Frequently Asked Questions
Where will I go on a Venice cruise?
This depends on your itinerary. On a Venice cruise you may choose an Eastern Mediterranean itinerary, or one that visits mainland Greece and the surrounding isles. A small number of cruises that visit Venice also include stops in Israel and Egypt. Visit cities such as Athens, Mykonos, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Naples, Florence and Rome.
How long does it take to get there?
Venice is about nine hours from New York.
When is the best time to take a Venice cruise?
The high season stretches from April to October, but cruises are available here year-round. Visitors can avoid summer's sizzling temperatures and surging tourist crowds by traveling during the "shoulder seasons" in spring (April and May) or fall (September and October). Temperatures are still comfortable during these months -- the high in Venice rises into the 60’s and 70’s most days -- and there's less competition for the top historic sites. And visitors who don't mind a bit of a chill might enjoy a winter cruise, as temperatures in the Mediterranean rarely drop below freezing.
Will I need a passport or visa?
Passports are required for all international visitors. Visa rules vary by country.
Is English spoken?
It is spoken and understood at most resorts, shops and restaurants connected to the tourist trade. However, visitors might learn a few basic phrases before setting sail.
What is the time difference?
Venice lies six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
What is the local currency? Where can I exchange currency?
Currencies vary depending on your port of call, but the euro is accepted in Venice, and most other European countries. Currency exchange stations are available at most local hotels and airports, though many tourist destinations accept credit cards.
Is tipping a common practice?
Many restaurants include a service charge, but tipping of an additional 10% is customary almost everywhere. Be sure to review all bills before handing out gratuities.
What should I wear?
Casual resort wear, including shorts and T-shirts, is the standard daytime attire for most cruises. Bring a variety of footwear, including low-heeled or rubber-soled shoes for walking on deck, sandals for beach excursions, sturdy walking shoes for guided tours and a pair of dressier shoes for formal dining. You can check your ship's dress codes for options suitable for nighttime, but most restaurants encourage slacks and nice dresses during evening meals.
Many churches and cathedrals in Venice require some degree of modest attire for visitors. You may not be permitted to enter if wearing "too short" shorts, and women may be asked to cover bare shoulders (it's a good idea to tuck a lightweight scarf into your purse or tote).
What should I pack?
All sorts of tours are offered in Venice -- from walking tours of the city to sightseeing excursions on neighboring islands – so think about the kinds of activities you will want to try and pack accordingly. Bring sunscreen, swimsuits and sunglasses if traveling in summer; protective hats, good walking shoes and windbreakers are advisable no matter when you travel. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.
Is the water safe to drink?
Most resorts and restaurants filter their tap water, though bottled water is available almost everywhere.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't usually necessary for visitors from North America, but it never hurts to check with your health care provider and discuss the countries you'll be visiting.
What types of electrical outlets are used?
U.S. cruise companies use the standard 110-volt outlets. International guests will likely need converters and adapters; these same devices come in handy for U.S. citizens who plan to overnight in hotels at some point during their vacation, as much of Europe and Asia uses the 220-volt outlet.
How do I make a telephone call from Venice?
Resort hotels and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available for sale in tourist-friendly markets. U.S.-based cell phones might not work everywhere.
Are hotel rooms outfitted with air conditioners?
Very few 1- and 2-star hotels offer air conditioning, and those that do may charge extra for the convenience. If recycled air is important to you, make sure to consult your travel counselor before booking a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy? Can I haggle over prices?
Shoppers will find a little of everything here, from high-end, hand-blown glass to delicate handmade lace and unique Carnival masks. The main shopping area runs from Piazzo San Marco to the Rialto Bridge, where you can browse souvenir shops or high-fashion boutiques. Don’t plan on haggling over prices since it will rarely get you anywhere.
How do I get around?
Venice is the only pedestrian-city in the world. No cars are allowed so residents and tourists alike utilize water taxis and vaporettis (water buses) to get around. Visitors may also enjoy taking a gondola ride along the city’s canals. Walking is a primary way to get around as well, although Venice can be hard to navigate on your own due to the confusing maze of streets that can easily end up in an alley or canal. Consider purchasing a shore excursion through your cruise line that will highlight top attractions and include transportation and a guide.
What can I do there?
Venice is a city with many churches and museums to explore. Most tours of Venice stop at the famous St. Marks Cathedral, the Doge’s Palace or take you on a gondola ride. You may also want to see the Bridge of Sighs and the Correr Museum, or take in the great views atop the Belltower of St. Marks. Trips over to the islands of Murano or Burano are also quite popular for hand-blown glass and delicate lace. Whatever you decide, be sure to wear comfortable shoes to get around this pedestrian-only city.
Do you have any photography tips for Venice travelers?
There's plenty of historic beauty to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter. Make sure photography is permitted before shooting in museums, churches and cathedrals; in some cases, you'll just be asked to turn off your flash.