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Hoopster95

SERENADE Sept 17-28,2014 REVIEW w/lots of photos

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As a kid I traveled througout Italy from Turin down to Rome, across to San Marino and back up to Venice area for approx 3 months. I did much of the same again as a young adult with my dad a few years later. Cruising has only taken me through Livorno/Civitavecchia/Messina in the past. I have never seen Capri/Naples/Pompeii/Amalfi so this was definitely a bucket list port of call for me to get a glimpse of what I've missed.

 

I did not stay up and party the night before, especially with the huge day in Rome I had and the long travel day before kicking in a bit. Bed early, and set the alarm for 6am to see if I can get a glimpse of the Amalfi Coast as the Serenade cruised by on it's way to our 7am Salerno arrival time.

 

I was not disappointed! Was it worth getting up early? 100%!!! Taking pictures in the twilight do not do the view justice (especially with am unprofessional hand held in the twilight, very difficult to get decent shots)

 

As I went through the door on deck 12 to the railing, this is what I saw... we were just sailing by the town of Amalfi

 

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We were to expect gorgeous 75-85 degree weather throughout the trip, this morning was proving to be no exception for the start of an awesome day

 

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And here we are sailing through the breakwater into the port of Salerno

 

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A group on our CC roll call booked a private excursion (AP Tours) which included a drive up the coast visiting Positano & Sorrrento, and then seeing Pompeii for a couple of hours (Thx for settng this up Keri!!). Because our ship arrived so early, they recommended we drive the coast first else the traffic issues that can happen in the afternoons could prevent us from returning to the ship on time. The guide was super easy to find right on the oier and the 9 of us were all there within minutes of each other to meet up. Off we went!

 

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We had a driver named Paolo. I thought we'd be in trouble.... think "Kojak" look alike with the lowest most boring bass monotone voice ever! He turned out to have a great sense of humor and was a really good guide. And more importantly a superb driver. Every time we were within a hair of crashing or sideswiping another vehicle he would say "Close your eyes... I'll close mine!" lol. Much of the entertainment that morning was watching the driving and being amazed at how these drivers, and especially the larger buses, actually get through these streets without hitting anything whatsoever.

 

Here we quickly stopped at a vantage point looking back at Salerno. If you were to blow up this pic, you can see the Serenade at the port

 

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Onward we go.... we made a quick photo stop before driving through the beach/resort town of Maiori. Plenty of hotels & restaurants on the main strip below for the vacationers who wish to have beach time with super easy access (bus/taxi) to visit the Amalfi Coast towns that we will be seeing next.

 

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Driving through you see plenty of these in the hillsides... olive trees. If you were to blow up this picture you can see how they harvest by shaking the trees and the olives drop down onto the nets that are everywhere below. Paolo explained to us that certain orchards hand pick their olives which is extremely important to the taste and quality of the olive and olive oil itself. And more expensive.

 

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Another shot from the front seat of Paolo's minivan, a typical hillside village as we make our way to Amalfi. You can get a feel for the road width and how larger traffic could be an issue side by side. We go through the tunnel up ahead. Also note the mirror to allow traffic to see each other in blind corners.... these are everywhere

 

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And finally we make it to Amalfi! Here we had about 35-40min to walk around and explore. It's a beautiful little town and I regretted later not buying any of the Limoncello there as they had some very unique and cool bottles that I could not find later in the trip. So thee;s a hint... if you wish to bring Limoncello home buy it somewhere on the Amalfi Coast

 

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I walked up from the main square to the church for a visit. Continuing up the street from the church is the main road within the town... yup this is it! No sidewalks and traffic you need to be aware of as you stroll. Plenty of stores and cafe's. I walked a good 3 blocks or so to chk things out and it became more residential as you got away from the beach area and main square below where we were dropped off. I took this shot looking back before making my way back down.

 

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Back to the secondary piazza at the church.

