The decks were jam packed, everyone clearly wanted to catch the first glimpse of this amazing city on water and it at first seemed like I would never get the spot I was looking for. After a few minutes of looking I found a great spot on the starboard side of deck 16 and I planted my feet firmly on the deck, it really was a case of “push in at your own risk”.
This experience was by far the best of all my cruises. To say it was fantastic would be an understatement and words really do no justice therefore, I filmed a lot of it for you. At the bottom of this blog you will find some videos and also a link to the 87 image Venice photo album. You must read the blog first though! 😉
As we made our approach you could slowly begin to identify the famous historical buildings that made up this wonderful part of our world. There were hundreds of boats, everywhere. How they manage to all go about their business without colliding is remarkable and clearly takes many years of practice. I certainly would not like the responsibility of sailing an 115,000 ton cruise ship through the middle of it that’s for sure.
As we slowly drifted along it became evident just how truly beautiful this place was. I had been looking forward to this port but I never expected it to be as breathtaking as it was. No other place on earth could compare. We made our way through the lagoon and towards our berth.
I had booked an excursion here and I am really pleased that I did. The queue for the water taxis was just about as long as the ship and there were another 2 rather large cruise ships in port so it was quite busy and again very hot.
We jumped on our boat and made our way back along the same route as the ship to where we would be dropped off, just a short walk from St Mark’s Square (or Piazza San Marco). We had a pleasant stroll into the heart of Venice admiring the canals as we went and of course taking photographs of the Gondola’s and the Bridge of Sighs.
After walking through St Mark’s square and along some rather narrow streets we came out into a smaller square area where our Gondola ride would begin. This was the icing on the cake for me it really was. Another experience that you must do, the canals were jam packed with boats and the Gondola itself was far more impressive and a lot longer than I had imagined it to be.
We made our way through narrow winding water ways, occasionally passing a hotel entrance which was a bit strange, definitely the only place on earth you can literally sail past the front door! We carried on until we reached an exit that would lead us onto the Grand Canal and it was breathtaking! I must admit the transit along the canal on a gondola is a very different experience to that of the same journey via boat. I felt like at any moment we were going to be literally run over by one of the water taxis or other vessels that were speeding along past us. It was every man, woman and gondola for themselves.
We made the crossing, and, still in one piece continued back down narrower canal’s before reaching the end of our ride. A rather large but very friendly Italian man was on hand to heave you out of the gondola and strategically had a small bowl placed with the most subtle of signs, “tips”. I threw in a few euros and off we went.
We had some free time so made our way back through St Mark’s Square and towards the main waterfront area where we could once more take in the essence of what is Venice. I thought saying as we were in Italy it was only right to grab a cold drink and share a pizza. We waited a lifetime for this pizza to come but it was definitely worth it. Fresh, light and full of Italian flavour, oh how I wish I was still there.
There were stalls a plenty selling all kinds of souvenirs from t-shirts to magnets and the occasional questionable apron. There was a high volume of people here; something that irritates me terribly especially when I am hot and flustered but funnily enough I didn’t once feel like my space was being invaded. If anything I felt sorry for the people who must have just disembarked one of the other cruise ships in port as they were dragging huge suitcases through the crowds of people and in sweltering heat. Not something I would particularly want to be doing anywhere in the world let alone Venice at the height of the summer season.
Eventually our time in Venice came to an end; we got back on our water taxi and made the journey back “home” to the ship. After a quick dip in the pool and an hour sitting on deck admiring the city skyline, Ventura was once again ready to leave her berth and make her way back out into the open ocean, taking in the sights of Venice for one last time.
Tomorrow would be yet another busy day, our call would be in Split, Croatia…………….
This is the link to the full Venice photo album – http://on.fb.me/QmLzUB