About to cruise Venice?
Get off the cruise ship and
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Planning to cruise Venice? Venice Italy is a one-of-a-kind city and you should plan your short stay well to make the most of it - top Venice tours and shore excursions help you maximize your time and money!

Why should you cruise Venice at least once in a lifetime?

There are numerous compelling reasons why everyone should seriously consider visiting Venice, Italy!

Being a unique city of canals, home to a huge number of architectural marvels and artistic masterpieces, a setting rich with history and culture as well as unforgetable atmosphere - it's just a glimpse of what makes Venice an enticing destination for cruisers from around the world.

The city's unique character, rich history, artistic heritage, and romantic allure combine to offer an unforgettable travel experience that lingers in the hearts and minds of those who visit - actually a full 20 million each year!

If you still haven't been one of them - you are missing out!

Here's a little sneak peek mix of Venice tours you can do:

Are cruise ships still going to Venice?

Are cruise ships allowed in Venice? Is there a cruise ship Venice ban in power? What is the impact of cruises in Venice?

These questions are very valid: there has been significant debate and controversy regarding the presence of cruise ships in Venice.

Cruise ships are not allowed to dock in the city's historic center (in Stazione Marittima near the Troncheto island), as the issue of their impact on the fragile ecosystem, the city's infrastructure, the cultural and heritage preservation, overcrowding as well as safety and navigation risks has sparked protests and concerns among the local population.

In response to the protests and concerns, many cruiselines have redirected their ships to ports like Ravenna and Trieste, while others dock in the industrial area of Venice, Marghera.

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What cruise lines go to Venice? What cruise ships go to Venice?

Several cruise lines offer sailings out of Venice. Some of the prominent cruise lines that have historically operated from Venice include:

  1. MSC Cruises: MSC Cruises is a popular international cruise line that has had a significant presence in Venice. They offer a variety of itineraries departing from Venice, exploring destinations in the Mediterranean and beyond.
  2. Costa Cruises: Costa Cruises, an Italian cruise line, has also operated cruises from Venice. They offer a range of itineraries departing from Venice, including Mediterranean voyages and Adriatic Sea cruises.
  3. Royal Caribbean International: Royal Caribbean is a well-known international cruise line that has included Venice as a departure port for some of its Mediterranean cruises. They offer diverse itineraries and a wide range of onboard amenities and activities.
  4. Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line is another major cruise line that has offered sailings from Venice. They have featured Venice as a port of embarkation for Mediterranean cruises, providing various itinerary options.
  5. Princess Cruises: Princess Cruises has included Venice as a departure port for select Mediterranean itineraries. They offer a blend of popular ports and lesser-known destinations in the region.

Where do cruise ships dock in Venice?

Cruise ships in Venice used to dock at the Venice Passenger Terminal, also known as Venezia Terminal Passeggeri or Stazione Marittima (terms are used interchangeably).

It is located at the Marittima basin, which is the primary port area for large cruise ships.

The Venice Passenger Terminal is situated near the western end of the main island of Venice, close to the Tronchetto parking area.

As I found out during my cruise on an MSC ship in July of 2023, that is not the case anymore and now they are docking in the industrial area of Marghera. However, there is still a cruise terminal in the Stazione Marittima and this is where you will go to if Venice is your embarkation port (find out more in my Marghera cruise port article)!

Find out more:

Things To Do in Venice

How can I get from Venice cruise dock to central Venice?

To get to the central Venice from Stazione Marittima or even Marghera industrial area dock, you can use various transportation options:

  • You can book one of the cruise line shore excursions that will leave from Marghera
  • You can pay for a quite expensive water bus shuttle from Marghera dock straight into Piazza San Marco. MSC cruises offered this service at 48 euros per person
  • Another option is to use your cruiseline's free shuttle bus/ waterbus from Marghera to their terminal building in Stazione Marittima (Find out more in my article on Marghera cruise port) and take it from there.
  • You can book one of the independent Venice shore excursions through trusted platforms like Viator, and there are only a few that I managed to find for you. They will pick you up at Stazione Marittima, not the Marghera as they don't have access to the ship, and neither do you have access to the industrial area exit on foot.

