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Old July 8th, 2012, 02:32 AM
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Day 11 - Final Port of Call - Messina, Sicily

As I headed up to Lido Deck this morning for coffee, I passed a young lady (in her 20s I’d say) stumbling up the hallway, obviously in the clothing she had been wearing the night before, and looking quite hung-over.

I’d hazard a guess, she did not spend the night in her own cabin. For her sake, I hope she wasn’t booked on a tour today that required a lot of hiking.

Along with some friends, I’d booked a ship’s tour for today; Taormina On Your Own. This tour provided transportation to and from the mountain side resort village of Taormina, with about 4 hrs. time to do whatever we pleased.

It is a lovely town, with some spectacular views to the sea below. The buses drop you at the bottom of the mountain, and you’re required to take an elevator up to the town.


There appeared to be several beautiful hotels in town. But, essentially, it’s a town compromised of a few churches, a Greek Theater, and mostly hundreds of shops, kiosks, and cafes.



We did stumble into a little cafe for lunch, and were rewarded with OUTSTANDING pizza. Also test drove the Canolli from another cafe.



It’s very scenic, but a lot like being in a shopping mall built into some almost ancient buildings. Aside from a ton of Italian souvenir and jewelry shops, most of the top recognizable clothing brands are also represented.


Still, it was a very enjoyable day. I got a purse for Mrs. Kuki. Good trade I thought! (OK, that is a very old joke). But, I did purchase a purse for her, and a beautiful Italian table cloth for my mother.

I’m not coming home empty handed dear!

Upon returning to the ship, we found hundreds of passengers, standing in line, in the heat, waiting to pass through Italian security control to get back into the pier area, by the ship. It was quite a mess, as the crowd was funneled through a single door into the building, to pass through security.

A group of us have been meeting nightly on the Lanai by Ocean Plaza, for drinks and conversation, prior to going to dinner in the Sapphire Dining Room, for “As You Wish” dining.

At about 6:15 John Heald came over the PA system, with the sold purpose of advertising the spa specials, specials available in the shop, and mentioning how spectacular the deals were.

I understand some announcements are necessary. But the blatant advertising announcements are too numerous, and eventually do come over as disingenuous.

BTW… the results of our switching to As You Wish Dining, from the traditional assigned dining time - where we’d found our service lacking - has been nothing but positive.

And tonight at dinner we truly struck gold, getting a table with Magdalena, in the center of the Sapphire Room, on the lower level, on deck 3.

She may be the best dining room server I have ever encountered and enjoyed, including those on the luxury lines. She really should be training the rest of the dining room servers on how the job is done properly.

The first thing she did was go around the table, asking (and writing down) everyone’s name. Then, throughout the meal service, she addressed everyone by name.

She made the time for some friendly banter, made some recommendations on the dinner selection, and provided almost an almost perfect dinner service.
It’s only a shame we didn’t find her until now. But, we’ll be certain to ask for one of her tables again, for our last dinner, even if we do have to wait for a spot to become available in her section.

Since the switch to As You Wish Dining we’ve never had to wait for a table. We’ve arrived at several different times, and have been seated immediately.
 
Last night there was a woman banging on my cabin door until about 4 in the morning. I finally got up and let her out. (Ok another OLD joke ).
 
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Kuki
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Last edited by Kuki; July 8th, 2012 at 05:10 AM.
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