stateroom. You end up filling out the trash can with it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
I have never cruised before and would do it again tomorrow! We always book luxury holidays and have high expectations and this cruise ship filled them all. Cruise Staff: i was surprised at how many staff were around to help you. They ... Read More
I have never cruised before and would do it again tomorrow! We always book luxury holidays and have high expectations and this cruise ship filled them all. Cruise Staff: i was surprised at how many staff were around to help you. They are extremely friendly and professional too. Room: queen size comfortable bed, large dressing area/hanging space. This room was an aft room (back of the ship) so amazing views at all times. Large private balcony which had added bonus of an extra corner, so was bigger than other stateroom balconies Food:Wow very high quality, so much choice and we had an anytime dinning which allowed us to eat anywhere at anytime. We did pay 20 dollars each to eat in Sabetinis one night, the food was delicious so well worth the extra money. Drinks : We paid for 2 drinks packages. 54 dollars for a soda package and 84 dollars * 15 dollars tax for non alcoholic cocktails and soda.these entitled us drinks anytime of the day. I was surprised that we did not feel the ship move at all as i was worried i would suffer from seasickness as i am sensitive to movement. Apparently if you do suffer, book a room in the middle of the ship to prevent this. Overall i would rate this as a five star experience and we will definitely book another cruise with princess cruises. This cruise was on the RUBY princess ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was our family's first cruise, and everyone had a great time. We traveled as husband, wife, 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son. We flew from Boston to Rome and spent a few days in the city. From Rome we took the train ... Read More
This was our family's first cruise, and everyone had a great time. We traveled as husband, wife, 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son. We flew from Boston to Rome and spent a few days in the city. From Rome we took the train to Venice and spent two days before the start of the cruise. Venice is the most beautiful city I've ever seen and a great port to begin a cruise. The ship is very large and offers more activities than you could ever experience. Since we were traveling with children, Movies under the Stars was big part of our evening experience. Each night a different movie was offered with a showing at 7:30 and 10:30. The movies are current (e.g., Hunger Games) and the showing is on a very large screen by the pool. The pizzeria, grill, ice cream stand and buffet are close by if you want a snack during the show. Popcorn, cookies and milk are offered by the staff. My son and I also used the gym and worked out every day. The gym is first rate all the way. We also spent about an hour each day playing basketball. The courts are busy, but we usually managed to get in for some play time. We went to a handful of shows, including a four season's concert, culinary show, and magic show. The shows were very good to excellent. We were so busy and tired from our shore excursions, however, that we didn't take advantage of more shows. We had two cabins side by side with ocean balconies. We were able to connect through the balcony, so we were able to keep our family together through the entire trip. The rooms were spacious and comfortable.... Better than we expected. The air conditioning was very comfortable. Housekeeping was excellent.... We had no issues at all. The food on the ship was fantastic.... Especially the traditional dining. The breakfast buffet was very good, and fairly traditional. I'd compare it to an excellent breakfast buffet at an upscale hotel. Since we were very busy with shore excursions, we had room service most mornings and it was good and dependable. For lunch you had many choices. On sea days, we usually ate by the pool. The Pizzeria was absolutely first rate (better than the pizza in Italy) and the grill was decent (burgers and fries). We occasionally had lunch in the buffet and the food was very good. There was usually a theme (e.g., Mexican) and there we many choices. Dinner was our favorite. We LOVED the traditional dining. The meals were 4 courses and FANTASTIC. The service was as good as the food. On the outside, these meals would cost you $50 to $75 a person. We did not expect the food to be this good. We went on one private shore excursion. The remainder we did with Princess. The Princess expeditions were very good and two of them were OUTSTANDING. One was cheese tasting in Sorrento, and the other was visiting Orvieto (with a meal at the Tipica Trattoria Etrusca, a 5 start Italian restaurant). We were very pleased with the excursions. The employees on the Ruby Princess were pleasant and helpful. They were never far from your table during a meal, and the pool and bar staff deserve special mention. To sum it up, we were very satisfied with our experience. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
From the moment we boarded the ship we were delighted with the quality of the fittings and furnishings and especially the professionalism and friendliness of all the crew from our steward to the Captain. We had a stateroom with balcony ... Read More
