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SEPTEMBER 10, 2016

Venice is often one of the most anticipated ports of call for cruisers lucky enough to be stopping there on a Mediterranean cruise. With streets made of water and quaint gondolas plus beautiful architecture and views, this unique city is on the bucket list of pretty much every traveler. With such a powerful reputation that precedes it long before you ever arrive, you want to make sure you’re prepared to enjoy every minute of your day in gorgeous Venice, Italy. Here’s what you need to know about visiting Venice during your cruise.

Getting Into Venice from the Ship

You won’t dock right in the center of quintessential Venice, i.e. the car-free land of water streets. You’ll dock just outside that area in the cruise terminal that is also close to Venice’s only parking lot (those driving to Venice need to leave their car somewhere, after all), and from there, you have a few options to get into the center of Venice and to its main sites. Shore excursions are the most hassle-free way to get into Venice as transportation will be arranged for you and you’ll be led to where you need to be directly from the ship. There is also a public water bus, called a vaporetto, that can take you into the heart of Venice, which you can catch from walking to the S. Marta stop.

If your cruise is beginning in Venice, as many Celebrity Cruises Mediterranean itineraries do, you can extend your vacation with a City Stay. The City Stay in Venice program through Celebrity Cruises arranges an amazing getaway in Venice before your ship departs and includes transportation to the ship once your stay in Venice is done.

St. Mark’s Square: Basilicas, Palaces & More

St. Mark’s Square is Venice’s most famous site (besides perhaps the gondolas) and it has a lot going on in it. The most commanding view is St. Mark’s Basilica, which juts up magnificently on one side of the square. You can tour inside and even go up to the roof for a birds-eye view of the square. And speaking of birds, you’ll see a lot of them – pigeons, that is – while at St. Mark’s Square. The pigeons make for a fun photo op if you don’t mind frolicking with birds.

Doge’s Palace is also located in St. Mark’s Square and runs perpendicular to St. Mark’s Basilica. The palace dates back to the 12th century and was where the Doge of Venice lived (the Doge used to be the leader of the Republic of Venice). It also once housed a prison.

The Architecturally Impressive Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is located over the Rio di Palazzo behind Doge’s Palace (which it’s connected to) and is a beautiful bridge in a setting that is striking to behold. The bridge is made of gleaming white limestone with intricate motifs and carvings in the façade.

A Charming Gondola Ride

A gondola ride is a classic way to see the sights of Venice and experience the winding waterways firsthand. A standard gondola ride is 40 minutes long and you may want to seek out a gondolier who will sing during your ride to make it even more memorable.

Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal

One of the most famous sights along the wide Grand Canal of Venice is the stately Rialto Bridge. You can walk across it or take a vaporetto underneath.

Murano and Burano

These two little islands are a short boat ride away from Venice, Murano is known for its artistic ambiance, mainly derived from the glass blowing and creations you’ll encounter while there. Burano is famous for its colorful buildings and delicate lace creations.

Venice’s Delectable Gelato

In a country known for gelato, Venice makes some of the best. Get a cone with a few scoops of the creamy, cold, delicious goodness, and enjoy it while you take in a canal view or St. Mark’s Square.

The Alleyways of Venice, Italy

Part of Venice’s charm comes from simply exploring the narrow little side alleys of Venice. Follow the cobblestoned streets past terracotta colored buildings and stumble upon alcoves and tiny bridges and charming canals that are off the beaten path. Just make sure you don’t get too lost – you’ll need to catch your ship later!

Venice Shore Excursions

For those who feel a bit overwhelmed by the zigzagging, water-filled chaos of Venice, Celebrity Cruises makes it easy for you.

Take the Secret Venice Walking Tour around historic squares and out-of-the-way alleys while also seeing some of the top sites with a knowledgeable guide who will give you an insider’s perspective on Venice, Italy.

Will your cruise be in Venice until nighttime? Take the Evening Gondola Serenade excursion through the lovely waterways of Venice while accompanied by an Italian singer and accordionist.

Learn about glass artistry and more on the Murano Glassworks, San Giorgio and Gondola Ride shore excursion, which includes a visit to a local glass showroom.

On the Walk Through Venice Up to St. Mark’s Square shore excursion you’ll walk through the heart of Venice past historic sites and gorgeous architecture until you end up in the middle of St. Mark’s Square. You’ll have free time after the walk to further explore the sights of the square and surrounding area.

To book your Mediterranean cruise that includes a visit to the port of Venice, Italy, visit or speak with your travel agent.

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