Venice, Italy, May 6, 2006

  No alarm this morning; & it felt nice.  We were starting our approach into Venice about 8 am.

We turned on the TV & watched through the bridge cam & listened as Marion (the guest lecturer) did commentary (remember, this is her 2nd home).  We went to the D.R. for an actual "sit down & be served" breakfast for a change.  It was nearly empty w/ everyone up top watching the passing scenery.  Had a good breakfast, nothing extra special.

I had a 10:30 "Balinese Bliss" massage.  And what is that, you ask?  Well, it started w/ a foot massage; & then a body brushing.  Then a hot oil massage.  It was truly relaxingly blissful.  That hunk, Luis, has magic hands & the softest, sexiest voice.  Makes you melt like "butta" (hehe).  While I was there, Katie started packing.  She'd made a big deal last night when I said it would take me at least an hour or 2 to pack.  Well, it took her more than 2.  Having to pack a separate suitcase for the rest of our hotel stay in Venice; then one w/ dirty clothes & things we won't need again.  We've bought some weighty, bulky things which would only fit in her big suitcase.  And since her case was at the weight limit flying over here; we have to guess & redistribute stuff into my suitcase.  In other words, it was a challenge having to pack & repack most of our stuff.

Less than 3½ hrs. after having breakfast, we're back upstairs for the lunch buffet.  Today was a gloriously sunny, warm day (probably low 70's); so we ate at a table outside aft.  We both had a delicious corn chowder.  Katie had a plate w/ beet salad, bean & carrot salads & pasta vegetable salad.  Then she had Moroccan chicken, tea, blueberry cobbler & a double macaroon filled w/ coconut & hazlenut cream.  She said they were delicious.  I had my final dose of blue cheese dressing, a few BBQ ribs & had the pasta station create one last serving of my "signature" pasta.  I will really miss that too.  I had more than I could eat; so Katie had some pasta post dessert.

After lunch we went out by the pool (which was deserted) to make a phone call to our friends Alex & Sue in England (the friends we made 3 yrs. ago on the Med. cruise).  Sue was out shopping; but we got to talk to Alex.  I think Katie really wanted to go into Venice.  But I hadn't even begun to pack; & I knew it would take hours & didn't want to be doing it at midnight.  There was some paperwork to be filled out; & we still had to retrieve our passports from Reception.  This ended up taking the rest of the afternoon.

With the room cluttered w/ clothes & suitcases, we got dressed for dinner.  Katie went up to the Horizon's Lounge & had a drink while I worked on our travel report.  We were able to get Jose & Mihaela's table again tonight.  The D.R. was unusually quiet.  I lot of people must be eating ashore tonight.  Some are probably flying straight home after disembarkation in the morning & wanted to make the most of their one night in town.

Anyway, we had another marvelous dinner.  Katie had gnocchi tossed w/ 4 cheese cream sauce & linguini sauteed w/ roasted eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper & tomato as appetizers.  I had a fabulous wild mushroom & honey roasted shallot napoleon in a port wine sauce, as well as lime marinated scallops & salmon ceviche for mine.  Outstanding!  We both had the broccoli & almond soup (another winner).  She had a frisee salad w/ fennel & beet chips w/ orange pistachio dressing; & thought it was too sweet.  I asked for a plain mixed salad so I could have my blue cheese just one more time.  Katie had red snapper "Hawaiian style" steamed in Chinese cabbage leaves & stuffed w/ minced fillet of pork, fried rice & mushroom sauce.  I had the prime rib w/ a side order of that delicious linguini that she had as an appetizer.  We both had this lovely white grapefruit sorbet & cappucino for dessert.  We're both stuffed to the gills.

The Chef was making the rounds in the D.R. again tonight; & we asked him to pay our compliments to his staff who do a fabulous job.  The Maitre d' was nice enough to give me a huge envelope filled w/ all the menus during the cruise.  I still can't believe I didn't wag my camera into the D.R. once to take pictures of these gorgeous dishes.  It was a fabulous dining experience for us.  We now must go back & finish our packing; & get our bags out in the hall by 10:30.  I've heard there are some w/ early flights that will be disembarking as early as 3:30 in the morning.  Fortunately, we'll be in the last group to disembark.  It's always sad saying goodbye to the staff & crew that we've become so attached to.  But, it's on to our next adventure....exploring Venice.

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