Sail Date: November 2013
Pre cruise we stayed on the Grand Canal at the Hotel Santa Chiaria in Venice right off of Piazza Roma. This hotel is convenient to the airport bus drop off location (6 Euros per person for the airport bus) and also to the People Mover that ... Read More
Pre cruise we stayed on the Grand Canal at the Hotel Santa Chiaria in Venice right off of Piazza Roma. This hotel is convenient to the airport bus drop off location (6 Euros per person for the airport bus) and also to the People Mover that you can take to the port for embarkation (1 Euro per person). The ship was a delight. It is quite spacious with many public areas to lounge/linger in. There are activities that would please a variety of tastes. We enjoy the bingo (yes we were winners several times!), the dance classes, just wandering around the ship "people watching" and the shows in the theater. We thought the shows were great and there was a nice variety between production shows, comedians and musicians. We found all to be very entertaining. To us, the most important Princess employees on the ship are our cabin steward and our main dining room waiters. These people were superb. We find the ship board employees of Princess to be one of their biggest assets. Everyone is so very helpful and will go out of their way to assist you. We enjoyed dining in the main dining room and the sharing of our daily activities with our table mates. There were always food selections that pleased us and the food was prepared to perfection. We did participate in the Chefs Table experience one evening and that was a total delight. The meal was one of the top five meals I have ever eaten. This is an experience that I would suggest in a heart beat. It is not offered on all cruises and is just by luck of the draw as far as participation. Check with dining via ships phone as soon as you get on board on the day of embarkation to put your name on the list. Our disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale was a tad late but overall very unremarkable. U S Customs did not have enough personnel to handle the size of the ship and things got a little backed up on board. Overall, this was another GREAT trip with Princess and the Ruby was a delight to call home for our 27 days! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was our first cruise on a Princess ship but we have cruised on other lines many times. It is not my intent to compare Princess with other Cruise lines. This trip was from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale, transatlantic. We arrived a few ... Read More
This was our first cruise on a Princess ship but we have cruised on other lines many times. It is not my intent to compare Princess with other Cruise lines. This trip was from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale, transatlantic. We arrived a few days early in Venice and totally enjoyed the extra time. Embarkation was somewhat slow. After checking in and receiving our cruise cards we were given a number and waited for over an hour to board. When we did board the cabin was ready and our luggage was delivered soon after. The Ruby Princess was staying overnight in Venice and not sailing until the next afternoon so there was time for further adventures in Venice. On the negative side, there were tours during the morning and the muster was held at 1:00 and the dining room closed at 1:30 that meant that all the people who toured Venice was sent to the Horizon Cafe since the dining room had closed. Needless to say that dinning venue was a zoo. The sail away was awesome, down the Grand Canal. Ports and tours: All the ports were as expected. Princess tours were handled very well with the exception of Casablanca. More on this later. The one down side was the cost in several ports of having to take a shuttle bus to the city center. Princess charged for this service, from $5.00 to $8.00 each way. That is a case of nickel and diming. Seems just like the airlines. Now for Casablanca. I don't know if this was true on other tours in Casablanca, but the one that we were on was a disaster. At one stop the tour company sent our bus, with belonging on it, to another location. When we went back to go to the next stop the bus was not there. It took 45 minutes to find it and return it to our location. Beyond belief our belongings were still there. However, the rest of the tour was very rushed and not at all enjoyable. It took many complaints from the passengers to get Princess to take action and they did refund part of the cost of the excursion cost. But passengers had to demand it rather than having them identified and the refund posted automatically. We had to divert to the island of Madeira instead of Ponta Delgarda to avoid a tropical storm. This little island in the middle of the Atlantic off the coast of Africa is a jewel. Well worth a visit. Dinning: The food on this trip was uniformly excellent. Service in the dining room was great. Down side, Princess has a dress code for evening in the dining rooms. The problem is they don't enforce it. Where smart casual was mandated men in tee shirts and hoodies were allowed in. On formal nights, open collared shirts were permitted. If you are going to have a dress code, please enforce it or don't have a code. At the start of transatlantic portion of the trip it was announced that Norovirus had been identified on the ship and the number of cases tripped the CDCs protocols. All the signs seem to point to Casablanca as the place where the virus came aboard. This caused extra work for dining room staffs and they were over taxed. We were not allowed to even touch a salt shaker. The outbreak also curtailed activities during the long transatlantic days. We were even not allowed to get playing cards in the fear of spreading the virus. Disembarkation: This was a total disaster. 3,200+ passengers were herded into the arrivals hall without any organization. Speaking to the Head of Station in ft Lauderdale, she blamed the Port and a faulty gangway, then the Captain of the Ruby Princess for wanting to get all the passengers off the ship so that decontamination could began and not impact the next cruise and then the US Custom and Immigration for not having enough agents in place to handle the situation. Princess did a poor job in this situation and many people missed flights because it took over 90 minutes to clear Customs and Immigration from the time you left the ship. This situation almost ruined a great experience. In summation given the few problems the cruise was well worth the effort and I would give Princess a chance to redeem its reputation as a upscale cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We boarded the Ruby on Oct.09/12 in anticipation of an extra ordinary experience and were rewarded with ''just ordinary.'' Our cabin was not as big as a lot older Celebrity ship we had sailed on a few years earlier. ... Read More
We boarded the Ruby on Oct.09/12 in anticipation of an extra ordinary experience and were rewarded with ''just ordinary.'' Our cabin was not as big as a lot older Celebrity ship we had sailed on a few years earlier. Our Celebrity cabin had a sofa and a chair as well as a decent sized balcony. The Celebrity bathroom also had a bigger shower and glass doors. This ''newest Princess'' cabin had two small chairs and a bit larger balcony, but had curtains in what I believe was a smaller shower in a smaller bathroom. After eyeballing our not so luxurious Princess cabin we proceeded up to the Horizon buffet for lunch. The buffet had less choices than other cruise lines we had been on and after eating we decided to get acquainted with the Ruby while we waited for our luggage to arrive in our Cabin. As we left the Horizon buffet we were approached by a crew member trying to convince us to pay extra for an adults only area known as the ''Sanctuary.'' He told us that for a mere 10 dollars we could spend 4 hours in the Sanctuary, or we could spend 20 dollars for a whole day. I told him that the Sanctuary sounded a lot like an adults only area that all Celebrity ships have that is called the ''Solarium'' that is free of charge to adults. It seemed like every time we turned around a crew member was trying to sell us on ''Coffee cards, booze cards or Soda cards. You could have gelato, but you had to pay extra for it also. If you are a nostalgia buff, the Ruby has an ultra large screen adjacent to a pool that reminds one of going to a ''drive in theater'' in days of old. That was probably the only oddity that may differentiate it from other ships, but it wasn't enough to make the Ruby stand out in crowd. I don't think I can recall of another cruise where we were as inundated with as much of a sell, sell hype atmosphere that continued throughout the cruise, whether it was around the ship or in your cabin. The in cabin television channels were also a maze of Princess self promotion that continuously prompted the watcher to buy this, or buy that. I felt sorry for anyone that was in quarantine as a result of a an outbreak of ''Noro-Virus'' that left very little choice of entertainment on the Princess's telly. The ''Botticelli'' dining room on the first formal night featured ''Chili'' as one of the entrees which prompted one of the cruiser's at our table to comment: ''we spend thousands of dollars and travel half way around the world for Chili? I could have stayed home and had Chili for a lot less than we've spent to come here!'' Another dinner menu evening featured ''Mac and Cheese'' which also was greeted with some derisive comments. Having said all the previous; we did enjoy all the stops we made and the crew were pleasant enough, but for the dollars spent we expected to be dazzled by the ''Ruby'' and were instead left wanting a lot more for what we had spent... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was our 8th cruise, 2nd on princess. We arrived in Venice 2 days before the ship sailed, staying in Mestre. The cost of the hotel was a lot less than staying in Venice. It was only 10 minutes to Venice by train. The hotel Tritone had ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise, 2nd on princess. We arrived in Venice 2 days before the ship sailed, staying in Mestre. The cost of the hotel was a lot less than staying in Venice. It was only 10 minutes to Venice by train. The hotel Tritone had the best breakfast I have ever had at a hotel. They put out the kitchen sink. We spent 2 days touring Venice, naturally going to the rialto bridge, St. marks square. We also went to the back street behind St. marks square, and bought gifts for the family. Venice was the highlight of this cruise. Of course we did a gondola, right under the bridge of sighs. The ship was all you can ask for, having being only 4 years old. The decor was very ornate and beautiful. We had great service for the crew and we found the buffet and dining room food to our liking. The menus were different and interesting. Since the age group was so advanced, at about 8 o'clock in the evening the ship was a ghost town. One night We went to the sky walker and there was only about 3 couples in there dancing. In livorno, We hired a taxi to take us to Pisa. I had been to Pisa 50 years ago, and the tower did not look that good at that time. It was dirty and had a green appearance. This time it was pure white and was beautiful, I was really impressed. The driver gave us plenty of time for shopping, and took us back to the ship. Casablanca was a disappointment, a hodgepodge of shanty towns and garbage heaps. It was a good move that we had a ship tour to Rabat, which was a lot nicer than Casablanca. I am glad I saw Casablanca, but again i was not impressed. I would never go back there again. All in all this cruise was a cruise of a lifetime, 19 days on the ship very interesting ports, 7 days across the Atlantic. One more comment, Instead of going to the azores we went to madiera because of the storms at the azores. madiera turn out to be a better port, we loved it. In summary, everything on this cruise was to our liking, and I would take this cruise again in a heartbeat. Princess cruises are one of my favorites. Spent quite afew euros,but saw what we wanted to see.Get me on a ship! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We found the Ruby Princess to be absolutely gorgeous! The Public areas particularly are fabulous. The Itinerary for this trip was great in that the ports visited with one exception were excellent, and since we love sea days, the TA and ... Read More
