Exploring Venice and its Lagoon on a luxury river cruise
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.