After years of receiving e-mails from worried or unhappy cruisers, we've put together a list of our top three suggestions for readers who are planning a cruise departure or arrival in Venice:
Don't let a travel agent book you into a hotel that's a long way from your ship! Venice is a city with no cars, a confusing layout, and more than 400 footbridges. Getting lost may be fun when you're sightseeing, but you'll hate struggling to find a hotel, fighting crowds on a public water bus, or trying to get in and out of an expensive water taxi with heavy luggage.
Where should you stay? Our article on Venice Cruise Terminal Hotels has recommendations that help you minimize walking and transportation hassles.
This is especially important if you're a passenger from a non-EU country, because you may not get your passport back from the immigration authorities before 9 a.m. or even later.
To make matters worse, the departures lobby at Venice's Marco Polo Airport is often crowded, and check-in can be a time-consuming process. We recommend arriving at the airport no later than 2½ to 3 hours before your flight's departure. (Note: If you're flying with Ryanair or any of several other budget airlines, you'll probably be leaving from Treviso Airport, which is a long bus ride from Venice.)
ground transportation to reach the airport, check in, wait in the security line, and reach your flight's departure gate. (If your cruise line is handling transfer and flight arrangements, you can defer to the cruise line's schedule.)If you're transferring to the airport on your own, allow at least five hours from your ship's arrival time to get off the ship, use
Venice has two main cruise basins: Marittima for larger ships, and San Basilio for smaller ships. (A third pier, , is an extension of the San Basilio quay but has a separate gate.)
Megaships of Costa, MSC, NCL, Princess, and other large-ship lines always use Marittima, but small and midsize ships may be assigned to any of the piers. If you aren't sure about your ship's mooring location, search with the Venice Cruise Terminal's cruise schedule form.
Now that you've read our top three tips, we suggest reading our other Venice cruise articles before your ship's arrival or departure:
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