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Our time in Venice: An Experience Not to be Missed!
Surprisingly, people often arrange for just an afternoon in Venice either at the beginning or the end of their cruise and really don't see much of anything. I would first suggest that you pick up a map of Venice at your local bookstore so that you have a foundation from which to plan -- Venice doesn't have roads and transport can be quite an issue. Also, this is one of the most expensive locations in Europe and a hotel room runs from expensive to "help."
Unlike people who are thrilled to spend 100+ euros on a water taxi from the airport to their hotel you can spend 3 euros each for the blue ATVO bus from the airport to P. Roma (15-20 minutes). Depending on your age/health status and your ability to limit your luggage to one manageable wheeled piece each, you can select from a range of hotels that require none, one, or two bridge crossings. We stayed in the Hotel Gardena (google their web site to review) and had a pleasant breakfast three mornings and an excellent third floor room with a view. Other advantages was a short walk down this side canal (Tolentini) to a couple of good restaurants and a short walk to the P. Roma vaparreto stops that get you to St. Marks square or to visit islands like Murano (the grocery store "COOP" is to the far right of the last stop). We used the web site Venice connected to order vaparatto passes and a museum pass.
Assuming that you will not stop elsewhere from New York to Italy, see if you can arrive in daylight and give yourselves a chance for at least a couple hours of a nap to adjust.
Enjoy your planning,
We stayed in Hotel Olimpia near P. Roma. Lovely little hotel overlooking a side canal . 2 mins from Grand Canal and Vaperetto Station. Reasonably priced and easy to walk to St Marks or Rialto.
Try tripadvisor or Hotels.com
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The Olympia (a Best Western hotel) and the Hotel Arlecchino
Fondamenta Delle Burchielle Santa Croce 390 · 30135 Venezia, Italia
Tel. +39 041 710723, or email@example.com both located at the Piazza Roma and both of them are the closest hotels you will find to the port.
David is correct. From the airport you can take a public bus to the Piazza Roma (P.R.), which is the last stop that land taxis and buses can go to in Venice. It is very quick and very easy and very reasonably priced. Ask at the airport to make certain you board the bus that goes to the P.R. Buy your ticket before you board the bus and place it in the little yellow ticket machine to get a time stamp on the ticket. You can take the bus to the Piazza Roma and drop off your luggage at either hotel, both of which are immediately adjacent to the P.R. and then hop on a vaporetto (buy another little ticket and get it stamped before you board the vaporetto) to get down to St. Marks Square.
The next day you can take your luggage from the hotel across the narrow sidewalk and into the Piazza Roma and take the (usually free) shuttle bus over the small bridge to the port.
Taking local transportation is part of the whole travel experience. Enjoy the bus and the vaporetto as you go down the grand canal to St. Marks Square.
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We have two days in May in Venice and would like to find a nice B&B convenient to the cruise area and accessible to other points of interest. Any suggestions? Thanks for all the great suggestions on Venice travel. Jim
As we were going to spend extra days in Venice, I started with a guidebook and a map from a bookstore (consider MapEasy's Guidemap To Venice). The map lists several hotels so you can become better oriented. The P. Roma area is Santa Croce and there are a limited number of hotels (maybe two) that you can drive up to, a couple that require crossing one bridge and several that require crossing two bridges. There is also a reasonable price range from relatively expensive to way more expensive. (If you want to have a laugh, go to a site like the Sheraton and price a room with a view of the Grand Canal at $800+/night.)
Starting with Santa Croce, you can go on Trip Adviser and look at some options.
What time do you arrive in P. Roma (better in daylight)? How heavy are your suitcases (better one rolling piece/adult)? How active/healthy are you? Most hotels are within converted 500 year-old palacios, so you are dealing with 7-20 rooms, for the most part. In this area, apparently one building was most recently built as a hotel (The Sofitel). We selected a mid-range hotel were to stay 3 nights and visited staff the day before when we were still on the ship, talking up our upcoming stay (hoping for a large room and a large bath). Although we had paid for a backroom, we were placed on the third floor with a canal/Grand Canal/new bridge view and a great bathroom divided into two rooms. We stayed at the Hotel Gardena on Fond. Tolentini and paid 170 euro/night including a reasonable buffet breakfast (just wait for the ship to indulge!).
Do remember that all descriptions of distances used in hotel etc. ads assume that you are an olympic athlete (just 10 minutes, etc.). The Piazza Roma area is convenient for the beginning of vaparatto routes to Murano and down the Grand Canal to St. Marks square. If your hotel room has a refrigerator, there is a Coop grocery store next to the vaparatto stop where you can get a 6-pack of soda for the price of one at a restaurant.
Hope my ramblings are helpful in your Venice planning,