5 Venice to Mediterranean Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

We really enjoyed this cruise – primarily because of the interesting ports and the tours we took. This cruise was unique because so much time was spent off ship. This cruise was more about the ports and onshore experiences rather than ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise – primarily because of the interesting ports and the tours we took. This cruise was unique because so much time was spent off ship. This cruise was more about the ports and onshore experiences rather than shipboard experiences. We will always remember the things we saw. We are late 50’s and early 60’s, Platinum cruisers on Princess and Carnival. Our last cruise was a 15 Day Panama Canal repositioning cruise aboard the Carnival Miracle. This cruise has been on our “to do” list for some time and we booked it for the great price and ports of call offered. It was a 12 day Grand Mediterranean cruise departing from Venice with ports of call at Athens, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos, Naples, Rome, Florence, and Toulon ending at Barcelona. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and was in great condition. It was very easy for us to find our way around. The crew is great. Our cabin was Dolphin 218 – a mini-suite with an uncovered balcony. We used our balcony very little during this cruise but the extra room was greatly appreciated and worth the cost. Our Cabin Steward was Catharine and she was wonderful. We bought air transportation through Princess Air but probably won’t do so again. Three weeks before departure our flights were changed to less favorable flights. Cruise Critic’s Cruise Air board was a very useful source of information about the Paris and Barcelona airports. Upon arrival at Venice, there was no immigration or customs check. We used the Princess transfers which went very smoothly and thankfully, we didn’t have to wait for the bus to be completely full. Embarkation went very quickly and we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. We spent the afternoon in Venice and took the evening gondola ride and serenade offered by Princess. It was expensive but an excursion we’ll always remember. Venice is a quaint, charming, and picturesque city but a city that dumps its sewage directly into its main attraction. Muster drill was held the following morning at 845am and the ship set sail shortly. The departure from Venice was spectacular. The weather the next two days was windy and overcast and would be that way most of the cruise. It was quite cold in Florence. We took Princess shore excursions in every port. Six of them were all day tours that included a lunch. We enjoyed all of them. Our tour guides were excellent and the food was good. Most of the tours required quite a bit of walking. A couple of the tours were late returning due to traffic so it was comforting to know the ship would be waiting on us. Several times we had to wait for people that showed up late from “on your own time”. During several tours people just disappeared and were left. I don’t know how they found their way back to the ship. The most irritating episode was at the completion of our Rome tour. The missing persons were crew members. We must have waited 30 minutes waiting for approval to depart without them. When we returned to the ship, the two were already in line and laughing. They had taken another tour bus instead. Wendi and the entire shore excursion staff were very helpful. Jet lag and long excursions made this a tiring rather than relaxing cruise. Several of our excursions met as early as 645am in the Princess Theater. 7am to 730am was average. As tiring as it was, it was a very satisfying experience. We really liked Dan Styne, the Cruise Director, and his staff. They were very personable and entertaining. All the production shows were great and well attended. Shows were scheduled for 7, 8, and 9pm meaning those of us with late seating could go to the 7pm show. This helped tremendously considered that some excursions met in the Princess Theater at 645am. There was plenty of musical entertainment throughout the ship in the evenings. The entertainment was the best we have seen on a ship in some time. We had dinner in the Botticelli Dining Room – late seating. Our waiters were Art and Bryan and they were very good. We thought the food was very good although sometimes we had difficulty finding something interesting on the menu. There were several evenings I almost opted for the “always available” hamburger. We requested a table for four but were seated at a table for six. We dined by ourselves during 10 of 12 nights. There were numerous vacant tables and couples dining by themselves at large tables. We ordered room service four or five times for breakfast on early tour days. The first time it was 20 minutes late – outside the 30 minute delivery window. Three other times it was early – only once did it arrive within the 30 minute delivery window. Breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court was chaotic. The Horizon Court on the Ruby seems to be approximately the same size as on smaller ships such as the Grand and Golden and always seemed crowded during breakfast and lunch. The routine was . . . look for a table and if you are lucky enough to find one it normally needs clearing and cleaning so you have