 

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And some iconic view shots of the town

 

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It was our time to meet Paolo and get going again.... onward to Positano! I was really stoked about this. We stopped at this viewpoint heading away from Amalfi to take a picture of the view looking back at Amalfi

 

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And from the same viewpoint just up ahead is Positano waiting for us

 

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I was really looking forward to Positano. Paolo dropped us off very high up on he hillsides as there is no possible way for cars to travel any lower. The roads are extremely thin and one way, so off the main "highway" he turned in and made his way to the larger parking area for buses and cars. Considering the complexity of the amount of tourists and vehicles, Positano was set up pretty well. Note that now there's a good 10min extremely brisk walk down to the beach for iconic photos through extremely thin walkways, storefronts and crowds. If you are not mobile you need much much more time. I you are handicapped in any way unfortunately I don't think there is any way for you to visit this city unless you come in by boat and enjoy only the waterfront area. Here's the beginning of my gorgeous walk down

 

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And once you get all the way down (which includes prob at least 500 steps and slanted cobblestone and uneven pavement) you get here

 

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We only had about an hour here to enjoy so I figured it was about time to get all the way back up the hill and hopefully remember the paths I took without getting lost! But first, a couple of parting iconic photos

 

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This is very typical of the "streets" you have to navigate on your way down and up. I should have taken this shot with more people walking in both directions.

 

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On the way back up I remembered a side set of stairs that take you to another street. Time was super short, but I decided to make a run up the stairs and very quickly walk up the street a bit to see if I can get some upper view shots of Positano. I was rewarded... from here you can see the beach and promenade area below where I had taken photos

 

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All of us got back to Paolo within about 2 minutes of each other.... another HUGE plus to private tours is that you are not waiting for 50 other people and ultimately "that" same couple who are always 10min late coming back to the bus because they are entitles to screw up the other 48 people's vacation. Our little group was absolutely perfect.

 

And off we go ... Sorrento just ahead in the distance.

 

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Sorrento was a bit of a disappointment.... not because of the city but because of our time. Not knowing what had gone on, one of our group who had now been sitting up front with the driver had arranged for a sit down lunch meal in a local restaurant without asking anyone else. When the driver told us he had arranged a sit down lunch I was a little confused as lunch was never part of the tour plan, but I went ahead with it and discussing with the others at the back of the van it was ok. In retrospect, I would have rather eaten on the fly and viewed more of the city. The restaurant did an incredible job of feeding us lunch in only about 35-40min. And we needed a little down time and to eat, My pizza was awesome! We had a nice lunch speaking with each other. But now we only had 20min to look around. We really needed more time here. The city is much larger than Positano. I only was able to walk around the main square areas where we had lunch and never got down to the port and promenade along the ocean. This will be a good excuse to back to Sorrento someday!

 

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Sorrento was my favorite! I definitely needed more time there and it is on my list to go back and stay a couple of days.

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Our timing for our taste of Amalfi has been perfect so far. Paolo has done a great job so far, and now we were off to Pompeii. We had a guide waiting for us as we arrived which we needed for our 2 hour stay... we could've roamed around on our own without knowing what we were looking at or why, so I am really happy with this decision. Little things like how the stores worked, front doors, the houses that were connected, the various etchings on the street or walls, and specifically the streets to walk down in order to find the coolest things to look at.... no way we would've found the little brothel on our own for example (pictures to come). Pompeii is WAAAAY bigger than I thought.... acres and acres, with about 20% I think still buried and unescavated. Also note that Pompeii was once right on the ocean! It was a port, now it's far inland.

 

As we entered the site and made our way up the main hill, we were explained various homes, how each home owner had a store, and other tidbits. We finally arrived to the main hub of Pompeii commerce

 

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And below is a close-up of Vesuvius in the distance.... Note the crater when it blew up is the entire distance from the peak on the left to the peak on the right! They estimate the actual mountain top to likely be higher than this picture when the full mountain was intact

 

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Look closely.... this is a penis in the sidewalk! It points into one of the brothel. In Pompeii days, with the numerous cultures that were coming into and out of then port with different languages, this was their way to communicate to sailors that this was a brothel house

 

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Inside another brothel where they have preserved many images on the wall. Supposedly these are all pictures depicting various positions, and thus the amount you needed to pay in each specific room!

 

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The guide came across this pipe which should really be buried and preserved at it is original lead pipe of the day! She felt the wind/storm has blown the sand sand/dirt away the last couple of years and exposed it. Obviously the grounds crew have kept this exposed as a tourist attraction to show us what this looked like.

 

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The artifacts areas are gated and locked. These following photos I put put arm through the steel bars so that I can have an unobstructed photo. All these photos I'm posting do not do justice to actually standing there in person. It's amazing to think these people were truly alive and there I am in person staring at them rather than in a text book or on the internet.... how surreal. What could they have possibly been thinking at that final moment?

 

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When anyone thinks of Pompeii, many immediately think of this image... and I'm standing right there live in person.... incredible!

