Blue Water Holidays
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Experts in River and Small Ship Cruising Holidays since 2002
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Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
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Venice Cruise Breaks and the River Po

The unique city of Venice is spread across 117 islands connected by 409 bridges, a fascinating maze of canals, narrow streets and small squares bordered by beautiful churches and ancient palaces

The heart of Venice is St Mark's Square, with its famous Cathedral. Wander through the many narrow alleyways, visit the famous Rialto Bridge, perhaps take a waterbus on the Grand Canal, or maybe a gondola trip. Discover some of Venice's incredible Gothic palaces - most notably the Palace of the Doges, who ruled the republic, and the infamous Bridge of Sighs.

  • MS Michelangelo in Venice
  • Gondolas in Venice
  • Venice, Grand Canal

About Venice & River Po Cruises

Our short Venice cruise breaks give ample time to enjoy Venice, and also include a trip across the Venice lagoon. Optional excursions include the famous Venice lagoon islands of Murano and Burano with their specialist shops and glass workshops. Your floating hotel Michelangelo is a superb base for exploring Venice and the islands of the lagoon - and with all meals included, plus unlimited complimentary house wine, beer, mineral water and soft drinks on board between April and October, is excellent value!

Coveted through the ages by aristocrats and invaders alike, Italy's River Po Valley overflows with a wealth of art, culture and tradition. Longer Venice itineraries visit this fascinating area to discover the cradle of the Renaissance. Excursions may include visits to the renowned cities of Padua, Mantua, Ferrare and Verona of Romeo and Juliet fame.

Venice St Mark's cathedralSt Mark's Cathedral

Please note that due to Italian regulations these ships cannot take passengers when sailing the Adriatic Sea between the Venice lagoon and the mouth of the River Po.

Cruise Collection

  • Heart of Venice

    4 Nights - Venice and back

    CroisiEurope Ship - Michelangelo Michelangelo

    Moor in the heart of Venice on this superb short break with optional excursions. Includes unlimited complimentary drinks on board and two short trips across the lagoon 2017 - Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct

    Heart of Venice City Cruise Break Blue Water Package
    From £955pp Cruise Only From £531pp
    View Full Details

  • Venice at Christmas

    4 Nights - Venice and back

    CroisiEurope Ship - Michelangelo Michelangelo

    Spend a leisurely Christmas in Venice on this short break with a visit to Chioggia and the chance to visit Padua, Burano and Murano 2017 - Dec

    Festive Venice Christmas or New Year Cruise Blue Water Package
    From £1029pp Cruise Only From £729pp
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  • Venice Lagoons Short Break

    5 Nights - Venice and back

    CroisiEurope Ship - Michelangelo Michelangelo

    Moor in the heart of Venice and explore Chioggia on this fantastic short break, with optional excursions and unlimited complimentary drinks on board 2017 - May, Jul, Aug

    Venice Lagoons Short Break Cruise Blue Water Package
    From £1115pp Cruise Only From £684pp
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  • Venice and Historic Italy

    6 Nights - Venice and back

    CroisiEurope Ship - Michelangelo Michelangelo

    Explore the beautiful city of Venice and enjoy optional excursions to the historic cities of Verona and Padua. Includes all meals plus unlimited complimentary drinks on board 2017 - Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct

    Venice and Historic Italy Cruise Blue Water Package
    From £1275pp Cruise Only From £843pp
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  • Venice and Northern Italy

    7 Nights - Venice and back

    Uniworld Ship - River Countess River Countess

    Discover magnificent cities and superb architecture on this superb itinerary from Venice exploring the Lagoon and Po. Includes guided excursions, unlimited complimentary drinks and gratuities 2017 - Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov
    Exclusive savings and £100pp OBC on 2 Apr and 25 Jun departures!

    Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy Blue Water Package
    From £1795pp Cruise Only From £1545pp
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  • Romantic Verona and Venice

    10 Nights - Verona to Venice

    Uniworld Ship - River Countess River Countess

    An exclusive 10-night luxury holiday combining a 3-night hotel stay in romantic Verona with a 7-night cruise from Venice. Includes tickets to Verdi's Nabucco in the breathtaking Verona Arena, guided excursions during the cruise, unlimited complimentary drinks and gratuities on board and return flights from the UK 2017 - Jun
    Exclusive package with opera tickets to Verdi's Nabucco plus £100pp OBC!

    Romantic Verona and Venice Blue Water Package
    From £2545pp
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  • Splendours of Italy

    14 Nights - Milan to Rome

    Uniworld Ship - River Countess River Countess

    See the historic and architectural treasures of Italy on this superb holiday, combining an all-inclusive cruise on River Countess and hotel stays in fashionable Milan, renaissance Florence and historic Rome. Includes guided excursions, unlimited complimentary drinks and gratuities 2017 - Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov
    FREE cabin upgrade PLUS free flights and home pick-up service!

    Splendours of Italy Blue Water Package
    From £5099pp Cruise Only From £5099pp
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Venice & River Po Highlights

Burano (Italy)

Burano is a fishing community, famous for its brightly-painted houses, and for fine lacemaking. At the Museo del Merletto you can see lace-makers at work and examples are sold throughout the island. San Martino is the only church on Burano, and is well-known for its tilting bell tower.

Burano

Chioggia

Chioggia is situated on an island in the Venetian lagoon, and in contrast to Venice, is a simple fishing town with one broad street, the Corso del Popolo which runs the length of the island. Beside the Piazzatta Vigo is a Venetian sculpture of a lion and a 12th-century column, and the church of San Domenico houses works by Tintoretto and Diziani. There are several fish restaurants along the main street.

Chioggia (Italy)

Mantua (Italy)

Fine Renaissance buildings bordering three large squares make up the centre of this historic city, which is surrounded by lakes. The wealthy Gonzaga family were great patrons of the arts, and left behind a string of impressive landmarks including the Palazzo Te, the arcaded Palazzo Ducale, and the Basilica de Sant Andrea.

Mantua

Murano (Italy)

Murano became a centre of glass-making when in 1291 the Venetian Republic ordered the artisans to move because of the danger of fire from their foundries. There are numerous galleries selling a variety of glass beads, jewellery and sculptures. Perhaps see the mosaic pavement in Basilica dei Santa Maria and Palazzo Da Mula, the summer palace of Venetian aristocrats.

Murano

Padua (Italy)

The fabulous walled city of Padua is a treasure for art-lovers, and its most-visited attraction is the Scrovegni Chapel which houses 14th-century frescoes by Giotto. Other delights include Donatello’s equestrian statue in front of the Basilica de San Antonio, the impressive Prato della Valle, a square bordered by statues and the Caffee Pedrocchi, once a favourite haunt of Lord Byron.

Padua

Torcello (Italy)

The island of Torcello in the Venetian lagoon was once a splendid and important community but now has a population of only 100 people. There are a few remnants of its past glory, including Devil's Bridge, the church of Santa Maria Assunta and its Byzantine mosaics, and two 14th century palaces which house the island's museum.

Torcello

Venice (Italy)

The glorious buildings along the Grand Canal are a breathtaking sight - the ornate fa'ades of 15th century Palazzo Dario and Ca' d'Oro, the Rialto and St Mark's Square and Basilica. Venice is renowned for its Murano glass and for its exclusive shops. Upmarket boutiques run from Piazza San Marco to the Accademia Bridge and more unusual wares are available in Frezzeria.

Venice

Verona (Italy)

The World Heritage Site of Verona has many important buildings and structures, including the Arco dei Gavi, a Roman arch at the end of the Via Postumia, and the remarkable Castelvecchio, a castle dating back to the Middle Ages. The handsome fortified Scaliger Bridge spans the Adige River, and the gothic Scaliger Tombs date back to the 13th century.

