20 Venice to Europe - Western Mediterranean Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

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
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
I will try to make this short, but I can see already it won't be. I do not want to waste more time on Princes so there may be some dyslexic spelling and some short form sentences below. My English teacher may not be happy. I will ... Read More
I will try to make this short, but I can see already it won't be. I do not want to waste more time on Princes so there may be some dyslexic spelling and some short form sentences below. My English teacher may not be happy. I will start by saying this is my first cruise but have travelled well in North America, all the Southern islands, and this was my honeymoon. The Decor and room. I swear the colors and materials of the stateroom were in my 1990 33 foot Sea Ray boat. The balcony was huge and very comfortable. The bed hard and somehow short. Bath shower incredibly tight but all and all a decent size sate room. The rest of the decor in the ship, not luxurious and rather dull. I expected more class or imagination for a newer ship. Noisey room with kids running up and down the halls playing games in the hall. Could hear the theatre above. Once smoke stack fumes came onto out balcony. Over all the room was fine. The food and drink. Anytime dinners..... We found it best to go at 8:30 and we got into the restaurants without too much wait. The sauces (gravies or bearnaise) often substituted for ones of another color. Not sure at times what I was eating? I didn't get sick so I assume it was OK. Any crab appitiser had fake crab subbed in pretending to taste good. Processed "Pollock" in crab cakes or in an artichoke crab dip? I nearly choked! Desserts frozen when they should have been room temperature. Some good food and some bad at each meal. It was fun to see what got botched up that eve. You could easily ask to mix and match anything on the menu and give you many small portions which made it much better to try more on each menu. Eventually you would have liked something. Dinners we had paid extra for,...better staff, knowledgeable, better menu and presentation, not even there they could cook a piece of beef till tender, but a better place to eat. We PAID for it!! It better be better! Still, not up to what I had expected when paying more. Everyone says "cruise food is great!". Does most the population have bad taste? (We started making up a game,... if you were on land at a restaurant, how much would you pay for this main dish? Often we though $7.00 but once I would have paid $20. If the food isn't good and I am getting dressed to go out for a restaurant, I won't pay anything for a bad meal!) The buffet..... I felt I was "running with the bulls" at lunch and dinner. Get the good stuff before it was gone. Push push, get out of the way!!! The sushi lasted minutes it seemed. With all the water around us could we not have some more fresh fish? Getting scolded by staff for going in through the "out" at the buffet. No knives and forks unless they see you sanitize your hands. I thought I had left my mom at home and paid others to discipline me at dinner! And when you realize the food was different at each buffet. You needed to wear running shoes to get what you wanted from each buffet and station, and if again you were not scolded on the way to get more with having a plate in hand and not sanitizing again, and eventaully find where your table was! They needed to have a menu in the elevator foyer between both buffets to tell you what each had even though the staff would have said they were the same. At the minimum, you lost weight winding yourself in and out of rooms, around walls, down halls, around tables and servers rarely found when needed when trying to get a meal. Again, a lot of bland food, fruit was good, cheese good, and you could always create something to make yourself happy if you have the will and time. The small cafes and eating areas around the ship.... The pizza was good, fries good, salad, desserts and sandwiches and tapas in the Atrium were good. The soda good if you had paid for a card allowing it to be "all you could drink". Rarely a good coffee unless you paid for it. Atleast the lemonade was good a free! The Soda card, the wine card, coffee card, smoothie cards..... A great Idea, but I thought I was getting some of this stuff for free? The ship is definitely not an "all inclusive". If there was more knowledgeable staff about the products they were pushing, or if the could relate it to you better in English, or, if it was on their website, then it would have been easier to make an informed decision on what to do instead of being cold cocked in the head. The wine card,.... you better know what wine is in each restaurant before making an informed decision on which level of card to buy. They made it difficult to buy a card when you did not know what they had in your price range. They seamed to love "California" wines. Not enough Mediterranean reds,(are we not cruising in this area?) and half way through the cruise they were running out of many of the mid range reds. Best to smuggle it aboard. And why can't I get a bottle at a bar using my card? I did pay for it already? Cork your bottle at the end of a meal and bring the wine to your room or another bar area. Better yet, buy wine off shore so you can have a glass of local wine before going to dinner. All in all, you could more or less get "what you need" but not "what you want" as Mick Jagger says. I expected more. I have had way better service and food at an all inclusive and not been scolded when doing so. The Entertainment. There wasn't any by definition. There was no "party" atmosphere anywhere. If you were late 40's or early 50's, you better conform to disco music or elevator music. There was some middle of the road tunes outside near a pool in the afternoon. A bit of rock and roll being played by a live band trying to be heard over the screaming kids around the pool, or the loud hot tubs full of children like cauldrons from a bedtime story, or the neighboring movie theatre noise. Once, I heard Beatles music from the atrium and I was excited. I had to see. Yes some live Beatles music with the rest of the staff dancing slowly in Victorian clothing like a scene from a Coronation in the 13th century. They couldn't even make that music fun! The theatre was a very room. Great chairs to sleep in during a show. A night of music history. I think they started in the 30's, hours later they may have been in the 50's. I though if they made it to the 90's I may be 90 so I was best leave after a couple hours, extended care on the ship isn't cheap. They had a comedian,.... or was it the puppet guy? I wasn't sure they sounded the same. By the end, If I had to hear a violin or piano again, or Cinnamon in the lounge or Atrium, I would have to have flung myself over board. One more Karoke eve or some lame couples game for entertaiment and I may get divorced on my honeymoon. Movies,..if you liked them they were everywhere! Movies in the theatre, movies on the top deck while laying in the sun, movies in your room, movies playing in the other theatres. You could always watch a movie and get fat. Maybe they should have called the cruise, The "Western Mediterranean Movie Cruise" Could they have at least change the movies up more? Laying on my own balcony I could hear it, laying at the other pool I could hear it. Late at night while trying to have a romantic eve, enjoying the motion of the ocean on a deck, shimmering lights seen off in the distance, a glass of red wine in hand, holding hands, and the rumbling of "John Carter" above my head blowing space ships up. The general stuff. It was hard to have some peace or romance during the sun. Roving bands of children like "gangs" on the street. Taking over all the hot tubs,... roving from one to another tub bored to death. Eating hamburgers and fries over the water, the occasional hot dog floating on the surface of one of the many hot tub adults were not able to use. Nice!! The adult pool often full of kids with staff not understanding the rules of the area or that minuscule sign no one could understand that said "adult pool". Or maybe it was the rap music in another language from I PODS in the adult areas that I did not understand. Maybe it was just me? I was too old for this place? Or was I too young for the other places on the boat. Maybe I did not fit in. The "Timeshare", or shall I say, Princess cruises. Up sell up sell always! "Buy our special coffees at dinner, it's a good deal!" they proclaimed every eve. Please let me relax at dinner and leave me alone! Stop trying to take photos of me every time I try to get off the ship!,..there is a long line and I am hot and not looking my best at 7:00 a.m. I don't want them anyway! Let me get to dinner and don't stop me from strolling through the ship to take more photos of me I won't buy! Buy some Art it's a great deal! Buy more cruises now, it is cheaper! The excursions,.... We had heard you should not take the ships and buy them off shore, but through our experience, we paid more to get to the front of the line at museums and churches, the safety of getting back on time, and good hosts. Once we did our own thing, the wait for the Picasso museum was 2 hours long. If we spent a few hundred more it was worth it for peace of mind and to organize the next day. Paying this kind of money for a dream vacation and going cheap in the end with the possibility of something going wrong was not worth it. We say what we could in the time we could. On your own you may have seem less or with a private guide, you may have not known what you were getting into. By the way, the woman who is on the ship's T.V was knowledgeable on the T.V. and could fill you in well with what was coming up at the next port and the sights, but both times we went to see her for help on making decisions on excursions, she was a total Bi*@h. She needed some manners. Great sights to see! Go swimming in Mykonos! Walk and walk the streets in all cities! Eat the food in all ports of call. Swim off the Pier at Monte Carlo! Window shopping for Jets and Bentley's, See the Vatican. Florence, Rome, Athens, Venice, Istanbul, Spain and lots of sunscreen. Be very good at haggling or they will eat you alive. Bring your bathing suit everywhere. Cheap cover ups for shoulders and knees for women, 5 EU scarves will get you into sacred places. See what you can because you may not be back. It is an adventure and you may need a vacation afterward. An added note,... stayed in Barcelona at the end for a few days, great wind down from the busy daytime excursions from 12 days on the ship,.,a pool on the roof, lots of fun, great Hotel, "Ohla" in the heart of action and walking to all beach, party, food and shopping activities. All and all, the ship was a vessel to take you from and to the ports you wanted to see. We took this cruise for the Ports of Call. Don't expect much more than that. Don't expect great food. The staff was just doing their job and I can't say too many bad things about them. It was clean, safe and OK. Hustle hustle always it seemed. Bring lots of money. I could say more. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Med. Cruise 9/25-10/7-AWESOME! After months of research and some anxiety we sailed away on Sept. 25th out of Venice. The sky was a beautiful blue, temp was in the 70s, Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli were singing, and we were finally ... Read More
Med. Cruise 9/25-10/7-AWESOME! After months of research and some anxiety we sailed away on Sept. 25th out of Venice. The sky was a beautiful blue, temp was in the 70s, Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli were singing, and we were finally departing on our dream cruise through the Mediterranean. I felt if we were in the video for PBS visions of Italy. PreCruise We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn one night and then moved over to the Molino Stucky the 2nd night, we used our Hilton Points. The Garden Inn is very nice and there is a bus stop out front that takes you into town and the hotel sells passes. The Molino was gorgeous and we were upgraded to a suite. You can now catch a water bus from the Molino to the cruise port for 8 Euro each, suitcases are 1 Euro each unless they are big than it is 3 Euro. The water bus takes you right to the cruise ship. The Ship This cruise was our first time in an inside cabin, I was a bit nervous about it but it turned out to be just fine and we would definitely book it again. The big reason why it worked out for us was due to our placement on the ship which was purposely planned. We were on the Rivera Deck AFT, so each morning I would step out of my cabin and within a few steps I was on the back of the ship-that was my balcony. I would walk up to the Caribe Caf make my tea & get some breakfast and sit outside and enjoy the view. The room was great for sleeping because it was nice and dark. Occasionally we would hear wheels rolling from upstairs but it was so light that it never bothered us. We are always pleased with Princess- great food and service, clean and always so much to do. If you didnt like your food you just ordered something else so no complaints there. We did notice staff very eager to sell to you just about everything they can. A crew member shared that their sells determine their dime off, if this is true how sad is that. Helpful Tips Bring a digital alarm clock- the clock in the stateroom is on the phone so you have to get up to see the time. I am a big tea drinker and I like my tea out of a ceramic mug, not plastic. I purchase s souvenir mug and bring it up to the caf each day. This cruise I learned that the cabin steward can clean my mug each day because they have a dishwasher on each deck. So every day I had a clean mug returned to my cabin-Magic. We brought a duffle bag folded in our suitcase. Upon departure