Venice, Italy, is a truly unique port of call on cruises of the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. Serene and elegant, with an air of genteel decay, the structures of Venice float just above the water of the Laguna Veneta. It’s a truly pedestrian city, as there are no cars: instead, water buses (vaporetti), water taxis and gondolas glide along the canals, taking visitors from one lovely sight to another.
The first stop for many visitors is the Saint Mark’s Square, a massive and gorgeous plaza surrounded by some of the most famous places in Venice, including opulent Saint Mark’s Basilica, which is beautiful inside and out. Next door is the impressive Doge’s Palace, another treasure trove of art and history: the palace’s prisons were difficult to escape, but the legendary romantic hero Casanova found a way. The plaza also has a bell tower that you can climb for a wonderful view. After touring, refresh yourself with a cappuccino at one of the plaza’s cafes, where the people-watching can be superb.
It’s easy to spend an entire day in the plaza, but there’s much more to see in and around Venice. Historic churches, museums and art galleries abound. Take a vaporetto along the curvy Grand Canal to see the famous Rialto Bridge, then browse the Rialto Market. To see the buildings along smaller canals where the vaporetti cannot go, take a romantic gondola ride.
Some of the islands in the Venice lagoon will delight you with their distinctive personalities. If you are interested in glassmaking, visit Murano and its famed glass factories. Burano is known for handmade lace. Giudecca is an island of historic homes, and Lido is the beach island of Venice.
While cruise ships of all sizes can currently sail directly into the Venice lagoon, larger cruise ships will soon take a different route. To help protect the lagoon, larger ships will be re-routed, most likely to the Contorta Sant’Angelo channel on the west side of Venice. While passengers on larger ships won’t be able to see as much of the historic part of the city as their ships approach, once docked it’s a quick water shuttle ride to Saint Mark’s Square and all the most stunning sights of Venice.
To select a cruise itinerary that will take you to the wonders of Venice, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.