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Venice Travel FAQ:

From: Venice Travel FAQ

Venice Marittima cruise terminals from MSC Poesia

ABOVE: Cruise passengers enjoy the view as MSC Poesia enters the Giudecca Canal from the Marittima ship basin (in background).

Venice has two terminal areas:

Marittima is a large basin with a number of terminals. If you're cruising on a large ship from Carnival, Costa, Holland America Line, MSC, Norwegian Cruise Line, or Royal Caribbean, you'll arrive and depart at Marittima. (Smaller ships may also use Marittima when space is available.)

San Basilio is a long pier that mostly serves small and mid-size ships. Immediately next to it is the Santa Marta pier, used by river vessels and other ships of moderate size.

In addition, river-cruise vessels and hotel barges often moor overnight on the St. Mark's Basin waterfront east 0f the Piazza San Marco (although passengers board and disembark at San Basilio or, less frequently, at Marittima).

Marittima is on the edge of Venice's historic center, while San Basilio and Santa Marta are a little closer to the sights. All three areas can be reached by land taxi from Venice Marco Polo Airport or the mainland.

Check the port's ship schedule, which is available in Italian and English.

Read our detailed instructions for departing passengers and arriving passengers.

If you're going directly from Marco Polo Airport to the cruise pier, you may find it convenient to use the cruise line's bus, though you'll probably save money by hiring a land taxi.

If you're going to the airport to the ship, you may feel more comfortable relying on the cruise line to get you there in time for your flight.

As a rule, we'd say "No," and not just because we hope you'll reserve through our hotel partner, Booking.com. Here's why:

Cruise lines often book their passengers into hotels that aren't convenient for sightseeing. One major American cruise line uses a hotel in Quarto d'Altino, which is 16 km or 10 miles from Venice on the Italian mainland--presumably because the hotel can accommodate large groups and tour buses.

We think you'll have a much nicer experience (and you're likely to save money) by picking one of the hotels that are listed in our Venice Cruise Terminal Hotels article.

Browse our Venice Hotel Directions, where you'll find step-by-step directions (with maps) to more than 170 hotels in the city center.

If you enjoy group tours and want to be shepherded from the pier to the city center and back, a shore excursion is worth considering. But don't feel that you have to book an excursion, because Venice is an easy city to explore on your own.

From the Marittima cruise terminals, take the People Mover elevated tramway (just outside the port gates) to the Piazzale Roma and walk to the sights from there.

Or you can buy an ACTV ticket at the Hellovenezia booth next to the Piazzale Roma and ride the No. 1 vaporetto up the Grand Canal to the Piazza San Marco.

From the San Basilio pier, the historic center of Venice is just outside the cruise terminal's doors.

(Tip: Buy a good street map at the nearest newsstand, bookstore, or souvenir stall. And if you need to be back at your ship by a certain hour, allow time for getting lost on your return trip.)

For more about cruising to or from Venice, read the articles in our Venice for Cruisers section.

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