TOP 5 Venice Hotels (by TripAdvisor Guest reviews):
1. Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo - Top value only 10 minutes walk from Piazzale Roma and close to Grand Canal, read more... 2. Al Ponte Antico - A family hotel on Grand Canal that many wish to keep a secret, read more... 3.Hotel Canal Grande - Highly recommended hotel on Grand Canal, close to Piazzale Roma and the train station, read more... 4. Hotel Antiche Figure - Friendly, clean and with fantastic location for cruisers, read more... 5. Hotel Ca Dogaressa - A small hotel in a quiet canal and a vaporetto stop right outside, read more...
"From Portofino Port you will walk for some 2-3 minutes to get to the Piazzetta di Portofino"
Portofino port day isn't crew's favourite day. And oh, no, it's not that we don't like the little gem town with colourful trompe l'oeil facades, the megayachts moored, having a cappuccinno sitting on the terraces with crisp white tablecloths and the smell of the olive groves and pines.
It's just that we really don't like Portofino port tendering. Super limited with our time off (lucky are those who get some) the whole procedure with waiting for the boats, and not knowing how long the ride will be due to the traffic in the harbour or weather conditions, is not very practical.
But being a cruise guest, you don't even have to worry about that. And noone will mind if you come back onboard with the very last tender boat. It's perfectly understandable you will want to soak up the very last little breath of La Dolce Vita.
So, yes, in Portofino you cruise ship will anchor in the bay from where you will have a fantastic view of the village of Portofino, the Promontory with the lighthouse on the left and the Santa Marguerita di Ligure on the right. As well as all the beautiful villas with their little private docks and bathing areas.
Plan your getting off in Portofino port with your family or your party as there are better and not so good times to get off.
I suggest you either get off on one of the first tender boats, which is normally some 30 minutes after your ship anchors (check the anchoring time in the ship's newsletter) or wait until the rush is finished (after 11 am).
Remember that it is always the security department members that have to go ashore first so they can set up their station ashore, then there is the bar staff who set up the refreshment station, shore excursions staff etc.
Then you might be lucky to get on one of the tender boats before shore excursions come down to shuttle on land all together. Depending on the size of the ship, the tours offloading procedure can take some time so if you miss those first tender boats you might not be able to get off then. Or you can stand on the side of the offloading area and wait if there is a few extra spots on tours' tenders.
As already mentioned above, the tender ride itself can last anywhere from 10-20 minutes. If everything goes smoothly, you will have just enough time to take some nice shots of the village and the coast from the boat and you'll be there.
But then again, the traffic in and out of the harbour might be busy and your boat could be destined to sit at sea just outside the Portofino port for 10-15 minutes until it gets cleared to dock. Namely, the same little port is used by fishermen, small ferries/shore excursions boats and yachts. Hopefully you don't mind the rocking while waiting.
Because of the tendering , in spring and autumn ships can entirely cancel the Portofino day if the captain decides the procedure would be endangering the guests and the crew.
In that case, the ship might get a spot to dock in the close by Genoa. If that doesn't work out, you might have a day at sea. That's why, if Portofino is the only reason you're coming on the cruise, make sure you book one in summer.
If everything goes well and your tender boat docks ashore, you will be right there in the miniature Portofino port and harbour. You will walk for 2-3 minutes to get to the Piazzetta di Portofino, and on the way there you can gawk at the megayachts decks, you might see someone famous. Don't be surprised if you do.
If you're with the shore excursions, just keep in mind the buses can't wait for you right by the tender drop off as there are no cars allowed into the village itself. So you will walk for some 5-7 minutes until you get to the parking lot just outside the village.
Some tours will take boats to Sta Margherita and those will be leaving from the pier just 2 minutes walk from the tender boat drop off.
If you need to use the toilet before you set off on your tour, no problem, there is one right there in Portofino port and as expected, it's quite classy too.
If you need to draw some money from an ATM before you need to go on a tour make sure you ask your tour guide if there's enough time to do that as the closest machines are on the road straight up from the Piazzeta, past the Panerai shop. If there's no time, you will always find one in Sta Margherita or Genoa.