Pre Cruise City Stays … Part III – Venice

November 18th, 2011

Previously in parts I & II of “Pre Cruise City Stays”, I have talked about the advantages of adding some time in your cruise departure city and explored both New York City and London as options.  This week, the beautiful and unique city of Venice is my blog’s focus.

View from the Rialto Bridge over the Grande Canal in Venice (Ian C Whitworth)

Pre Cruise City #3 – Venice

The scenic city of Venice is definitely one to have on your bucket list if you have not already visited this remarkable destination.  The historic city of Venice is made up of a group of 117 small islands serviced and connected by a series of canals and stone bridges.  The airport is located on the mainland and the historic city can be reached by boat or by the Ponte della Libertà causeway that supports both vehicles and trains.

The causeway enters in the northwest corner of Venice and the road terminates there at the car and bus terminal with the balance of Venice having only boat and pedestrian traffic.  This is the interesting or challenging part if you have luggage for a 12 day cruise!  Be sure to understand exactly where your hotel is and pre plan how you are going to get there.  Water taxi’s are expensive and can get you directly to your destination, whereas the water buses (Vaporetti) are much more reasonable but have fixed stops along the Grande Canal that will involve walking from there.  When planning to walk, understand that the many bridges over the canals involve steps (not rolling suitcase friendly).

Venice Gondolier waits for a fare (Ian C Whitworth)     Venice gondolas in the late afternoon (Ian C Whitworth)

Once settled in, take in the beauty of this great city including the gondoliers’, amazing views and key landmarks like the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco.  There are lots of small shops and great scenic spots to stop for a meal or enjoy a cappuccino or a gelato depending on your taste.  Venice is well known for its glass work and of course their famous masks.

Venice masks in a shop window (Ian C Whitworth)

While sitting outside my hotel having breakfast in Venice, I was fascinated watching the logistics of all the early morning deliveries being made via the canals.  Small boats were arriving and off loading their goods using a variety of methods including small cranes.  I was also impressed by the hand carts with the extra set of offset wheels in the front to help climb the stairs on the bridges for stores without direct canal access.  A truly unique experience to witness.

Panoramic view from a cruise ship of the busy southern Venice waters by San Marco Square (Ian C Whitworth)

For the photographer there are many opportunities to capture excellent images.  The beautiful canals and old architecture combined with many gondolas and bridges make for great scenic shots.  It also makes for great foregrounds in sunset images.  Venice may also be one of the best cities to get cruise sail-away shots as you pass by the southern opening to the Grande Canal and Piazza San Marco.  Plan to be on deck at the stern (protected from any wind with flexibility for north and west shots) port side as the cruise terminal is on the west end of Venice and you will sail east with the main city to your north (left when facing the bow).

A view from a cruise ship of the entrance to the Grande Canal in Venice (Ian C Whitworth)

Venice Fun Facts: Photography Tips:
  • The historic city of Venice has over 60,000 people
  • There are 177 canals & 409 bridges connecting the city
  • Approximately 50,000 tourists visit Venice each day of the year
  • Many films have been made in Venice, including the recent hit movie “The Tourist”
  • To minimize people in your images, try early morning shots pre breakfast, also capturing some more interesting light
  • Some great images that are not able to be achieved on land can be taken from the cruise ship from an elevated position on sail-away – give yourself composure flexibility with some range of zoom
  • Don’t forget to use your polarizer to help bring out the best skies in the background


I hope you plan to visit and enjoy this truly unique and beautiful city.


References:  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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2 comments on “Pre Cruise City Stays … Part III – Venice

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