 

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And with that, we made our way down through the exits with more narration from the guide. This guide was excellent.... and Paolo was waiting for us. It was time to take us back to the Serenade. We returned to the ship with about 45 minutes to go before final boarding call.

 

I give AP Tours a 10/10. The planning and timing was 100% spot on. Paolo was funny and a really good guy. I would recommend this company to anyone. So back onto the ship we go to prepare for sailaway.

 

I headed to my room to change and get ready for sailaway. As mentioned in previous pages, the privacy in my OV room is almost zero, so I wished to share with you my albeit interesting view that afternoon

 

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Obviously in this room the curtains shouldn't be left open if you're showering or changing! And now we're ready to sailway.

 

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I hope you're enjoying my journey so far. If you have any questions by all means fire a post and I'll do my best. I'm finding it surreal to think about what I've seen the last 3 days in Rome & Amalfi, and I still have so many bucket list places to see still.... we've just started this journey! Tomorrow we sail through the Messina Strait and dock in thy city of Messina in Sicily. Until then CC family, stay tuned....

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I see that the number of hits this review has really slowed, I suspect info and pics of the ship are as important of not more so than the ports of call, which are much rarer for many of us I suspect. Trust me... some of the images and excursions coming up in the days to come on this review I think you'll really enjoy some of the incredible photos and scenery :D

 

I've photo'd all the compasses and other info, but I personally find them useless as cruise directors change as does most everything about ships, etc over time. If any of you would like to see a compass or port "Destination Guide" that was an insert to each compass on port day, Please let me know. Here's a sample of Salerno.

 

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These Destination Guides are present for all ports on all voyages, as well as in the Caribbean for example.

 

And here is the info of the head officers on board. This was Mercedes final voyage prior to her vacation as I saw Katrina Blair walking around a couple of times in civi clothing, so I am certain the Blairs took over Sept 29 and will be sailing the Serenade back to NOLA for it's final stint there this winter.

 

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Compared to the Vision & Navigator, the officers on board here somewhat regressed to what I had previously noted prior to 2013... and that is they were not as visible very often. Having said that, with 10 port days out of 12 most passengers were obviously not on the ship anyways, so perhaps their preparation and work did not allow them to be as visible. Would've been nice to see them out and about more on sea days for example.

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I met totally awesome people on board! I can easily name at least 20 people who were mainstays of my daily routine whom I made friendships with, and especially 5 who I felt very close with. This was just a great cruise for the people on board, I can't say enough about that. Surprisingly there were 450 Canadians on board with quite a few from the Vancouver area. There were 500 Americans on board.

 

I was seated at a table of 10 at the MDR. 1st night I arrived at my table to meet 3 couples already seated: E&C, T&L and J&D. All older than me but that never stopped me. These people were great and interested to talk and have fun right away, so I knew I would be alright. The 3 seats beside me stayed empty for quite a while until S&H showed up! This mom & daughter team became one of my close 5 :D.....

 

Interesting story. The table S&H were supposed to be seated at was full! They had walked around trying to find their table number looking for 2 empty seats. Obviously until they realized two people were sitting in their seats, they were basically lost. Turns out the other two people had friends on the other table, and thus told them to sit there and see what happens. S&D didn't care so asked to be assigned to another table.... and came to us! Good thing.... not only were they awesome people and suited our table perfectly, the other table ended up all getting sick as there was a Noro scare later in the cruise. The 6 people at that other specific table all got sick. I'll chime in on this topic again later in the review.

 

Nightlife was hit & miss on this ship, but because of the closeness of the friendships and most people we met, it wasn't a problem at all. Embarkation night was the most quietest with the ship being dead very very early (jetlag, early morning in Salerno next day, etc). This was also the case when I travelled on the Constellation in Istanbul a few years ago... that first night there's minimal going on.

 

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I had met up with S&D from my MDR table in the Centrum where they were sitting with yet another mother & daughter team who they'd met and introduced me to: R&C, whom I also considered great friends by trip's end. The "Latin Vibes Trio" band from the Navigator were playing in the Centrum... they immediately recognized me as I spent lots of time at Boleros on Navigator this past May and spoke to the guitarist a couple of times. Great band, and I got to dance salsa with R who oozes Latino and is a great dancer so all was very good. The band had break time and it was time for the show, so off we went. There was only 1 show, but it turned out to be very good with the "Duo Bolshakov" acrobatic team

 

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After that Karaoke started but there were hardly any participants (if I could even come close to singing I would've gotten up as I'm not shy, but I am beyond bad) and some of the live music around the ship. Basically Karaoke was a flop and there was nothing else at all scheduled. I too went to bed early for 6am wake-up for Salerno.