Verona

Customer Reviews

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The Venice cruise was a wonderful few days and I would certainly recommend it.

Some highlights:

1.The excursions which were very good value. I particularly liked Burano - a very pretty little island. The morning in Chioggia was very enjoyable. The market was great fun and the Church of St Dominic had some lovely pictures including a Tintoretto. The visit to Padua was made special by our English speaking guide who was very informative, never boring and had a wonderful sense of humour! She showed us round St Anthony's Basilica, a fascinating and beautiful church, and pointed out the famous Cafe Pedrucci whose speciality is a creamy mint coffee - highly recommended! (Tip - it's cheaper if you drink it standing at the bar!)

2.Exploring Venice. Lovely little shops -especially for leather, Murano glass, and paper. Beautiful everywhere you look especially the glimpses down the little canals- we even saw a bride and groom going to church in a gondola!  The Rialto area was very crowded but we found a lovely quiet campo where we sat in the sun for lunch and a much -needed rest before going to the Accademia. (Tip- if over 65 take your passport and get in free.) Although we saw some lovely pictures I was a bit disappointed in this gallery as a lot of the rooms were closed and there were no explanations and the attendants were very unhelpful. Our spirits were unexpectedly restored in the nearby Guggenheim Collection which has some amazing modern sculptures set in a beautiful garden and a very good collection of pictures. A quiet green haven and a good cafe -  not to be missed!

3.The meals on board were superb and they were very generous with the free wine! In fact every one took wonderful care of us and made sure we understood all the arrangements which were often explained to us at our table in English by our English-speaking stewardess. The cabins were very comfortable and I had a beautiful view of the lagoon and Venice. We were very conveniently situated with just a short walk along the quay to St Mark's square.

As you can see from the pics you even organised the weather for us! Many thanks to everyone at Blue Water Holidays for an excellent holiday. 

"Venice city cruise break" by marknewton5 star
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 Thank you, Blue Water, you arranged everything very well from start to finish. Venice was magical. 

 

 

 

"Venice Lagoon" by teresashute5 star
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    Michaelangelo
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We stayed on the "Michelangelo" in Venice from 5th to 9th March and had a wonderful experience. The staff and crew were efficient, courteous and friendly. The cabins were roomy and kept spotlessly clean. After the embarkation at the St. Basilio Quay the ship was moored for the rest of the trip just a 15 minute walk along the lovely quayside from Giardini to St. Mark's Square. This central location was vital for me as I use a wheeled walking aid and my husband was able to carry it over the bridges where necessary and we could then use the vaporetti to tour the Grand Canal. The food was of outstanding quality served by professional, friendly staff. Each meal was superb and inventive and the vegetarian dishes served to my daughter were imaginative and of equal standard to the non vegetarian - often vegetarians are fobbed off with omelettes! We were even lucky enough to have dry, sunny weather (if a bit chilly!). The lounge, deck and dining room were beautiful and the lounge had a selection of board games for those needing a rest from the touring and eating!

As a disabled traveller using a wheeled walking aid (and having a fit husband) I found Venice an excellent location but I would think for a wheelchair user the stepped bridges, with very few of them having an electric lift and none ever seeming to be in use, would be rather challenging.

EXCELLENT!

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    Venice
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We certainly had a great holiday with our Venice City Cruise Break. The staff on the boat were very attentive and the food excellent apart from the gala evening which was a little over ambitious and disappointing.

You may like to know that in terms of dress this was a very relaxed trip with no need to dress up too smart on the formal dinner nights but guests could and did look smart on gala night as did the staff.

There were probably about 20% English people on the boat but all announcements were in English as well as French.

The format of the trip was very well thought out. We enjoyed the included trips around the islands and to Chioggia. The extra trip to Burano and Murano were also very good value.