we filled it with dirty clothes and had room in our big bags for souvenirs, and we didnt have to pack so tight. Ports of Call Our group was a party of 8, we met on a cruise several years ago and have remained friends. We made arrangements (months of research) for tours on our own. We had beautiful weather for the whole cruise temps, in the 70s & 80s. Dubrovnick, Croatia What a beautiful country, we all said we would like to come back for a longer stay. We didnt have a tour planned as we were just going to walk the wall and hang out there. Two taxi drivers met us and asked if we would like an hour tour around the area before being dropped off at Pile Gate, we all said yes. What a great decision that was, our drivers were full of information and had such passion for their country. They drove us above the town and we looked down at the walled city, it was a breathtaking view. Our driver Mikele asked if we wanted more time and they would drop us off some place nice for lunch, we all agreed. We drove to what once a beautiful resort area on the beach, all the hotels had been bombed from the war and have been untouched for 20 years. We went to a small village (Cavtat) on the water and had lunch with gorgeous views, I wanted to stay. Our drivers drove us to Pile Gate, we didnt have much time inside the walls as I was on a mission to find Buza 1. I had read about this Taverna on the water and saw it on YouTube, and said this is a must see. We found the hole in the wall and walked through and went WOW. I called it the Pub on the Rocks, it has different levels of seating on the rocks overlooking the sea. We sat and had a drink while listening to Diana Krall and taking in this awesome view, it was a pinch me moment. I asked my husband if he arranged to have Diana playing and of course he took full credit. Corfu We had hired a driver because I wanted to go to Paleokastritsa beach which is a 45 min. drive, and someone else wanted to see the big Pink Palace- a hostel where their son had stayed. We first visited the Achilleion Palace, the house was crowded so we didnt spend much time in it. We wandered out to the gardens, beautiful with breathtaking views. We drove to the beach I wanted to see and had wonderful lunch on the water, it was great. Marie the owner of Aladino took good care of us, great conversation and she treated us to her homemade desert. Katakolan At this port we did book an excursion through Princess because they had what we wanted. We went to Olympia for 2 hours and then were driven to a beach for 3 hours where we had lunch overlooking the water. Mykonos Beautiful place, we walked into town and browsed the shops for a wee bit and then found the bus station. We took the local bus to a quiet beach, Agios Ioannis, and had a bite to eat at Hipie Fish on the water. Athens We had arranged for a driver to meet us and drive us to the sights we wanted to see, that helped save time and Petros was wonderful and shared a wealth of information about his country. We drove straight to the Acropolis and spent 90 mins We then drove to the Olympic Stadium, then over to Arch of Hadrian and then up Lykavittos Hill. The views from here are amazing, from my understanding this is a place where the big busses cant go. We walked up to the top of the hill to St. Georges church, you can see all of Rome from this view, it just goes on & on. There was a protest going on but our driver avoided it. We got dropped off at the Plaka for lunch and a walk around the shops. We had an hour left and the group wanted to get back to the ship just in case there would be traffic, our driver was disappointed he couldnt show us more. We were so glad that we planned a private tour. Turkey We had arranged a private tour to take us to Ephesus. At 8:00 am Murate met us at the ship, he was our private guide, and we had a driver as well. Turkey is beautiful, it reminded me of Colorado mountains and blue sky. The ride to Ephesus was about 30mins. We spent about 3 hours with Murate explaining all the history to us as we walked, again such a wealth of information. Murate said he went to college for 4 years to become a guide. A highlight of Ephesus was the Terrace Houses, people have mentioned that there are a lot of stairs, we didnt think the stairs were that bad, you walk a few stairs and then there will be a platform area that you walk on before more stairs. After the Ephesus we were asked if we wanted to go to the carpet factory, we said no. We were asked if we wanted to go to a leather factory, we said yes as someone in our group wanted a leather jacket. When we arrived we got a private show with models walking down the runway wearing the leather jackets. We went back to the port area for lunch and shopping but we found the vendors so pushy that we just went back on the ship. Rhodes We didnt have plans for Rhodes so we just walked into town and did a little touring on our own. Walked around the shops a bit and had lunch in a beer garden before heading back to the ship. Santorini This Port is the main reason why I planned this cruise and I was not disappointed. We got the first tenders out around 8:15am and we took the cable car up and our friends rode the donkeys. The shops were quiet when we first arrived but that changed fast as there were 6 ships in Port. We met up with our friends and found the bus station, we immediately headed for OIA, about a 20 min. ride. We walked around OIA taking breathtaking photos, it was absolutely gorgeous. We found a restaurant overlooking the water and the blue dome churches, it was another pinch me moment. We took the bus back to Fira and found the line for the cable car, it was over an hour wait to get the cable car back to the ship. Naples We had a private tour booked to take us to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. We didnt do this tour as planned due to half of the part y had been to Pompeii and didnt want to see it again. So we drove along the Amalfi Coast, stopped in Positano for an hour, had lunch in Sorrento where one group took a boat back to Naples and the rest of us went on to Pompeii. Everything was wonderful but to rushed, we didnt have enough time in each place especially Pompeii. In hindsight I should have just had the other group book their own tour and then we could have taken the tour as to how it was designed- Pompeii in the morning and Positano in the afternoon. Post Cruise We had a wonderful 3 days in Rome at the Rome Cavalieri again using our points. The Cavalieri is 20 minutes outside of Rome but they have a shuttle that takes you back and forth. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We are a couple in our late 50's who traveled to meet our daughter ( who resides in Vietnam) half way around the world ( Venice) to celebrate her birthday, take our first ever cruise ( hers too) and enjoy the Greek Isles and the ... Read More
We are a couple in our late 50's who traveled to meet our daughter ( who resides in Vietnam) half way around the world ( Venice) to celebrate her birthday, take our first ever cruise ( hers too) and enjoy the Greek Isles and the Mediterranean. She has always wanted to see the Greek Isles and it has also been a dream of mine. My hubby as he says came along for the ride. And what a ride. We flew the 11 hrs from Atlanta to Venice by way of Amsterdam. We spent an extra day and night in Venice and enjoyed getting lost among the various nooks, crannies and canals. We did independent walking tours of the city, the Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and of course just enjoyed St Marks' Square. The Basilica was closed so we did not go in but we just enjoyed soaking up the experience of being in this magical city. We stayed at the Duodo Palace Hotel which was closer to St Mark's Square than where the ship was docked. This was great for exploring Venice proper but a downside in getting to the Ruby Princess. When I say downside water taxi's are not cheap!! But we were lucky enough to share with another couple. They are also like most taxi's anywhere else except they are on water...it was a fast and raucous ride to the ship! Talk about getting sea legs fast! On arrival at the port, bags were taken and we did not see them again until they were at our cabin door. Embarkation was a breeze.The usual photo op then we were on Ruby. What a beautiful ship! We were like kids in a candy store wondering where to look or go next. Staff were everywhere, smiling and guiding us to our cabins and other places as we wandered our new home for 12 days. Our Cabin Steward Rommel was professional and friendly and always made sure that our needs were met. For our daughter's birthday he made a towel monkey ( yes she is an adult but there is something about those little animals, stuffed, towel or otherwise!)and he made our home away from home perfect! C252 was perfect for an inside cabin. Enough room for the three of us and despite all I read here the beds were perfect for us. One thing that I read here that was great was to keep the TV on on the ships bridge cam at night. That way you get the sense of day and night and with it reflecting in the mirror it appears almost as a window..something I hear Disney has incorporated in their inside cabins. My hubby was jet lagged and Venice lagged ( after walking the city over and over again)so he slept in after a quick view of Ruby. My daughter and I went to our first Traditional time dining experience and I can tell you the food was great the entire time ( okay one dish I did not particularly find appealing was the veal scallopini..)and yes we did indulge!!Our first meal was when we embarked after lunch closed in the MDR but HC was pretty decent and in general my hubby liked the buffet. Because of the port intensity of this cruise HC saw us for breakfast for most mornings and the fare was good. After awhile however I was getting a bit tired of eggs. One thing I can attest to is that Chef Joel Descrito is the best! He made a curry dish ( Curry chicken one night then curry lamb the next) that my hubby requested that made me wonder how I was ever to prepare these dishes again for my husband to enjoy after eating the ones that Chef Joel created. Scrumptious!! The ports were fascinating. We were not fans of Corfu or Rhodes per se. Our Dubrovnik excursion was not what we signed up for in that the guide took us almost to Montenegro, did not have lunch in an all day tour ( we signed up for 1/2 day so something went awry somewhere) did not get to climb the wall around the city,but the brandy tasting and Cavat was interesting. Not complaining just a bit perplexing. Efes ( Epheseus) was breathtaking and the Amalfi Coast ( Naples) awe inspiring and beautiful. Oh and the sail away from Venice..heart stopping and soul stirring to say the least! Lisa Ball was our CD and she and the assistant CD Eric really tried to drum up the entertaining spirit of the passengers. I think in my humble opinion that they did a good job or maybe it was the group that was sailing, I saw many participating in the activities and lots playing cards and table games, laughing and having a good time or relaxing with electronic readers poolside or on the promenade. All staff were professional and friendly and I felt that anything we needed they would try to obtain. Okay, so I fell for the first timers gotta have some of those $19-$25 pictures. Hubby liked the casino and we had wine at dinner almost every night, and my daughter and I just had to have that massage with the stones of course! And yes we did the Chef's Table. I've got to say with Generoso( love that man!) being so gracious and Chef Joel providing a wonderful meal not to mention great table mates..it was worth every dime even though the pricing has increased. Sadly we had to disembark. That process was even more of a breeze than embarkation. I thought for sure it would take more time and so we had hired a taxi for 10am and I put us down for disembarkation at 0900 thinking for sure we would have to spend time looking for our luggage, getting to the pick up area etc. Nope we were out of there in 10 minutes flat and waited for our taxi!! We stayed in Rome at the River Palace ( centrally located near the Villa Borghese gardens and the Piazza Popolo)for two nights and did our own tours of the city, the Vatican etc. The weather was phenomenal all along until Rome where it did rain that first day and was partly cloudy and cool but the Trevi Fountain ( heck all of Rome) at night was breathtaking and yes we did throw our coins in the Fountain and the Spanish steps were not as hard to go up or down as I thought ( after Santorini and Fira's 562 stairs anything else is easy!!). Our favorites besides Venice was Mykonos, Santorini and the Amalfi Coast. We loved our Princess experience. We chose this on a whim because our daughter's nick name is Princess and what better way for a Princess to celebrate her birthday but on a Princess ship?Well the fairy tale came true and it was sheer delight. Thanks Princess...you will see us again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We have just arrived home from our Grand Mediterranean Cruise on Ruby Princess and I am eager to write this review before I forget details! From the minute we boarded in Venice, to the time we disembarked in Barcelona, we were ... Read More