From the moment we boarded the ship we were delighted with the quality of the fittings and furnishings and especially the professionalism and friendliness of all the crew from our steward to the Captain. We had a stateroom with balcony which was very comfortable and more than met our expectations. The food and service in the formal dining rooms Da Vinci and Michaelangelo was outstanding. The food in the self service restaurants was also excellent but a little manic at times. Two restaurants you pay an extra 25 $ per person: Sabatini's and Crown Grill. Didn't try Sabatini's but Crown Grill was awesome - steaks outstanding and waiting staff brilliant! The ship is kept immaculate all the time and the crew work extremely hard - they should be commended! The sports facilities and entertainment was outstanding. Drinks, wine and trips are expensive and Princess add 15% to all purchases. I wonder if they would sell more if they charged less..? Overall, we had a fantastic 12 days and would definitely book again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Just arrived home from this fantastic 12 day European Cruise. It was our fifth cruise overall and for me the best ever as we saw some wonderful sights in Europe. My husband and I had an aft balcony on Baha and across the hall my teenage ... Read More
Just arrived home from this fantastic 12 day European Cruise. It was our fifth cruise overall and for me the best ever as we saw some wonderful sights in Europe. My husband and I had an aft balcony on Baha and across the hall my teenage children (age 19 an 16) shared an inside room. It was a wonderful family cruise. I definitely love having a balcony and the kids came over many times to "share" but we had gotten a great price especially for the inside room. Our trip began in Venice after a small snafu in the States. Our first leg of our flight was cancelled but Delta re booked us on new flights which worked but then one of our pieces of luggage didn't make it on our new flight. Good thing we had booked an extra day in Venice before the cruise departed. That was the only snafu we had the whole trip. Embarkation was a breeze for us as we didn't go to the ship until 8 pm (departed 8 am the next morning) no crowds just walked on the ship directly after they screened our luggage. We had spent the day in Venice on our own and had stored our luggage at our hotel. Venice was amazing. Muster drill was at 8 am and then sail-away down the Grand Canal. Beautiful! We spent the next two days at sea. We loved playing Bingo, went to a couple of trivia type games and then my husband and I went dancing. We were surprised when we went to anytime dinner early (5:45 pm) that no one was in the the dining room. On our Caribbean cruise if you didn't get there by 6 pm you had to wait. Our waiter told us that there was only 15-20% American on the ship with about 30% Spaniards and the rest were mainly Russian, English, Australian and Canadian. It seems they all liked to eat later and we did have our only long wait one night when we went at 7:20 pm (took an hour to be seated). It was a very nice and interesting experience being with such an international mix of passengers. We mixed our dining experiences between the formal and in Horizon Court (especially after long port days) I enjoyed both but was really surprised at how good the Horizon Court food was. There was a lot of variety that did well with my family of different tastes (ie very picky teenage girl). The international cafe was also fun to go and try new or several different desserts. I will post individual reviews of the ports we visited but here's a quick review as we are very DIY's and I think saved a lot of money by not doing the shore excursions and we had a great time. It did take a lot of research but I loved cruisecritic and tripadvisor. Venice: stayed on the Piazzale Roma at Hotel Olimpia: Great Location! Walked to the vaporetti and took it down the Grand Canal to St. Mark's Square. Stored our luggage on our day of embarkation and then walked to the People Mover and then to the ship. Athens: DIY. Took taxi's both ways to save time. The drivers were both very nice and although the first wanted to give us an all day tour we politely said no just drop us off at the Acropolis. We actually beat the crowds and were at the Parthenon before it was too crowded. We then walked the city and saw the many sites. Ephesus: Used Meander Travel and took a private tour for four to Ephesus, Terrace Houses and House of Virgin Mary. Hakan our guide (he was an actual archaeologist that was part of the excavating team in the winter in Ephesus) and his driver picked us up at the dock and whisked us away for a 5 hour excursions. His knowledge was phenomenal. Istanbul: DIY We let the ship and took the very easy Metro to Topaki Palace where I had already bought tickets to the museum and Harem. Again were there before the crowds. We then went to Hagia Sophia (pre-bought tickets online) and then to the Blue Mosque. A huge rainstorm hit on our way to the Grand Bazaar so we were drenched. I didn't care for it as it was crowded and the merchants were a little too pushy for my tastes. Easy to jump back on metro to the ship. Mykonos: DIY Our kids had signed up for the ship's excursion to Delos but it was canceled so they went with us and we just went to a local beach and then walked the narrow streets and took pictures and shopped. I loved the shopping! Found some neat handmade jewelry (25-30 euro) Naples: Used Rome in Limo with driver Stefano. He picked us up in front of ship and took us to Pompeii where we had a private guide. We avoided the crowds and saw so much. He then took us down the Amalfi Coast line to eat lunch in Sorrento (Wonderful