ABOVE: Compagnie du Ponant's L'Austral
at the San Basilio cruise terminal in Venice. (See our
illustrated cruise review.)
you having trouble choosing between a land vacation and a cruise? Not to
worry: In 2015, nine cruise lines and a ferry company are offering ship voyages that begin and end in Venice. Such
roundtrip cruises offer a great way to combine a Venice holiday with a trip by
ship--allowing you to enjoy back-to-back vacations with only one air or
Below are links to cruise and ferry lines that welcome
English-speaking passengers and have regularly-scheduled roundtrip voyages from
Venice in 2015:
France's luxury cruise line caters to international travelers (including
Anglophones) and has been on a shipbuilding spree in the past few years. See our
illustrated review of a roundtrip
cruise from Venice on Compagnie du Ponant's 264-passenger "megayacht,"
In 2015, L'Austral's new sister ship, Le
is offering frequent
Adriatic itineraries from Venice between May and mid-September. (Most are seven
nights, with one three-night cruise in May.)
Mediterranean Shipping Company, a.k.a. MSC, is one of the world's largest cargo
operators. It entered the cruise business just over 20 years ago, launched the
MSC Crociere brand in the mid-1990s, and now operates more than a dozen large
ships that cater to a multilingual, multinational audience.
MSC offers weekly seven-night roundtrip voyages in the
from spring through fall, with a choice of four different itineraries aboard
three ships: MSC Poesia (see
our review), MSC Lirica, and MSC Musica.
Two longer cruises from Venice (one eight nights, the other 14 nights) are also
on MSC's roundtrip cruise calendar in 2015.
Europe's largest and oldest cruise line has been in business for more than 60
years. From Venice, Costa operates a busy calendar of seven- to 14-night
roundtrip cruises to Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Croatia. Four ships are on the
Venice-to-Venice circuit in 2015: Costa Deliziosa, Costa Fascinosa,
Costa Celebration, and Costa neoClassica.
We haven't cruised with Costa from Venice, but see our
Costa Magica review about a roundtrip cruise from Rome.
RCCI is an American value-priced cruise line that has been reaching out to
European travelers in recent years. In 2015, Spendour
of the Seas has scheduled 10 six- to eight-night roundtrip cruises from
Venice between May and early November.
Royal Caribbean's premium-priced subsidiary has a handful of seven- to 13-night
roundtrip itineraries from Venice on its calendar in 2015. All cruises are on
Celebrity Constellation, which carries 2,170 passengers.
NCL's Norwegian Jade is
operating two different roundtrip itineraries in the Adriatic and Aegean in 2015, with
frequent departures from Venice between April and October. The 93,558-ton
Norwegian Jade has a capacity of 2,402 passengers.
Holland America Line
HAL, a "premium"
large-ship cruise line, has scheduled a few 12- to 24-night roundtrip
cruises from Venice in 2015. Most are on the Nieuw Amsterdam, with
one departure on the Zuiderdam. (We haven't cruised on either ship,
but you can read our illustrated in-depth review of HAL's
Lagoon and river cruises
From April to November, 2015, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
seven-night cruises from Venice to the Po (with side trips to Padua, Ravenna,
and Verona) on River Countess. You can book the cruise only or a 13-day
tour that includes Florence and Rome. For details, see the
Italy pages at Uniworld.com and watch
for our forthcoming River Countess cruise review (which should be
online by early to mid-December).
From the end of March until late
October, European Waterways runs six-night cruises aboard
La Bella Vita, a
20-passenger hotel barge. The itinerary begins in Venice, includes stops at
small ports in the Venetian Lagoon, and heads up the Po River toward Mantua,
with return transportation to Venice by bus. (In alternating weeks, the cruise
runs in the opposite direction.) See our
illustrated review and
photo diary at Europeforcruisers.com.
River cruising is the specialty of this 35-year-old French line, which operates
trips of five to seven nights from Venice during most of the year. Part of the time is spent cruising, and the rest is used for
excursions by water or land to the Lagoon Islands, Chioggia, Ferrara, and/or
If you're more adventurous, or if you insist on having
your car as a companion, you can combine back-to-back ferry trips into a
This Piraeus-based shipping company operates cargo-and-passenger ferries that
link Venice with Igoumenitsa and Patras. (Anek sometimes stops at Corfu as
well.) Anek also runs ferries from Patras and Igoumenitsa to Ancona, Italy,
which is down the Adriatic Coast from Venice.
Check the Anek Lines Web site for a journey planner and
current timetables in PDF format.
2014 for the 2015 cruise season