Until a few years ago, a number of companies operated Po River cruises from Venice. Today, there are three:
, a French company that offers 4- to 6-day cruises of the Venetian Lagoon and the Po aboard Michelangelo (see photo above).
, a Germany firm that recently brought a river ship, Bellissima, to Venice for a program similar to CroisiEurope's.
is a U.S.-based luxury river-cruising line that caters to English-speaking travelers. In 2013, the company is offering seven-night cruises in Venice and the Po River Valley, with day trips to Bologna, Padua, Ravenna, and Verona. Cruises are on River Countess, which is a notch up the comfort and price scale from its competitors' ships. (See our illustrated review of a Uniworld cruise from Venice.)
Things to know:
River cruises normally depart from Venice's San Basilio pier and spend part of their time moored along the Riva dei Sette Martiri, a waterfront promenade above the Piazza San Marco facing St. Mark's Basin. The latter is a delightful place to spend the night on a ship, especially if your cabin is on the water side: You can open your window or balcony door in the morning, stick your heads out, and look into the eyes of vaporetto passengers as water buses arrive and depart from the Giardini vaporetto platform.
Venetian Lagoon and Po River cruises are more about land excursions than cruising: Much of your time will be spent on buses or land tours, with the cruise vessel serving as a floating hotel.
For more information, see the cruise-line descriptions and click the links on the CroisiEurope, Nicko Tours, and Uniworld pages in our European Cruise Guide at Europe for Cruisers.
European Waterways Ltd. offers six-night cruises from Mantua to Venice/Venice to Mantua aboard La Bella Vita, a 20-passenger hotel barge. (The luxury barge is also available for private charter.) See our illustrated La Bella Vita cruise review.
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