Pizza) and then a quick stop in Positano. Rome: Used Rome in Limo with driver Francesco. Again picked us up in front of ship and took us to the Vatican where we again had a private guide: Praeda. She was fantastic and again we beat the crowds and had an almost empty hallway (map Gallery and Tapestries) leading to the Sistine Chapel. She said it's usually wall to wall. It was very beautiful. We also saw St. Peter's Basilica before heading to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and then Piazza Navona. It was 104 degrees that day and we were so glad to be driven place to place in air condition. RIL is awesome! Florence/Pisa: Used Rome in Limo with driver Elizabeth. She was so energetic. We were off first thing to Pisa where I had booked tickets in advance to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was so unique. We were then off to the Academia in Florence to see Michelangelo's Statue of David. Simply stunning! and then we toured Florence and on the way out of the city she drove us to a beautiful place on top of a hill for us to really see the Tuscany landscape. It was everything I had dreamed it would be. Beautiful old villa looking over golden rolling hills of vineyards and olive trees. Breathtaking! Rome in Limo gave us three days of superb service Monte Carlo: Just walked around. Enjoyed the port . Overall, great cruise! Great service, sites and loved the family time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Ruby Princess R223 Grand Mediterranean 12 day cruise Embarked in Venice at tea time after a day's travelling. No queues to check in and quickly arrived at our cabin. Rod, our steward came to see us immediately and welcomed us ... Read More
Ruby Princess R223 Grand Mediterranean 12 day cruise Embarked in Venice at tea time after a day's travelling. No queues to check in and quickly arrived at our cabin. Rod, our steward came to see us immediately and welcomed us warmly telling us to let him know if there was anything we required and he would organise this. I asked for a couple of bathrobes, a daily supply of ice, and any 'to purchase' items in fridge to be removed. Then straight off to dinner. We has asked for and were granted an early 6pm sitting, table for 8. We arrived at table 81 in Botticelli restaurant to find a table for 2. It appeared that there were a large number of extended families on this trip who had used up all the larger tables. I had always thought that tables for two were difficult to get, however we soon made friends with the two other couples either side of us, so it wasn't an issue. Our waiter, Lawrence, was excellent. He was very knowledgeable about the menu and gave us good advice throughout the cruise plus free speciality coffees and extra portions of popular dishes. His assistant, Itsel, was a charming young woman, new to this job, but definitely with potential. They looked after us beautifully. I will mention the food just now. It was very good, both in the restaurant (always piping hot and fresh tasting) and the buffet. I too highly recommend the freshly made pizzas on deck 15, next to the ice-cream parlour. We never visited the 'paid for' restaurants or the International Cafe on deck 5, and never managed to get to any of the afternoon teas either. We used room service every morning for breakfast and this was good too. My husband also went to the buffet breakfast for his daily smoked salmon fix. A word about our cabin. We booked fairly late on a guarantee balcony and were given C310, deck ten. We had heard that some balconies were overlooked on this ship (and Grand) but also that balconies on deck 10 were larger. This turned out to be correct. If you want a large balcony, go for deck 10. We were only partially overlooked from above so could sit in privacy if required. There were four chairs and a table on our balcony, two of the chairs reclined so I spent many an hour reclined with my feet on one of the other chairs reading and watching the waves in peace. Lovely. The cabin itself was well appointed. Plenty of storage space for our stuff and a comfy bed. Shower room had a curtain which I know some people don't like. It wasn't a problem for us. Shampoo, conditioner,soap and lotion provided in bottles, replenished regularly. Towels thick and soft. Two striped pool towels provided every day. After dinner we went back to the cabin to prepare to go off the ship. We found two tickets on our bed for the water-shuttle to take us straight to St Marks Square. I think they were $15 each. We had already decided that we would walk into Venice from the ship, so we wrote our cabin number and name on the reverse of the tickets and posted them into the relevant drop-box so we wouldn't be charged for them. Venice in the evening is magical. We had a map of sorts but just meandered around in the general direction of St Mark's, soaking up the wonderful atmosphere. There were signs along the way which helped a bit, but really it is not difficult walk to St Mark's. At 1am the ship left Venice and we were lucky enough to be on the correct side to watch St Mark's gliding past while we stood on our balcony. I understand that this special sight will soon be a thing of the past because large ships will be docking further away and bypassing the Grand Canal completely. After a couple of days at sea we arrived at Athens (Sunday). We docked in Pireaus and had originally decided to take a train from there to Athens to catch a hop-on-hop-off bus outside the Syntagma Station in Athens. However, just outside the port we found a couple of HOHO buses waiting. We