We have just arrived home from our Grand Mediterranean Cruise on Ruby Princess and I am eager to write this review before I forget details! From the minute we boarded in Venice, to the time we disembarked in Barcelona, we were treated with consistent, friendly, professional hospitality. Embarkation was a breeze - we were through the line and in our cabin in about 15 minutes. Cabin: Beautiful! We had a mini-suite and had plenty of room to spread out. The cabin is beautifully appointed in light wood trim and sage accents (bed pillows, curtains). There was plenty of room for our clothes - the closet has a shelving cupboard that easily fit all out things, even though there were more drawers and cupboards in the room. Bed was configured to queen as we had requested, with snowy white sheets and good pillows. Very comfortable! The bathroom was immaculate. Service: Our steward, Danilo, met us the moment we arrived and showed us around the cabin. Throughout the cruise, we didn't ask much of him, but when we did, it was taken care of immediately. He kept our room clean and tidy - not easy with MY husband; fresh towels twice a day (not necessary, but appreciated). we were always greeted with a smile upon returning from shore or running into him in the hall. I honestly don't know how these guys do it...I don't know how many other cabins he had to take care of, but he was pleasant the whole way through. Same goes for dining room staff - they were EXCELLENT. Accurate orders, friendly, even joke-y at times which I like - I don't like "stiff" waiters. No matter what crew member you ran into on the ship, you were greeted with a smile and a "hello", at the very least. Food: Ok now listen...if you're a foodie, and you're expecting knock-your-socks-off cuisine, don't take a cruise. Consider the sheer AMOUNT of food that is being prepared, constantly, for 3,000+ passengers, (plus crew - they eat too!!). The quality and variety of food and dining options onboard the Ruby is excellent, given the amount of food that must be prepared and I can't think of a single meal where I was disappointed. Did it blow me away? No. Was it nicely presented and reasonably tasty? Absolutely. The buffet had a wonderful selection of different foods for every appetite, and all around the ship were choices choices choices for different dining options. To be honest, the only meal I didn't really like was at Sabatini's, but through no fault of their own - I just didn't like anything on the menu. Activities: I wouldn't know...If I wasn't on shore, I was in the casino. ;-) (Actually...I DID catch a few shows and participated in some of the trivia games. The shows were "eh" but the games were fun.) I didn't make use of any of the pools (too crowded and I don't like sitting in the sun). I DO know, based on the Princess Patter that arrived in our room box each night, that you were never lacking for something to do - there appeared to be lots going on all over the place! Ports: Will fill out individual port reviews but let me say that this cruise is PORT-INTENSIVE!! bring walking shoes!! If you're leaving from Venice, DO NOT miss the sailaway - trust me - I am not an early riser but this was absolutely worth getting up for - I almost cried, it was so lovely! We had a blast and we met great people and saw cool stuff - what more do you want??!! UNFORTUNATELY, however...this will be our first and last Princess cruise due to the new smoking policy effective in October. I know this is a hot button issue here so I won't go into it, but I am very sorry to have to cross this cruise line off my list. If you're a non-smoker and considering Ruby, by all means book and ENJOY!! You're in for a real treat! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Embarkation was brutal. The ship was very noisy and our bedroom wall would actually move when our neighbors bumped it. The excursions,for the most part, were fine although over priced. The food was not nearly as good as other ... Read More
Embarkation was brutal. The ship was very noisy and our bedroom wall would actually move when our neighbors bumped it. The excursions,for the most part, were fine although over priced. The food was not nearly as good as other ships. Excursion tickets had to be duplicated because the originals "were lost". All excursions were booked at least a month prior to the cruise. With all of the sophisticated computer capabilities, seems like they could see couples that are traveling alone and not place kids in adjoining rooms. The real problem was the acute gastroenteritis that hit me on day ten and my husband on day eleven. The cost was more than a US emergency room, if you can believe that. Servers, though plentiful in numbers, were scarce when a beverage was needed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I chose this cruise because of their ports of call. Istanbul and Athens are always a good option. I have cruised before with Princess and know the drill. Big crowded ships. I traveled with my wife and teen (16) boy. We found this cruise to ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of their ports of call. Istanbul and Athens are always a good option. I have cruised before with Princess and know the drill. Big crowded ships. I traveled with my wife and teen (16) boy. We found this cruise to be very familiar and full of activities. We flew Atlanta Venice on Delta. Old Boeing 767 crowded airplane. Multimedia did not work but since it was an overnight flight, you don't need it. We stayed in an hotel close to Piazzola di Roma which is close to the port. People mover from this piazza to port makes it easy. Since there were like 8 bid ships departing Venice, I would have appreciated more signs from Princess. I found many big and clear from Royal Caribbean. Princess uses small ones with people that are chatting with signs down. After we asked, walked at 90F and pushed crowds found the right way, check in was easy. The Welcome entrance photo was all sweaty for most people. Nice reminder. Crew was warm and welcoming. Since we knew our way to our cabin, it was ok and fast. Since we would touch many ports and many had activities one ship, we chose and inside cabin. Very few time spent inside. Cabin is nice. Nothing special. The overnight on ship at Venice is a good option since you get to have night views of the city. Transportation from the ship is US$15.00 per person. Using Vaporetto is $17 Euro per three. You find that fee is already charged and departs just from side of ship, so use it. Depart from Venice is early in the morning and 2 days of sailing to Athens. Arriving to Athens we were told that since there was a Taxi Drivers strike, no disembark was going to happen. This was very frustrated. There were about 10 cruise ships at Piraeus port. Only American companies did not allow disembark. All the European companies disembarked and some American companies left the port to other cities. Princess just stayed on port with all passengers on board. This meant a 3rd day on ship. I think this was a wrong decision from the captain/commodore. He should have given a Waiver and let us go down. We you travel to other countries, you confront social unrest. Athens is bigger than a Taxi drivers strike. There is subway, walking, etc.. After meeting other cruise passengers at different ports they did not tell any problems at Athens. This is my second port cancellation with Princess. I think they lack decision speed to change ports. We are sad. This was the major trouble we had on the cruise. On the other hand, ship was good and crew was friendly. The most rude are the Maitres at the dinning rooms. They think they own the ship. We chose any time dinner since we are late dinners and arriving from tours at 6-7 pm leaves you little time to change for dinner. Ship was full of families from all ages. Big noisy families from Latin America and Russia. This made a Happy Cruise. Since ship is big, crowds were only at upper pool decks. The rest was OK. Crooner's bar is my favorite at this ship. As for night shows at the Theatre, nothing new or impressing. The same ones that you will see at big cruise lines. For big cities we chose tours on our own. You get much to see this way but have to do some before research in order to make the most of time. At Istanbul (beautiful, friendly City) we used the Tram to Sultanahmet. Two more stops is Grand Bazaar. Tram is just outside from ship terminal. Most museum entrances can be paid using debit/credit card so you don´t need many Turkish Lira. Just for tram. At the Bazaar they accept any currency. Rome we used the ship transport from Civitavecchia to Rome (1:30hrs). They leave you at the Vatican. Close is Metro station (Ottaviano). You can purchase a 1 day use for Subway and buses ($6 Euro per pax) or buy the Rome Pass for 24 hours that will let you use subway, buses and entrance to two museums/ruins avoiding lines $21 Euro. Since we had just 6 hours, we chose the first option. There are Subway stations to any landmark at Rome. Note that on Sundays, Vatican Museums are closed. On Monday, Florence Museums are closed and on Fridays at Istanbul many things are closed. Use this to plan your cruise. Mykonos was so-so. My personal opinion is that Princess can avoid this port and spend more time at big cities like Istanbul and/or Rome. Kushadasi very interesting going to Ephesus and Mary's Shrine. Expect crowds in all the main points of interest at all ports. By crowds I mean big ones. This was expected since it was summer time. August is worst. At Barcelona we disembarked on our own. At ship they try to sell you transportation scaring you about crowds at port. The truth is that cabs are outside of ship and many. Wait is just 5-10 mnts and you don't disembark at 6am. Can wait until 9-10am. Fare to any downtown hotel is $8-$10 Euro per ride 3-4 pax. We used this option and are happy to have made it. We had a quiet breakfast and disembarked OK. Hope this helps. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our dream cruise. 30 years of marriage and a wish to see the countries of the Mediterranean. The Ruby Princess was unlike our other Princess cruises . . . which were all good and nothing to complain about. This time was different. ... Read More
This was our dream cruise. 30 years of marriage and a wish to see the countries of the Mediterranean. The Ruby Princess was unlike our other Princess cruises . . . which were all good and nothing to complain about. This time was different. Don't get me wrong. There were a LOT of goods, but customer service is broken on the Ruby and it needs fixing. First, the good things: Our luggage was lost and we didn't receive it until Athens (three days into the cruise). That may sound bad, but the good thing is Princess stayed on the airlines and kept us informed daily. Not only that, but they washed our clothes for free every day and and offered free formal wear should we desire to go to the formal night. We were not the only ones who did not receive their luggage (it was a BAD trip for the airlines) but Princess treated us as if we were. Our steward Jack was unbelievable. I wish I could have packed him in my luggage and brought him home. He was always available and whatever we asked for was immediately provided. AND he ALWAYS had a smile on his face (and some days it couldn't have been easy to do that!). Most of our tour guides were excellent, especially in Rome, Ephesus and Istanbul. We had two who were awful-we submitted comments and Princess gave us 20% back on one and 15% back on the other. However, BELIEVE Princess when they describe the excursions and they say they are physically challenging. Folks, they MEAN it. These places are NOT the USA. We are talking ruins, thousands of years old in some cases and they aren't going to suddenly start paving over the uneven, rocky paths. There are NO handicapped ramps, no handicap access, no paved sidewalks, etc. People do fall, they do break bones. I sprained my ankle at the beginning of the trip and I am fit and active. DO NOT go on the excursions if you are not able. You only hurt yourself and hold back the other tour members. Ryan and Jason of the cruise director staff were phenomenal. Be careful playing trivia with them. They do not give away anything. You EARN your "crappy ship prizes!" Disembarkation was excellent! The best we have ever experienced. Off the ship, picked up our luggage in the terminal, walked straight to a Delta counter set up there, checked in, walked out to the bus, drove to the airport, went through security and poof! we were at our gate ready to head home. We couldn't believe how easy it was. The bad: Food was mediocre at best and we don't go on cruises for the food so to say it was mediocre says a lot. Cold in the buffet on many occasions and unappetizing in the dining room (I had one decent meal- turkey pot pie - in the dining room). As mentioned in a previous review, the deck staff is AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL. My husband and I got to the point where we joked that we would have to trip someone to get service. All I wanted was a Diet Coke-they would see me waiting and literally turn their heads to not make eye contact with me. We couldn't get orange juice in the morning for breakfast in the buffet, I couldn't get chocolate milk at night (we don't have that-yes, you do, I just had it last night-no we don't) and on the last day when we disembarked NO ONE would wait on us, period. I even had a waiter snap at me during afternoon tea when all I said was "she (the lady witting next to me) would like some more tea as well." Lack of attention and rudeness was systemic throughout the dining rooms, buffet, etc., but the deck was the worst. We would see the crew members standing around talking, laughing, joking. Anything but waiting on us. I am not a demanding person. I always say please and thank you. I was never given the opportunity because they simply looked the other way. We have NEVER had this experience on Princess before. Usually they almost knock you down to be nice and helpful. Not on the Ruby. I filled out the email review when I got home and asked to have someone from Princess call me because we were so stunned at the appalling lack of courtesy and concerned with the wait staff. Princess did call (after I left a message saying I would like to talk to them BEFORE I wrote my review)and we discussed the issues stated above. I believe Princess was concerned as well and I hope they will make changes. This is not the Princess I have come to know and love. Will I cruise with them again? Yes, absolutely, because I believe the Ruby to be an aberration and not indicative of the entire cruise line. However, you need to be aware of what you might face and make sure the supervisors know of your concerns. If I had it to do over again, I would have asked for a supervisor and made my concerns known right then. Perhaps changes could have been made immediately and so many of us would not have been upset. It is just sad that our one in a lifetime trip was marred because of the wait staff. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Ruby Princess May 28, 2011 from Venice to Barcelona, 12 nights My husband, 59, our son, 16 and I, 57, all frequent cruisers, second time on Princess. Cabin E420, outside. We were accompanied by four other adults. Arrived at ... Read More