One final point, it might be useful to know that to get to the island from Marco Polo guests can take the Venice Express coach for 3 euros and tickets are most easily bought from the ticket office just outside the main arrivals area and not from one of the machines where this ticket is not clearly marked. Once at Piazza del Roma it is only one stop on the Vaporetts to St Martha and tickets are bought from the ticket office in the square.

"Venice in March" by Johnandlinda5 star
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    MS Michelangelo at night
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    The English table at Gala Dinner Night
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    What better way to celebrate an Anniversary?
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    Venice at its best
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From the moment we arrived at the foot of the gang plank and were met by the Purser who carried our bags aboard the whole cruise was a great success.  The boat was immaculate, the staff were friendly and nothing was too much trouble.  The food was not only excellent but superbly presented and the service at meal times was extremely good.

We booked to celebrate our 40th Wedding anniversary and we could not have made a better choice, Venice of course was magnificent, the weather was kind to us and the sun shone, we look forward to our next river cruise.

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    Grand Canal Venice
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We booked this trip for my 50th birthday treat and what a treat it was.

This was our first boating holiday but certainly won't be our last. We enjoyed the Michelangelo very much. Holding around 150 passengers it has a cosy, friendly feel to it. The cabins are quite small but have everything you need, including a nice big window so can watch the changing scenery (not that we spent much time in the cabin). The communal areas, lounge/bar, restaurant & sundeck, are all big enough to accommodate everyone and are of a high standard. Meals are a leisurely affair, with both lunch and dinner served at table, and the cuisine is excellent.

We were warned beforehand that we may be the only English speaking guests aboard but ,in fact, there were several other groups too. The rest of the passengers were French (it is a French company). Everything was done in French and English and, when we went on the excursions, we were an English party with an English speaking guide.

This was a fabulous trip to introduce you to this area and the trip up the Po made it more varied. The excursions were well planned and a great introduction if this was your first visit.

Venice was everything I had hoped, despite people telling us it was a smelly place - it wasn't while we were there. I could ride up and down the Grand Canal drinking in the sights and atmosphere all day!

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    MS Michelangelo
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    St Mark's square flooded
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    Burano
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    The Rialto Bridge
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This isn't exactly a cruise as the boat stays moored in Venice for the duration of the holiday (about 15 minute walk from St Mark's square).  There is a morning's sail round the islands of the lagoon and we were supposed to sail down the coast to Choggia but this had to be cancelled because nothing is open at New Year in this small fishing village.

 Having said all this, it is a fantastic holiday and I would definitely recommend it.  The Croisieurope crew of MS Michelangelo are fantastic, and go out of their way to make this an enjoyable trip.  We arrived on Weds 30th, after settling into our cabins we had a welcome drink and met all the crew.  This was followed by dinner.

 On Thurs 31st we sailed round the lagoon in the morning before returning for a free afternoon before getting ready for the New Year's eve party.  And what a party !!  Another pre-dinner cocktail, followed by a 6 course meal, then live music and partying into the early hours (around 3.30 am), champagne at midnight to celebrate the New Year and then again at 1am to celebrate the UK New Year (being 1 hour behind Venice time !).  The crew then came round with french onion soup just to keep everyone going that little bit longer !

Friday and Saturday were at leisure in Venice, although there were optional tours available if preferred.  This is a great time of year to see Venice.  Despite it being New Year, it wasn't too crowded and it was very easy to get around and into museums/attractions etc.  We also got the chance to see the "Acqua Alta" (high tides) which flooded St Mark's square and surrounding streets.  It's still possible to get around, either buy a pair of wellies or use the boardwalks that are put everywhere. 

 The MS Michelangelo is an excellent boat.  The lounge/bar area and restaurant are superbly furnished.  The cabins aren't huge, but are plenty big enough for 2 people.  And as for the food, what can I say - the trip includes 3 meals a day and they're definitely 5 star quality.   

This is a fantastic trip and staying on a boat in the lagoon is a great way to see Venice. 