chose the yellow Athens Open Tour bus, 20 euros each. This took us to Athens and then we stayed on this bus to complete the tour. I have never seen so many ancient buildings and monuments in one place, wow, however I was disappointed to see that some monuments were covered in scaffolding. We will return again once the scaffolding is removed. Our bus tour guide told us that the special Sunday Changing of the Guard would be taking place outside the Parliament at about 10.30. We got off at this stop just in time to watch this special event. The tunics that the guardsmen wear have four hundred pleats, one for each year of Turkish rule. The soldiers have to iron each pleat themselves. I will never complain about ironing my husband's shirts again! After a walk in the adjacent National Gardens (where I photographed a very large tortoise wandering along a path), we caught our HOHO bus at the Melina Merkouri Plaka (by the Temple of Zeus) and returned to the ship for ice cold lemon juice and iced-tea from the buffet. A word about the pools on Ruby. There are four main ones. I spent my entire time at the Calypso Pool because that is where the Movies under the Stars (MUTS) is. I love MUTS and this one of the reasons we chose Ruby over some other ships we considered. Music concerts and films were shown throughout the day and evening and in the late evening it was used to play Wii games too. Next door was Neptunes Pool where live music was played and pool games. There was a pool at the back and the Sanctuary pool, plus the children's area had a splash pool too. The next day we stopped at Kusadasi, Turkey, and booked an excursion to the ancient city of Ephesus ($59 each). A very interesting trip, I recommend anyone to visit it. The next morning was another excursion ($69 each), this time in Istambul. Due to a mix up on the ship, the coach had left before we got to the dockside. However, we were taxied to the coach which had stopped at the side of the road to wait for us. Phew! Topaki Palace is a stunning building. It was opened especially for the ship tours because it is usually closed on a Tuesday so we were lucky to see it. We walked around the massive building and grounds and saw the harem. The high point for me was seeing the 82 carat Spoonmaker's Diamond, one of a large collection of jewels and artefacts on display at the Treasury. We stopped at the Grand Bazaar on the way back and watched a carpet demonstration, fortunately this took just 20 minutes and then we visited the Blue Mosque, the Suleymaniye Mosque and the Bazaar before returning to the ship. During my research on Istanbul we discovered there was a HOHO bus tour taking about one and a half hours with ten main stops and 73 request stops) starting at the Hagia Sophia. The next day we arrived in Mykonos, Greece at 12 noon. Originally we were to be tendered to the town but actually docked a little way round the bay. A shuttle bus was provided, for a price, but it took twenty minutes to walk in along the coast road, past three lovely little beaches. You will be told that it is a dangerous walk (no pavements) and to take the shuttle, but it is not. Mykonos is a charming little town, busy with tourists, but also with a lot of good shops and narrow windey streets and lanes. We bought some gifts here and beer to take back to the ship. During the cruise we regularly bought back beer and wine for our cabin, and this is ok on Ruby Princess. However, once we also brought back a litre of spirits, expecting to have it removed once we returned but this never happened, even though it was in a large bag labelled 'duty free'. The next day, Thursday, was a welcome day at sea and a sleep in. The Princess Patter is filled with a large number of events and activities; sports, dancing, quizzes, films etc. However my choice was the Culinary Cook-Off Competition took place in the Princess Theatre between Executive Chef Shaun Candon and Maitre-D'Hotel Francesco Ciofito. I must urge you to go along to see this event, very, very funny and entertaining but also informative. It showed me that Shaun really knows his stuff and is committed to producing excellent dishes, consistently. This is clearly borne out by the food we ate during the cruise. A Galley Tour followed the show. Friday found us at Naples, Italy. We have visited Naples on a number of occasions and visited all the famous places and done the HOHO bus tours (they pick up at the port, really convenient). This time we decided to try and walk up to the Castel san Elmo which dominates the port. First thing we noticed was that there was a police presence at the zebra crossing we needed to use to get into the town. This was welcome because it meant that traffic actually stopped when their light was red, to allow pedestrians to cross the road safely. Then we just walked in an uphill direction hoping that eventually we would get to the Castel. We did get really far up and quite far around the headland, and had some spectacular views of the town, but eventually we got to a dead end. On our return down we passed one of the Funicular railway stations and decided to get the train down to the port. This was a simple process and I recommend you try it yourself. Saturday was Civitaveccia (for Rome). A free shuttle was provided by the port to the edge of the port, then just a ten minute walk along the road to the railway station. I had found a helpful website www.rometoolkit.com which gave details of travelling to Rome from Civitavveccia, with a link to www.trenitalia.com for train times. Train tickets cost 12 euroes each