Overall Rating: Excellent
|Departed From:||Venice, Italy|
|# of Nights:||14+ Nights|
|Cabin Type:||Ocean View|
October 8th through October 24, 2009 (Sixteen Days - Transatlantic)
Master: Commodore Giuseppe Romano
Cruise Director: Samantha "Sam" Hawker-Thomas
Stateroom #E633, Deck 8, Aft.
This was our 56th overall and our 23rd on Princess ships.
Our flights to Venice, Italy were almost enjoyable. We flew from Las Vegas via Dallas and London changing planes at both stopovers. We then spent two nights at the Antony Palace Hotel in Venice prior to boarding the Ruby Princess. Since 26 friends were cruising with us, we chartered a bus to take us from the hotel to the embarkation. The bus departed the hotel at Noon. Trip to the port took about 20 minutes.
Boarding process was quick, easy and painless; the entire process took about 10 minutes for us as Elite members of the Princess Captain's Club. Other members of our party waited about 30 minutes for their group to board. The embarkation building is very nice, so this was not a problem. All staterooms were ready for occupancy when we boarded.
Our stateroom was an outside on Deck 8 Starboard side and was very handy to the aft elevators. This stateroom is listed as an "obstructed view" and priced accordingly. There is NO obstruction from the stateroom window. This stateroom and #703 and the ones located in the same positions of the Port side of the ship are the best values aboard.
The bathroom was quite small, but worked out fine as long as we both did not try and be in there at the same time. The shower was the small but worked out. The shower water temperature was a challenge to adjust, but not really a problem. Water pressure was low, but we got used to it quickly.
We then went up to Deck 15 to the Horizon Court for some lunch. The array of offerings was quite extensive and impressive and we felt our second transatlantic cruise was off to a great start.
The ship spent the first night in Venice, so we joined four friends for a trip in Saint Mark's Square and an after-dark gondola ride. Fantastic experience. Then went to our favorite restaurant in the Luna Baglioni Hotel for dinner with two of our friends. Needless to say this was a night to remember.
The next day the sail away from Venice, via the Grand Canal was fantastic!! A perfect, beautiful day served as a backdrop for this amazing experience.
The ever-popular, mandatory Lifeboat Drill took place at 2:30 PM just after sailing out of Venice. Never much fun, but this one was less painless than most and well organized. Our Muster Station turned out to be the Crown Grill, so we shared a booth with friends.
The show in the Princess Theater was "Welcome Aboard Showtime" with the Ruby Princess singers and dancers and was an outstanding production.
For the next day we were at sea, heading for Naples, Italy. Our first scheduled Port of Call. We had planned to take a hydro-foil to Sorrento but the weather was blustery and the hydro-foils were not operating, so we hired a cab driver/guide with a large enough van to accommodate the six of us and headed to Sorrento via the Almalfi Coast. In spite of the light rain we had a most enjoyable visit. Shopping followed by a great lunch in a restaurant we had discovered on our last visit.
Our next stop was Civitavecchia, Italy for Rome. I had hired a Mercedes van large enough to hold eight of us for a private day tour of Rome. It turned out to be the best trip to Rome we have ever had. Truly the way to go. Cost was about $100 per couple. Compared to the $125 per person for a ship provided bus it was a great deal and we had our own private guide and schedule.
Will not bore you with details on all our ports of call, just list them with an idea of what we did.
Cannes, France (We used the tourist "train"}
Barcelona, Spain (Used the "Hop on, Hop off bus)
Ponta Delgada, Azores (Portugal) (Walked around the town)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Weather was near perfect for the remainder of our cruise. We experienced no heavy seas and as far as I know there was no passenger discomfort.
We found the food aboard the Ruby Princess to be the excellent and were never disappointed. Took most of our meals in the dining room with an occasional visit to the International Café in the Piazza.
The Piazza is the "hub" of this beautiful ship. With coffee and wine bars as well as the International Café. Lots of entertainment in this area throughout the days and evenings. Loved the afternoon cookies and milk served to your table or seat.
The three production shows in the Princess Theater were among the best we have ever seen. They just kept getting better and better.
Our fellow passengers included some very experienced travelers, with over 300 Elite members aboard. To become an Elite member you must have sailed fifteen cruises with Princess.
The Ruby Princess is now one of our favorite ships and we would rate this transatlantic cruise as "near perfect." No real problems of any kind. Every staff person we encountered was great. I think most everyone will love this ship. We celebrated Roe's birthday and our Anniversary while on board with a dinner at the Crown Grill. Had a lovely time, but cannot say we were very impressed with the food.
The disembarkation was somewhat of a hassle. We sat in the Club Fusion until 10:30 AM waiting for our group to be called. Long, slow lines through Emigration were blamed for the slow process. Finally just decided we were getting off and did without waiting for our "color" to be called. Grabbed a bus to the airport rental car area and picked up a car for the day. Flew back to Las Vegas late in the day.