We found the Ruby Princess to be absolutely gorgeous! The Public areas particularly are fabulous. The Itinerary for this trip was great in that the ports visited with one exception were excellent, and since we love sea days, the TA and the days at sea were perfect. The Port we did not care for was Casablanca. We did the ship excursion to Rabat and found that city very nice, but Casablanca was like an open sewer. We realize the movie was shot in LA, but we still had expectations that were not met. We were glad we stopped there and had the experience, but we do not care to go back. This is a great cruise for those who love to do TA's. As for experiences on board ship, we found the food in the main dining room with traditional seating to be very good as was the service. We did not care for the food in the horizons buffet, and found the set up for the food line to be cramped and cumbersome. We ate there only two or three times and very much enjoyed our lunches in the dining room. The menu was varied and the service was very good. When sailing Princess, please do not miss the Pizza. They have absolutely the best Pizza in the Cruise Industry. A disappointment for us on the trip was the Theater. It is small compared to experiences we have had with Celebrity. Also, we found that apparently, the any time diners arrange dinner timing to better coordinate with show times so that when we finished our late seating and attempted to make the late show, the Theater was standing room only. The ship simply does not have the capacity to handle the number of passenger's in this venue. We also found that the entertainment was not up to the standard we experienced on Celebrity. We experienced some management level staff problems on this cruise. On multiple nights, we met friends for drinks before dinner and found bars staffed with only one bartender and one waiter. Although the staff worked very hard to overcome this, it was impossible and poor service resulted. One evening our friends waited an hour for a drink. You would think the management on this ship would realize what a profit center the bar is and properly schedule staff to maximize profits while providing excellent service. Another management level staff problem that had a dramatic negative effect on our trip dealt with the handling of our toilet that often failed to flush. For about the first three days we were told that the problem was a result or our putting tissues or foreign objects in it. We explained that because we had cruised previously, we understood not to do that, and after three days, five phone calls for help, and a demand to speak to the Hotel Manager that contact was made with the Manager of Guest Relations. Although expectations were raised that this might help expedite the solution to the problem, just the opposite happened. We found the Manager of Guest relations to be a person quick to make alibis and attempt to pass off problems as being just ordinary. After about a week of problems, and another repair that did not work, extremely loud plumbing rumblings were reported to the Guest Relations Manager. Without any investigation she responded that I should not worry, and these sounds were normal. My continued pleading for help resulted in a complete toilet replacement according to our cabin steward. If the sounds were normal, then why the replacement? So that this review does not go on forever, please know that our toilet failing to flush or delayed in flushing was experienced up to the last day on board, nineteen days. I also learned that other guests on my deck, as well as the crew also experienced this problem. In short this is a problem on this ship, and one that is not healthy. When this was pointed out to the Guest Relations Manager, she denied such. When the crew tells me that they have to wait to use the toilet because they do not flush without a delay, and I experienced this as well, this is not an isolated problem. IF YOU ARE IN CABIN A642, be prepared for a toilet that at best delays flushing. This delay may be 30 minutes or more. The way the management level staff on the Ruby Princess handled our stateroom problem will cause me not to sail Princess again. Denial and inappropriate excuses is not the way to handle a problem so basic to a positive cruise experience. Although I asked that my concerns be sent to Land Headquarters, I have had no contact from Princess since the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was a Mediterranean + Transatlantic cruise -- we started in Venice and ended up at Fort Lauderdale for a total of 19 nights. At the outset of this review we should say that we were very appreciative that Princess corporation and the ... Read More
This was a Mediterranean + Transatlantic cruise -- we started in Venice and ended up at Fort Lauderdale for a total of 19 nights. At the outset of this review we should say that we were very appreciative that Princess corporation and the Ruby's Captain successfully kept us away from hurricane Rafael and navigated the ship around Sandy so that we only experienced some roughness the last night of the cruise. Keeping the passengers safe was their first priority and they performed excellently. Any other comments and criticisms are minor in comparison. The main problem with the Italian ports Venice, Naples, Rome, Florence and Pisa was that they were swarming with tourists even in mid-October which was nearly low season. For example, during our visit to Florence the crowds were so thick we could hardly move. Cannes is a nice place but not really all that interesting to visit -- Nice would have been much better. Barcelona now has a very pleasant new cruise ship port and we spent hours just walking around and enjoying the Ramblas. Casablanca was very much a third world city but trying hard to develop there wasn't much to see and it was a shame that some on the Princess sponsored tours to Marrakech apparently got food poisoning. We were pleased that we stopped at Madeira instead of Ponto Delgado - it was just a lovely place to visit.Generally the food was good but not great. We ate at the Crown Grill for dinner one night and found it to be excellent. Since we were in a suite we often ate breakfast at Sabatini's which again was excellent. Generally the food at the Horizon was reasonable but the self service restrictions imposed after the Norovirus appeared made it a much less attractive place to eat. The Trident Grill had good hamburgers and hot dogs and we thought the Pizzeria was very good. The International Cafe in the Atrium was very pleasant but no one we met could understand what the Vines concept was intended to be. Sushi plus tapas with wine wasn't an appealing combination and after it seemed to be implicated in the Norovirus outbreak it was pretty dead at Vines. It needs to be repurposed or dumped. Mostly the dining room was OK but like others we grew tired of it after a couple of weeks. How many of us eat out at restaurant every night at home? We took the "Anytime" dining option but found we still needed reservations which took away some of the flexibility it was supposed to have. The cruise lecturers were very good and we thought that making up a program guide and having an introductory session were really good ideas. Mr. Scott's talks on aspects of the NASA space program were authoritative and interesting because he had personally participated in many of the events he talked about. Mr. Dalton's "adventures" were a bit tame in the sense that the hype was more than the actual content deserved but somewhat interesting. The best talks were from Dr. Detrich particularly on ports. He was honest and forthright in his comments and certainly wasn't selling tours. We took particular note of his negative view of Casablanca (turned out to be true) and his prediction of the long lineups for St. Peter's in Rome (also true). This information was very helpful in making our choices of shore excursions.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
A good cruise experience, we love Atlantic crossings and we loved Venice, Italy. The worst stop was Casablanca; we are too Western in our taste and do not have the adventure spirit to enjoy the stop; Casablanca was dirty, disorganized and ... Read More
A good cruise experience, we love Atlantic crossings and we loved Venice, Italy. The worst stop was Casablanca; we are too Western in our taste and do not have the adventure spirit to enjoy the stop; Casablanca was dirty, disorganized and traffic seemed dangerous. Recent labor actions left buses abandoned in the streets with broken windows. Tour staff on the ship want to sell tours; do not look for much help if going independent-do your research before traveling if going independent (on your own when touring). Naples Taxi drivers represented a disheartening gauntlet; especially in Naples, make your arrangements prior to arriving in Naples. Venice is very easy to do while on the independent self directed tour mode (don't miss Burano and Murano), Vaporetto are excellent and economical, water taxis are for the wealthy among us. Barcelona was excellent for going it alone; easy to use public transportation; Los Ramblas and market should not be missed. Funchal, the tour bus was a economical and efficient way to get a quick tour of the Island; we stayed aboard and took both routes in the same half day. Anytime dining, service levels below regular dining; however, great opportunity to meet different people. Sick Bay: out of pocket, you file your own insurance, two routine visits about $300; that included meds for a cold that was turning into a upper respiratory problem. Kudos to the Captain for avoiding rough waters from Sandy as long as he could, the ship altered course several times and changed the itinerary from Azores to Funchal, nice surprise, to avoid rough waters. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Returned on a transatlantic cruise a week ago and did not seem to be on the same ship as the previous cruiser. Had a wonderful but short time in Venice, staying in a boutique hotel on the mainland in Mestre (the Best Western Bologna)This ... Read More
Returned on a transatlantic cruise a week ago and did not seem to be on the same ship as the previous cruiser. Had a wonderful but short time in Venice, staying in a boutique hotel on the mainland in Mestre (the Best Western Bologna)This hotel is directly across the street from the train station (ideal for visiting Venice) Embarkation was lengthy, but we arrived on the ship and were led to our cabin by pleasant staff. Our cabin steward Danielo was great, and should be the employee of the month. The ship itself was not as great. Anytime dining should be just as it implies. No luck on the Ruby. So many people had the same table at the same time every evening, that it left many people standing around with a beeper (waiting to be called).People wanting this arrangement should have been accommuodated in traditional dining rooms. When the maitre de was asked how this could happen we were ignored. Many passengers we spoke with complained about line ups for meals in dining rooms,for gym equipment,coffee,and excursions.Can you ever imagine a ship this large running out of tomato juice and certain fruits on day three? Must have gone for groceries on day four,since they reappeared. The menus appeared to be wonderful however the food was only mediocre.(the quality of Princess has slipped over the last couple of years) I attempted for 4 consecutive mornings,to have a poached egg (be it Florentine,benedict,or poached alone) and even when sent back, it always came out the same...RAW. Lunches in the dinng rooms were better than the evening meals. When the presented meal was of poor quality, there was no problem getting a second different selection, We had breakfast with unfamiliar passengers and this turned out to be a beef session for most of us (in regards to how the Princess line is slipping). Several people said their list of complaints were too long to talk about. The Ruby appears to have too many passengers for the layout of the ship. Prior to excursions, passengers with excursion vouchers were herded into small lounges to wait for the next move to the theater. At times, there were people pouring out into the corridors far from earshot as to what was expected of them next. The International cafe is in a poor location, with only minimal seating (passengers must take their lattes elsewhere to find seats).My husband wanted a beer one day and the waiter recommended "Blue Moon" as a great one. One sip and my husband was disappointed. When my husband spoke to the waiter about it,he was told he would have to pay for a replacement (NOW REALLY!) We have decided there are enough cruise lines to choose from without being loyal to Princess ( besides, unless you cruise an astronomical number of times,the rewards for loyalty are trivial) Bon Voyage Princess...three times with you are enough. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My wife and I are just just back from a Ruby Princess Transatlantic cruise Venice, Italy to Fort Lauderdale, Florida - October 19 to November 6, 2011. Our primary motivation for taking this particular cruise was its origination from ... Read More