and journey took over an hour to get to Stazione Termini. By the way, toilets at the station cost 1 euro to access. Outside the station are a number of HOHO bus tours. We chose Green Line Tours 18 euros each. While we waited in a long queue to get on the bus (we had to wait while two buses filled up before we were able to get on) people already on these buses were buying the sun hats that various hawkers were trying to sell us -- they must have been desperate). We were lucky to get an open topped bus with a cover. This proved to be extremely welcome because it was very, very hot. We had been to Rome a few times before so we just did the tour, got off, and returned to the ship by train again. Back on board for 2pm to a virtually empty ship. The next morning, Sunday, we stopped at Livorno, for Florence/Pisa. We had been to Florence/Pisa a couple of times before so opted to stay in Livorno. I had another reason to want to visit Livorno though. As a self-confessed 'cat person', Livorno is home to a colony based at the Fortezza Nuova, looked after by an elderly former lawyer who we have visited a few times in the past. To my dismay it was closed, being a Sunday! I could just see a lone black cat through a gap in the gate... If you do take the train to Florence (takes about an hour and a half to two hours), you can get a HOHO bus, I understand they stop at the Florence Santa Maria Novella railway station. The City tour (line A) takes about one hour, the Fiesole tour (line B) takes two hours. Not sure of the price, but probably in the region of 20 euros just now. The next day we were stopped at Monaco, only a half day, leaving at 1.30. This time we were taken ashore by tender. We walked up to the casino although it didn't open until 2pm. I understand that nowadays it attracts a fee of 10 euros to enter the casino, probably to get rid of the riff-raff who just go in to ogle (which we certainly have in the past). I understand that the slot machine area is free to enter though. There were several excursions taking place from the ship to Eze (12th century castle), French Riveria, Nice plus Old Monaco, St Nicholas Cathederal and Royal Palace. Disembarkation morning saw us in Barcelona. We had become platinum members because all our P&O cruises had been taken into account when calculating the total number of our cruise days. This meant we had preferred embarkation (it was irrelevant though because we arrived late and there was no queue!). It meant however that we could go to wait in the Disembarkation Lounge at the De Vinci Dining Room from 6am where pastries and coffee was provided and we would disembark at our allotted time at the door right next to the dining room. Our disembarkation time was 6.15am so we spent a grand total of 15 minutes at the lounge. However there was time for coffee, and it was convenient to just quickly walk off the ship. Once on land we quickly located our suitcases and were on our coach equally quickly. Very impressed with how quick and easy disembarkation was. Another major plus of being a Platinum member was the free internet minutes we got - 250 each! These would normally cost $99 dollars each. This was significant because this was the first cruise we had had without our children. At 18 and 17 they were old enough to stay at home and they had other commitments anyway. We were able to 'chat' to them every evening via Facebook and this was great. We were also able to do a bit of last minute research on ports. Additionally, we booked in our return flights online and changed our seating numbers, plus printed off the vouchers for 50 cents. Once word of warning. Once your minutes are used up you will not be told, but will immediately start being charged per minute. I had assumed this would happen but my husband did not and thought that he would receive a message telling him that his time was up. Subsequently he spent four minutes extra on line and was charged 80 cents per minute. I was still 48 minutes under... Finally, I don't think I have mentioned evening entertainment, there was a lot of choose from. The shows were good, the illusionist excellent, a couple of comedians, and a ventriloquist who had been 11th place in Britain's Got Talent (the same year as Susan Boyle). He was very good. Every evening was a film on MUTS which we mostly got to attend. I loved watching films in the open air and staff came round with popcorn, ice cream, pizza and cookies and milk. We were usually too stuffed from dinner to have any though. A word about the other passengers. This cruise was filled with people from all points of the globe, with a great number of large groups and extended families, people from the UK in the minority. It meant that it felt like a real family experience. I don't believe that the ship was full because it felt like there was a lot of space, none of the venues felt crowded. We were never pressured to spend money on drinks packages, photos, bingo, or any other extras. There were art auctions but they were never intrusive. Photographers took pictures but again we were never hassled. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and would highly recommend Ruby Princess. It was clear that all staff were committed to our enjoyment and they seemed happy and motivated. We are glad we chose Ruby Princess. I am certain that I have missed out lots of stuff, but hopefully some of the information will be of help to readers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
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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