We were on this tour in April 2016 (off-season itinerary). It was fabulous - our best RS tour. We arrived early in Palermo (took the bus from the airport) and stayed at the tour hotel - the Ambasciatori. We ate at Ferro di Cavallo, which was a short walk from the hotel. This restaurant was frequented by locals, and is the kind of place where you sometimes sit at a table with strangers. We sat with an Italian couple from northern Italy who were on vacation. The couple spoke little English, and our Italian is limited, so we had fun trying to communicate! A couple of days later at Monreale, we ran into the same couple. Note that you will run into more locals who do not speak English (compared to the major tourist cities of northern Italy). On the day before the tour started we visited the Galleria d'Arte Moderna. This museum has Sicilian art from the 19th and 20th centuries, and provided some interesting cultural-historian background. If your tour stays at the UNA Palace hotel in Catania on the last night, you are in for a treat. This hotel would probably cost $700 a night in Manhattan.
We did laundry in the sink during the tour.
We used the Lonely Planet guidebook especially before the tour started.
It can be expensive to fly to Sicily. We used Aer Lingus to fly to Rome, spent a couple of days there, then took a short Alitalia flight to Palermo. At the end of the tour we flew from Catania to Rome on Alitalia, stayed overnight and continued home on Aer Lingus. This flight arrangement was so inexpensive compared to other options that it paid for the extra nights in Rome. It also broke up the trip, since flying from the US to Sicily is a long haul.