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Are you having trouble choosing between a land vacation and a cruise? Not to worry: In 2018, more than a dozen cruise lines and ferry companies offer 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 train fare.
Below are links to cruise and ferry lines that welcome English-speaking passengers and have regularly-scheduled roundtrip voyages from Venice in 2018:
NCL's Norwegian Star is operating several roundtrip six- to eight-night itineraries in the Adriatic and Aegean in 2018, with frequent departures from Venice between June and October. The 91,740-ton Norwegian Star has a capacity of 2,348 passengers, and it attracts an international clientele.
We took a 14-day NCL cruise from Venice in July, 2015. For details, see our illustrated Norwegian Jade cruise review and photo diary.
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," L'Austral.
In 2018, L'Austral's sister ship, Le Lyrial, is offering a small number of roundtrip Adriatic cruises from Venice. Most of the seven-night voyages have a "Best of Croatia" theme.
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 a large fleet of megaships that cater to a multilingual, multinational audience.
MSC operates dozens of roundtrip voyages in the Eastern Mediterranean from spring through fall, with a choice of three- to seven-night itineraries aboard MSC Musica, MSC Poesia, or MSC Sinfonia. To learn about our own roundtrip cruise from Venice with MSC, read our illustrated MSC Poesia cruise review.
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-night roundtrip cruises to Italy, Croatia, Greece, and Montenegro, with several different itineraries and departures from April through December. Three ships are on the Venice-to-Venice circuit in 2017: Costa Deliziosa, Costa Luminosa, and Costa neoClassica.
We haven't cruised with Costa from Venice, but see our illustrated 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 2017, Rhapsody of the Seas, Legend of the Seas , and Vision of the Seas will offer seven- to 11-night cruises from Venice, with frequent departures from April to November.
Royal Caribbean's premium-priced subsidiary has several nine- to 11-night roundtrip itineraries from Venice on its calendar in 2017. The featured ship is Celebrity Constellation, which carries 2,170 passengers.
Silversea, one of the world's top small-ship luxury lines, has two Venice-to-Venice cruises on its calendar in 2018: a six-day cruise on Silver Whisper (see review) and a seven-day cruise on the line's new flagship, Silver Muse.
Two 21-night roundtrip cruises from Venice are on Cunard's 2017 schedule: one in summer, the other in early fall. Both are on Queen Victoria, a 90,049-ton ship with a capacity of 2,014 passengers. The itinerary includes Italy, Croatia, and the Greek Islands.
Wind Surf, a large and comfortable motorsailing vessel, will offer one 10-day Venice roundtrip cruise in 2018 with an August 7 departure. (We've cruised on Wind Surf; please see our illustrated cruise review.)
Following a year-long break from Venetian cruising, HAL will have one Venice-to-Venice roundtrip in 2018: a 24-day "odyssey" to the Greek Islands and Western Mediterranean that departs on April 30 on the ms Oosterdam.
After a long hiatus, Princess is offering three roundtrip cruises from Venice in 2017: two to Croatia, Greece, and Turkey, and the other to the Western Mediterranean. All are on Pacific Princess, the line's smallest vessel at 30,277 tons with a capacity of only 672 passengers.
Azamara Quest, a 690-passenger ship, will offer three eight-night cruises in the Adriatic during 2017. (We sailed on Azamara Quest during that ship's last voyage as the R7 of Renaissance Cruises, and we enjoyed the "mid-size" cruising experience.)
SeaDream I, a tiny luxury ship that carries only 112 passengers, will cruise in the Adriatic from Venice one time in 2017 (July 8-15).
Grand Circle Cruise Line
In 2018, River Countess offers a 10-day "Gems of Northern Italy" tour from Milan that includes a roundtrip cruise from Venice with excursions in the Venetian Lagoon, Padua, Bologna, and Ferrara. A 15-day "Spendors of Italy" package is also available with the same cruise component.
To whet your appetite, read our River Countess cruise review at Europe for Cruisers.
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 or the adjacent Bianco Canal toward Mantua, with return transportation to Venice by bus. (In alternating weeks, the cruise runs in the opposite direction.) See our illustrated review 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 Verona.
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 minicruise:
This Piraeus-based shipping company operates cargo-and-passenger ferries that link Venice with Igoumenitsa and Patras. Anek also runs ferries between Greece and the Italian ports of Ancona and Bari.)
Check the Anek Lines Web site for a journey planner and current timetables in PDF format.
After a hiatus of several years, Greece's Minoan lines--now owned by the Grimaldi Group--has returned to Venice with year-round, twice-weekly sailings to (and from) Igoumenitsa and Patras. Minoan's ship is among the largest cruise ferries in the Mediterranean.
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Copyright © 1996-2018 Durant and Cheryl Imboden. All rights reserved.
7th inset photo copyright © Celebrity
8th inset photo copyright © Holland America Line.
10th inset photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.
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14th inset photo copyright © European Waterways Ltd.