River Countess Cruise Photos
Day 1: Embarkation in Venice (2)
After unpacking, we decided to go for a walk. On small ships like River Countess, going ashore is easy: You just scan your passenger card at the reception desk, turn toward the gangway, and walk a few steps to dry land.
This photo shows River Countess moored at the Santa Marta embarkation and disembarkation pier. (It was taken just outside the pier gate, where anglers were fishing in the Giudecca Canal.)
We left the fenced pier area, walked behind the port
building, and continued on foot toward the San Basilio cruise terminal (visible
in the distance), which is at the edge of Venice's historic center.
Our walk led us to one of our favorite small squares, the Campo San Tomà, in Venice's San Polo district (not far from the Frari Church).
If you're ever in the Campo San Tomà, don't miss the chance to buy a pastry at the tiny family-owned bakery near the newsstand at San Polo 2823, which is run by two sisters named Michela and Stefania Trevisan.
Nostalgia sent us to the small apartment house in Dorsoduro,
near the Campo Santa Margherita, where we wintered with our dog Maggie of
Maggieinvenice.com several years ago.
As we do whenever we're in the neighborhood, we watched the boat traffic next to Venice's fire department (the fireboats are behind the arches), which is just off the Grand Canal.
We needed to be on board the ship by 6 p.m. for the captain's welcome and safety briefing, so we headed back to River Countess after our walk in Venice's historic center.
The service staff were already in their evening livery when we boarded River Countess.
We checked out the monitor in the lobby, which showed a navigation chart of Venice and the Lagoon. (The Santa Marta pier is slightly south of the Marittima cruise basin, which is directly below the words "Bacino del Tronchetto" in the photo.)
Before getting ready for the welcome reception, we went topside to explore the Sun Deck, which was nearly deserted on the cool, hazy November afternoon.
From the Sun Deck, we could see an oceangoing cruise liner, MSC Fantasia, at the Marittima ship basin nearby.
A while later, when we were in our room, MSC Fantasia cruised past on its way up the Giudecca Canal to St. Mark's Basin and the Adriatic Sea. (Cabins and suites on Marco Polo Deck have French balconies, which make it easy to lean out and take photos.)
We put our cameras away during the welcome reception, safety drill, and most of dinner, although we couldn't resist snapping a picture of this elegant dessert at the end of our evening meal.
During dinner, the ship cruised from the Santa Marta Pier to the Riva dei Sette Martiri, on the waterfront promenade east of the Piazza San Marco next to Venice's Naval History Museum.
After dark, we enjoyed the sight of an illuminated Costa Magica cruising past our ship.
We wrapped our long day with a evening walk toward the Piazza San Marco. When we returned to the ship, the restaurant staff were still cleaning up in the galley.
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