Earlier today I was looking through the cruise excursions and found a lot in Venice, Italy – however, they were mostly over $79. With a little help from some travel colleagues on board, I could get into town, do a full circle tour of Venice by boat and head back to the ship for exactly 20 euro.
How to do it?
When you get off the ship and walk out of the main cruise terminal, you’ll see a people mover just outside the terminal gates. It’s just like the monorail at Disney World, but in Venice, it’ll cost you euros each way.
Follow the signs to the people mover and purchase your tickets at the kiosk.
Don’t be fooled because you’ll see a water taxi sign that will take you into Venice for 15 euro round-trip. Just a little beyond that is the people mover.
Once you head upstairs, there’s digital signage to show Venice. It’s in two languages, and the monorail runs every few minutes going back and forth (there’s only one stop in Venice, you can’t miss it).
The three-minute people mover ride will take you to station Roma (the only stop in Venice), a main transfer point. It’s a major transfer point for Europe, with a train station about a five-minute walk away.
Head to the canal
When you leave the people mover station, you’ll head left and go towards the water, where you’ll see the vaporettos. At each docking station, there’s a kiosk and a booth with the rates and schedules of the boats. Expect to pay 7 euro for an hour pass and 18 euro for a 12-hour hop-on hop-off boat pass. Euros and major credit cards are accepted.
There are a couple of different boats and directions you can take the boat. I opted to hop off at San Marco to take photos and check out the Rialto Bridge. You can see the water routes here.
Heading back to the ship
The way back would just be the opposite of getting there. Get off the boat at the Roma stop, walk inland about a block, and you’ll be at the people mover station. Scan the ticket you bought earlier, head upstairs, and board the people mover. Give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship, especially if there are a lot of ships in port.
It was so convenient that we went back into Venice on the people mover later in the evening to check out the night scene.
Tip: Take a photo of the sign at the people mover station or a local cross-section to show someone if you get lost.
Tip: Remember that the people mover hours change seasonally and close at different times throughout this year. Tonight it closed at 10p. A taxi from Piazza Roma to the cruise terminal is a flat rate of 20 euro. Expensive!
Tip: Buy your return ticket when you purchase your initial ticket. If you return to the ship at a peak time, there will be a line at the kiosks. There are only three kiosks at each station, so lines can get long.
Tip: Try to get the people mover early. There has been up to an hour’s wait to get on high-volume passenger days.
Doing Venice on a budget isn’t impossible, and after talking to the passengers back on the ship, they paid a lot more to see a lot less. Always research before arriving at the port.