Ruby Princess May 28, 2011 from Venice to Barcelona, 12 nights My husband, 59, our son, 16 and I, 57, all frequent cruisers, second time on Princess. Cabin E420, outside. We were accompanied by four other adults. Arrived at Venice airport the day of the cruise and used the ATM to get euro. Paid 5 euro to take the bus to Venice and paid 1 euro to take the People Mover to near the Ruby Princess. After getting off the People Mover, it's a bit of a walk on semi-rough ground to get to the ship. I first had to drop my checked baggage at a white tent and then walk over to the embarkation building. Once inside, it was a very easy process to get on the ship, probably the easiest ever, no lines. Got on board around 5pm and the stateroom was ready. On my bed were our tour tickets and a boat ticket for each of us that we could use that day to go between the ship and St. Mark's square. We could use it all day and it costs $15 each. If these tickets were not used, we were to return them to the Guest Services for full credit. If we had gotten on board earlier, we would have used them for our sightseeing. My brother and his wife arrived early that day by train and when they exited the train station, there was a Ruby Princess man there collecting luggage and taking it to the ship for $5 each. Saved them the trouble of storing the luggage and gathering it later and getting it to the ship. That was a good and unexpected perk. We met with the other four members of our group on board. We all ate with Anytime Dining and had dinner that night in the Michelangelo or DaVinci dining room. We ate there almost all dinners and breakfasts and some lunches. We made reservations on the first formal night only. Only one night did we have to wait about 30 minutes. All other times we just walked in and were seated immediately. We sailed away the next morning and had the lifeboat drill with no problems. We then had two days at sea. There were lots of activities and they were varied. Our son was one of very few teens on board. The few times he went to the teen center, he was the only one there. There were a variety of events but he mostly played the video games. We had one more day at sea before Naples. Our cabin was an outside with obstructed view but the lifeboat was very low and we had a good view out the window. Our steward was very good and the cabin was always tidy. I sent two tux shirts out to be ironed and they came back on time for the first formal night. I used the self-serve laundry four times. There were four washers and dryers on our floor. Sometimes I had to wait to use them and sometimes not. The change machine was empty twice. I got change in the casino and the casino didn't seem pleased about that. I found out later that I could have called Guest Services from the laundry and they would have sent someone there to help me. I brought my own soap but they also sold it for $1.25. Wash and dry were each $2. Washing took almost one hour. There were four ironing boards and irons. I say remove two ironing boards and put in one more washer and dryer. I never saw even two irons being used at the same time. Food was usually very good. I wasn't excited about the turkey pot pie as it was bland and warm. One of the steaks my son ordered was very tough and stringy. The lobster was very good. The shows in the Princess Theater were very nice, there was always plenty of room there. We took the behind the scene tour of the theater. There was a cooking demo with the Executive Chef and the Maitre D. Then we had a tour of the kitchen. We took ship tours of Delos which is at the Mykonos port and Effeses. We took private tours in Athens, Istanbul and Rome. We stayed in Livorno and Monte Carlo and walked around. The tours we took with Princess were very nice. When we disembarked in Barcelona, we took a cab to our hotel, the TRYP Apolo. The cost was less than 12 eruo for three people and three bags in the trunk. The hotel was not very far away. We were happy with the hotel room but would skip the optional breakfast next time. The clerks were a bit heavy on trying to sell us tours. The location was nice for walking to Las Ramblas. The next day we took the subway and aerobus to the airport. It was drizzling and the elevators to the subway were ALL broken. Total per person was less than 7 euro. If you can handle your own bags, this is a good way to get to the airport. There is one drop off at the Barcelona Airport so no need to figure out the terminal. Our friends took a taxi for two people for 32 euro to the airport earlier in the day. We all found Barcelona to be a lovely city. All drivers stopped to let us cross streets. We were warned about pickpockets but felt safe in that regards. We did take precautions. However, a woman appeared to try and take my brother's suitcase when we were getting off the aerobus at the airport. After my brother stopped her, she got off the bus without any luggage. Why would she be taking his suitcase if she didn't have one to begin with unless she was stealing it. On the subway, three teenage girls were pushed off the subway when someone accused them of being pickpockets. Port information that I think should be different. Most problems with ports is getting out of the port if not taking a Princess tour. Rome's port had a free shuttle to the port entrance since our ship docked so far away. It should start earlier in the morning. We had a private tour and needed to make the train to get us to St. Peter's. We made it but barely. From the port entrance, we still had a bit of a walk and got our tickets with minutest to spare. The problem with Livorno is similar. Walking through the port is not allowed because of large equipment moving around. A shuttle into town is 5 euro for unlimited rides all day. There was also a direct shuttle to the train station. That one started much later then it should have. I recommend two in the morning, one soon after docking. Instead, there was just one to the station and it was barely in time to get tickets and onto the train in time. Crowds were overwhelming in Athens and Rome, something has to be done. We celebrated our 25th anniversary on the cruise. Princess provided a door sign and balloons and a cake at dinner. It was very nice. Disembarkation was a breeze. We chose self-serve and just walked off with all of our luggage. Taxis were plentiful at the Barcelona port and we were soon at our hotel. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We've traveled on Princess many times but have never experiences such great and awful service in a single cruise. High points: Chef's Table: Fantastic and feel honored to have been selected. The food ... Read More
We've traveled on Princess many times but have never experiences such great and awful service in a single cruise. High points: Chef's Table: Fantastic and feel honored to have been selected. The food and wine just kept coming with the Maitre D' and Chef being such wonderful hosts. Being recognized by a bartender who was on the Diamond during last year's trip to Alaska on the Diamond - Excellent memory and great service. Production shows - Best I've seen on any ship, great vocalists and dancers. A peticular deck waitress that helped me make fresh (Not cold) popcorn for my wife during MUTS. She did comment that making another batch of popcorn would make her shift end 30 minutes late, but insisted on helping me even after I told her to not bother. That's excellent service from a great employee - it's not her fault the Ruby shuts down the popcorn machine 10 minutes after the start of the late movie - a poor decision by her boss. Low points: As mentioned in other reviews, the Deck Staff is just awful. It's clear many do not want to be there due to the complete lack of warmth and few smiles. In a particular incident, My Wife and I sat at barstools patiently for several minutes with cruise card in hand waiting to be served. Neither bartender acknowledged us, we still figured one would help us after finished with other passengers. To our amazement, (Now with an empty bar) both proceeded to start cleaning up the bar area while completely ignoring us. Eventually I went downstairs to another bar and reported this to the deck supervisor. He immediately apologized saying he saw us upstairs and assumed we were being served. Then mentioned they cannot always pick great employees and that this was apparently a bad apple of the bunch. While our first trip to the Crown Grill was excellent, It cannot be said of our second visit. After 1 hour and 45 minutes we were still waiting for our steaks. Finally my 75 yr. old Mom became too tired and left leaving with only a dinner salad and bread as the night's meal. Another couple celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary was in the same situation. They were still waiting after almost 2 hours and purchasing a very nice bottle of wine from the sommelier, which was now empty without a meal to enjoy. When this was brought up to a manager, he offered to waive the $25 fee, but gave both tables a hard time when asked for consideration on the wine. Finally after waiting another 20 minutes for a higher level manager did they agree to provide us a bottle the next evening. This points to an issue we noticed many times: staff level employees are not empowered to make even the smallest decisions or corrections in favor of a passenger - everything is a big deal and requires one or more supervisiors. An example: My wife ordered a bloody Mary she didn't care for - at any restaurant we've visited, it would be changed out for her drink of choice by any bartender - no questions asked. On the Ruby it took 2 different supervisors to make that decision, that's ridicules and very poor customer service. My overall impression: long term Princess employees have pride in their jobs and enjoy working with the public. The newer ones in many cases come from countries not heavily recruited by cruise lines in the past. The percentage of employees from India and the Caribbean have gone down, being replaced by Eastern Europeans (Previous Soviet Bloc countries) who's culture is simply different - to a degree lacking friendliness and warmth we consider to be essential to good customer service. Does this mean we'll never cruise Princess again? Certainly not, but it points to some disturbing trends Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Arrived in Venice on May 28th and embarkation went smoothly and quickly. Our cabin steward was the very best. He anticipated our every need. The balcony was large with 4 lounge chairs, but the room seemed small compared to other cruise ... Read More
Arrived in Venice on May 28th and embarkation went smoothly and quickly. Our cabin steward was the very best. He anticipated our every need. The balcony was large with 4 lounge chairs, but the room seemed small compared to other cruise lines in same category. The bathroom was a closet, hardly enough room to turn around in. We had anytime dining and the first night set the mood for the rest of the trip. We were in the Da Vinci and the waiter tried to force us to buy wine. After telling him we didn't want wine with dinner for the 4Th time, he finally gave up. The rest of the meal he was very condescending and we ate the rest of the evening meals in the Michelangelo room. The food was "hit and miss" The Prime Rib was great, but most other nights is was just passable. We had to send several items back because they were either cold or just barely warm. The service on the deck was for the most part very bad. Some waiters would avoid eye contact so they wouldn't have to wait on you. We ask one for coffee and he never came back. The food in the Horizon and Caribe "cafeteria" was passable. If you got there late at night it was not edible. The wait staff tended to be arrogant The coffee was bad. The only good coffee you could get was from room service. The room service was good and prompt. The Ship's tours were very well organized. The tour director was very entertaining. Choose the tours carefully as they can be very exhausting. Some as long as 4 hours of walking. Three nights we were too tired to even go to dinner. We chose Princess because of the Ports and were not disappointed on that score. We will definitely go back to Celebrity for the service and the food. They have Princess beat "Hands Down". Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My husband and I came 2 days prior to boarding Ruby Princess. Had an excellent tour of Padova and Venice, so we thought it was a good start. The food in Padova were excellent but not in Venice, esp Pizza.The embarkation process of Ruby ... Read More