My wife and I are just just back from a Ruby Princess Transatlantic cruise Venice, Italy to Fort Lauderdale, Florida - October 19 to November 6, 2011. Our primary motivation for taking this particular cruise was its origination from Venice, Italy and to the transatlantic crossing, both of which were new experiences for us. This was also our first cruise with Princess cruise lines, our most recent prior cruise being last year on a Celebrity Constellation Panama Canal full transit cruise. Venice was as wonderful and beautiful as we anticipated, and certainly the highlight of the trip. We did a pre-cruise stay for a couple of days in a B&B, the 3749 Ponte Chiodo, which was fortunate as the ship's overnight at Venice was accompanied by terrible weather. The six sea days of the transatlantic crossing were enjoyable. We had less free time than we thought that we would have. Given dining, entertainment, gym exercise, lectures, etc., we had far less time for reading than we anticipated - Boredom was not a problem. Princess' port stops in the Mediterranean were too hurried. For example, Lisbon was only a 5- hour stop. Princess' target demographic may like as many ports as possible, even if the stay is brief, but my wife and I would prefer fewer ports for longer durations, preferably always an overnight stay. We loved Lisbon and would have really liked an overnight stay. Also, Barcelona deserves an overnight stay, preferably more. We found the food comparable to that of other mass market cruise lines - similar to good quality hotel catered food, such as for a wedding. However, in our experience, Princess' anytime dining didn't run as smoothly as our experience on other cruise lines - long lines were commonly encountered. The entertainment was generally mediocre, but I have read that this is often the case with a relocation cruise. This criticism is caveatted by the fact that my wife and I are not fans of the broadway-style musicals that are so common with all cruise companies. Nonetheless, the alternative entertainment of comedians, magician and juggler were definitely mediocre. We know that better entertainment exists on the seas because we experienced it with, surprisingly, NCL. I should mention that the lecture series was excellent. In summary, the cruise was good but not great. There was no cruise killer problem but rather an accumulation of irritants that got in our way of total enjoyment. On a scale of 1-to-10, we rate the overall cruise experience a 6. Now, given our recent cruise on Celebrity's Constellation, we naturally compared our experience there with what we experienced aboard the ruby Princess experience. Ruby Princess versus Celebrity Constellation Observations: Given that we did a Panama Canal full transit cruise on the Celebrity Constellation one year earlier in a comparably priced cabin (Celebrity Concierge Class vs Princess Mini-Suite), a comparison is appropriate. The ships are similar in size (within 20%) but Princess squeezes in 22% more passengers per ton of ship tonnage (tonnage/passenger_capacity). This means that, on Princess, more people compete for similar sized common spaces: Anytime Dining - In our experience Princess' anytime dining was poorly run with long lines and waits to even get a beeper so that you can wait more - we regretted switching form early seating to anytime dining. Our only salvation was to establish reservations for 6pm for every remaining night through tips to the head waiter - effectively recreating traditional-like dining. Food - The general quality of the food in the main dining room was, on average, comparable to Celebrity if maybe a notch lower. The buffet may be a notch better than Celebrity. Coffee - Celebrity has brewed coffee everywhere. Princess has terrible coffee, made from a concentrate, everywhere except at the extra charge restaurants, and even in the main dining room on formal night. Freshly brewed, real coffee is only possible if you purchase coffee cards for $31. The problem is that the ONLY place that the 3,000 passangers can easily get the brewed coffee is at the one small coffee bar on deck five and it frequently has slow lines. Room service has the same from-concentrate coffee. All dining venues can fetch real coffee (when shown your coffee card) but wherever they go to get it adds an unnecessary delay - the delay at the Horizons buffet is fifteen minutes from some waiters but most simply say that brewed coffee is unavailable. In my opinion, brewed coffee should be available everywhere and the deck five coffee bar should be limited to extra-cost specialty coffees, such as Cappuccino, lattes and espresso Cabins: Celebrity Concierge Class balcony cabin versus Princess mini-suite: These were comparably priced cabins. The Princess mini-suite is larger than the Celebrity Concierge Class balcony cabin and is a very nice cabin and the Ruby is six years newer than the Constellation. However, Celebrity's amenities are superior. Celebrity - welcome bottle of champagne; Princess - welcome glass of champagne. Celebrity - plush, full-length bathrobes in the cabin upon arrival; Princess - no robes unless requested and they are thin waffle weave, short length with 3/4 length sleeves. Celebrity - nice fruit basket in room upon arrival, automatically refreshed every day; Princess - no fruit basket until requested and then a skimpy affair and never refreshed unless requested each time. Celebrity - afternoon canapés every afternoon; Princess - nothing. Celebrity - several Concierge Cabin class events on a 2-week cruise, such as a party/gathering , special galley and bridge tours, etc.; Princess - nothing. Celebrity - special Concierge Class embarkation and debarkation (the debarkation was VERY useful); Princess - nothing. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
DW and I are avid cruisers. This was our fifth cruise in a row on Princess. It was also the third time we did this Western Mediterranean Trans Atlantic itinerary and our first cruise at platinum level. We really love the six sea days ... Read More
DW and I are avid cruisers. This was our fifth cruise in a row on Princess. It was also the third time we did this Western Mediterranean Trans Atlantic itinerary and our first cruise at platinum level. We really love the six sea days at the end of the cruise. I spent the previous eighteen months planning this cruise with many other roll call members. Our group was known at the Red Hot Rubies. We had an absolutely fantastic roll call that was very informative and a great way to get to know other roll call members. For our pre cruise stay we flew to Venice and spent two days at the Locanda Orseolo hotel. The Locanda Orseolo is a wonderful boutique hotel. Absolutely outstanding staff that did everything possible to ensure we enjoyed our stay. During our two stay in Venice we walked around, had some great food and wine and took in a Gondola ride. Venice is a truly magical city. As many say you don't need a map, just get lost. A truly magical moment was watching the Ruby Princess sailing down the Grand Canal when she arrived in Venice. The day of embarkation arrived and a wonderful roll call member had arranged shared water taxis to the Ruby for everyone in our hotel. The entire hotel was taken up by roll call members. When we arrived at the dock we made our way to the cruise terminal. The actual embarkation was a total nightmare. Very unorganized with arranging the priority embarkation status of suite, elite, and platinum members. I was told by terminal employees that there were so many priority embarkation cruisers they ran out of priority boarding cards. Their chosen solution was to give out high numbered cards and treat them as priority cards. Needless to say this caused confusion when people I saw with lowered number cards thinking they should be boarding first. We had AC mini cabin D732. This cabin is at the aft port side end of the dolphin deck. The balcony of this cabin has a larger balcony as it partially wraps towards the very aft portion of the ship. Our cabin steward James from the Philippines was great. He always had a smile on his face and did his best to ensure all our needs were attended to and our cabin was always clean. The Ruby is a fantastic ship. All areas were spotless and the entire crew always had smiles on their faces while doing everything under the sun for their passengers. Our cruise director Sam and her assistant Eric did a good job as well. Sam however lost her voice towards the end of the cruise. We enjoyed late seating traditional dining in the Botticelli dining room. Our table wait staff did a great job to make sure we enjoyed our dining experience. I found the food to be good to very good. Never saw our head waiter so I can't comment on him. Only saw Generoso (matri di) a couple of times at the desk upon entrance into the dining room and never saw him walking the floor. We also enjoyed dinner in Sabatinis and the Crown Grill. The service in both venues was great. The food in both was also very good. I personally like the reformatted menu in Sabatinis. I found it didn't take as long to finish dinner nor was I as full as during previous dining experiences. I found food in the Horizon court to be very good. This was a great improvement over my experience on the Golden this past February. I also enjoyed some great pizza and burgers on the lido deck. In addition, I also enjoyed the pub lunch in the wheelhouse bar. The international cafe had some tasty treats that I enjoyed over the entire cruise. My one negative comment about the IC was that in the morning it took a great deal of time to get a cup of coffee. The entertainment on the Ruby was acceptable. Even though we enjoyed the production show Once Upon a Dream, I think that since it's been running for the past two years it's time to rotate it out. We also enjoyed another show called Ballroom (sorry I can't remember the second part of the name). We also saw a comedian in the explorer's lounge that was not very funny. I did have a run in with a seat saver that ended up with her yelling at me. The Piazza had some great music entertainers. Other than the showroom and lounge entertainment, there was a great deal of activities on the Ruby to keep you busy. Our fantastic roll call also had a great meet and greet that was well attended. We also had a great roll call Halloween party in Skywalkers as well as a luncheon. We enjoyed private excursions in Naples, Rome, and Florence. In Naples I had arranged for three vans to tour Sorento, the Amalfi Coast, and Positano. Our entire group had lunch near Positano at a restaurant called La Tagliata. The lunch was out of this world good. In Florence (Livorno) I had arranged for one van to tour Siena and the Chianti region. We also had lunch at a great little restaurant. In Rome (Civitavecchia) we participated in an excursion wherein we visited Assisi and Orvieto. I took tons of pictures. We skipped Canne because it was raining heavily and I had come down with the sniffles. In Barcelona we took the Princess shuttle and just walked around Las Rambles. In Lisbon we just walked around a little but it was hard to find stuff as we were docked in a different area than our stop in 2009. In Ponta Delgada we just walked around a bit and stocked up on supplies for the six day crossing. One downer for the entire cruise was the weather. On our two previous crossings we left the first part of October and enjoyed terrific weather the whole cruise. This crossing left on the 19 of October. Our sail away was quite windy and cold. It also rained heavily when we stopped in Canne France. The seas were also quite rough on a number of days. During our six days crossing the Atlantic Ocean we only had one real quality day of sunshine and smooth seas. In the future I will definitely take the time of year into account when choosing another transatlantic itinerary. All in all it was a great cruise. The best part of it was meeting and having memorable times with the greatest roll call members out there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
Having received a wealth of valuable info from Cruise Critic, I felt the need to provide my thoughts about the recent Ruby Princess Transatlantic cruise. I realize there have already been several reviews, but hope my perspective may ... Read More