 

However Night 2 was much better as next day Messina sail-in was 10am.

 

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The show was not overly good as the juggler/comedian struggled with the crowd unfortunately, but interestingly enough people who saw the late show said he was funny.... good on him if he turned it around for show 2. The standard Schooner Bar trivia was at 8pm, majority Rules game show, etc including all the live music venues were available. and the Vortex Nightclub was open. Vortex was not busy at all, but the few of us danced to the early morning hours and had a great time that night. Later nights more people discovered the fun we were having and ended up being quite full on many nights nearer to the end of the cruise.

 

Also that evening I met and spent time with 3rd mom & daughter team: T&R from Brazil. What's interesting is that I met these two at the bus stop in Civitavecchia when figuring out how to get to the ship, and here they were having met the other mother/daughter teams already... go figure that they gravitated like that so quickly into the cruise. Speaking only Portuguese, R did not speak English so was difficult to form a friendship, but I became great friends with T. Add all the great people from the M&M and cruise critic, I was already talking to many on board and hanging out from venue to venue. We all looked pretty good that night as it was 1st formal night. Not too many jeans, polo shirts as for the most part it was dress shirts and dress pants at least, good to see.

 

I was determined to get my first gym work-out in the morning and it was already early morning, so off to bed I went....

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I did get up early after a late night and went to the gym, had a good run on the deck 12 jogging track, and made my way to the CL for my morning double shot Macchiato. As per every morning on the trip, I would chat up with the CL Mario a bit (great guy). As I got up to back deck 12 for me regular morning Windjammer breakfast looking out at the view, there was a lot of ship traffic around us. And soon after we were entering the Messina strait and the heads of land marked by the tower on the Sicilian side.

 

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And here is Messina in the distance, taking this shot on deck 12 as I made my up to the front of the ship from my Windjammer aft table for the sail-in to the port area

 

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And finally we are entering the port/pier area right smack dab in the middle of town

 

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Once docked we were cleared very quickly. And off I went to meet up with my other CC roll call friends for another private excursion planned prior to sailing.....

 

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One of our CC members figured out this excursion. We were to bus/minivan to Castemola, a little town perched waaaaaay atop the mountain peaks looking down onto Taormina... Taormina by the way is already way up on the hillside. I had been to Taormina and had no clue this other little spot was up there, so this intrigued me. I was in. So we met up with our driver just on the pier. There were 17 of us, 8 on one minivan and 9 in the other, so plenty of room.

 

Weather was overcast but still warm. Looking out at the sky I thought we may end up with rain and bad weather for our day but it thankfully never hit us. The drive to Castemola was somewhat uneventful, but our guide gave us some info along the way and after about 30-40 minutes we arrived up at the main square of this little quaint town.

 

Here's the first image from the square looking down. From here, Taormina is roughly the same level as the populated area down at the bottom left of this picture, so we're way up there in the clouds!

 

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This is a nice little town to get a short and small feel of small town living in Italy, but you really don't need more than an hour here.... which is exactly what the guide provided us. We walked into the streets, down to the church, back up the stairs to the square, and then he gave us 15-20 minutes on our own. A claim to fame of this little town is the "Bar Turissi", a Taverna full of phalic symbols... phalic tables, phalic door handles, phalic lighting fixtures..... everything! lol. I have a couple of pics but I don't feel like getting band from CC tonight lol! You want pics? Google it ;)

 

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Our free time in Castemola allowed me to quickly climb up into the fort that is there at the main square.

 

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In the pictures below, you would normally be able to clearly see Mt Etna in the distance top center of this picture if there were no clouds. I was blessed to have sunny and beautiful pictures of Etna 3 years ago when I was in Taormina when I sailed Voyager... Etna's even more impressive when photo'd from the Greek amphi-theatre within Taormina but we were not given that luxury on this visit

 

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If you zoom into the picture above, Taormina is pretty much hidden behind the hillside dead center. Notice on that hillside is a large fort, and immediately to the right is another slightly "peak" just below the fort with what look like a cross, and thus a church... it's time to now all gather into the minivan, and this is where our guide is taking us for our next view and picture stop

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And we arrive at this church with great views. For the life of me I can't remember the name of this church, and I tried to google it with no luck. But it's very interesting as it's built more like a fortification within the rock of the mountain. The church was closed, but I was able to take a couple of pictures through it's glass doors... very interesting... note the ceiling

 

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The views below were superb.... again truly a shame we didn't have clearer skies, but a zoom picture of Taormina produced two of my favorite spots within the town: the main square and the amphi-theatre.

