As we woke up, on this lovely bright morning, there was a little bit of sadness that everyone shared. Well, it was the last day of our cruise! We had become so used to the schedule of sailing every night and getting up breathing the air of a fresh new country, the pampering, the food, the thought of it all ending was going to be a rude awakening!

Our ship docked in port of Palermo

Our shipped docked in Palermo at 8:00 am. After our breakfast in’ Ville da verde’, we headed out to explore Palermo. Palermo is the capital city of Sicily. It is famous for its production of citrus fruits.

Horse drawn carts

Like everywhere else in Europe, there are several options for touring around the city. Besides the taxis and trains, we were amazed to see a line of horse drawn carts parked outside the terminal. We wisely negotiated a price with one of the cab drivers there and hired him for the rest of the day. He had a nice, spacious minivan. He was very informative and proved to be a great tour guide. Our first stop was Mount Pellegrino.

Mount Pellegrino

Mt. Pellegrino: Hard to miss these mountains, this was one of the the first things we noticed! It is also believed to be called as the ‘Pilgrims Mountain’. It offers the most panoramic views of Palermo and the Mediterranean sea. More importantly, it is famous for the Sanctuary of Saint Rosaile.

Inside the sanctuary of Saint Rosaile

Sanctuary of Saint Rosaile: According to legends, St. Rosaile was a noble woman in the 12th century, who had abandoned the luxuries of her privileged life and moved to an unknown cave to dedicate her life to worship God. Not much was known of her.

Saint Rosaile

In the 17th century, she appeared in ‘spirit form’ to several people in Palermo. The city at that time was hit hard by Plague and it is believed she in her ‘spirit form’ asked people to bring her bones from this cave in Mount Pelligrino, that would cure the people of the city from this wrath. Ever since, people believe in this Saint. They come with ailments and hope to see recovery soon.

View of Palermo from Mount Pellegrino

After spending time there, we took pictures and looked around a few shops of pottery outside the Sanctuary. We then took a drive down the mountains to a very charming beach town of Mondello.

Mondello from Mount Pellegrino

Mondello: It is a town next to Palermo situated between Monte Gallo and Mount Pellegrino. The beach with white sand and crystal clear shallow water is extremely beautiful.

Crystal clear waters in Mondello

The town is indeed picturesque. It has little shops, motels, spas, coffee and gelato shops all along the streets. Although very pretty, I would still call it very humble. There were lots of street vendors selling different kinds of stuff ranging from fake jewelry, shoes , bags and caps to magnets for a very cheap price.

Strolling in Mondello
Monreale Cathedral: It is one of the finest cathedrals in Italy. It is of Arab-Norman design. It is indeed amazing to see Greek-Roman, Norman and Arabic influences all blended together into the architecture of this spectacular monument.

Monreale Cathedrale

Very popular for the usage of gold and silver, the impressive glass mosaics and woodwork, the cathedral is a must-see!

The Teatro Massimo

The Teatro Massimo: It is a very popular opera house in Palermo. It is supposed to be the largest in Italy and third largest in all of Europe. We were told that the last scene of the movie, ‘Godfather- III’ was shot here.

Fontana Pretoria

Fontana Pretoria: This magnificent fountain is surrounded by 2 churches on both sides. Although impressive, it was adorned with nude statues. There was a lot of noise about it and subsequently it was called ‘Fontana della Vergogna’ or the ‘Fountain of Shame’.

Fontana Pretoria

Once we got back to the ship, we decided to pack up although we were not going to disembark until the following day. We wanted to enjoy our last night so we did everything that was planned for that night. We hit the Royal Palm Casino that night and having no luck there, we headed to try our luck with  Bingo. Tonight the Super Jackpot prize (within the first 40 numbers called) was 25,000 Euros!

Zain with two of the most amazing performers of the entertainment crew

The entertainment of the night was being held at ‘The Strand Theater’. After the show, we got a chance to meet with the artists who had been working hard and keeping us entertained every night of the cruise.

More artists of the MSC Splendida

For everyone who hadn’t had the opportunity to shop in the ship….there was this last chance! Lots of vendors had marked down the prices of their products and the shops were offering great deals. Tanvir was nice his mom and me and bought us some nice Italian glass ‘Murano jewelry’.

Shopping in the ship!

We had dinner at LaReggae that night. The waiters put up a great show to bid us goodbye. They paraded with lit up ‘Baked Alaska’,which was also a special dessert to be served that night.

The extremely helpful and friendly waitstaff of MSC Splendida

Baked Alaska

It was an emotional night and also happened to be our 17th Anniversary. We had requested Indian food for our main course and much to our delight we were served some amazing Biryani and Chicken Tikka.

Biryani and chicken tikka

After dinner we strolled around the ship, identifying the few things and areas which we had still not enjoyed. Although, seven nights sure sounds a lot, it goes by really fast. We came back to our room and put our labeled suitcases outside our cabins. It was later picked up by the staff.

On the crystal staircase in the main Atrium of the ship

Next morning, we had our last meal in ‘Villa de Verde’ and soon left the ship.The blissful and pampered vacation finally came to end. Thankfully, we still had two days to spend in Rome, followed by two more days in Frankfurt! We were really grateful to God to bring us back healthy and safe.