Having received a wealth of valuable info from Cruise Critic, I felt the need to provide my thoughts about the recent Ruby Princess Transatlantic cruise. I realize there have already been several reviews, but hope my perspective may assist others looking for info as they plan future cruises. Some preliminary thoughts: I have on multiple occasions on cruises had someone I had never met tell me that their absolute favorite cruise line is (the name doesn't matter) only to have within 24-48 hours someone else I had never met tell me that "one thing is for sure; they will never cruise on (the very same line mentioned by the first person). Conclusion is obvious that different people have different likes and dislikes and points of view. But I believe there is more to it. While some lines may have hairy chest and belly-flop competitions and some don't; some may emphasize fixed seating dining and some emphasize come when you want dining and many other differences, the various lines seem to have a lot of similarities as well. I believe that comparisons based on folks saying they have been on several cruise lines, or even several ships, can lead to a bit of apples and oranges comparisons unless you compare cruises (and cruise lines) sailing similar itineraries at similar times of the year on similar size ships with similar passenger demographics, etc. Even the very same ship sailing a 7-day Spring Break Caribbean cruise and an 18-day Fall Transatlantic cruise will be very different; have different quality food, etc. So comparing one cruise line based on short Caribbean cruises with another cruise line sailing longer Asian or European cruises is problematic, for example. The weather, the people we meet, any loss of luggage, the dinner companions, etc, etc, will all color anyone's review of any cruise ship or cruise line. The real question for me is whether or not a cruise is worth my time and money, not whether it is better or worse than some other cruise or cruise line. I look at cruises (and any other vacations) in terms of whether or not my expectations have been met or have been exceeded. An important factor is to establish appropriate expectations in the first place. So I will review our Oct/Nov Ruby Princess Transatlantic cruise from the perspective of whether my expectations were met or exceeded. I hope that something I say will be useful to someone planning a cruise in the future. Pre-Cruise: We flew into Venice several days early to better ensure we had time to see the things we wanted to see in Venice, plus get over any jet lag. The weather was great when we arrived and on the first few days of our stay. We loved Venice; had a great time. The weather deteriorated on the day we boarded the ship and was very bad the day the ship sailed, but we had already seen what we wanted to see, so we were not troubled by the weather. Those who arrived and went straight to the ship probably were somewhat disappointed that the weather hampered their sightseeing opportunities. For us, research was key to understanding things like People Mover, Vaporetto schedules, museum hours, how to get from airport to our hotel in Mestre, which restaurants were good, etc. Lesson is to always go a few days early or stay a few days after in Europe. Boarding/Embarkation: The whole process MET, perhaps EXCEEDED, my expectations. We arrived at the terminal about 11:15 expecting to wait a while for boarding. We sat comfortably in the waiting lounge enjoying coffee, juice, and pastries until we were called to board around noon. We were in the first groups to board and were in our cabin within minutes. I believe there were some people who reacted to some confusion about boarding numbers and seemed to be stressed. We tend to have a "well, things happen, and we are sure we will all get on pretty soon" attitude so don't let things like that bother us. We were on before we expected to be. Weather: EXCEEDED our expectations. It was cold and windy on sail-away, but not raining and was beautiful. At this point I might have said my expectations were not met if the weather had remained the same the rest of the cruise, but it did not. We had heavy rain and winds while in Cannes, but perfectly fine weather in the other ports and on the transatlantic crossing. Fall in Europe and we only had one bad day of weather along the way seems pretty good to me. I realize there were folks on the cruise who had done this same cruise before and said this weather was worse than on past cruises, but I think they should just have been grateful for the great weather on previous cruises and realized our weather this time was perfectly satisfactory. I used my balcony often, particularly on the transatlantic portion of the cruise. Could the weather have been better? Yes. Was it just fine for what we wanted to do? Yes. Waves: MET our expectations. Several people have asked me if the crossing was rough. Fall cruise in the Med and across the Atlantic - - we could have encountered much rougher seas. Not once did we have a "have to hold on to stay upright" condition. I actually had hoped to encounter some rougher seas just for a short while to see what they looked and sounded and felt like. We never got any seas that rough. Have other cruises had calmer seas. Probably. But we were fine with what we experienced. Dining: The basic system: Barely MET our personal expectations, but clearly DID NOT MEET expectations for many of the other 2900 passengers. Our waiter and assistant waiter were very good. They worked hard, were knowledgeable, friendly, and responded well to any and all requests. They probably exceeded our expectations. However, we asked for 6:15 early seating and were instead given 5:30 seating. That time is just too early. Apparently many others had asked for the 6:15 seating and so we were wait-listed for many months. Also, many people asked for Anytime Dining and a very large percentage of them wanted to eat at about the same time. Their experience was really "Anytime to get your buzzer and wait until a table opens Dining." And that wait was longer than they wanted. When more people show up at a restaurant than can be seated, folks have to wait. We all have this experience at our local restaurants all the time. This is not everyone's expectation on the ship, however. I have always felt that if you have fixed seating and do not make it, you should not be allowed to go to Anytime Dining. I also believe that Princess should "max out" the early seating, and "max out" the late seating, and "max out" the anytime dining. I do not know if they do that. In other words, there should be a limit on anytime dining just as there is a limit on fixed dining. Their remaining problem then would be to deal with whoever is given anytime dining. They need to look at this problem because we have seen it on other ships, as well. Princess has created an expectation they are not meeting by making folks think they can eat "anytime." MDR food quality: MET our expectations. Some was really excellent. Some was not so great. Most was satisfactory. Variety of dishes was good. Overall, perhaps a bit less good than we had experienced on several other cruises. Sabatini's: DID NOT MEET our expectations. Just so-so. The "old style" Sabatini's where you got to try several different things has changed to an order what you want system pretty much like the MDR. This actually caused us to eat too much, but waste a great deal because the only way you can try anything is to order it, and if you order it, you get a full portion. So there are many things you do not order, and you probably cannot eat all of what you do order. Food quality was generally good. Service was really not very good. It took a very long time to eat with too much time between courses. Crown Grill: EXCEEDED expectations. Perhaps because we went to the Grill several days after our Sabatini's experience we were apprehensive about what we might experience. In fact, the service was superb. The food was very good. The overall experience was great. Who knows why the two were different. The "system" seems to work the same in both places. Different days? Different folks? Who knows? We really enjoyed Crown Grill; did not really enjoy Sabatini's. International Cafe: MET expectations. The food is great. Enjoying a nice cappuccino or latte is fun. Allowing folks to line up and get regular coffee at any time slows the process greatly and results in sometimes less than timely service. The generally-considered lousy coffee in the Horizon Court tends to push people to the IC for brewed coffee and makes things very slow at certain times. Horizon Court: MET expectations. Some good, some not so good. Overall, I thought it was a good place for breakfast, was satisfactory for lunch, and could substitute for dinner in a pinch. People's tastes will get you many different opinions about HC. BTW, I kinda like what some people call the "chaos" of bumping into people as you move around to get food. Yes, you will encounter the pushy or the impatient folks who would be happier with a more structured setting. We tried the Caribe Cafe a few times for lunch. It was a good alternative. Food was just OK, but usually had some sort of International theme so was a fun change. We would like to have known a few days in advance when the Caribe Cafe was going to be open and what they were going to be serving. Cabin Steward: EXCEEDED our expectations. As good as we have ever had. Cabin: MET our expectations. We had a mini-suite; had a mini-suite before and knew what to expect. It was great. We love the extra room in the bathroom and the separate sitting area. We are in the group that is just fine with a completely exposed balcony. We have done covered, half covered, aft-facing, various decks. They are all fine with us. Key is not to be under or above a noisy area. Never had any problem with noise from neighbors on either side, above or below. Our cabin itself made interesting creaks and moans when the seas were 8 feet or higher, but we found them to be a kind of natural part of being on a ship in the ocean. We slept right through them. Shore Excursions: Private tours EXCEEDED our expectations. Princess excursion DID NOT MEET our expectations. We did private tours while in Naples, Rome, and Barcelona. They were always superb!!! Our Princess excursion in Livorno was satisfactory, met our expectations. In Cannes, our Princess excursion was modified by the tour guide and did not go to the location it was supposed to visit. This troubled us because several other groups did go there and had a fine time. Weather is Cannes was rain and cold, as forecast, and as predicted by the Captain. We had our warm clothing and our wet-weather gear and were happy to experience things in the rain; have done it many times before in much worse conditions. Many passengers, however, were unprepared and were somehow miraculously surprised that they got cold and wet. This tour did not go where advertised so clearly DID NOT MEET our expectations. Princess excursions in Lisbon and the Azores were satisfactory, the Azores excursion hampered by fog, but there is no way anyone can control the fog. These things happen. Overall lesson is one we have always known. A good, reputable private tour is better than a Princess excursion - - is a smaller group and provides greater flexibility and gets you to more places - - generally for the same or less money. The Gym and Thermal Suite: MET expectations. The gym had good equipment, well maintained. Going at times to avoid the crowd is a good idea. The Thermal Suite is something we do on many cruises; always relaxing. Entertainment: Overall, MET expectations. We never went to a show in the Princess Theatre so cannot comment. We did not take this cruise for that purpose. John Maxtone-Graham was a very good lecturer; probably exceeded our expectations. Other lecturers were OK, but not great. The various piazza acts (jugglers, magicians, etc) were just OK. We enjoyed the violinists and piano player several evenings while we had a pre-dinner cocktail. Disembarking: MET expectations. Although the process seemed to be about 30 minutes behind scheduled times, we enjoyed juice and coffee until called, exited quickly and efficiently, found our luggage quickly and passed very quickly through immigration. We took a taxi to the airport. There were many available. Cost without tip was about $12.00. We experienced no problems with disembarkation other than seeing the occasional impatient passenger. Overall Assessment: Cruise MET our expectations; probably would have exceeded our expectations were it not for the dining and shore excursion problems. We clearly enjoyed the cruise and would be delighted to do it again. Advance planning/research is key. There were actually passengers who got on the cruise not knowing that we were in Rome on Sunday and the Vatican would be closed. Lots of cruise critic and Red Hot Ruby Roll Call research enabled us to get a great hotel, book wonderful private tours, and develop reasonable expectations for the cruise. There are many other things I did not cover, but this is already very long. If there are questions, feel free to ask. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