My husband and I came 2 days prior to boarding Ruby Princess. Had an excellent tour of Padova and Venice, so we thought it was a good start. The food in Padova were excellent but not in Venice, esp Pizza.The embarkation process of Ruby Princess was very organized. Overall, the crew were very good, courteous and helpful and the entire process was excellent.The entertainment were not all very good. The magic show was a little bit obsolete but the other performers were from good to excellent. The daily dancing lessons and exercises were commendable. Bingo added fun to the whole package.Food in all areas esp the buffet were excellent.The shore excursions were generally good except that one that we had a guide who was sick with cold (AnnaMaria). She was not as good as the other guides we had in other excursions maybe because she was sick. A sick guide should have not been allowed to work. Shore excursions that include shopping should allot more than 30 minutes for shopping esp in places like Florence.We stayed in Barcelona for 3 more days. Sorry that I lost some costume jewelries in my checked-in luggage. Can't believe that there are thieves even in Barcelona airport. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We sailed on the Ruby Princess in September 2010 from Venice and enjoyed the cruise and ship, there was one big problem - where our cabin was located. When we found out the cabin number, we checked the deck plans and found a blank space ... Read More
We sailed on the Ruby Princess in September 2010 from Venice and enjoyed the cruise and ship, there was one big problem - where our cabin was located. When we found out the cabin number, we checked the deck plans and found a blank space above the cabin. We mistakenly assumed it was a storage area or equipment room. It turned out to be the galley and the banging and noise from above us started in the middle of the night and made it impossible to get a good night's sleep. We complained several times to the purser but it didn't do much good. One of the people at the purser's desk did let it slip that Princess knows which ones are the noisy cabins, but books them anyway. This was obvious because Princess offered us a $400 credit for our inconvenience. Lesson learned. Never, never book a cabin under an empty space or any of the public areas, including restaurants, theaters, bars, pools, etc. You will be sorry. If you do get stuck with a noisy cabin, complain often and loudly and maybe the cruise line will offer you some sort of compensation. I also noticed that the new Princess ships have smaller cabins. The older ships had more space per passenger. We always used to like Princess because they didn't try to cram as many people on the same size ship as some of the other lines, but not any more. One more observation. If you are taking a cruise with a lot of ports you have never seen before, don't bother paying the extra money for a balcony. You won't have time to use it. Oh, and be aware Princess is now charging $3 to deliver your room service order -- it used to be free. What next, a charge for food! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
I booked this cruise to travel in August with Thomas Cook on line but would do so independently next time, arranging a overnight stay in embarkation port and arranging my own flight. We travelled on the Grand Mediterranean cruise Venice to ... Read More
I booked this cruise to travel in August with Thomas Cook on line but would do so independently next time, arranging a overnight stay in embarkation port and arranging my own flight. We travelled on the Grand Mediterranean cruise Venice to Barcelona for 12 nights on Ruby Princess. The airport transfer was excellent and embarkation was very proffessional and all completed in less than half an hour. We were shown to our stateroom which was on deck 10 room 309 which was fairly centrally located. The room was excellent and spotlessly clean with a fairly large balcony. We then disembarked the ship and took the shuttle provided by Princess into Venice and stayed until about 9.00 going for lunch in the Horizon Court restaurant as I had got traditional dining first sitting. I would definitely go for anytime dining next time as the early dining option means the trip feels like you are in a hamster wheel, returning onto the ship at about six in order to maximise very limited time in port then having to rush a shower and hurry down to Boticelli's restaurant which is not easy to find. The next day when I got up and showered I noticed that there was no European plug socket, a fact that I had not noticed in any of the literature or been notified of by Thomas Cook, so I could not use my hair straighteners which would have been a major disaster for me as my hair is very unruly. I went down to the pursers deck to ask if they had an adapter and he said he thought they had all gone but checked and came back with the very last one which I had to leave a 50 dollar deposit for. Unfortunately the very next day the eve of the formal night when good grooming is essential the adapter turned out to be faulty. returning to the pursers desk I was informed that there were no more on board and that they were not sold on board the ship. Panic set in at this point but I decided to ask my steward who very kindly borrowed one from a colleague for me for the rest of the trip. The room steward was excellent and very friendly and so were all the other staff who cannot do enough for you. All the bar staff are excellent especially in Crooners bar where they ensure that the atmosphere is very good and friendly. The ship is amazing and has so many different facilities. Fist impression was WOW. The food was excellent in every venue but was superior in the main dining room Botticelli's where we ate most evenings. The Sushi was amazing in Vines wine bar and the Sushi chef and wine waiter were very nice. We were very disappointed with the entertainment. It is very repetitive. The singer/pianist in Crooners bar is very good but sings the same material every night moving to other venues throughout the cruise but singing the same material in these so it gets very boring. The singer in the wheelhouse bar has a very limited range, again doing the same material every night and the bar was empty every evening with passengers using it as a walkway, or only staying for a few minutes. We went to a few shows, the violinist and the crew show which was quite good and we saw a comedian in another bar on one evening. We spent quite a lot of time in vines wine bar or in the atrium where the entertainment was good, although again very repetitive. We only went on one organised trip, to Athens as the other were too expensive and it was easy to arrange your own transport to the other ports. Rome and Florence can be easily reached by train, a shuttle bus provided in Livorno in order to catch the train which is about 10 euros return to Florence. Rome is also easy accessed after a short walk off the shuttle bus to the train station. We also went to Capri, catching a ferry from Naples which is very easy to do as the ship docks right in the port. Mykanos is also easy to access and Princess provided a shuttle boat to drop us in the harbour where we walked over the hill to little Venice had a beer waterside then went swimming on a small beach for a couple of hours. I enjoyed the cruise but found it very exhausting due to the travel to different places, and our early dining time. Princess cruises are also very expensive with a surcharge of 10.50 dollars fifty added per person per day to the bill, which can be removed if so wished(which we didnt as all staff do such a good job and are not well paid) but what I really objected to was the fifteen percent surcharge also added to to bar bill. I think if I went again I would not book with princess and would do my homework with regards to the bar charges and the entertainment. The disembarkation was also very good and arrival at Barcelona airport was good, but do not go through passport control too early as if you are at gate ten there are no shops and only one cafe and once through you cannot return Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We have previously cruised with Thompson (Destiny) and Royal Caribbean (Brilliance, Splendor and Independence) but this year as it was just Hubby and I traveling, we decided to change try Princess. This cruise was a big test as Hubby hates ... Read More
We have previously cruised with Thompson (Destiny) and Royal Caribbean (Brilliance, Splendor and Independence) but this year as it was just Hubby and I traveling, we decided to change try Princess. This cruise was a big test as Hubby hates water and didn't enjoy cruising when he tried it a couple of years ago and vowed never to do it again. However, because I love cruising he decided to give it another go. His only request was that we had an inside cabin and that I didn't talk about it much in the lead up to the cruise. I took quite a bit of time choosing the deck and cabin.....I wanted a cabin mid-ship and went for Baja Deck ( deck 11) cabin number 416 which was very close to the lifts. At the time of booking I was asked if I would be interested in an upgrade if one became available which given the time I took choosing the cabin, I declined. We decided to play safe and use Princess for our flights. This is something I would look into more closely in the future. We flew Air France from Manchester to Paris, then Air France again, from Paris to Venice. We left Manchester Airport at 9.40am and didn't get to the ship until 6pm that evening. Coming back we flew from Rome to Paris and from Paris to Manchester. We left the ship at 9.15 am and got into Manchester at 9.40pm - more about that later. To say we were pleased to finally get to the ship was an understatement. It was dark but the ship was lit up and looked stunning in her birth in Venice. Check in was painless and done in minutes. Cruise card in hand we boarded the ship to very welcoming crew and were shown to our stateroom. We were met by our stateroom attendant Fernando who was lovely and took time to chat to us and check what we wanted with regards to ice, egg crates and so on. By the time we had been for tea our cases had already been delivered to our room. I will say that I was a little worried about having an inside stateroom because I like a balcony or at the least a window but I shouldn't have worried. The room was very light and airy. The room had light coloured walls with huge mirrors behind the bed (the full wall above the headboard) a full wall mirror opposite to bed and above the dressing table, there was also a full length mirror in the "dressing area" and of course in the bathroom. Ladies you may want to know the hairdryer provided was powerful enough to dry my long hair quickly. The room layout worked well. The two beds were pushed together (yes they were hard beds but we found them very comfortable)and we had bedside tables on each side with a lamp. Opposite the bed was a long dressing table with a cupboard on the left and fridge on the right. A big bottle of water was $3.95 sodas were $1.20 ( I think) There were shelves on the left next to the cupboard. On the right above the dressing table was a corner shelf with a big flat screen TV. Princess provided a channel guide booklet telling you what was on each channel during your cruise. The one thing I loved was the wardrobe.......the back of it formed the wall behind the dressing table and this gives you a dressing area with the bathroom off it. The storage area was massive - put it this way, princess had provided 56 hangers - I added a couple of my own, never have I had that much space on a ship or that many hangers!!!!!! silly I know but this sort of thing is important to some women! In addition the hanging space there is a long shelf above it which stores your life jacket but leaves plenty of space for additional storage and there is a floor to ceiling cupboard with 7 shelves , one of which holds the safe. The bathroom was small and functional and despite the shower having a shower curtain and not a screen the shower worked well. The curtain stayed in place when the shower was in use, it didn't float up and stick to you like some do. Princess provide shower gel, shampoo and body lotion. Our original plan was to pop and get something to eat then get off the ship to explore Venice. We headed off to the Horizon Cafe and found it very quiet. We had no problem finding seats, everywhere was spotless and the waiters quick to check if we wanted drinks with our meal. The food was tasty and just what we needed to give us a much needed spurt of energy after such a long time traveling. All fueled up we headed off the ship. Princess had left 2 water taxi tickets in our staterooms and charged $15 per person to our on-board account. They could be returned for refund if unused. I decided given hubby's fear of water I wouldn't push the water taxi so we walked into Venice. It was an easy walk and we were able to explore the area around Rialto Bridge with ease. We had a lovely evening and retired to our stateroom shattered but happy. The following day I headed up to The Sanctuary to try to book 2 places for the full cruise. Seeing as this was our first holiday without our son for 7 years we quite fancied being in the adult only area of the ship. To my disappointment despite it being only 7.45am we were told that the spaces available for the whole cruise had been fully booked. This was something I suspected would happen given our late arrival on the ship ( it was closed by the time we arrived)- something out of our control and totally within Princess' control. I wish they would allow you to pre book this space especially if you are using their flights and have no control over them. Feeling rather dejected we decided to head straight off the ship and too my shock hubby wanted to use the water taxi - you could have picked me up off the floor......before he had chance to changing his mind I almost threw him on the water taxi and before I could say "here is a sick bag" we were on our way! We were back on Terra-firma within 10 minutes and the video cam was in full use to gather proof that hubby had actually been on a water taxi. Little did I know at the time but that had been the test he had set himself to see if he would have the nerve to use the tender at Santorini. We started to take all the usual tourist snaps of the canals when the heavens opened and it started to rain.......and boy did it rain, the gondolas were doing jigs on the water, the tourists were soaked to the skin and the street sellers were doing a roaring trade in brollies printed with Venice scenes. The rain was coming down so hard it was bouncing back