One of the many benefits of cruising with Crystal is the attention to detail.
When one has disembarked a luxe vessel like Crystal Serenity, the last thing you want to consider is battling with taxis, public transport or walking long
distances in the heat to reach the centre of the city you’re visiting.
Maybe it’s just me, but transferring from the ship’s tender to a waiting, air conditioned shuttle bus at Giardini Naxos that transports us up the winding roads to Porta Catania, is
a much nicer option than having to navigate the area myself.
And so we had arrived at the Sicilian gem of Taormina so many travellers before me had raved about.
“Get lost in
Taormina,” I was told.
“Whatever you do, eat the cannoli!”
The advice rang in my ears as we headed down the traffic-free Corso Umberto attempting to mimic the seemingly effortless strut that the locals have perfected.
Designer everything adorned the stylish women chattering in melodic Italian into their mobile phones whilst popping into shops and, given their physique, more than likely avoiding the cannoli I was looking forward to diving into!
Before dessert though, pasta beckoned and Elysia and I decided upon the small family run
establishment, La Trattoria, that would allow us the opportunity to people watch to our heart’s content before “getting lost” in the charming town.
The prices in Taormina reflect the designer apparel we
witnessed the locals wearing, so window shopping was the name of the game as we strolled down the quaint alleyways passing cafe after cafe filled with people after their coffee fix.
Glimpses of the Ionian Sea called
for many a photo opportunity before I sunk my teeth into that much awaited cannoli.
Crumbling sugared pastry makes way for the smooth custard filling and I quickly decide to order another – all for research of course!
Stopping by a roadside stall to purchase a Chanel-style handbag for the bargained down price of €10, we head back to the ship to enjoy afternoon aperitifs in our Penthouse Suite before the most special sailaway I have ever experienced.
Positioned on the bridge with the captain and senior officers I relish the sound of the horn signalling our departure before the strains of Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful World” fills the ship in Crystal tradition.
As if on cue, dolphins bound out of the water swimming alongside the bow and performing their mesmerising acrobatics for us all to enjoy.
Crystal really knows how to turn on the charm!
Nobu’s Silk Road is our dinner destination for the evening and, having already sampled the very popular Sushi Bar several times since boarding, we are prepared for some of the best Japanese we have ever experienced.
Perhaps pasta wasn’t the best idea at lunch but there was no rush – this is what cruising is all about!
We delve into the menu and, unable to settle on one choice, I order the Matsuhisa shrimp served with Sevruga Caviar, shiitake mushrooms and yuzu juice and the lobster spring rolls filled with lobster chunks, shiitake mushrooms and shiso leaves.
My vegetarian cruising buddy decides on the broiled eggplant topped with a Nobu-style saikyo miso sauce and relishes the amount of options available to her in what was quickly becoming my favourite restaurant of all time aboard a cruise ship.
My taste buds were in heaven as this fresh and fabulous fare was placed in front of me and there were still mains and dessert to go!
Wanting to sample as many things on the menu as possible, I order the Nobo Box, offering a Bento Box-style serving of Silk Road’s most popular dishes.
Cocktails and Japanese equals heaven for Elysia and I and we share the trio of crème brûlées and chocolate soufflé cake before rolling out of the restaurant and into the Galaxy Lounge to revel in the talent of West End sensation Jacqui Scott.
Jacqui’s bio included major parts in Miss Saigon, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables along with the leading role of Eva Peron in Evita.
Singing such hits as “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” and putting together a toe tapping Beatles medley, Jacqui captured the audience who offered repeated standing ovations for her breathtaking performance.
Voices hoarse from singing , we retire to our heavenly beds to dream of cannoli and our relaxing day ahead at sea en route to Bodrum.
Originally written by Natalie Aroyan for e-Travel Blackboard