The festive cruise with CroisiEurope exceeded my expectations, English speakers were a minority on board as the majority of passengers were French, which was expected as this is a French cruise line. At no time was this a disadvantage, the crew without exception were extremely helpful, friendly and professional. The food was excellent and the boat very comfortable and maintained to a very good standard. I would certainly recommend this cruise to friends, it was a perfect way to visit Venice.

"Venice City Cruise Break" by A.Griffiths5 star

I must write to say say how much my grand daughter (19) and I enjoyed our 4 day visit to Venice with Croisi Europe. 

The boat was as previously experienced on the Rhone, very clean; the crew were most welcoming and did their best to cater for the only 10 Brits on board with special attention, dual language announcements and even an English language daily paper delivered to each breakfast table! 

Food was excellent, very fresh ingredients, well cooked artfully presented.  The service by the young dining room staff was immaculate and so friendly, as were our fellow (French) passengers.  It is surprising how well my sixty year old 'O' Level in French managed to cope with basic pleasantries and how good the response was.  Anyone who says the French are aloof has not travelled with Croisi Europe!

I would do this trip again and use the boat as a hotel as it represents very good value for money.  The only fly in the ointment was the price of the BA flight which effectively doubled the costs.

My friend and I were wanting to visit Venice but were unsure of where to stay, what to eat, what to see. Then we found the Bluewater holiday Venice Lagoon Cruise.

Booking the holiday was easy and the staff at Skipton were extremely helpful and answered all our questions.

The boat Michelangelo was very comfortable. The food was amazing. The staff were friendly and helpful. We were fortunate to meet some great people and had a truly memorable time.

If you want to visit Venice, I would recommend this holiday.

"Venice Lagoon" by PMIRFIN5 star

 

Just returned from our first River Cruise which was on The Michaelangelo.  We arranged this for our 40th Wedding Anniversary and we could not have wished to celebrate it in a better way.  Being a French boat we were not surprised to be the only English couple on board but were fortunate enough to sit with an Italian couple who could speak no French but could speak English.  The staff were exceptional.  The chef was only young but the food he prepared and served was 5 star, and the presentation was faultless. Although we were informed that check-in would be 6.00pm we were allowed on the boat during the afternoon and sat in the Lounge ready for check-in that actually took place at 5.00pm.  On the day of disembarkation you need to vacate your cabin by 9.00am but you are allowed to stay on the boat until 4.00pm, or simply leave your luggage and go out for the day.Exceptional experience throughout.

 

There were 10 English people only on board our Cruise and the staff could not have been more helpful in ensuring that we understood everything that was going on - to the point that they would sit down with each of us and explain. As far as organisation on board, it far exceeded any other cruise that I have been on.

Blue Water Reviews

Exploring Venice and its Lagoon on a luxury river cruise

Weds 11th Sep 2013

The best way to explore the romantic city of Venice and its picturesque Lagoon is on a luxury river cruise. Read our customer's diary about their Venice and the Po River cruise.

DAY 1

The holiday began with Uniworld's VIP home pick up service to London Gatwick. We flew to Venice and embarked River Countess, an elegant boutique style ship. The cabin was comfortable with a range of amenities, including free Wifi and luxury L'occitaine toiletries.

Whilst enjoying a welcome cocktail in the Castillo Lounge, the ship set sail for Riva Sette Martiri where it docked for the evening. Dinner was served in the contemporary Savoy Restaurant. There was a choice of starters, main courses and desserts accompanied by a great selection of included wine, beer and soft drinks. The food was superb and certainly set the standard for the rest of the cruise.

River Countess in Venice Reception area on River Countess Reception area Contemporary Savoy Restaurant Savoy Restaurant Modern Castillo Lounge Enjoy great views from the Castillo Lounge Have a drink at the Castillo Bar Comfortable Cat 2 cabin Modern Cat 2 bathroom Enjoy delicious cuisine on board Chocolate dessert Relax and enjoy great views on the Sun Deck Spacious patio area on the Sun Deck

DAY 2

After enjoying a superb buffet style breakfast in the Savoy Restaurant, we disembarked the ship for a morning walking tour of Venice, with highlights including the magnificent Rialto Bridge and Doge's Palace. Everyone was given a headset so you could hear the guide at all times. This was great as it meant you could walk at your own pace.

