TRAVEL THERE: RUBBING ELBOWS WITH A BIG WIG
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO of Celebrity Cruises, is not the reason I went on the Wine Tasting/Prince’s Palace Shore Excursion, but she certainly made it a special event for us, because she is a very, very nice lady. She’s also a great hostess.
Hostess with the Mostest
This picture may not look like much of anything to you, but in it we are getting the star treatment. We’re up on the mezzanine and the waiters are bringing us refills and snacks. That’s not happening on the main floor. You see we’re on the mezzanine with the Lutoff-Perlo family!
As we entered the Wine Palace, a very nice blonde lady, who matched the picture we’d seen on a brochure, was greeting everyone, but we sort of dodged the receiving line. As I said, we weren’t there to rub elbows with the CEO. We were there for the yacht club and the palace.
Before long however, the nice blonde lady made her way over to us. She wanted to meet the couple who had the vow renewal! How did she know we were the couple who had the vow renewal? Well, come to find out, she had been in the salon herself, while us girls were in there having such a good time. The salon was a fairly small space, so she would have had a hard time missing us.
She was, as the CEO, very interested in how our ceremony went, if we’d liked the salon services and such. I raved about the team in Florida, the folks in the salon and Eddie, the cruise director. I did not mention my meltdown on the first night, because I didn’t know whether the problem had been caused at the Florida end or the Edge end and I didn’t want to be one of those passengers who is best known for their complaints!
The Egypt Connection
But the lovely Ms. Lutoff-Perlo, who asked us to call her Lisa, was interested in more than our opinions of the crew. She wanted to hear a little more about our marriage journey and that’s when she found out Bill is Egyptian. Come to find out, her husband, Andre, was also born in Cairo. Lisa immediately went to find him and brought him over.
Bill and Andre hit it off immediately. They started comparing notes about where they lived, went to school and the like. It was sad to discover Andre left Egypt decades ago and never returned, because he is a Jew. That’s a sad legacy for Egypt. I have been to what was the Jewish quarter and the beautiful synagogue, that is now a museum, because there is no longer a congregation of Jews to support it. Andre understood, better than most people can, what Bill’s family suffers, as members of the Christian minority.
About that time Lisa said, “Why don’t you guys go upstairs to the mezzanine, to meet the rest of the family? That’s where they are hanging out.” So, that’s what we did. We wanted to see what the rest of the Wine Palace was like and Lisa had been so gracious, we certainly wanted to reciprocate her hospitality.
We went up the stairs en masse, went through the introductions and had a nice chat with her wonderful family. What we didn’t realize was we’d just entered an entirely different level of service than we’d had below. Downstairs, there was a table set up to serve tastes of wine and on it was a platter of snacks. Upstairs, we were brought our own bottles of wine and plates of assorted snacks were delivered. Yep, the star treatment!
Next up, we climbed back into our black celebrity-style SUV’s and headed for the Palace. Come back next week and go with us.