This was my first and last Transatlantic cruise and my last cruise with Princess... While the ship is beautiful and the crew is the best I have ever seen the overall experience was a nightmare, because... 1) There weren't old ... Read More
This was my first and last Transatlantic cruise and my last cruise with Princess... While the ship is beautiful and the crew is the best I have ever seen the overall experience was a nightmare, because... 1) There weren't old people on this cruise, there were old people's parents. While many were nice there were an equal amount that were rude, demanding and obnoxious and it affected my experience. 2) The food was disappointing, a lackluster performance at best. Bland, boring, and obviously geared to the senior sect. 3) Six sea days trapped on a ship with old people sucking any youth I have left. 4) The entertainment on board was plain horrible. We saw two comedians one who clearly got all his jokes off the Internet. The production shows were mediocre at best The one high point was Gareth Oliver from Britain's Got Talent, he was a Ventriloquist a magician a comedian and an overall great entertainer. He was the only one I saw that I would pay to see again. 5) Princess has their own shore excursions, they were all over priced for what you got. Changes to itinerary were made with no notice or offer of compensation. 6) Our cabin was very, very noisy. (R701)Located directly below the Horizon buffet while trying to sleep we could hear the restaurant staff moving carts around as though they were in our room. 7) And the unforgivable sin was they allowed people to smoke cigarettes in the Cigar bar. Cigarettes give off a foul odor due to the chemicals and paper. I'm in there trying to enjoy a $30 Gurkha and the experience was totally ruined, thanks for having your head up your butt Princess! Now if you're 80, you've found a home on the Ruby Princess... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
• For our 30th wedding anniversary, we wanted something special and different. Although this was our tenth cruise (7th on Princess), it was our first transatlantic. We have done one 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean and the rest in the ... Read More
• For our 30th wedding anniversary, we wanted something special and different. Although this was our tenth cruise (7th on Princess), it was our first transatlantic. We have done one 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean and the rest in the Caribbean. We are a married couple in our early sixties. We like Princess because of the food, multiple dance venues, and a wrap-around Promenade deck for running and walking. • We flew in to Venice a few days early to do some sightseeing. We stayed in a 1200-year old hotel right on the Grand Canal. Early in the mornings we sat in our window alcove, sipping coffee and watching boats carrying school children, trash, groceries, dry cleaning, UPS deliveries, etc. We took advantage of the local seafood and pasta and even tried the local specialty drink, a Bellini (Prosecco and peach juice). Being ballroom dancers, one of our goals was to dance in Saint Mark's Square, so we headed there the first evening and danced to several dueling orchestras around the piazza. • We boarded the Ruby Princess Friday afternoon around 2 pm. There were no lines; embarkation was well organized and we were in our stateroom within 30 minutes of dropping off our bags. The average passenger seemed to be about 65-75 years old and surprisingly active. We were told that there were only four children on board. The Venice Chamber Orchestra performed in the Princess Theater the first night. They were excellent and played Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and Anderson's Syncopated Clock and Blue Tango. Sailaway was Saturday around 2 pm, complete with Sarah Brightman singing "Time to Say Goodbye". • Sunday was a relaxing day at sea. • Monday - When we docked in Naples, we awoke to a downpour, which lasted till around noon. That didn't stop us from going on a private tour arranged by a friend. 20 of us toured Pompeii and Herculaneum, with a stop for lunch in Pompeii. • Tuesday - Rome is over an hour away from the port of Civitaveccia so we opted for the ship's day-long tour. This meant no standing in line and not having to worry about the ship leaving without us if our tour bus was late returning to the port. • Wednesday - Cannes - This was an unexpected treat. Eight of us took a private tour. We had an excellent guide who drove us up the French Riviera, first to Antibes, then to the foothills of the Alps and inland to St. Paul de Vence, a beautiful walled city. • Thursday - Barcelona - Having been to Barcelona twice before, we decided to explore on our own. The Gaudi "Bone House", Casa Battlo, was the ultimate destination. A visit to Barcelona would not be complete without a stroll down Las Ramblas and the Boqueria (market) where we picked up a few gifts. • Three lazy sea days followed. Several times a day, performers entertained in the Piazza, including acrobats, singers, and a musical quartet. The nearby International Cafe had a good variety of snacks and pastries, along with specialty coffees. We took advantage of Princess' "Coffee Card" ($24), which entitles you to 15 specialty coffees and unlimited fresh-brewed coffee. Princess has no shortage of activities. Several lecturers spoke on a variety of topics (these were not your usual port shopping lectures!). During the day, the Crown Grill was designated the "Games Room" and Skywalker's night club was a quiet reading room. Movies were shown throughout the day, both on deck and in the Princess Theater. There were the usual trivia, bridge, ceramics, dance classes, Pub Lunches, High Tea, tours, so many things to do it's hard to imagine anyone being bored. • Ponta Delgada, on the island of San Miguel in the Azores was our last port. It was a beautiful green island with a lot of farmland. We took the ship's tour to a beautiful pair of lakes in the crater of an inactive volcano. • Five lazy sea days followed Ponta Delgada. Again, lots of opportunities to participate in activities or relax around the ship. On the last formal night, the Cruise Staff held the Ruby Red Ball in the Piazza, with music, dancing to Rhapsody, a balloon drop and a good time for all. General comments about the cruise: • Sam, the Cruise Director, was great, the best cruise director we have experienced in our ten cruises. She was quite friendly, very visible and full of enthusiasm. • We had one of six oversized interior cabins on the Riviera Deck. The extra storage space was well appreciated. Michael, our cabin steward, was very efficient, unobtrusive and responsive to several special requests. • Many of our fellow passengers were well-seasoned cruisers and shared stories of itineraries quite different from our usual Caribbean cruises. This inspired us to think about different itineraries for our future travel. • Ballroom dancing is an important part of cruising for us and we especially like live music. Princess always has several dance venues and bands, in addition to the house orchestra. There is always some place to dance from about 5:30 pm till the wee hours and most groups are quite willing to take requests. (Thanks a million DJ Marcus!). • We were concerned that the seas would be rough on the Atlantic crossing. The second day was a bit choppy, but overall it was a fairly smooth voyage. • Cruise food is a very subjective topic. We feel that Princess' food is not quite as good as it used to be (our first Princess cruise was in 1998). Nothing was ever bad, but the menu often seemed lackluster and we opted for the buffet on several occasions. We chose Anytime Dining because of the flexibility. Service was mixed, sometimes excellent, sometimes slow and average. • Entertainment - we enjoyed the production shows. The singers and dancers were quite talented. The house orchestra and the group "Rhapsody" were our favorites. In summary, we had a blast on our first transatlantic and we will certainly be back! A tip of the old pirate's hat to Commodore Romano and the crew of the Ruby Princess for a great overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Flew from the States to Venice on 10/4. Booked our hotel, which was recommended by a Cruise Critic member, in Mestre. We were advised to take the bus from the airport to the hotel. It was a smooth operation. The Starter greeted us as we ... Read More
Flew from the States to Venice on 10/4. Booked our hotel, which was recommended by a Cruise Critic member, in Mestre. We were advised to take the bus from the airport to the hotel. It was a smooth operation. The Starter greeted us as we came out of the terminal, he directed us to the bus we needed after showing him the name of our hotel. When the bus pulled up the Starter talked to the bus driver and advised him to let us know when to get off the bus. We were very grateful to him. Arrived at Al Vivit, a lovely little converted mansion on the Piazza in Mestre. We asked a woman when we got off the bus for directions, she could not understand us and we could not understand her but she pointed the way to walk and off we went. We came to a fork in the road and asked another couple who very kindly beckoned us to follow them until we could see the name of the hotel in the Piazza. It was about a 5 minute walk from the bus stop. The hotel staff were so kind and helpful. We neglected to ask if there was a lift and found ourselves starting for the second floor with 4 bags. The woman at the desk was quite adamant about us not carrying the bags. She carried all the bags up 3 flights of steps. The day we were checking out, there were 38 of us going the ship. We opened our bedroom doors and found the hotel had brought in extra help to carry all our bags down to the lobby. The breakfast staff were very friendly and we were also able to buy bus and vapparetto tickets at the front desk. There were cafes in the Piazza for drinks and coffee and watching the locals push their bambinos in their carriages with their dogs. It was lovely. Our embarkation was very smooth thanks to Annette and Lou who booked the bus from the hotel to the port. Can't say the same for disembarkation. Sharon, Future Cruise Director barked at us all morning without a mike. When my husband asked her to use a microphone she yelled "who said that, stand up so I can see you". My husband walked up to her and asked her to use the mike as we could not hear her instructions. She stated she was talking to the wheel chair people on the other side of the lounge and we did not need to hear what she was saying. We left our cabin at 8:00AM after the room steward banged on the door. We sat in the lounge from 8:00AM until 11:00AM before disembarking. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
An October cruise from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale on the almost new Ruby Pricess was a very enjoyable experience. This was our 9th cruise with Princess. Captain Giuseppe Romano ran a good ship and was always interested in talking with his ... Read More