 

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Looking back up to Castemola, this picture gives you a really good idea of how high up and how "perched" Castemola itself is... there it is way up there top center.

 

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This was a quick 15min visit and picture taking opportunity, so we all gathered into the minivan for the short ride down to Taormina and our approximate 2 hours of free time

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For those of you not wanting to book a tour company or RCL excursion, 3 years ago, I did Taormina DIY... it's quite simple to walk to the Messina train station, get tickets to the town and train station of Naxos, and then hire a taxi up to the Taormina main gates. On that trip I shared the taxi ride with another couple... the train tickets were something like 6euros 1 way and the taxi was I believe 5euro each person both up and down the mountain. On that visit, I regretted having to walk the entire town from east to west, and then have to make my way all the way back quickly without enjoying my time enough in order to meet the taxi driver on time.

 

Our guide planned this particular day perfectly by dropping us off at the west gate, and after 2 hours picking us up at the east gate so that we can take our time going through the town

 

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From this main gate to the 1st square above is a short leisurely 5 minute walk. You can visit the church and view some of the side streets at ease. Another easy 10 minutes ahead through the streets is the entry through to the main square of the town which I showed you you a zoomed in picture of in my last post from the church high above. For you planners out there, note the clock tower shows 1:30pm... plenty of time when we finally left at about 3:15 to get back to Messina, tour Messina a little bit and get back to the ship with plenty of time.

 

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And finally under the portico you enter into the Piazza IX Aprile, a great place to check out the view and just simply hang out. There's also a couple of cafe's and restaurants close by and/or within the square.

 

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The view I had 3 years ago from here on a glorious clear and sunny day was epic... not so much today unfortunately, but still much nicer than this photo shows. The placard shows you the sites you should be able to see in the distance, including Mt. Etna

 

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The main street through town is beautiful to walk through and this shot is typical of the architecture and vibe as you make you're way through.

 

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Having done a little more research this time around about Taormina, I hadn't realized that this town had a botanical gardens. Not something you want to devote precious time, but I had almost reached the other gate within an hour (had more than an hour to go) so I made my way down to the gardens. They are not clearly marked from the main street above so ask someone if you need, but you need about 4 blocks walk down to get to them. They are nice enough, not my thing, but I think a great place to chill out and relax in peaceful quiet for a while and rest if you need. There is also awesome views of the coastline from the gardens also with full views of Etna (weather permitting)

 

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This little side trip into the gardens only took 15min to go through and check out. I still wanted to chk out the Greek Amphi-theatre again to relive my memories from the last time

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Now I'm getting hungry! Our guide told us about a little cafe that served house made Arancini. I never found it through the entire town so I thought I had missed it.... but lo and behold there it was, the very last cafe place on the right side just before getting to the Greek Theatre main entrance!!! I was all over that, and oh boy was it ever delicious. You have to try one if you're ever there.

 

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The Teatro Greco has, like most other Europe tourist venues, a moderate entrance fee that is well worth it. I would have liked to have sat here for at least 15-20 minutes just to enjoy and appreciate where I was actually sitting! I did not leave myself enough time here this time around... my first trip was at least an hour to really enjoy the view and so forth, especially on a clear day so plan accordingly for your excursion/visit.

 

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In the above photo Etna is pretty much at 1'oclock behind the clouds. And do you remember the hill-top church where I shot the zoom of the Teatro Greco from above? Note the picture below... the church is the closest peak to the left, and Castemola is waaaaay up behind now hidden in the clouds!

 

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With about 15min to spare before meeting time, I made my way out of the amphi-theatre, down the street and towards the west gate where the driver was to meet us.

 

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Checking out the shops, I came across a very fond memory.... one of the best gelato's I had on my previous visit. I made a bee-line into the shop, couldn't resist lol! After all any trip to Italy without gelato would be blasphemy!

 

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After being separated for 2 hours, our entire van of 9 all gathered basically within 2 minutes of each other. Again just pointing out the extreme benefit of a small group of savvy, respectful and knowledgeable travelers with regard to time. We hopped into the minivan and headed back to Messina. The tour was not over yet as part of the package was a short tour of Messina itself.

