different portions of an operation. I will confirm that you do absolutely not want the Italians to be responsible for organizational details. Part of the package included with our “suite” (more on that later) are three shore excursions – all of which are stacked in the first few days of the cruise. Today we are in Sicily,  specifically Messina. I am mentioning the tours because the first one is today.  It is not that an Italian line can not coordinate anything, it is that they seem to enjoy presenting the details as complete and utter chaos.

The example to which I will point is ship’s tours. Our meeting time in the theater was 1100. The meeting times for the tours after ranged from 1115 to 1200 staggered in 15 minute intervals. The theater is nowhere large enough to seat everyone – trust me on that. Now, I am fine with announcements in five languages and understand completely that, even with clear language indicators and arrows in 400 point fonts on the screen some people are just going to get in the wrong line and blame the ship.

The ship has no control over port authorities and this is the first time this ship has docked anywhere. Are they going to clear the ship from outside after a cursory look at the papers? Not in this life time. Obviously every port agent and inspector wants to come aboard. The result was that the ship wasn’t cleared till 1145. There was a lot of grumbling made worse by the hike down four flights of stairs followed by a scrum at the exit. Never the less, I was off the ship by 1201.

Please note that the original ship’s clearance was listed as 1200. So there we have the appearance of complete and total chaos made worse by pushing and shoving to leave when we were actually on time…

I boarded the bus and hunkered down in the back. Given that the bus was packed – who did I get as a seat mate but the drunk Aussie (sorry my friends from downunder, but this guy was late 30s and couldn’t have done a better job of portraying the stereotype if someone had hired him to play the role).

Full – the bus pulled out with the usual unintelligible babble over the mike which at least didn’t squeal. After driving for 20 minutes we got out at the first church for a 40 minute stop. Ok. I wandered around the square for 5 and was bored. Looking up, I spotted the ship not two blocks away.

At that point I decided that heading back rather than getting on the bus was in my best interest given that I have been here before and really only wanted to see what was on offer.

I had a lovely visit with the staff in my favorite coffee bar and a relaxing time for the rest of the day.  Still a bit time zone whacked so that relaxing really helps.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Holly

fiber person - knitter, spinner, weaver who spent 33 years being a military officer to fund the above. And home. And family. Sewing and quilting projects are also in the stash. After living again in Heidelberg after retiring (finally) from the U.S. Army May 2011, we moved to the US ~ Dec 2015. Something about being over 65 and access to health care. It also might have had to do with finding a buyer for our house. Allegedly this will provide me a home base in the same country as our four adult children, all of whom I adore, so that I can drive them totally insane. Considerations of time to knit down the stash…(right, and if you believe that…) and spin and .... There is now actually enough time to do a bit of consulting, editing. Even more amazing - we have only one household again. As long as everyone understands that I still, 40 years into our marriage, don't do kitchens or bathrooms. For that matter, not being a golden retriever, I don't do slippers or newspapers either. I don’t miss either the military or full-time clinical practice. Limiting my public health/travel med/consulting and lecturing to “when I feel like it” has let me happily spend my pension cruising, stash enhancing (oops), arguing with the DH about where we are going to travel next and book buying. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.