An October cruise from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale on the almost new Ruby Pricess was a very enjoyable experience. This was our 9th cruise with Princess. Captain Giuseppe Romano ran a good ship and was always interested in talking with his passengers. His crew did an outstanding job of making our voyage one to remember. Chef Cozzoli served up a wonderful selection of meals. The only time he missed was the evening they served Prime Rib. The piece of meat that arrived bore no resemblance to any Prime Rib I've ever seen. Only God and Cozzoli know where it came from. I ate around it. Day in and day out, whether at sea or in port, the Ruby provided a long list of shipboard activities and entertainments. The library was very well stocked, both with fiction and reference books. The wine bar was a nice addition with the free snacks at lunchtime. The Intercontinental cafe with its free pastries was great for a quick breakfast. Platinum and above members were invited to a daily cocktail party in the Skywalkers lounge, 5:30pm to 7:30pm, with free snacks included. The stateroom was always clean and well taken care of. And there were plenty of laundromats with plenty of machines. The embarkation in Venice was very well organized. There was a cocktail lounge to wait in until your boarding number was called. The first night on-board was spent in Venice. If you wanted to take one last look at Venice, there was a shuttle boat available to take you to St. Mark's square. There were boarding tickets in your cabin, each costing $15. That fee was already charged to your account before you even came on-board. If you did not use the shuttle you had to return the tickets to the purser to get the amount refunded. A little sneaky, I think. From Venice the cruise stopped at Naples, Rome, Cannes and Barcelona, and Azores. The onshore excursions were a nightmare, and very expensive ones at that. The Rome excursion costs $130. For that we got a quick bus trip around town and a walking trip. Then we were dumped off at the Vatican, where there was a two-hour wait to go through. A good number of us sat on concrete benches for three hours waiting for the bus to take us back to the ship. What a waste. And the guide did not know what she was talking about. Naples was just a bus tour with a restroom stop. Cannes, we did on our own. Barcelona was a real disaster. For the four hour tour, we spent an hour and a half in a church that has been under construction for 128 years. Not much to see and certainly not worth an hour and a half. Following that ordeal, we were given twenty minutes for lunch. I ate a sandwich in SUBWAY. So much for the renowned cuisine of Barcelona. Then it was back on the bus for a cruise through town. Boring! The problem with excursions is that the cruise lines never do any quality control to see what they are charging their passengers to endure. They just charge you a bunch of money and deliver you into the hands of fools, idiots and nincompoops. I could have done Rome on my own at a fraction of the price I paid Princess. Beware of Spain. As soon as we entered Spanish waters, their government levied us with an 8 percent VAT for everything we bought on-board the ship, including drinks. I know their economy is in bad shape, but I did not know that they were robbing tourists to make ends meet. If you want a great cruise, sail on the Ruby Princess! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Ship Info Having already sailed before on Emerald and Star looked forward to the latest trip on the Ruby. The ship is a large one, but with plenty of places to find your own special space. Travelled with my wife and another couple ... Read More
Ship Info Having already sailed before on Emerald and Star looked forward to the latest trip on the Ruby. The ship is a large one, but with plenty of places to find your own special space. Travelled with my wife and another couple in Balcony cabins on the opposite side of the ship so we could enjoy shared views of sunrise/sunsets and ports. Liked to people watch on deck five around the Piazza with Vines (winebar) our favorite. We tried to get a seat by the window to watch the waves when we were not taking in the parade of ship entertainment including pianist, violins, gymnasts, and singer dancers. Ship Activities Enjoyed the naturalist lectures and other ship lecturers. Took in a few ship shows when we weren't too tired from the extensive sightseeing days and even found the time to lose a little in the Casino. With lots of sea days across the Atlantic we had a chance to unwind and do lots of reading. Nothing better than a good book and watching the ocean...or even a mediocre book and doing the same. Service Always friendly whether from the room steward, the folks at the bars or in the dining room. It felt like coming back home after the long days of seeing cities we had only dreamed of getting to see. Stateroom Room enough for us to relax and store the tons of luggage that we brought with us. Having a balcony again helped us with another place to sit and watch port and sea. Dining We had late seating traditional dining. We found the food to be varied, well prepared and nicely presented. We ate twice in the Crown Grille and felt that the meal there was very good with matching service. We ate at the buffet for breakfast and lunch. And found the pizza selection and quality much improved over our last trip with Princess. On this trip we also tried there pub style food in the Wheelhouse Bar to be a nice change of pace. Getting On/Getting Off The Ship Getting on was very smooth and easy. Getting off another matter as we reported as directed to the Explorer Lounge at the time called for and then waited at least 1/2 hr. before beginning to get off the ship. Luggage while color coded as usual was really a jumble of numbers. It took a long time to find our luggage. Used ship transfers in Ft. Lauderdale and that seemed to take a long time too. We left early enough so that any delays were frustrating, but did not impact our getting to our flights. Entertainment Production numbers were great with excellent cast and production. The Princess theater had all of the hi-tech bells and whistles to make the show sizzle. Also liked the mix of movies on TV/Open Deck and Princess Theater, though it was somewhat hard to understand the dialogue outdoors. Visually that screen was very sharp and clear. Shore Excursions All except one were informative and met our requirements. The one had a guide who was not easy to understand and did not provide much information except to keep saying that Pisa was the best. And his coming from Pisa would explain his repeated promotion of his home town. Took a private tour with Rome-In-Limo for Rome. Vincenzo (Vinnie) was great!! He got us close to all of the sights, was a good though fast driver, and helped us understand the city before us. With only 1 day in Rome he saved us time and in fact we probably got to see twice as much as a ship tour. He found a nice restaurant that fit our need for casual, but authentic. The day was long, but after throwing in the coin at the Travi Fountain we hope to come back to Rome!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
This was our second Med - Trans Atlantic cruise, third cruise in a row on Princess, and tenth cruise. DW and I are in our 50's. We did this cruise to celebrate her retirement. I unfortunately still have to work. We had originally ... Read More
This was our second Med - Trans Atlantic cruise, third cruise in a row on Princess, and tenth cruise. DW and I are in our 50's. We did this cruise to celebrate her retirement. I unfortunately still have to work. We had originally booked a northern route T/A but switched to this itinerary due to scheduling conflicts at work. An added bonus at work on switching was we sailed with several couples from last year's Med - Trans Atlantic on the Emerald. For our pre-embarkation stay we flew to Paris for two days. In Paris we saw the sights. We also had dinner in the Eiffel Tower, took a Seine river cruise, and saw a Moulin Rouge show. Paris is truly a magical city and we really wish we had an extra day or two to spend there. Our flight to Venice from Paris was short and uneventful. We were met by a Princess rep at the airport and quickly ushered to a shuttle bus for our short ride to the dock. The Princess rep was very helpful. One thing I found at the airport in Venice was the exchange rate for Euros was much better than what I paid at the airport in Los Angeles. Embarkation was a breeze. Since we arrived around 1530 hours (local time) there were no lines. We basically walked right on the ship. One thing I noticed about boarding was there seemed to be, in my opinion, more crew members to assist passengers in finding their way to their accommodations. The Ruby Princess was a truly magnificent ship. The ship was clean in every respect. The crew was outstanding and always had smiles on their faces. They always seemed willing to go the extra mile to assist passengers. The captain (Tony Yeomans) was always visible and very approachable. Twice DW and I rode an elevator with him and enjoyed pleasant conversations on both occasions. The Cruise director James ) was very professional as well and seemed to do a good job keeping us entertained. DW and I were cruising with a large contingent of fellow cruise critic members. Our group was known as the "ruby Stars." Our meet and greet was well attended. The captain and several other ships' company showed up. We also had several other events that were also well attended. As far as dining goes, we had second seating traditional in the Botticelli dining room. The Botticelli was a very nice venue. Our waiter Gabriel and his assistant did an acceptable job in making sure we enjoyed our dining experience. The food was very good to excellent. I did however send two main courses back because they seemed a bit cold to suite my taste. We enjoyed Sabatini's and the Crown Grill. Both were very good but not great. We also enjoyed Ultimate Balcony Dining and found it to be outstanding. The lobster tail was the biggest I've ever seen. I enjoyed the suite perk of breakfast at Sabatini's. It was a very nice experience and the food was quite good. The mimosas were a great way to start the day. Food in the horizon court and Cafe Caribe was your typical buffet food. Nothing great but there was a good variety to choose from. I did note that Cafe Caribe was always crowded during dinner time. The choices offered seemed to be very tempting. The International Cafe was good and Vines served good sushi & Tapas. The Trident grill served great hamburgers and hot dogs. Pizza on the pool deck was also a great way to add on the extra weight. We had a PH suite (R408) and enjoyed all the perks that came with being a suite passenger. Our cabin steward Angelito was very good and did his best to ensure we enjoyed our stateroom. My only negative outlook regarding the suite was the size of the balcony. It is very narrow and with the upgraded wood furniture it seemed rather cramped. As far as onboard entertainment goes, we saw two production shows that were quite good. Several of the princess singers were great. We also enjoyed a couple of shows in the Explorer's lounge that were also quite good. During the cruise there was a variety of entertainment in the Piazza. All were quite good. The fitness center had a wide variety of equipment and was always well utilized by passengers. I only had to wait once for a treadmill. I also visited the thermal suite and noted the temps of the steam rooms varied and sometimes seemed not hot enough. I also noted this in the steam and sauna rooms in the men's locker room. DW made very good use of the salon and massages services and enjoyed all the treatments she received. She told me all staff members were friendly and very professional. Yes she did purchase some products after the usual sales pitch but we all know it's coming before we go there. The boutiques were staffed by friendly and professional crew members who were very helpful. I thought the selections in the various shops were good with the exception of the souvenir shop that had set out Caribbean items shortly after we left Venice. DW and I did several private excursions with other CC members that were all very nice. The highlight of the excursions for me was standing inside the Coliseum in Rome; truly a memorable experience. We also did two ship sponsored excursions that were very well run. During the six day crossing there were many things to do. It was also nice to just relax and recover from the port intensive portion of the cruise. Overall, the cruise was a great experience. I would not hesitate to sail with Princess again nor would I hesitate to recommend the line to a friend. I may not however choose this itinerary again as it has been cut to 16 days with the removal of Florence and Lisbon as ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
This is my quick review of the Ruby Princess Transatlantic that started in Venice 10/07 and landed in Ft Lauderdale 10/25. We have sailed on Princess 21 times and 8 times on other ships. There were 8 in our group-2 from CA, 2 from RI and ... Read More
