Venice is one of the most romantic cities on earth. The moment you arrive, you will see it is like no other place in the world.
The architecture is stunning — it really is. The fact there are no cars anywhere at first feels quite strange, but you soon get used to that and the fact that the main mode of transportation here is either by boat or on foot. In all, it is an incredible city and the entrance to it via cruise ship is one that will stay with you forever.
The morning I arrived, I don’t think there was any free space on the open deck. Everyone was excited and the weather was truly perfect. That first glimpse of the city from the ship’s top deck is a wonderful one. You could see right across the city, almost from a bird’s eye point of view — it really was breathtaking. I remember seeing St. Mark’s Square and getting some great photos of the Bridge of Sighs from Deck 17. At this point, all I wanted to do was get off and get on with some Venice shore excursions.
I visited Venice during the peak summer period of 2012 and it was extremely hot and humid and full of tourists (two things combined that irritate me when I travel), however, Venice didn’t feel cramped at all. It actually had a wonderful atmosphere and the other people doing the exact same thing as I was made the experience feel even more incredible.
One of the Venice shore excursions you must do is take a gondola ride. To visit this city and not take a gondola ride would almost feel criminal!
I took a gondola ride during my visit and I have to say it was fantastic. Even with the number of other tourists I didn’t wait longer than 15 minutes at the station to board the small boat. It was a surreal experience as I had always dreamed of going to Venice. My mother visited as a teenager and had said for years how beautiful the city was, so for me to find myself sitting in a gondola on the grandest canal in the world was pretty mind blowing.
If you are visiting for the first time or maybe you have visited before and are looking for something slightly different to do, then the Enchanted Isles of Murano, Burano and Torcello may be just the excursion for you. You may recognise the Murano name, and you would be right in thinking that this is where the world-famous Murano glass originates from. In fact, during this tour, you can actually view a demonstration and you will have the opportunity to purchase some of the world-famous glass.
Burano is a quaint little fishing village and a real gem among the Venetian Islands. The most famous export here is lace, and has been since the 16th century.
I think the most wonderful thing about this island has to be the many brightly colored small houses. The colors of the houses actually follow a specific system and if someone wishes to paint their home, they must send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the certain colors permitted for that lot. The flare of color on this island also makes it popular for artists. So if you like landscape sketching, you may wish to pack some paper and pencils.
Torcello is the last stop, but by no means the least. There are only 60 people living on the island. Yes! Sixty. So your stop here will be somewhat more relaxed and more a chance for you to simply admire what lies before you.
Venice overall is a superb cruise destination and one that I am looking forward to visiting again. I also recommend grabbing some pizza before heading back to the ship. It is expensive — it’s Venice after all — but it is certainly worth it!