up off the pavements and places were flooding. We looked around the best we could then headed off back to the water taxi to get back to the ship. When we got back to the ship we were greeted by staff with big warm towels which was a lovely and welcome touch. We dried off and headed off to find somewhere to watch the sail-away and headed off up to the Sky Lounge on the top deck. Just as we started to move away from the dockside the rain started to ease and although we didn't have any sun we had a fabulous sail-away. We have sailed from Venice before in bright sunlight, somehow this sail-way was more dramatic- when we have watched it back ( we recorded it) we think it is because the sky is darker, the colours of the buildings look so different from our last sail-away. We were on our way. We went off to explore the ship and I will say it did take some time to find our way around it. I haven't really had problems finding my way around the ships I have been on apart from this one and the smallest ship I have been on, The Destiny. I think this is because both of them have decks which you can't right across without going up or down then across to where you want to be. I think they could do with extra ship plans around the ship. There are plans near lifts but not all lifts go to all floors. We were on first seating for our meals and were assigned to the Botticelli Dining room - we got in the lift near our stateroom and couldn't see it listed, turned out we had to walk to the end of our floor the get the lift down. We didn't find this out until the 3rd or 4th night, we just kept "going wrong" until we found it. We had our Muster Drill that first afternoon. I did ask hubby if he had brought the video as we walked to our meeting point. He looked at me as if I was daft and asked why he would want to do that, I replied that something always happened.....and it did - he regretted not having it with him. The Muster Drill was done inside, everyone was asked not to put on their life-jacket until asked and everything went very smoothly. It was much better not having to go out on deck as I have previously. Hubby is a Union Health and Safety rep and it takes a lot to impress him when it comes to health and safety. He was so impressed with how organised this was that he spoke to the staff about it. We always found the staff on the ship (apart from one in the photography department) very cheery and helpful. At the start of our cruise our stateroom attendant called hubby a few times when he had headed off in the wrong direction - I'm not sure how many times the first few days we heard Fernando call "hello Sir, this way" We ate our breakfast in the Horizon Cafe each morning sometimes you had to hunt for a table but if you couldn't get a table in the Horizon Cafe area you could go into the Carribe Cafe area and you could get a table in there without any problem you could also eat outside should you want to. The tables were always cleared quickly and the staff very attentative. There was always plenty to choose from, cooked breakfasts, great selection of fruit, salmon,continental meat, cheese, cereal, pastries, muffins, soup, far eastern food, omelets, yoghurt, muffins, pancakes, toast, eggs Benedict and bacon and egg muffins. If you didn't want breakfast there you could pick up muesli, waffles, bacon and egg muffins at the ice cream / pizza place near the pool or you could pick up the same things plus pastries to die for at the International Cafe in the Piazza. We ate lunch in either the Horizon or Carribe cafe depending which was open. There was always plenty to choose from. There was always fish, a joint of meat, meat dishes, pasta, sandwiches, soup, fruit, cheese,breads,quiche and chips and plenty of desserts including jelly and sugar free options. Lunch is also available at the International Cafe (sandwiches, quiche and pastries), Pizza is available from.......you guessed it......the Pizza Station (where you can also get either vanilla or chocolate ice cream for free). Burgers and hotdogs with chips are available from Trident Grill up on the pool deck but it you want to get away from the pool and crowds lunch is available in the dining room. We never had the space in our tummies to head off to the dining room for afternoon tea but that is on my list to do next time. We had decided to eat at first sitting in the evening and were assigned to the Botticelli Dining Room. We were on a table for 8 and had great table mates. Our waiters were very good and got all our orders correct. We did confuse our waiter one night when I fancied my hubby's desert and swapped his for mine, the waiter shot back over to the table to apologise for getting the order wrong! Bless him. The food was far superior to our last RCI cruise and unlike RCI the meals were 4 courses. Whilst I like rather plain food my hubby likes spicy food and he was in his element. There was always a good selection of fish, veggie and meat in addition to a regular selection of beef,fish, pasta and so on. The veg served with the meals was always varied and well cooked ( and by that I don't mean overcooked ) Sorbets and ice cream were always on the desert menu should you fancy a light desert. There was one occasion when I didn't like my choice and the waiter noticed straight away and wanted me to order something else. To be honest I was already full from bread (always plentiful and a good selection of different breads and breadsticks) and soup so didn't bother with a main course that night. The waiter was very concerned and took some persuading that I really didn't want anything. 3 of the 4 couples were celebrating on this cruise and all got a cake and card signed by the Captain which I thought was a lovely touch . The stateroom attendants also put balloons up above the doors or those celebrating birthdays, weddings, wedding anniversaries. Although we had informed them we would be celebrating our anniversary I didn't expect theses little touches, to be honest I didn't know what they would do but I know I certainly didn't expect them to be free. We didn't feel the need or inclination to try Sabatinis or the Crown Grill We fell into a routine on the holiday which suited us really well. We would head off the ship very early and be back on board by lunchtime which gave us plenty of time to recharge our batteries by the pool. There are plenty of pools on the ship and despite the disappointment of not getting a place in The Sanctuary for the entire cruise I didn't want to queue at 7am every morning to try and secure a daily place. We found the Terrace Pool area at the back of the ship on the first day of the cruise. It is an Adult only area and we did observe this rule being brought to passengers attention should they venture into the area with children. The pool isn't very big and it was colder than the two main family pools but it was a lovely area to sit, especially at sail-away time We always found a nice breeze there too.. You could walk up to the decks above the terrace pool and had the choice of whirlpools or another pool. We loved this area and soon forgot the disappointment of not being able to get into The Sanctuary especially when we heard people saying that there was no breeze in The Sanctuary. We did sit around the movies under the stars pool during the day when there was something on that we fancied watching. I will admit though that I didn't find the sound very clear and at least twice gave up on films (once during the day and one at night). The live band played around the other pool. We attended all of the Princess Productions in the Theatre. I attend Theatre Productions quite a bit, I know what I like and what I don't like but I am able to be objective and acknowledge a good production / talent when I see it even if it isn't to my taste. I don't really know what to say about the 3 productions on this cruise except the person who had put these shows together in LA needs to be sacked or at the very least a very strong talking to and warning from head office. There was some talent on this ship which wasn't given the opportunity to really show. One singer just didn't seem to have been given anything that suited her voice during each show we waited and waited thinking this song will be the one .....to find it wasn't - she murdered the Shirley Bassey version of "Get The part Started" . The other 3 singers were great. The dancers didn't really get chance to show their skills until their final show "Once Upon a Dream" There was no real story to this production. It starts with a girl falling asleep and having dreams which go from mad hatters tea party, to under the sea to fairies at the bottom of the garden with a few nightmares thrown in for good measure with no links between....then she wakes up to find it all a dream! If that wasn't bad enough the show was billed as a multi media extravaganza. By this they meant they projected the background onto 3 white walls on the stage. The only props uses were a bed and dressing table at the beginning and end of the show. From where we sat we could see the white walls and the "multi media extravaganza just did not happen. It was as though someone picked some songs and struggled to put a story to them. I have never seen anything so bad either on sea or land. I know we were not alone in our opinion, nobody we spoke to rated the show infact nobody at our table in the dining room or those who we spoke to at the pool rated the production shows. We did watch some shows in the lounges with the entertainment team which were funny which is more than can be said for the comedian who was on board. He used to write for Benny Hill and having seen 5 minutes of his painful show, should have quit when Benny Hill died. The Piazza had something going on each night and we saw some great musicians there and a couple of great acrobats. The production team sang in the piazza and the dancers danced there too. We also had a great show put on by the bar tenders making cocktails. The best production show on in the theatre which involved Princess staff was their talent show which gave us behind the scene staff singing and so on. The entertainment team finished with "if I were not upon the sea" which was very silly and funny. I went back and watched it again later and as I expected it was a little more blue. There was a really good part atmosphere in the theatre that night and everyone seemed to enjoy it. This was the first time I had experienced a female Cruise Director (Lisa) and she worked hard her assistant was Eric and he complemented Lisa really well. The captain was Tony Yeomans and had a bit of a wicked sense of humor which showed every night at sail-away, often taking the micky out of his staff. I will that our favorite place on the ship in the evening was the Wheelhouse Bar. We loved to sit and listen to the band playing swing music whilst drinking cocktails. I wish we could dance....maybe thats an objective for the next cruise. We had a laugh one night when a group of Japanese passengers got up to dance, lets just say dancing didn't seem to come naturally ...neither did their balance, how the band kept playing I just don't know. We also liked Crooners bar (or should I say their gin martinis) but it did get busy especially on formal night. We didn't find the drink prices too bad at all, cocktails started from $7 which more than compares to a restaurant in the UK. As I said we tended to get off the ship early to do our own thing. We did do one trip to Pompeii which was very well organised. We found that we liked to have the ships web cam on the TV in the room as we were getting ready to start the day. We tended to find that we always got into port earlier than expected and nearly got caught out a couple of times when we wanted to film us coming into port. We found ourselves on the first tender of the day in Santorini - off the ship before 7.30am. This gave us plenty of time to explore the Town walk up and down the cliff, watch the donkeys being taken to work and see the place whilst quiet. It really was a spectacular view one that never fails to take my breath away. We sat overlooking the caldera with early morning mist clearing as the day woke. It was quite eerie watching ships come into the caldera through the mist as we drank early morning tea . The shops opened and we were able to explore them before the crowds descended on the place. Watch out for Ernesto's shop with his wooden carvings from Olive wood which are divine and Diporto which sells amazing oils and olives and herbs and other yummy stuff. By midday we had walked passed everyone still queuing to get up to the village happy that we had done it and were on our way to jump into the cool pool back on ship. Now I will say, I don't know if this was a fluke or good planning by Princess, whatever it was it worked to our advantage. I have been to Santorini quite a few times and there have usually been 3-5 large ships in the caldera. This time we were the biggest and there were 2 other very small ships there. This seemed to be the case at very port if any other ships were in port they were small ones so the crowds weren't as bad as previously been experienced at this time of year.. I have always liked to buy a good selection of photographs on my cruises and spend quite a bit on them. I have only ever experienced 10 x 8 being one price regardless of when or where they were taken. On Princess I saw a price $19.99 and thought OK I think its more expensive than RCI last year but hey-ho, never mind - only to find that some were an extra $5. This pricing wasn't clearly displayed on the photo wall. I saw the $19.99 and was shocked when I went to get a few and found them to be $24.99 each. It seems that they add a sitting fee to formal night and dining room pictures. To add insult to injury I had to go back 3 times to try and collect a picture which I had paid for but was never ready. This included queuing for 1 hour because they were late opening up and insisted in opening all the photo wall before