In the past, there used to be an Alilaguna water bus (Blue Line) which you might have read about in many outdated articles/forums/cruise groups online but it is not functional anymore (as I found out during my Venice cruise in June 2023).

Keep in mind there is yet another step involved when getting from Piazzale Roma to central Venice, and it can be done by:

Here's a few water taxi tours that make it possible for you to privately enjoy the Grand Canal, as well as visit Basilica San Marco, one of the top 3 sights in Venice.

Find out more:

What are the best ways to get around Venice? 

VeniceDjuzaVaporettoMy husband's first vaporetto ride left him speechless

Getting around Venice is generally easy on foot...and here at the Mediterranean Cruise Ports Easy you can learn all about how to walk Venice. If you do head towards Piazza San Marco on foot, Venice people mover will be of a great help, too.

Still, depending where you're headed, you can also choose from the big fleet of different boats unique to this city: Venice vaporetto, Venice water taxi, gondola Venice, Venice traghetto...just like you wouldn't miss a rikshaw ride in India, a horse drawn carriage in Vienna or a black cab in London, you don't wanna leave here without taking a little ride in any one of these!

So it is really difficult to say what are the best ways of getting around Venice - it all depends on your budget, the final destination and the purpose: is it getting from point A to point B as soon as possible or looking for a way to take it all in slowly? 

Find out more:

VeniceFromVaporettoVenice Grand Canal and Rialto bridge seen from Vaporetto make a great photo opportunity!

Why go on a boat cruise around Venice?

When in Venice, do as the Venetians do - go by boat!

There are several benefits to experiencing Venice on a water boat, which is a popular mode of transportation in the city.

Here are some of the advantages:

  • it gives you a unique perspective of this town
  • it is an efficient means of transportation in a city that is made up of about 150 canals
  • it gives you an exhilarating scenic experience
  • provides access to hidden gems (some of the most beautiful palace facades can be seen from water only!), 
  • gives you flexibility and freedom (no need to look for a bridge to cross to the other side) 
  • and above all it provides an unbeatable romantic atmosphere (no wonder gondolas are one of the top spots in the world to pop the question).

Having a chance to cruise Venice and not take it would be such a shame! I have mentioned water taxis and vaporettos above, but here's also a few recommendations on gondola tours in Venice!

Find out more:

Best ways to spend 8 hours in Venice

Eight hours is not a lot, but you can still fit in many memorable and breathtaking Venice sights and activities - if you make some educated decisions and plan well.

If this is your once-in-a-lifetime visit or you are not planning to come back anytime soon, don't be affraid to splash out and spend some money to make the most of your stay! It is a unique city and you should maximize your experience here.

When I worked on cruise ships I was back in Venice every Sunday, on turnaround day. So I was never in rush to see and do it all - but if I had only one day I would have probably payed for a tour with a local guide to show me as many highlights as possible in the limited time I had.

Below are a few recommendations of Venice must-do tours, the ones that show you the essence of Venice in a very short time:

Find out more:

Top highlights, landmarks and experiences of Venice

Venice offers a wealth of attractions and experiences - it's so difficult to single out just a few. I will mention just a few and you can customize your itinerary based on your interests and allocate time to simply wander the enchanting streets and canals, discovering the hidden gems and unique charm of the city.