This is my quick review of the Ruby Princess Transatlantic that started in Venice 10/07 and landed in Ft Lauderdale 10/25. We have sailed on Princess 21 times and 8 times on other ships. There were 8 in our group-2 from CA, 2 from RI and 4 from FL. The FL people opted to leave Sun 10/4 on USAir from Tampa to Philly changing planes after a 4 hour layover to Venice. I wanted to minimize the chance of our luggage being lost. We each checked one large bag and each had a carry on. Needless to say, they lost one piece from each couple that found it's way to our hotel on Tuesday. The flight was in coach and not too bad except for the man and his wife who reclined the seats before we took off and we had no room. The cabin attendant had to ask them to sit upright while we were eating and then they slammed them right back down. We stayed at the Hotel Molino Stucky and booked early enough to receive a promo of 149 Euros/night. Later were were offered and "Executive" upgrade for 59 Euros/night and we took it as it included a wonderful champagne breakfast plus hearty appetizers for lunch and dinner along with unlimited cold drinks, beer, wine and some liquors. The hotel staff was wonderful and very helpful in locating the traveling luggage. The rooms were rather large with very spacious bathrooms and the bed were comfy. The Molino provides limited transportation to St Mark's and P. Roma and we did use that a few times. They also have a taxi from Murano that will take you to a glass factory where they almost badger you into buying overpriced glass items. Had we known, we would have taken the vaporetto and gone on our own. It took them 45 minutes to call a water taxi back to the hotel. We bought a 72 hour Vaporetto pass online before we left and you get a discount and a voucher to turn into a ticket in Venice. The 1st night we went right to St. Mark's square and took in all the beauty there. No pickpockets were seen and no one approached us. We did find a few rude Venitians who don't consider themselves Italians. In a market, we checked out and was waiting for a bag and when I asked for on the lady screamed at me they were 10 did I know? We took a vaporetto ride from one end of the Grand Canal to the other just to soak in the sights. It was awesome. We took in the Secrets of the Doges Palace tour that we pre-purchased on line and it was fabulous. We also did a ship's tour "The nighttime tour of St Mark's Basilica" and it was worth every penny we paid. We boarded the ship at about noon on Wednesday and used it as home base. The ship is beautiful and her crew is wonderful. We had Captain McCharming-Capt Tony Yeomans. Having been on the sister ships, we didn't do too much exploring of the ship. We did enjoy the new Elite/Platinum lounge in Skywalkers each night. We also spent a lot of time in the Piazza people watching and using the International Cafe for coffees and goodies. The Chicken salad is awesome and don't' pass up the shrimp! Our cabin steward was one of the best we've had and he made our stay memorable. Always smiling, any requests answered promptly. The other passengers were mostly an older group of travelers. I never saw such a collection of scooters and rolling walkers in my life!!!! Some of them were quite rude-pushing on elevators before passengers got off etc. I often wondered how they got around Venice which is a walking city and getting on and off vaporettos requires a lion heart!!! Naples was beautiful and we had a private driver take us to Sorento, Positano, Amalfi and Revalo. Beautiful little towns. The weather was perfect while Venice was hot and humid. We had a guide to take us to the Herculanium-awesome. Rome was a marathon tour with Stefano of Romecabs. He is wonderful and I highly sing his praises. We saw things that I only dreamed of. The fountains, the Colloseum, the churches etc .... truly sensory overload! Florence was a rainy day and we had ponchos to get around and our private driver also had umbrellas. We did the Leaning Tower and it is a beautiful building even in the rain. We drove to the town center and visited the leather market. You could gently bargain but the stuff is still not cheap. We could not get in to Marseille due to high winds (60mph) and rough seas - 21 ft. Sounds scary but it really wasn't. We enjoyed another sea day to rest. Barcelona again had us in a bus with a private driver and guide and we concentrated on Segata Familia. The church is an emotional experience and I'm not that religious but was moved to tears. WE sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar and I was a bit disappointed! I remember reading the Iliad in school and remembered the "Pillars of Hercules" and was expecting two giant rocks guarding the entrance. Only one big rock. I'm told there is another rock on the African side but we didn't see it. But is was amazing to see Africa on one side and the windmill farms on the Spanish side. Lisbon brought another private tour and we saw all the statues of Prince Henry the Navigator and explorers. Of course we stopped in Belem for the tasty pastries! Ponta Delgada took our hearts away. We went with Amazing tours and it truly was amazing. Beautiful country-peaceful, clean and friendly. We will go back that again. We went to the top of the mountain and saw the crater lakes. Awesome times three. After Ponta delgata, we have 6 nights at sea and we needed them to recover from the hectic pace we set for ourselves. The sip provided entertainment and of course the casino was always open. The food on the Ruby was better than good bordering on great. They were trying out several new menu items-most were good with one clunker as in anything new. We ate in the DR for all meals except for a rare deviation for waffles for breakfast or Pizza for lunch. We had fixed early seating and our server Alex caught on to like and dislike quickly and made appropriate suggestions. After the first night, we didn't have to ask for tea-it was waiting for us. Great service. All in all it was a trip of a lifetime and we are planning to do it again next year. I will pack differently-taking more capris and fewer long pants. My touring shoes were comfy but I developed blisters on my swollen feet from the shoes worn on the ship for dinner. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We sailed on the Ruby Princess Trans-Atlantic Venice to Ft. Lauderdale 10/07/09. This was our third year doing the Princess Trans-Atlantic on this route, the first two years on the Emerald Princess. We spent three nights pre-cruise in ... Read More
We sailed on the Ruby Princess Trans-Atlantic Venice to Ft. Lauderdale 10/07/09. This was our third year doing the Princess Trans-Atlantic on this route, the first two years on the Emerald Princess. We spent three nights pre-cruise in a junior suite at the Al Ponte Antico Hotel in Venice. While it is very expensive, I can say that when we return to Venice we will stay in the same place and room. The hotel is just down from the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal and the terrace where one can eat breakfast or have drinks in the evening has a million dollar view. Matteo and his staff greet you like members of the family and cater to your every whim. Breakfasts are exquisite. As an aside, one of our bags didn't arrive when we did and Matteo made sure that his staff kept checking on it. The suitcase was delivered to our room the second night. We had a number of excellent meals I thought were worth mentioning. We had dinner one night at the Osteria Santa Marina and another at the Alla Borsa. We had eaten at both before and enjoyed them just as much as on previous visits. We also ate at the Osteria Barababao which was very enjoyable. The first two were more expensive than the latter. We are a little different from some cruisers in that we don't go to the casino or to any shows . We were in A753 (a category OS) aft starboard-side. We had cruised in the same cabin two years ago on the Emerald and loved it and this year was no different. The cabin is large with a dining area, large sitting room area and bedroom with the usual bathroom for suites on Princess. The balcony is very large with room for a table with four chairs and two lounge chairs with a table in between. We had a sailaway party with approx. 16 people and had plenty of room for everyone. Our cabin steward Angelo was outstanding. We had breakfast every morning we could in Sabatinis. The service, menu, and ambiance are wonderful. Marius and his staff were more than excellent. We began every morning with a Mimosa and proceeded to the delectable items on the menu. The Eggs Benedict were better than anything I had eaten in a dining room before. The waffles were outstanding served with whipped cream and essentially we found we could get whatever our fancy was for breakfast. We ate a few lunches in the Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court. We found the food there to be good for a buffet where many people are being fed. Not Princess' fault but we always found that we ate too much because there were too many choices. We only ate dinner in the dining room four nights; the remainder of the 18 nights we ate in either Sabatinis or the Crown Grill. I don't remember the names of the two anytime dining rooms, but we ate one night in the one on deck 5 and I was unhappy enough that I wrote a letter to the Maitre D'. The waiter and his assistant told us repeatedly to keep the cork for our bottle of wine so we could keep it for another night. We did not go to the dining room at closing time and there were people coming in after us so I thought we were being unduly rushed - not a fine dining experience. The other nights we ate in the deck 6 dining room with Godwin as the Maitre D'. He is a wonderful asset to Princess. He remembered our name from two years ago and made sure that we had a very nice table with great service. The food in the dining room was good, in fact, better than I thought it was on previous cruises. We did find that we like the ambiance in the two alternative restaurants better. We do not get the "Sabatinis Experience" when we eat there, but rather order what we want to eat. After the first time the staff understood that was how we liked it and we had no problems. We also found that the menu can be flexible. We found the service to be absolutely wonderful in both venues. Thanks to the efforts of one of our fellow passengers Gail we were able to do the Chefs Table one night. We had done it two years ago and it was once again a wonderful evening. I am so impressed with the galley operation and cleanliness! The appetizers in the galley and the food served at our table were outstanding.. For those who have not tried this, I recommend it. The visit behind the scenes is in itself worth the cost. Our favorite lounge is Adagio and that's where we went every evening before dinner. The pianist was outstanding and the little plates with olives and cheese breadsticks were wonderful. The place was never crowded and was a perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely cocktail before dinner. The only shipboard activities we participated in were Trivia games. There are plenty of opportunities for that. One of the sea days I think there were 5 separate trivia events. We did only one per day. The internet service was good. We were all the way aft and had good wi-fi reception in our cabin and even sometimes on the veranda. We spent a couple of afternoons at the Sanctuary. I think it's the best spot to spend an afternoon on a sea day. The lounge chairs are wonderful and the lunch menu is delicious. I had my hair done a couple of times and the service was good. Nobody tried to sell me anything. My husband had a pedicure and likewise no attempts were made to sell him anything. We took two Princess tours. We did the Elite tour of the Amalfi Coast which we had done before. We actually had the same guide as last year. He was wonderful and the tour was great. We love the Amalfi Coast and we love Le Sirenuse Hotel where we had lunch. We had 14 people traveling with us and essentially could do what we liked. We took the Princess tour to Cinque Terre and also enjoyed that. We had a little rain and the winds were such that we couldn't travel by boat between some of the villages, but we still had a good time. For the other ports we had private tours. In Civitavecchia due to a miscommunication we wound up tourless. We were extremely fortunate to find Stefano, a driver/guide at the entrance to the port. For a very reasonable price we had an absolutely fantastic tour for just the two of us to Rome. Stefano is a Roman who whisked us in and out of traffic, managed to find parking places close to everything we wanted to see and took us to an absolutely wonderful restaurant for lunch. While it was a tourist restaurant up front we sat in a back room and had a marvelous lunch without ever seeing a menu. In Barcelona we went on a private tour arranged by one of our shipmates with Pepito Tours. We visited Girona and S'Agaro. Jose was our guide and the tour was excellent. Girona is a splendid medieval city which I think most people don't get to see while on a cruise and S'Agaro was a beautiful seaside resort on the Costa Brava where we saw beautiful vistas and had a wonderful lunch. In Lisbon we had a private tour through Alliance4Drive with Karla as our driver/guide. She did an outstanding job guiding us through the Tile Museum, the Alfama District and Castle of St. George, the main square and the Belem District. Lisbon is such a beautiful city! We stopped at the cafe that serves the signature Pasteis de Belem. Next year Princess has eliminated this city as a stop and I think that's a shame because it is such a wonderful place. This year we only had a half day as opposed to the full day the two prior years. In Punta Delgada we had one of our most interesting experiences. We had arranged for a cab to drive us around the island. John was waiting for us when we disembarked and we proceeded on our tour. We had been to Sao Miguel before but hadn't seen much. Our tour took us all around the island to see it's geological splendors, its tea plantation and its magnificent trees and flowers. We had perhaps the most interesting lunch we've ever eaten. Near the town of Furnas there are hot springs where people cook in holes around the hot springs. Our lunch at a local restaurant was cooked in one of the holes in a large pot. It was a delicious stew of various meats and vegetables. The temperatures throughout our voyage were in the low 70s. The seas were quite calm including the 6 days of the trans-atlantic crossing. Only one night did we do some rocking and rolling but it was in the middle of the bight. We missed the port of Mrseille due to high winds caused by the Mistrals off the Alps. Despite the fact that the winds approached 70 mph and the seas were around 40 ft., we were running with the seas and experienced no rolling and the skies were a brilliant blue. We had a splendid time on this cruise. We liked the 18 day itinerary and despite the fact that it is very port intensive in the beginning , the days crossing the Atlantic do give you an opportunity to rest and relax. I do have to say that by day five in the crossing we were beginning to feel ready to be home. I think Princess does a wonderful job especially considering that they are catering to over 3000 people. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We chose this cruise primarily for itinerary. Having done the Med a few times before, we were very interested in the transatlantic portion, and being able to relax after our hectic pace in Europe. As we love Rome, we chose to fly in a few ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for itinerary. Having done the Med a few times before, we were very interested in the transatlantic portion, and being able to relax after our hectic pace in Europe. As we love Rome, we chose to fly in a few days early and spend 3 nights there. Stayed at the Artemide which was local walking distance to everything and was fantastic. We then took the train to Venice, to spend one night there prior to boarding the Ruby. Unfotunately our train ride was more eventful than we liked. We traveled with another couple, and sometime during the 4 1/2 hr ride from Rome to Venice, our friends camera bag disappeared right from under his seat! The camera wasn't the big worry, he had three weeks worth of medication in that bag!! To make a long story short, a very wonderful pharmacist in Venice was able to replace the meds in 24hrs. Whew! After staying at the Locanda Vivaldi one night prior (fab hotel) , we boarded the lovely RubyPrincess late afternoon on the Wednesday. At that point, we stayed on board to wander and explore. We used the Princess Water Shuttle tickets provided to go back into Venice the next morning. We had a minisuite on Dolphin deck. Enjoyed having the extra room but can't seem to get used to the totally exposed balconys on this class of ship. Common/Public Rooms Lots of places to meet and mingle, nowhere seemed crowded except the ever popular International Cafe. Adiagos, Crooners, Wheelhouse, all great spots to linger with a drink. We enjoyed the outside area of Adiagos where you could sit and stare out to sea. Beautiful. The Princess Theater is a little small, and I guess that's why they repeat the Production Shows over 2 nights. The casino was nice, we didn't spend alot of time there. Dining We had second seating and had fabulous staff. Meals in the dining room were usually good to sometimes great. Unfortunately it was the only time we could say that. The Horizon Court was a huge disappointment. Very little selection in my opinion for lunch. Soggy sandwiches wrapped in saran wrap (I've never seen this before!)At least you could get a decent salad. We tried the dining room for lunch one day and again experienced the soggy wet bread. Specialty Dining Had a nice meal in the Crown Grill. And the Ultimate Balcony Dining was the best experience, would recommend to anyone. Sabatinis was a disappointment though. Entertainment Production shows were well done. I thought for 18 nights they could have squeezed an extra show in there - we had three. There was a pretty good comedian. MUTS had lots of good movies to choose from, but we only went once. They had the White Hot Deck party and Ruby Ball also. Ports The magic of Italy, what can I say. We loved Venice, and having spent time in Rome prior, we chose to go to Tivoli the day we docked in Civitavecchia. We enjoyed Tivoli very much. In Naples, we did a private tour to the Amalfi Coast and it was outstanding. Certainly a highlight of the trip. In Florence we walked around on our own in the pouring rain, the only bad weather day in the trip. We missed Marseilles due to high seas and winds, so had an extra sea day. Barcelona is beautiful and we enjoyed Gaudi's as well as strolling Las Ramblas. Lisbon - oh how disappointing to be there only a few hours, how I wished we had more time there. And Azores was a quaint beautiful stop before we headed out to sea. The transatlantic portion was 6 days, and that meant about 2 too many for us. We got a little restless by day 4. There were activities on board during the sea days and venues seemed to be busy most of the time. As the weather was beautiful for the crossing, with calm seas and sunny warm days, we were able to enjoy the outdoor areas, by the pool, mini golf, etc. We overall enjoyed out trip, but I don't think another transatlantic crossing is in our future!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Overall we enjoyed the cruise, the ports and transatlantic crossing. There's plenty to eat and activities galore. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, we were not able to dock in Marseille. We'd recommend the cruise to ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed the cruise, the ports and transatlantic crossing. There's plenty to eat and activities galore. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, we were not able to dock in Marseille. We'd recommend the cruise to anyone. We are however not as glowing of some specifics of the cruise as some posters. A summary of specifics follow: Cruise Highlights The following on-board sights were especially memorable: Departure from Venice, transiting through the Straits of Gibraltar and entry into Lisbon. Overall, the employees were friendly and helpful, especially the waiters and waitresses in the Wheelhouse Lounge and Crooner's Lounge. Venice Embarkation While Princess had some sixteen check-in counters, there were only three security scanners. Consequently, we stood around for three hours waiting for our boarding number to be called. Ft Lauderdale Disembarkation All passengers were requested to leave their staterooms by 8:00AM to allow for cleanup. We then waited in a public area for three hours waiting for our turn to officially disembark. Our scheduled departure time was 1.5 hours later than scheduled. Stateroom We had an interior stateroom midship on the Baja deck. It was quiet and well-sized. I would have hated to have had a room further down the hall adjacent to the dish washing area. In walking past that section, you could frequently hear the loud clattering of dishes in the hallway. We also talked to a passenger who boarded at Barcelona and was assigned to a stateroom beneath one of the lounges. After considerable complaining about the noise, he was moved to a different stateroom room in Venice. Public Areas The SkyWalkers lounge was excellent for a quiet reading location and great view. In general, the public entertainment areas for shipboard events and showrooms are generally too small to accommodate 3100 passengers. Consequently, the Princess Theater and the Explorer's Lounge have the same shows multiple times per day over a couple days. Also, the Piazza is woefully inadequate for events such as the Captain's reception. Entertainment The major entertainment was fairly good, especially the comedians and solo singers who were very good. In general, the lounge entertainment was merely "acceptable". An exception however was the rock group "Junction 21" which was very good. Unfortunately, the timing of entertainment in the various venues was awkward. Most of the performances are scheduled at the same time and the entertainers took breaks at the same time, making it difficult for passengers to enjoy the wide variety of groups and a full evening sampling of the different entertainers. Food and Dining You could eat at anytime. We especially enjoyed mid-day snacks consisting of ice cream, cookies, pizza and hot dogs (what a combo!). In the evening, we usually ate in the Michelangelo dining room. The food ranged in quality from excellent to average. It seemed that dining room service was better earlier in the evening. Perhaps as the evening progressed, the staff was getting tired. We tried the Cafe Caribe on the German and Curry buffet nights. Both meals were disappointing. "Movie Under the Stars" We attended one of the movies at night for an authentic theater experience. You need to arrive early to claim a "good seat". The theater event includes a lap robe, popcorn, cookies and milk. Information Desk In general, the ship's information desk was dismal. They gave incorrect information as to when we were passing Gibraltar. Additionally, they were unable to provide any useful information on the upcoming ports. Money My advice is to bring your own shore spending money. The ship's on-board ATM charges a minimum of $6 (or $8) for ATM withdrawals. Transportation in Ports If you are traveling as independent passengers (i.e., not scheduled on a Princess cruise excursion), each passenger is charged approximately $8.00 per person per port for bus transportation from the dock to the town center in several of the ports. Considering the overall cost of the cruise, this seems excessive. In several of the ports, the bus transport was necessary since the ports are large industrial areas lacking other transportation options. The bus drop-off points were located conveniently near rapid transit options and information centers with return schedules maintained throughout the day. Cruise Director James Ibrahim, the cruise director, seemed both patronizing and immature. The ship's "The Early Show" is intended to be an important source of information for passengers. Unfortunately, the television program was frequently frivolous and superficial, lacking quality information concerning ports and events on the ship. You had to intently listen through the whole program to filter significant information from the blather. Communication It used to be that passengers would get a daily news summary of current world events. Princess does not provide that. The assumption is apparently that we will access the internet or watch the news on the television. This however is not always possible. During the Atlantic crossing, most network channels including CNN were not available on the cabin televisions. As for the computer center, it is quite small for the size of the ship, and it was not always easy to access a computer. Also, the cost of accessing the internet promotes cautious, careful use. Laundry The ship has numerous high quality, self-service laundry rooms spread throughout the ship. Most of the laundries are small (2 washers/2 dryers). Our experience was that they were frequently very busy. The machines were efficient. We were able to dry a full load of jeans, t-shirts and socks in one drying cycle. You need to plan a couple of hours minimum depending on how long you have to wait for the machines. The change machine did not work one day, so I'd recommend you come prepared with plenty of quarters. Each machine costs $1.50 (quarters only). You can also purchase soap and fabric softener. The laundry room also had two ironing boards and Rowenta irons with automatic shut-off timers. In this day of luggage weight restrictions, there is no need to pack a personal steamer. In closing The above commentary is intended as an open assessment of the cruise. Overall, the cruise was enjoyable, relaxing and worthwhile. Read Less
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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