serving customers. They failed to apologise for late opening and both the people in front and behind me and myself were all told our pictures were not ready. We asked to have them delivered and they refused I then asked for a call to my room from them to confirm when they were ready. They failed to do this and I spent another hour the following night queuing to get it. Not the way I wanted to spend my last night on board. That brings me onto the last night on the ship. We decided to eat in the cafe rather than dining room on our last night, mainly because we had had such a great time sunbathing by the pool and drinking cocktails and it was late by the time we left the pool. The plan was to have a late tea, pack then go to Movies under the stars. Each time we had gone to MUTS sunbeds were out and covered with thick cushions and covers, a blanket was provided, the bars were open, the ice cream and pizza place was open and popcorn machines were out. On the last night the sunbeds were out, the bar was open and that was it. The shops all closed at 9.30. I have never known anything like it. You could almost see the tumbleweed. We really felt like Princess had decided that out holiday ended at teatime. Like I say I have never experienced that before and felt cheated out of a night of my holiday. We ended up back in our room by 10pm. Disembarkation the following day was very easy. We had to be out of our room and in the explores lounge ready to leave the ship at 9.15am. Now interestingly a few days before the end of our cruise we had a note in our stateroom stating that as our flight home wasn't until 5.20pm we had time to fit in a tour of Rome to the tune of $150 per person. Needless to say I decided I wasn't interested in a tour before we started the marathon 2 leg journey home followed by another 2 hours in the car from airport to home. How glad am I that I didn't book that trip! We were taken off the ship at 9.15am and put on a coach and given a free tour of Rome. We were taken to The Vatican City and given time there. We had a great Tour Guide throughout the whole journey and we were at the Airport for 2.15pm. If I had paid the cost Princess had asked for a few days before I would have been very angry. I do think that Princess should tell you at the time of booking if they are planning on taking you on a tour to fill time between getting off the ship and catching one of their flights. I said earlier we put a lot of time and effort into choosing this cruise and Princess and a lot was riding on this cruise. I knew that if I didn't get it right I would be cruising alone in the future. As much effort as I put in I could only achieve so much in putting my hubby at ease at sea - something which terrifies him. The rest was down to Princess. I will say thank you Princess from the bottom of my heart although there were a couple of things that annoyed or disappointed us- you came up trumps and we will use you again. More importantly my hubby is converted and has even subscribed to the Cruise International magazine. I won't be cruising on my own in the future. It also means that if our son achieves the goals he has set himself my hubby and I will be able to watch him at work sat together as very proud parents. Thank you Princess - we will see you again next year. If anyone wants to know how I thought Princess and RCI compare I have made some comments below. we had breakfast in and lunch in Horizon / Carribe Cafe and equal evening meals in the Dining Room or Horizon / Carribe depending on what we had eaten earlier in the day. For anyone wanting to compare RCI and Princess , in my opinion Princess take the lead in this catagory. The quality is far greater. the courses on Princess are 4 and the quanity greater We enjoyed the swing band in the Wheelhouse Bar and the Staff show in the Theatre following by the Entertainment team "if I were not upon the sea". We also enjoed the shows in the Piazza apart from that the shows were poor through no fault of the dancers and singers. For anyone wanting to compare RCI and princess, in my opinion RCI take the lead in this catagory we only did one excursion to Pompeii which was for half a day and was well organised. The only thing I would say is the obligatory stop at the cameo factory was not needed - the only cameos worth looking at cost thousands. If you stop here don't waste your money. our stateroom attendant was great and always made sure we were ok and often found hubby wandering the wrong way, bringing him back to where he needed to be. The cocktail waiters who put on the cocktail shows were great and their personalities shone. Apart from one member of staff everyone seemed happy and were helpful this was our first holiday without teenage son so didn't seek out anything to do with activities for kids. Having said that I think our 17year old may have been a little bored on this cruise - unlike RCI last year so they have this catagory. games were available to use most still in wrapped boxed never been opened, There were planty of activities going on each day such as port talks, art auctions ( and boy did people buy), dancing, arts and crafts, computer lessons to name a few. In my opinion it is hard to separate RCI and Princess on this. I was dreading having an inside cabin but I was very happy with it, very clean,light and airy and spacious with plenty of storage. In my opinion this was the best inside cabin I have stayed in and nicer than an outside on Brilliance. It was kept spotless and would say Princess have it over RCI here This cruise only slips points because of the lack of activities,level of service at things suchs as MUTS and things available such as shopping in the final night Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We booked this cruise while on the Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean late April cruise in 2009. That was a family cruise and this was just for the adults. It's a great itinerary and we enjoyed the Crown and booking this cruise seemed ... Read More
We booked this cruise while on the Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean late April cruise in 2009. That was a family cruise and this was just for the adults. It's a great itinerary and we enjoyed the Crown and booking this cruise seemed to be a natural. Our only problem with the Crown was pretty bad food for dinners in the MDR. We don't cruise for food and like the Princess ships and the crowd it attracts. I actually started the roll call after getting a suggestion from someone on Cruise Critic who did this itinerary in 2009. I figured we'd meet some people and set up some private tours. We wound up meeting some great people and set up some amazing tours. As for the roll call, it's over 1,100 posts and nobody seemed to care that no officials from Princess showed up our Meet & Greet at Adagio's on the sail away day (second day of the cruise). The cabin itself was a typical Princess BD balcony, Baja 419. Typical Princess small room and covered balcony. After having four of us in a great mini-suite last year, this was fine for two people. No complaints and thank you to our surrounding balcony neighbors as there was no smoke at anytime we spent on the balcony. Room steward was satisfactory. My impression is that these guys have more rooms to cover than our previous Princess cruise and that impacts service a bit. But there were no complaints. The biggest surprise to us was the improvement in both service and food in the Main Dining room for dinner. We always went to the Da Vinci dining room and the Maitre D took good care of us and sat us in a great area on the first night. Service was great and we stuck with the same waitress for just about every dinner and we went at various times between 6:15 and 8:00 pm. There was never a wait. I have never been treated so well as we were by the Maitre D in that room. First Maitre D I have ever tipped for service after the fact. I can't explain why the food was better. It's possible that we caught Princess on a bad week last year. Who knows? We also went one night to Sabatinis and another to the Crown Grill. Both were good nights out with two other couples from the roll call. Enjoyed food at Crown Grill more. Maybe I'm just spoiled by going to so many great Italian Restaurants in the North End of Boston and Federal HIll in Providence. Before getting to the rest of the review, including ports of call and reviews of private tours, I want to point out areas for improvement for Princess. The first is the decline of Vines and International Cafe. I don't mind paying for the good things that were available last year. In 2009, for $1.50, you could get almost a full plate of sushi rolls and pick your ingredients. There are no longer rolls on demand. Yup, it's "free". But once we had to put up with the suggestion from the Princess server that the sushi is really for those who order wine and same for tapas (not much to offer from). When you asked, they would give you two small pieces, consisting of rice with a piece of fish on top. Downhill for Princess. Second beef is with internet, which would slow to a crawl at times. At those prices, Princess should do something about it and look to increase bandwith. My other issue is the gym opening at 7. Why not 6 and why not increase the number of eliptical machines considering waits for them. An even smaller issue is the water shuttle from the ship back into Venice where Princess puts the onus on the passenger to use it or get charged anyway if you don't return a card within two days. No thanks for making passengers go out of their way to do this. It didn't bother me that Princess collected our passports on day 1 of the cruise. But it would have been nice to get to be notified ahead of time that they were going to do this. Entertainment was generally very good and they brought Philippa Heatley on board. What a singer. There was a very good comedian (Carey Long) and a good magician. There was an awful comedian on the first couple of nights (name is Brown and Princess should never hire this lack of talent again). The first production show was very good. The second big one called Once Upon a Dream was not so good. Movies Under the Stars mainly had World Cup Soccer. This drew big crowds. For those of who don't like soccer, too bad. Cruise Director Lisa Ball sent an e-mail promising the Steve Carrell movie Date Night. But they never showed. Maybe Lisa never contemplated that all they would show would be World Cup Soccer. Sheesh, they even showed the consolation game. Our cruise plans got a bit sidetracked by Aer Lingus when the airline changed a long layover in our Boston-Dublin-Venice flight to a full day layover. But it was a bonus. We have never been to Dublin and spent a great day in a beautiful country with friendly people. We walked around Dublin and did a day tour to Powerscourt/Wicklow Mountains. Hey, now the next non-family cruise could be British Isles with Princess. We stayed at Locanda Orseolo in Venice for our oe night and got upgraded to their best room. This boutique hotel, while not cheap, has a great location (our window was over two canals that met) great service, and great breakfast included. Wow!!! Venice is a great port. We took the Venice Link Shared water Taxi. We later found out that it does not go directly to the hotel. A porter greeted us at the Alilaguna stop and walked with us as he wheeled our bags in a 5 minute walk to the hotel for 25 euros. On the way to the cruise port, we met a couple going on the Celebrity Med cruise and shared a private water taxi right from the hotel to the cruise port. We happily split the 90 euro cost among the two couples. While in Venice, we walked through the city, went to a decent restaurant, took our own gondola ride at 10 pm, and toured Doge's Palace before leaving for the cruise port. Embarcation was easy upon our arrival at 1 pm. We went straight to the Princess employee and got put in Group 15 and Group 14 was boarding at the time. We spent 12 minutes in port facility. After boarding the ship, we ate lunch and then I made the 15 minute walk the supermarket near the cruiseport (The Coop). Picked up three bottles of wine, two sixes of diet coke, a six of MOretti beer, juices, and some other things that we just needed. Upon re-entering the ship, Princess made no issue of the extra wine or beer. Note that we picked up wine in Kusadasi and later from a winery in Tuscany. Thank you Princess. But they made it up with the corkage charges. Oh well. The first couple of days were really sea days (first day was sail away at 8 am - muster drill at 11 am). Our meet and greet was on sail away day and we had roughly 60 at Adagio. First port was Athens. We had a large group booked with Paul of Athens Taxi. Paul hired a great licensed guide for us. While Paul drove, the guide went everywhere with us and he was the one with the mic on the mini-bus. His name was Basili. If you use Paul and want a licensed guide for the day, I would recommend asking him to book Basili, if he's available. Tour was outstanding and Basili provided so much information and answered all of questions. The price was right too at 120 euros per couple. Lunch was extra and the big group went to the area of the Plaka that had all of the Tabernas. Great day. Next up was Kusadasi. We used Kusadasi Tours and one of the principals, Melih, was our licensed guide (not sure who the driver was) for our trip to Ephesus. We included the Terrace Houses in our group of six. Melih great to go with and a nice guy as well. Price was in the mid $50s (US dollars) per person. Melih also booked us for Istanbul. One of his associates, a young lady name Pinar was our licensed guide there for our same group of three couples. Istanbul is an amazing city. In addition to one of my favorite meals of the vacation, we saw the typical highlights including the Palace (we added on the Harem), Sophia Haggia (sp?), the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. I will mention the benefit of doing a private