Our arrival in to Venice was on time, I didn’t sleep too well as I wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss the sail in to this beautiful place.
Regular readers of our blog will know why but for anyone who doesn’t it’s where we fell in love with cruising – we were in Venice for a long weekend in 2014 and our Vaporetto had to stop to allow MSC Fantasia to sail through the Lagoon. I was awe struck and we just had to go on her!
Anyway, we watched the sail in from the balcony and had a relaxing early start; we were able to keep our cabin until 10:15 with a disembarkation time of 10:55 – perfect! Unfortunately as the ship had come from Cuba the authorities had to check every passport and customs were also scanning more baggage than they usually would. This meant that we didn’t disembark until noon, which was not a problem as we’re staying in a hotel overnight.
The customs officers asked to scan our cases which obviously we were fine with although it did feel a bit daunting.
I’m only mentioning this as clearly it wasn’t MSC’s fault that the authorities wanted to carry out more checks than usual, and on one night of the cruise we did hear a passenger ask someone to purchase large quantities of duty free cigarettes which they shouldn’t have done as they’d not left the EU as they joined with us in Alicante. Coupled with that there was an incident with other passengers trying to smuggle cocaine from Cuba there’s no wonder the authorities were on their guard.
Extra waiting and a slow disembarkation did feel inconvenient however we were still able to use the ship’s facilities and our drinks package was valid so at least we were waiting in comfort rather than just standing in a queue.
After passing through customs we walked to the People Mover which for €1.50 transported us to the Piazzale Roma and the nearby train station area. A short walk took us to our hotel, Carlton on the Grand.
The hotel is decorated in the classic Venetian style with plus dramatic drapes and the walls covered in the same silk fabric. There’s a huge Murano glass chandelier over our bed – praying for no Phantom of the Opera moments tonight!
The afternoon was spent sightseeing – for €20 each we bought a travel pass that gives unlimited access to the public transport. Stuart and Trevor haven’t been to Venice so we acted as tour guides, using the Vaporetto 1 to Rialto and Vaporetto 2 to Piazza San Marco to take in the sights of the Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs and the stunning Basilica.
Later in the afternoon and to complete our whirlwind tour we took Vaporetto 3 over to Murano where the famous glass is made. The trip across the Lagoon was entertaining as a small boat in front was causing problems!
Our trip is now almost over, with the flight home with Air France via Paris tomorrow afternoon. I’ll work on adding photos when back!