Following the news that Italian officials have ordered a ban on all larger cruise ships visiting Venice, now is the time to take advantage of visiting this iconic part of the world.

Bon Voyage Venice…

From November 2014 larger cruise ships will no longer be able to stop in Venice following a meeting between Italy Premier Enrico Letta, his ministers, Venice municipal officials and regional authorities.

The decision was made after environmentalists and locals stated their views that large ships cause irreparable damage to the Venetian lagoon’s ecosystem and the city’s history-enriched landmarks. They became concerned that the increasing size of modern cruise ships were ruining the unique features quintessentially ‘Venice’.

The ban will begin this month and the number of cruise ships 40,000 tons or more sailing in Venetian waters must be reduced by 20% of the current volume. Then, in November no cruise ships over 96,000 will be permitted to sail in the lagoon.

Cruise lines are hoping not to eliminate Venice completely from their itineraries and are looking for alternatives to still offer guests a chance to visit this popular city.

A must see…

The Eastern Mediterranean continues to be a popular itinerary choice due to the array of fascinating European cities visited. Venice always features in top 10 lists of destinations to visit in the world, and there are so many reasons why.

Often described by travellers as their favourite part of the world, Venice is an abundance of history-enriched culture, divine cuisine, spectacular sights and a cosmopolitan embellished atmosphere. From taking a gondola ride through the fascinating narrow streets to indulging in a fresh pizza in San Marco Square, Venice is a story-book that awaits to be read.

My favourite Venice explorations…

Here are my top five things to do in Venice:

Take a Gondola ride – The Gondola is a symbol of Venice and provides the best way to see the city. Taking you through narrow passage ways and under stunning bridges, it will make you fall in love with this city even more.

Visit Basilica di San Marco – One of the most iconic buildings in the world, this grand church boasts five large domes adorned with incredible mosaics. Inside is home to special treasures including statues, carvings and the Paka d’oro - made completely of gold.

Eat a pizza (or get a coffee) in San Marco Square – One of the most striking piazzas in the world, San Marco Square is lined with famous architecture, quant cafes and world-class restaurants. The square is the lowest area of Venice and access can be prevented by the high tide sometimes – a remarkable experience to see. The fresh pizzas you experience in Italy can only be described when you have tasted them for yourself.

Visit Ponte de Rialto – This famous bridge represents Italy for its architectural excellence and impressive features. Often highlighted in pictures of Venice, this bridge was built in the 16th century as a result of a competition held to replace the older version on the Canal Grande. The bridge is now home to various shops including jewellery stores and glass showrooms.

Shopping – The variety of shops in Venice truly captivate the famous cosmopolitan European flavour. With everything from quant boutiques, expensive fashion brands and fun tourist shops, it is every shopper’s heaven.

Get there while you can…

With only a short time left for you to experience a cruise here, I have picked out a selection of the best deals for you:

Western Med from Venice with Royal Caribbean 

Greece and Turkey from Venice With Norwegian Cruise Lines

Greek Isles from Venice with Celebrity Cruises

Italy and Croatia with P&O Cruises

Italy, Croatia and Greece from Venice with MSC Cruises

See you in Venice…

With less than nine months to visit this unique part of the world on a cruise and itineraries selling out fast, I suggest Venice being a top prioritie for your 2014 cruising list!

Ci vediamo la (See you there!)


By Sally Grimes