tour is that you tell them "NO RUG SALES" and you are not subjected to that like you may be on a ship tour. Great day. Price at $78 per person included all admissions and even lunch. That's the way to go. Even with some rain in the morning, it was a great day. The next port was Mykonos. A member of our roll call contacted a couple of hotel resorts and spas and one agreed to provide us transportation back and forth and full use of facilities for the day for 30 euros per person. It was the Saint John Resort and it was a great day. The pool practically overhung the sea and went for fairly inexpensive massages and swam in the sea and the pool. Great day. After a sea day, the big three ports in Italy were up in three successive days. First up was was Naples. We put together a group of 16 on the roll call and took an AP Tours trip to Pompeii/Positano/Sorrento. With the large groups, AP gives you a free licensed guide for the day. Georgio was the guide. The Pompeii tour was very good and Positano was amazing and we spent significant time there. Unfortunatley, although we ate lunch in Sorrento, we didn't get much time there. With tip, I think the cost for the tour was 65 euros per person. Lunch and admission (€11) to Pompeii were extra. It was a good day. Having a guided tour of Pompeii is a must. But I wonder if we would have been better off with two groups of 8 and paying more to get more flexibility. Next up was Rome and my favorite tour. Francesco was both our guide and driver and we had a group of six. Francesco is part of Miles & Miles tour company. They got incredible reviews on Trip Advisor and it is more than a limo service. Francesco got out with us at every stop with the exception of our own requested stop of the Great Synagogue of Rome (they run their own tours). Francesco showed us "his Rome" which included the typical highlights, but also much more. It included a private visit to the Vatican department that makes mosaics. We saw five artisans in action making this incredible artwork. We didn't request a Vatican tour. But Francesco wanted us to see this. He also showed us incredible views including the famous "keyhole" and the great view from next to the Garibaldi statue. Wow!!!! The family that runs M&M caters their tours to english speaking tourists only. Francesco told me his Dad asks that all family members spend considerable time in the US and that explains why his english is better than every other guide we did business with. I cannot recommend any tour more highly. The final Italy stop was Livorno for Florence/Pisa, etc. Eight of us were in my group for a tour with Papillon Service. The owner, Roberto, did the tour for us. It was a packed day and Roberto was great. For €540 for our group of eight, included was Pisa, where we climbed the Leaning Tower, Florence, where we went to the Accademy to see the David, and spent another couple of hours and also ate lunch on our own, and a trip to a winery for a demonstration and a tasting. It was another great day. The final full day for this cruise was the port of Monaco. A group of eight of us contracted Azur Connection for four hours for €270. We wanted to make the most of our time and see two key things. One was see Cours Saleya and the other was the Chagall Museum. We were dropped off at Cours Saleya and told to meet back there at 10:30 for a ride to the museum. At 10:20, the driver called and said he had to leave for an emergency and to meet him at 10:50. To us, that wasn't acceptable. While the time was made up on the back end, we all believed that when you contract these services, you have the services of the vehicle and driver for the time purchased. We enjoyed Cours Saleya and the Chagall Museum. But others were able to do one on their own and spend time in Monacao for a pretty low price. In retrospect . . . . Debarcation in Barcelona was as easy as I have every seen. We met at the designated meeting point at 8:45 and were off the ship at 8:47 and in a cab to our hotel ten minutes later after locating our luggage. Post cruise was two days in Barcelona. This is a great port and we were happy to do it on our own and decided to walk whenever possible to get a good feel for the city. Others on the roll did the hop on hop off bus. We did take cabs to and from two sites (Parc Guell and the Magic Fountain) and also saw and attended a symphony at the Palace of Catalan Music (Vivaldi's Four Seasons). I know some just do tours of that facility and the facility itself is amazing. We also saw and toured Casa Battlo, saw Sagrada Familia from the outside, walked through Las Ramblas, Arc de Triomfe, and the Old City. We had dinner at the famous 4Cats restaurant. While some have claimed it's a tourist trap that overcharges, we had a great meal and they got us out in time to see our show. The other restaurants we went to include Citrus, Tapas Tapas, and Tenorio. All were good. A couple things I want to address with respect to this cruise. There is a gentleman (non-employee of Princess) named "Hutch" who provides help for cruisers on how to do ports on their own and gives tips on what to see. He has a cult following and it's great that Princess hires him even though he won't talk about Princess tours, plug them or recommend them. He knowledgeable and provides individual consulting as well. He's a good resource. I was a bit surprised that he didn't know about the Palace of Catalan Music, considering that Trip Advisor has it rated as a top site in Barcelona. He also insisted one day that a museum was closed that was actually open. All in all, he was great. Nobody's perfect. The other thing worth mentioning is that this ship could not handle internet usage of its passengers. They charge a lot for service and the service was awful at times and there were many upset passengers. I hope some find some of this information of some use. It was a great and very special vacation on a great ship with the best Med itinerary I have seen. We spent a lot of time planning this thing and planning is the key to a great Med cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
This was our second Princess sailing. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship, and even though it is a large , it was pretty easy to find our way around. The crew that we had contact with, the waiters in the dining room, our room steward and ... Read More
This was our second Princess sailing. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship, and even though it is a large , it was pretty easy to find our way around. The crew that we had contact with, the waiters in the dining room, our room steward and the medical staff were always cheerful and helpful.... often going above and beyond to serve us. Our biggest disappointment was the food. Sure, there was plenty of it, but it was mediocre at best. Our waiters went out of their way (finding fresher lettuce for the caesar salad, exchanging bad tasting meat for another dish and just trying to please). If you want a good meal, go to Sabatini's or the Crown Grill. You have to pay a minimal amount, but the food was really good. Why can't they do better in the main dining rooms? Our food was much better last year on the Emerald Princess. Are they cutting back on quality to keep prices low? We loved the ports that we visited. We were very disappointed that we could not go to Athens due to demonstrations there. Instead, we had another day in Venice. For some, this may have been a bonus, but we had gone early and spent two days already in Venice. I wish we had been able to go to another Grecian port. Having an extra day without leaving port (making three ship days in a row) was bad enough, but they charged everyone on the ship to take the shuttle to Venice and individuals had to stand in line to get that fee back if they chose not to go to Venice. We booked Private Tours for the two ports in Turkey and in Napoli to go to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. All three were wonderful. We took a ship tour to Tarquinio and had a wonderful guide there. On our trip to Cinque Terre, our bus guide from the ship's tour was great, but the Cinque Terre guide spoke very broken English and hardly had much information about the area at all. We were very disappointed in this tour. Overall, we loved the trip, loved the ports and had a fabulous time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
The welcome at Venice airport and transfer to the pre-cruise hotel (Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal) was flawless. Bus and water taxi were waiting, luggage handled. Andvantage of this hotel is mainly the fact that you walk off the water ... Read More
The welcome at Venice airport and transfer to the pre-cruise hotel (Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal) was flawless. Bus and water taxi were waiting, luggage handled. Andvantage of this hotel is mainly the fact that you walk off the water taxi directly into the hotel. Since we spent two days in Venice on the pre-cruise, sitting in the port for another day and a half was not exciting but gave us the opportunity to go through the ship. Ruby is a huge, new addition to Princess. Dining, activity, shopping, service ... was not much different from the previous Princess cruises. What was new to us was: - Anytime dining (good but often with lineups) - Sabatini Restaurant ($20 pp. extra) - good but not better then any upscale Italian place in Toronto - Tipping as the part of the price - I find this quite offending - the text justifying this is presumptuous. It is simply an addition to the price. Every time you get a drink and sign, there is a prominent space called Gratuit - Constant and sometime impertinent push of various discount cards - for coffee, beer, wine ... Organization of port tours was flawless as always. We found it annoying that in Istanbul the first stop was a Sales presentation of carpets. Also, the guide was insisting on giving us education in modern Islam but that you listen to or not by choice. The worst part of the trip was the post-cruise (Barcelona) disembarkation and hotel (Merridian) check in. We had to physically load our luggage into a truck (and there was about 60 of us. Then, in the hotel there was a huge lineup for check-in handled by 3 people whose computers did not work all that well. However, the hotel is great, rooms smashing, and in a good, central location. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
We had a wonderful cruise on the Ruby Princess, Venice - Barcelona. We arrived at Venice airport on the 18th August and were met by a Princess representative who took us to the taxi, then water taxi to our Hotel, the Monaco and Grand ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on the Ruby Princess, Venice - Barcelona. We arrived at Venice airport on the 18th August and were met by a Princess representative who took us to the taxi, then water taxi to our Hotel, the Monaco and Grand Canal, the Hotel is very nice although the rooms are very small, it's in a great location only 2 minutes from St Marks Square and directly across from the well known Harry's Bar. We decided to eat in Harry's Bar on the 1st night, we had a nice meal and it has a nice atmosphere although it is expensive, we had a 3 course meal, a bottle of wine, a bottle of water and 3 Bellini's - 330 euro. The next night we had a meal of the same standard for a third of the price. If you are cruising from Venice it is well worth an extra day or two, it is simply spectacular- St Marks, Gondola ride etc - Wonderful. On the 20th we were taken by water taxi to the ship, as you would expect from a ship only 8 months old she is immaculate, great design and easy to find your way round. We were in cabin A750 at the rear of the ship, lovely cabin with a huge unobstructed balcony, 13 feet by 22 feet. This was an excellent cruise and I would certainly recommend the Ruby Princess, we were very lucky as we had 2 really lovely couples at our table and had some great evenings. The food was good, if you are looking for it to be "Michelin star" quality, then of course it is not, but to feed 3,200 people every night they do very well. The dress code was very acceptable, on formal nights ladies had nice elegant dresses on and I would say most men had a tux on. On the informal nights it was more casual than previous cruises but the ladies were always very smart and the men had trousers and a open necked long/short sleeved shirt, very few had a jacket or tie on. We saw a few people after dinner in shorts or jeans. The entertainment was very good. Only regret, simply not enough time to use all the facilities. We took the following Princess tours:- Athens;- The Acropolis (Wonderful to see although we had been here before) Kusadasi:- Travelled to the House of the Virgin Mary, this is believed to be where Mary lived after the Crucifixion of Christ. Then moved a few miles away and we arrived at Ephesus, this is the remains of a Roman city - it is simply amazing - DO NOT MISS THIS TRIP! Then on to the Basilica of St. John, built over the tomb of St. John the Apostle. Istanbul:- The Topkapi Palace (Wonderful to see although we had been here before) Mykonos:- We did not take a trip here, we walked around the town which is lovely. Naples:- Trip to Pompeii - quite unbelievable. Civitavecchia:- Took the elite tour of Rome, again a great trip, the Colosseum, Trevi fountain and the Vatican. Livorno:- We went to Pisa, saw the leaning tower etc, lovely place and worth visiting. Monte Carlo:- We did not take a trip here as you can easily walk around yourself, we visted the Catherdal, the Royal Palace and took a small trolley train on a 30 minute drive around Monte Carlo passed the Casino etc. On the 1st September we arrived in Barcelona, we stayed for two days in Le Meridean hotel, which was very nice, toured the city on open topped buses. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
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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