 

Messina is not a port of call to even come close to comparing to most any other European port, there truly isn't a whole lot there. One should definitely plan an excursion else I feel you will be really disappointed with this stop. While it's not a city to spend an entire day exploring, there were a couple of nice spots to visit, the first being a hillside church that was a shrine to wartime (I believe), now being used as museum and art studio but has a great view down to the port area

 

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The primary claim tom fame is the main square and cathedral of the city. This was a nice visit but really didn't need more than 20-30min. At noon the mechanical clock tower goes into full motion with full display. The clock tower is closed off to the public so no climbing to the top. The cathedral is nice in it's own right, but nothing compared to the incredible interiors provided by the St. Peter's, The Knights of St. Johns in Malta, or St Mark's in Venice. There's various tourist vendors around here as well, and this square is only 3-4 blocks from the ship.

 

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We thought the guide was done with our tour as we were very close to the ship, but he said he had a surprise for us. No joke, at relatively high speed he basically crossed a very busy intersection almost on full red and parked at a 45degree angle at the curb. He quickly jumped out of the van, ran into this shop and left us there at the street saying he had to check something and he was really hoping it would work.... we had no clue what he was talking about or what the hell was going on!!!???

 

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Unbeknownst to any of us, he arranged for us to visit this little bakery. As we entered we were greeted by the owner.... a spry 91 years of age! Part of the tour that none of knew about was a tasting of the local pastries, including the self proclaimed claim to fame of Sicily.... the canoli!

 

First we had a taste of Granita (google it for pics) which is shaved ice with any kind of flavor you wish. I tried lemon. It's also excellent in beer as was tried by my friend John. But the icing on the cake (pun intended!!) was the anticipation of the canoli. I quickly asked if I can follow the owner inside his small shop to take pictures and we were good to go. We all watched this great owner carefully fill the hand-made canoli's for us so that we can enjoy. The rest is history!

 

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Now, is that not the coolest thing ever?!?! That was awesome! So really happy with our day, we gathered into the minivan for our short drive back to the pier. Below is a shot of our guide, Mario, of sicilywithmario.com which him and his brother own and operate.

 

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Just a short note.... the tour organizer, our CC member, errored while negotiating our excursion with a couple of companies by confirming both companies! Instead of getting all 17 of us, Mario and his other driver only got us 9 while the second company also only got half of us. We did not hear any bitching or moaning for the loss of half the business, Mario was awesome for the get-go and provided us a super fun day all around. He received an extremely generous tip from all of us from what I can tell. So full props for this company. I understand from the other 8 that they had a similar tour and to a different bakery, with that company/guide also doing a great job. Props to the Messina tour companies!

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All aboard in Messina was 6:30pm, which is also MDR dinner time! We were on the ship by about 5:45 so I made my way to my room to chill a bit and get changed for dinner without a huge rush.

 

I'll mention now, and I'll mention again on other days, that this MDR food was the best I have had in the past 2 years at least... quite shocking to me after all the talk on CC and the similar experiences by most others. The appetizers were relatively standard but at least a couple of the entries were outstanding on this trip, something I can say I just can't remember from the last couple of ships. I wonder if that's because we're in Europe rather than the US/Caribbean?

 

Tonight was Country & Western night..... in Europe??? Hmmm, ok! lol. It was fun actually. There was centrum line dancing between the two main seating times in MDR and also after the first show. This was the first production show by the RCL singers & dancers and it was quite good. I checked out the Karaoke again (and for the last time) and again it was somewhat of a flop, however there were more singers this time. The funnest part of the night was the glow party up at the Vortex... it was quickly becoming easily a staple of almost every evening to be up at Vortex. There were normally no drunkards, just people having fun and for the most part many late night regulars who wanted to dance and stay up late.

 

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One of my two major bucket-list ports is happening tomorrow, and I was 100% fr sure getting up early to witness sail-in to Valetta, Malta. I was not going to miss it for anything, so after dancing and enjoying the company for a while I said good night to all my friends and headed for bed.

 

Here's a teaser for you for next installment of this incredible itinerary.... Valetta, Malta!!! :D

 

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Enjoying the latest installments of your review. Your bakery experience sounds awesome! I would have been freaked out had my tour guide left me at the curb saying something about he "hopes it works . . ." Lol!

 

As an aside, you mentioned the great food - do you happen to have any photos of the menus and/or know if they change when Serenade comes back to do the Caribbean this winter?

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