Arrived at Al Vivit, a lovely little converted mansion on the Piazza in Mestre. We asked a woman when we got off the bus for directions, she could not understand us and we could not understand her but she pointed the way to walk and off we went. We came to a fork in the road and asked another couple who very kindly beckoned us to follow them until we could see the name of the hotel in the Piazza. It was about a 5 minute walk from the bus stop.
The hotel staff were so kind and helpful. We neglected to ask if there was a lift and found ourselves starting for the second floor with 4 bags. The woman at the desk was quite adamant about us not carrying the bags. She carried all the bags up 3 flights of steps. The day we were checking out, there were 38 of us going the ship. We opened our bedroom doors and found the hotel had brought in extra help to carry all our bags down to the lobby. The breakfast staff were very friendly and we were also able to buy bus and vapparetto tickets at the front desk.
There were cafes in the Piazza for drinks and coffee and watching the locals push their bambinos in their carriages with their dogs. It was lovely.
Our embarkation was very smooth thanks to Annette and Lou who booked the bus from the hotel to the port.
Can't say the same for disembarkation. Sharon, Future Cruise Director barked at us all morning without a mike. When my husband asked her to use a microphone she yelled "who said that, stand up so I can see you". My husband walked up to her and asked her to use the mike as we could not hear her instructions. She stated she was talking to the wheel chair people on the other side of the lounge and we did not need to hear what she was saying.
We left our cabin at 8:00AM after the room steward banged on the door. We sat in the lounge from 8:00AM until 11:00AM before disembarking.
When we made it to the van we were soaking wet. The first thing the driver wanted to know was where did we want to eat lunch. As we had no idea. he recommended a "lovely family restaurant" on the Amalfi Coast. Our mistake. But first, the guide was a driver not a guide. He did not point us towards any sites when we stopped, just dropped us off and said be back here in 1 hour. We made the best of it in the rain. During our drive we were treated to the love life of our driver "Enzo" (Vincenzo). He had been living with Suzy for a year, she wanted to have a baby, Enzo did not love her so he did not want a baby with her. He still loved his previous girlfriend who he broke up with because she was too controlling. This guy talked and talked about his dilemma. It was funny in the beginning but after hours and hours of this he became very annoying.
Getting back to our "lovely family restaurant", Al Pesce D'Oro on the Amalfi Coast we entered the restaurant and were told we would be served family style. We were seated at a table for 8. One bottle of white wine was placed on the table along with some olives, cheese and tomato. We were served a pasta dish with a few pieces of seafood in it. We were anxious to get back on the road. We asked for the bill, the owner insisted we still had another course coming. When it arrived it was fried fish with bones. Only 2 or 3 people even tried it. We again asked for the bill. We had no coffee or desert. When my husband looked at the bill he thought he was reading it wrong. He asked another one of our group to look at it to confirm. We were charged 440 Euros for this "lovely family restaurant" meal. We were shocked. We learned our lesson, don't ever go anywhere without asking the price first. I have notified Bob's Limousines about our experience but have not had a reply from him to date. I believe the driver got a kick back from the restaurant owner due to our lack of diligence.
We were very relieved to arrive back at the port to board our ship.
Sail away was on the 15th deck where we met many of our fellow Cruise Critic members we had been talking to prior to the trip.