to find someone to clean it; then have one person save the table while the other goes through the line and then look for someone to serve you drinks. The week before the cruise, I dined at a restaurant in Iola, Kansas and its salad bar was comparable to what I saw in the Horizon Court. Princess’s salad bar offerings have declined greatly over the last 10 years. I am thinking that a cruise ship should be able to run a buffet as effectively as say - the Golden Corral. We filled out the forms for Future Cruise Credit – ordering two for each of us and left them at the office. Several days later we received our letters and noticed we had only been sold one each. We went back and talked with the Future Cruise representative and she told us she would take care of it. She didn’t take care of it. This is the first time I’ve been on a cruise ship and they didn’t want my money. Princess Air scheduled our departing flight from Barcelona at 955am. I had concerns but they assured me it would be no problem. We were told to meet at 6am on debarkation morning. The Horizon court was open for full breakfast at 5am but only one person was there serving drinks. Princess needs to rethink how we get our drinks at the buffet. Thankfully, there were plenty of juices available in the VIP lounge that morning. We were off the ship by 610am and at the airport by 650am. There were no customs or immigration checks at Barcelona and no problem making that early flight. We used the Princess transfers at Barcelona. The European porters do a very professional and efficient job of handling baggage. At Venice, they picked our luggage up in the airport lobby and they delivered it to the airport lobby at Barcelona. Aside from our issues with the Horizon Court, we really enjoyed this cruise. We have reservations on the Ruby for a 12 day British Isle cruise in 2014. However, the price is nearly double what we paid for this cruise and we aren’t certain it makes sense to pay that much for a port intensive cruise. Our next cruise is on the Carnival Legend out of Tampa on January 5th.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I have mixed feelings about this cruise. We booked it because of the all the great ports and the slamming airfare deal that Princess Air gave us. But, a month or so before the cruise, we are informed that we now have a five (5) hour ... Read More
I have mixed feelings about this cruise. We booked it because of the all the great ports and the slamming airfare deal that Princess Air gave us. But, a month or so before the cruise, we are informed that we now have a five (5) hour layover in Germany. Princess Easy Air had us walking across the tarmac 5 different times and FAR away from our next connecting flights. In this case, Princess Easy Air was NOT EASY and we probably won't be booking anything other than a direct flight with Princess Air again. We arrived in Venice the evening before the cruise and took the airport bus to Piazza Roma. We stayed at the Hotel Arlecchino. It is perfectly located near Piazza Roma and the People Mover that takes you to the cruise ships . We booked and got a corner room with a double canal view. Very nice hotel, full of Venetian charm! . This hotel was clean, affordable and the staff was VERY helpful and welcoming. The rooms here are small but cozy and the included breakfast was good. We would definitely stay here again. Embarkation was a breeze, as usual, this is something that Princess has down to a fine art. We were checked in and dropping our bags off in our cabin in about 15 minutes. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and is in great shape. The crew works hard to keep her clean and shiny! The crew on this ship was great. Everyone we came in contact with was very friendly and welcoming. I have to say, that this may be the best cruise for "service with a smile" that we have ever had. And the entertainment was absolutely the best ever! Now onto the downright BAD. The food on this cruise was terrible. We ate in the Crown Grill four (4) times trying to avoid the dining rooms. The food in the Horizon Court was even worse than the dining room. We ate onshore or ate hot dogs and pizza most of the time. We weren't trying to sneak booze back onboard with us, we were bringing back food! I filled out our Princess feedback surveys and complained about the food. I think they've taken the cutbacks too far in this area. I was searching the menu each night for the entree that I thought sounded the least offensive. If we had been in a regular restaurant, I would have walked out without ordering. Ox -tails and floppy potatoes??? Have you ever seen them on a menu (anywhere) before? I don’t think I’m a food snob and I understand that food is a very subjective area… but they took the NY Strip off of the “anytime” menu and replaced it with a hamburger. A hamburger for dinner and you still want me to change out of my blue jeans before I come to the dining room? Hamburgers are for lunch and I don’t have any clue when Ox-tails and floppy potatoes are for. The bar has been lowered. Ok, enough of my food rant. We attended the Cruise Critic meeting and met all the wonderful people we had been writing to online. It’s so much fun, finally putting a face to the name! We also attended a wedding on board. Well, not really a wedding, they were already married. It was a recommitment of their vows. The