Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sailing Into Venice by Cruise Ship

A View Worth 
Getting Up Early For

We have been cruising for about 30 years and have had many early arrivals into port.  Most of the time, we are still in bed as the ship pulls into the harbor.  If we have a balcony, we may go out on the veranda to get a glimpse as we arrive.  More often than not, we are already docked when we go out for our first look around.

The Captain or Cruise Directory usually says something about the next port the night before we arrive.  They usually describe the weather and call passengers attention to anything that stands out in their minds.  

Don't Miss Sail Into Venice ...

"We should be arriving in Venice around 7 AM and I encourage you to be up on deck to watch the sail in" said the captain.  "This is a view that you won't want to miss.  It will be one of your highlights of the entire cruise".  

7 AM, are you kidding me?  I'm on vacation and we don't get up that early.  (those were the thoughts going through our mind, however...) If the Captain is making this big a deal about it, then we should probably listen to him or we'll regret it later.  After all, we did get up on deck by 5 AM for sail into the Panama Canal and we haven't regretted that  to this day, many years later.

OK, we'll get up, but we aren't going alone.  Our traveling companions were going to be up there with us.  The four of us found a good vantage point out on deck and got ready for our arrival.

First Glimpse

The picture above was our very first image of Venice as we started sailing into the harbor.  The skies were still overcast from the evening as the sun hadn't started to rise yet.   Even the sun is still asleep, what are we doing up?  All we could see from our vantage point was a beacon.

And then it happened...   We started to see the cathedral spires and other buildings in the distance.  As we got closer, we could see bridges and canal passages that darted between buildings.   The harbor was full of life as boats of all sizes darted along side of us.   Some were carrying passengers while others had various supplies.   There was a fisherman who glanced up as we sailed past his small boat.

The captain has a pretty good view as we sailed in.  On Star Princess, the bridge has a glass enclosed platform, on each side of the ship, where the captain or other staff can get a birds-eye view of our surroundings.  We were seeing the same thing as he was, just a little later as the ship moved slowly along the lagoon.

Sailing Past Iconic Buildings

Continuing our sail in along the Venetian Lagoon, we pass The Doge's Palace, a gothic palace which was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice.

Just beyond Doge's Palace is St. Mark's Square, perhaps the most well-known attraction in Venice.

The Captain was right - what a view from this perspective of all the sights of Venice.   This was only the beginning, as we hadn't even arrived at our docking place yet.  After breakfast, we'd set out to explore the city on water from two other vantage points - from the water, in a water taxi and later a gondola,  and on foot.

Venice Cruise Terminal

Two other ships had already arrived in Venice ahead of us - Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas and Seabourn Spirit.  We would sail past both ships before finally docking in our berth.

The journey along the Venetian Lagoon had taken about an hour.  Many lasting memories had been captured on film and in our minds during that time.  We are so grateful to the Captain who encouraged us not to miss this sail in.

We've painted an image in words here, but words alone don't do justice to this experience.   Check out our  Venice photo albums on Facebook, starting with our arrival:   Arriving in Venice by Cruise Ship

Come back again to read more about our time in Venice.   Search our blog for other pictures and stories about our Mediterranean & Greek Isles Cruise or see:  Diary of Cruise with Chris to Greek Isles.

Why not plan your own Venetian memories today?  We'd be glad to offer our advice and help you plan.

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