We returned to the ship for a buffet lunch with a huge selection of dishes, definitely something for everyone! In the afternoon, there was a choice of activities ' an excursion to Guidecca Island or spending time at leisure on board or in Venice.

Later, we enjoyed a scenic boat ride along the Grande Canal ending at Piazza San Marco for an exclusive evening opening of St Mark's Basilica. This was a fantastic experience as the Basilica is rarely opened to the public. Back on board, a late evening snack was served in the Castillo Lounge with music by the onboard musician.

DAY 3

After another excellent breakfast, we travelled to Padua where there was a superb tour of the city and its historical sights, including the Scrovegni Chapel and St Anthony's Basilica. After lunch back on board, the ship sail for Chioggia.

This evening was the 'Gala Dinner'. The food was fantastic and there was light entertainment afterwards in the lounge. A few of us decided to explore Chioggia further and visited a couple of the local bars, before heading back to the ship. Every evening, the maids visited the cabin for the 'turn down' service which was a lovely touch. Slippers and robes were put out, blinds pulled down and a chocolate on the pillow.

DAY 4

This morning, we visited Ravenna, known as the 'City of Mosaics'. After enjoying a walking tour with a local guide, we had time at leisure to explore the city, including the Mauseoleo di Galla Placidia and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinaire Nuovo. Lunch was served in a local restaurant and there was a choice of regional specialities.

We travelled back to the ship and enjoyed the afternoon at leisure in Chioggia, before setting sail for a lagoon cruise that the captain had planned as a surprise for us. This was a nice touch and everybody appreciated it.

St Mark's Square from the Sun Deck Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge Gondolas in Venice Santa Maria Della Salute, Venice The spectacular Doge's Palace St Mark's Square, Venice Explore St Mark's Square Magnificent church architecture Ravenna Visit the magnificent Villa Pisani on an excursion Juliet's balcony, Verona Arena di Verona

DAY 5

Today, there was a choice of excursions ' a full day visit to Bologna or a half day to the famous Villa Pisani at Brenta River. Unfortunately, the estimated three hour coach journey to Bologna put myself and a lot of people off this excursion. Instead, many of us chose to enjoy a relaxing morning onboard and then take part in the afternoon excursion to the Villa Pisani. However, those who returned from Bolgona later that afternoon had thoroughly enjoyed it.

This evening, after another delicious dinner, my favourite meal of the day, we set sail back to Venice where we would remain docked for the rest of the holiday. We enjoyed some live entertainment from a local operatic couple.

DAY 6

Today, we travelled to Verona where we enjoyed a city tour with highlights including Juliet's famous balcony. We also visited the Arena di Verona which is a spectacular amphitheatre now used to host opera concerts. Thankfully being part of the Uniworld tour we had the privilege of skipping the queues!

For lunch, you could dine wherever you wished in the city. On the coach, we had all been given some Euro to put towards our choice of lunch. I chose to dine in a wonderful pizza restaurant overlooking the amphitheatre. After lunch, there was free time to explore the city further.

DAY 7

Today, there was the opportunity to explore Venice at leisure. After shopping and walking around this beautiful city, I enjoyed lunch on board and an afternoon sail of the lagoon. This evening, everybody gathered in the lounge for a farewell cocktail and debriefing on disembarkation, before enjoying a final dinner in the Savoy Restaurant.

DAY 8

This morning, I disembarked after breakfast for the coach transfer to the airport. I arrived in the UK early afternoon and was picked up by the Uniworld VIP chauffeur. On the way back to Yorkshire, I reflected on a brilliant cruise.

Blue Water Blog