  1. St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco): Explore the iconic St. Mark's Square, visit St. Mark's Basilica, and enjoy the panoramic views from the Campanile (bell tower).
  2. Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale): Discover the grandeur of the Doge's Palace, a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture.
  3. Rialto Bridge and Market: Cross the famous Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge spanning the Grand Canal, and visit the bustling Rialto Market to experience the vibrant atmosphere and local produce.
  4. Grand Canal: Take a vaporetto ride along the Grand Canal, Venice's main waterway, and marvel at the splendid palaces, churches, and bridges that line its banks.
  5. Gondola Ride: Enjoy a quintessential Venetian experience with a gondola ride through the picturesque canals of Venice, offering a unique perspective of the city.
  6. Murano Island: Visit Murano, known for its glassmaking tradition. Explore glass factories, watch demonstrations, and admire the exquisite Murano glass creations.
  7. Burano Island: Explore the colorful island of Burano, famous for its vibrant and picturesque houses. Discover its lace-making heritage and stroll along the charming canals.
  8. Peggy Guggenheim Collection: Immerse yourself in modern art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which houses an impressive collection of European and American artwork in a beautiful palazzo.
  9. Venetian Cuisine: Indulge in Venetian cuisine, including local specialties such as seafood dishes, cicchetti (Venetian tapas), and traditional desserts like tiramisu and fritelle.
  10. Lido di Venezia: Visit the Lido, a barrier island with beautiful sandy beaches. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront or relax on the beach.

Here's a few tours to take you to dreamy islands of the Venice lagoon:

Find out more:

VeniceAcademmiaBridgeVenice bridges are a great spot for taking photos of canals

Where can I stay in Venice before or after the cruise?

When you cruise Venice, your time in this port of call can be pretty limited, especially now when cruise ships dock in Marghera cruise port.

That is why it's a great idea to pick a cruiseship and the itinerary that offers you a chance to embark or disembark the ship at the Venice cruise terminal and spend some additional time here before or after their cruise.

In that case you can pick among many options for your stay, depending on the area of the city that is most practical for you, your budget and other factors. You can find out more on our page Venice hotels (which is still a work in progress).

What are the best buys in Venice?

Even shopping here in Venice isn't only limited to the same-old-same-old that you see in every other capital of the world. Quite a few items you can buy here speak of its history and have meaning behind them.

Shopping in Venice is actually a fantastic opportunity to buy something handmade, unique and precious...something you might hand down in your family one day!

Today, there are numerous cheap and soulless copies of these items sold on streets so we'll help you recognize the real deal and avoid the tourist traps!

But, what are really top best buys in Venice? Here's my top 5 items:

  1. Murano Glass 
  2. Venetian Masks
  3. Burano Lace
  4. Venetian Paper Products
  5. Prosecco and Italian Wine

Remember to explore local markets, artisan shops, and reputable boutiques to find the best-quality products and support local artisans

What are the best ways to see Venice with kids?

Venice can be an interesting and enjoyable destination for kids. While the city is often associated with its romantic atmosphere and historical landmarks, there are several activities and attractions that can appeal to children as well.

It's important to keep in mind the specific interests and age group of your children when planning activities in Venice. With a little creativity and planning, you can make Venice an engaging and memorable experience for the whole family.

There are some great ideas on our page Venice with children or find some kid-friendly experiences in Venice right here:

Venice Italy tips and tricks

If you're a tourist planning to visit Venice, my top no.1 tip would be to visit Venice off-season: Venice can get crowded, especially during the peak summer months.

Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring or autumn) when the weather is still pleasant but the tourist numbers are lower. You'll have a chance to experience a quieter Venice with shorter queues and a more relaxed atmosphere. Luckily, there are numerous cruises making calls to Venice almost all year long.

For more useful tips check your article on Venice practical tourist information.

Find out more:


Hello! My name is Martina and I have been living, working and cruising in the Med for the past 20 years. Now I want to make you Med confident! Read more about me...


1. Livorno to Pisa

2. Port of Venice

3. Naples to Pompeii

4. Capri ferry

5. Livorno to Florence

6. Kusadasi shopping

7. Livorno to Pisa by Bus

8. Map of Venice

9. Port of Dubrovnik

10. Livorno Italy

11. Venice people  mover

12. Dubrovnik Croatia

13. Naples to Capri

14. What to pack for Europe

15. Getting to Dubrovnik

16. Messina Sicily

17. Pisa Train

18. Visiting Pompeii

19. Pompeii forum

20. Port of Piraeus

21. Getting to Florence

22. Venice vaporetto

23. Venice water bus

24. Livorno map

25. Getting to Zadar

26. Venice cruise terminal

27. Walk Venice

28. Mykonos beach

29. Tourist information Lucca Italy

30. Pomepii homes