Venice- Mediterranean Cruise
This is a continuation of trip reports from our Mediterranean Cruise. The other trip reports listed at the bottom.
Once we arrived in Venice, I was extremely tired but I knew we had to figure out how to get to Venice. Prior to arriving, I read the Rick Steves' book that told the best and cheapest way was to buy tickets for the ACTV bus to get over to the island (3 euros each one way). We tried to buy at he kiosk but not knowing Italian made this difficult so we went and stood in a long ticket line (RS recommends the kiosk due to long lines). While Travelmista waited I went to the information desk to ask tourist questions and get a map. She informed me that she could sell me the same tickets we were waiting for in the long line. I purchase the ACTV bus tickets and then we waited about 10 mins for the bus to arrive. We got on the bus and loaded our bags. We were vigilant about pickpockets on all public transportation while traveling. The bus took about 20 mins to arrive in Piazzale Roma on the island of Venice
Baggage at Venice VCN Airport- Hoping our bags arrive (and they did)
Once we arrived we had to get to our hotel in Venice. Since we book last minute (literally the night before), I used Hotwire to book the hotel for $154 and had no idea where the hotel was except it was on the island of Venice. The hotel was called Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio Hotel in the Jewish ghetto. It didn't seem like a long walk on the map BUT when you are hauling two large bags on cobble stone streets and caring the bags up and down five bridges to get to the hotel. This was not one of my most stellar ideas! We should have used a porter to get our bags to the hotel but we thought the hotel was closer. Lesson learned! Next time we will stay closer to Piazzale Roma.
Our hotel in Venice- Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio Hotel in the Jewish ghetto- And our bags!
Jewish ghetto the quiet part of Venice
Once we arrived at the hotel, it was mid afternoon and all I wanted to do was take a nap. Travelmista is a lot more accustom to time changed and didn't want to allow himself to sleep. So while I took a three hour nap, he wandered the city and took pictures. Venice is a great city to just get lost in because you can't get that lost because it s an island. Finally, I woke up and was starving so off we went to find a nice restaurant. We wandered through the city and finally found a quite street with a restaurant serving pizza. I love good authentic margarita Italian pizza. Yum. After dinner we wandered the street across the Rialto Bridge and made our way to San Marco Square by sunset. The square was hopping with activity. The cafes in the square were playing music with people dancing, the tourist feeding the pigeons and the water bubbling up in the middle of the square. We enjoyed everything about it. We slowing wandered back to our hotel stopping for gelato along the way.
Quite little restaurant in Venice
The pizza- Yum
On the Rialto Bridge
In San Marco Square at sunset
The bridge of sighs
Everything in Venice is expensive especially last minute hotels therefore we had to used Hotwire to get a discount price. We didn't mind that our hotel was off the beat path more in a residential section of Venice. It was quite at night and we enjoyed the walk back to the hotel. By the time we got back to stop for a drink in the bar and to use the free wifi. While we sat checking email in it started to pour outside. We were glad that we were not outside and enjoyed listening to the rain on the glass ceiling in the bar. It was easy to fall asleep from a very long busy day. The hotel room had a courtyard view but the decor was very dark (blues and brown) with limited lighting. I would say they they need some renovation. It was a great old building but it need to update. The bathroom was very small and had space issues as the door could barely open. The next morning the free breakfast was great. It was a buffet style with lots of American and European breakfast options. We got up early to start exploring the city and we had to return by 11am to check-out of the hotel and make our way to the cruise ship to check in at noon.
Drinks at hotel while checking email and listening to the rain
We decided in the morning to take the self guide Rick Steves' audio tour on the Vaporetto. We picked up the boat Piazzale Roma and sat in the back of the boat outside. The audio tour was perfectly timed and talked about all the major sites on the Grand Canal. The final stop was San Marco Square. We saw the Bridge of Sighs. It got its name because it was the connection to the prison and the last time the prisoners would see daylight. We then wandered through the city shopping and back to our hotel for check out and to pick up our luggage.
Traffic jam in Venice- Rialto bridge in background
On Vaporetto ride near La Salute Church
We made our way back to Piazzale Roma and located the People Mover (cost one Euro per person) to the cruise ship. We then had to walk to the ship and check in. We were sailing on the NCL Spirt for a 12 day Mediterranean Cruise. If everyone knows this is a process of getting checked in and making your way to your room. We were hot and exhausted but we still wanted to see more of Venice. So after grabbing a quick bite for lunch on the boat we took the people mover back to Venice and continued to explore. The boat didn't leave until 1am so we had plenty of time. On our way back we stop to pick up some water at a grocery store as the bottled water on board can be expensive. Carrying it back to the ship was another escapade in what not to do while traveling but we made it.
Boarding the Norwegian Star
Getting lost on the side streets of Venice
The Rialto Bridge pretending to be a Gondolier
We made it back on the boat during sunset. We then changed and headed to the main dinning room for dinner and dessert chocolate crepes. We were so excited to sail out of Venice that we stayed up until 1AM to see the boat sail away past San Marco Square. The next day was a day at sea. Which we enjoyed the all the activities on the boat and tried out the pools and sunbathing. We also got 30 min massages in the spa. Dinner and a show prior to bed. We love the "freestyle" cruises on NCL because we would prefer not to be told when to go to dinner. I just is more flexible to our schedule. Our next stop is Athens, Greece.
Sailing past San Marco square at 1am on the ship.
Stay tuned for more trip reports- Mediterranean Cruise
Naples, Pompeii, Sorrentto- Mediterranean Cruise
Rome- Mediterranean Cruise
Cinque Terra, Pisa- Mediterranean Cruise
Toulon- Mediterranean Cruise
Barcelona- Mediterranean Cruise