Captain “re-married” them in a very nice ceremony. Had a good time, glad I went. PORTS: This was our 2nd and/or 3rd time to these ports, so we didn't really do the big touristy stuff this time around. Venice was amazing as usual. We explored away from the tourist areas and found ourselves walking through the parks with the locals on a Sunday afternoon. Great day! In Athens, we joined other CC members for a tour to the Corinth Canal and Ancient Corinth. We also stopped in Athens at the Parthenon and the Olympic Stadium. We ended the day with an amazing view of the Acropolis and Parthenon at sunset, seen from another hill in Athens. Istanbul and the Grand Bazaar were awesome! I bought some very nice pashmina scarves (at least they are tagged pashmina) and think I got a pretty good deal. If you don't like to haggle on prices, just walk the bazaar, don't shop it. The scarf price started out at 20 Euros each. I ended up paying $7.50 American. I bought a couple pair of silver earrings, a nice Turkish tile to frame and a couple of woven tote bags and make-up bags. So many neat shops to browse! We got to go up to the 2nd level of the Bazaar and see where they filmed the latest James Bond movie scenes. Pretty neat. Istanbul is a very cosmopolitan city, don't worry about wandering around by yourself. Take a good map and hop the tram to see an amazing city. Naples was a great day. We took the tram to the train, to get to Herculaneum. Herculaneum is amazing, smaller, but much more complete than Pompeii. Then, we took the train back in to the subway stop. We took the subway to the Naples Archaeological Museum. This really is a top museum, but, I was a little miffed that so many of their ancient mosaics were currently on loan to other museums. Mykonos was just a wander around the city day. It was too cold to eat a gelato on the beach, so we just searched the back streets for Petros. When we found him, he boldly posed for us. What a ham, he loves the attention! In Rome, we set up a tour with other CC members to see some of the "different" tourist areas in the city. We traveled the Appian Way to the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, went to the Castel Sant Angelo, saw the Pantheon, got some great view of the forum and other monuments. But, the most unusual thing we did was to visit the Church of the Immaculate Conception where the bones of 4000 Capuchin Monks are decoratively arranged on the walls and ceilings. Honestly, this place is jaw dropping! Florence was cold…very cold. (This is the chance you take traveling in November) So, I had to buy a pair of gloves…Italian leather with cashmere lining, naturally. :) We visited Santa Croce Basilica and there was a huge Christmas market in the square in front of the church. Countries from all over Europe were represented in the market. They were selling hot mulled wine and it made the weather seem much more bearable. We had a great day wandering the streets of Venice. Barcelona and the end of the cruise. We stayed 2 nights here before we flew home. This has become one of my favorite cities. We wandered around and soaked up all the Christmas displays, street musicians and holiday markets set up in the squares. We learned the "interesting" customs of this area of Spain. The Caganer or “the crapper” was a hot item and was sold everywhere...as was the Tió de Nadal, or pooping log. Who knew? Google these two items, it’s hysterical! All the weird Christmas customs aside. The city was lit and fully decorated for Christmas and we walked it day and night, stopping in for Tapas and wine all along the way. La Boqueria was about a block from our hotel and we literally ate our way through this massive food market, not once, not twice, but three times! We had the best food of the whole trip here. I’d like to spend more time in Spain and explore some of the smaller cities and towns. There you have it, great ports, great ship, great crew…terrible food.   Read Less
Sail Date November 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
It was our second cruise with Princess and the Ruby was everything we wanted. Had marvelous staff loved the Italian Nights especially the "lemincello". Our inside cabin was quite a decent size and it was great to be woken ... Read More
It was our second cruise with Princess and the Ruby was everything we wanted. Had marvelous staff loved the Italian Nights especially the "lemincello". Our inside cabin was quite a decent size and it was great to be woken up in the morning with hot coffee and whatever one felt like to eat by a friendly staff member. It was a 21 day cruise in three segments. Got to see a fair bit of the Mediterranean some ports were places we had been to before but it was great going back for a second time. We just love Sicily and calling into Palermo and have a donkey cart ride was the icing on the cake. As my husband speaks Sicilian the driver just couldn't do enough and the ride lasted over an hour. It was a fairly busy cruise with 18 ports in 21 days and well worth it so apart from the movies and stage concerts we really didn't have much time for any onboard activities but I know there were quite a few things to do. We really enjoyed the entertainment provided. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Ruby Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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