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 2014, 12 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 2014:
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 2014, L'Austral's sister ship, Le Soléal,
is offering seven-night
Adriatic itineraries from Venice with visits to ports in Croatia and
Montenegro. Departures are from mid-May through late September, and itineraries
often vary slightly from week to week.
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 April through late October, with additional seven- to 11-night roundtrip
cruises during the season. In 2014, three ships are featured: MSC Fantasia,
MSC Armonia, and MSC Orchestra. (See our
cruise review at Europe for
Europe's largest and oldest cruise line has been in business for more than 60
years. From Venice, Costa operates seven-night cruises to Italy, Greece, Turkey,
and Croatia, with a handful of longer itineraries. Two ships are on the
Venice-to-Venice circuit in 2014: Costa Magica and Costa Fascinosa.
We haven't cruised with Costa from Venice, but see our
Costa Magica review about a roundtrip cruise from Rome.
This U.S.-based luxury cruise line has scheduled more than a dozen roundtrip
sailings from Venice in 2014. All sailings are on the
Seabourn Spirit, a yacht-like ship with 104 suites, and each 10- or
11-night cruise includes an overnight stay in Venice. Seabourn Spirit
will also offer several 21-day roundtrip itineraries from Venice.
Note: In 2015,
Seabourn Spirit will become the Wind Spirit of Windstar
Cruises, so don't dawdle if you want to enjoy a roundtrip small-ship cruise
from Venice on Seabourn.
RCCI is an American value-priced cruise line that has been reaching out to
European travelers in recent years. In 2014, two of the company's ships--Spendour
of the Seas and Legend of the Seas--are running six- to 11-night
roundtrip cruises from Venice.
Royal Caribbean's premium-priced subsidiary has a handful of seven- to 13-night
roundtrip itineraries from Venice on its calendar in 2014. All cruises are on
Celebrity Silhouette, a 2,886-passenger ship that entered service in
NCL's Norwegian Jade is
cruising from Venice and back more than a dozen times in 2014, with ports of
call in the Adriatic and the Eastern Mediterranean. Itineraries (including
combined cruises) range from seven to 14 nights. The 93,558-ton
Norwegian Jade has a capacity of 2,402 passengers.
In 2014, the new (and huge) Regal
Princess will debut a 17-day roundtrip cruise from Venice in early June,
while the more intimate 672-passenger Ocean Princess has a 21-day
"Mediterranean Explorer" itinerary in October.
Lagoon and river cruises
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.
From April to November, 2014, 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.
River cruising is the specialty of this 35-year-old French line, which operates
trips of four to six 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
We haven't cruised with CroisiEurope, but we moored
alongside its Michelangelo and crossed through that ship's lobby to a
Peter Deilmann River Cruises ship, the
Casanova, a number of
years ago. We've often seen Michelangelo moored near the public gardens
in Venice, and we think it would be a great way to enjoy the Venetian Lagoon.
This German company operates six- and seven-night cruises from
Venice to the River Po on
MS Bellissima, with shore excursions to cities such as Padua, Mantua,
Ferrara, or Verona, depending on the itinerary. The onboard language of Nicko
Tours is German, but announcements, menus, programs, etc. are available in both
German and English. (In 2014, the company is combining its cruise itinerary with
a Tuscany land package for German customers; its plans for English-speaking
cruisers were unclear when we last updated this article in mid-September, 2013.)
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.