Venice Cruise Port & Nearby Activities
Venice Cruise Port
Iconic landmarks, striking architecture and charming canals lure 2 million cruise visitors to Venice each year. One of the most popular cruise ports in the Mediterranean, the Port of Venice sits in the Venice lagoon, and boasts the only inland waterway terminal in Italy. Most cruisers enter at the Marittima basin, the port's largest entrance, which accommodates larger ocean-going ships and is situated less than a mile west of the Piazzale Roma, a bustling area filled with water taxis and plenty of dining spots. The Port of Venice's other pier, San Basilio, welcomes large ships, midsize-ships, small ships and river-cruising ships, and is also conveniently located just two miles south of Piazzale Roma. Once you dock at either entrance, take a quick taxi or shuttle bus to Piazzale Roma, where you can easily explore can't-miss sites, including Saint Mark's Basilica, the Teatro La Fenice and the Rialto Bridge, on foot. Here are the essentials you need to know to decide how to spend your time in the Port of Venice, and whether Venice should be on your cruise itinerary.
What You Need to Know
- Book your hotel strategically In Venice's maze of waterways, canals and bridges replace roads. People tend to get around by sea, so if you're planning a pre- or post-cruise trip in Venice, choose a hotel that's within walking distance of top landmarks.
- Take the bus Some major cruise lines, including Costa, offer complimentary bus service between Piazzale Roma and Venice's cruise terminal every 15 to 20 minutes. Another convenient and cost-effective transit option is Bus 6, which offers regular service from the terminal to Piazzale Roma, for around €1 (roughly $1 USD).
- Cars are a rarity Driving is out of the question in the "City of Water." In fact, the most convenient and affordable way to get around the city's narrow canals, bridges and cobblestone streets is by foot or vaporetto (water bus).
How to Spend Your Time in Venice
Things to Do Near the Port of Venice
- Grand Canal (<1 mile) If you're looking for the perfect photo op, you won't want to miss touring the Grand Canal. Take a romantic gondola ride or opt for the more wallet-friendly water bus. Either way, you're sure to experience Venice's charms. Read More»
- Constitution Bridge (<1 mile) Though not as iconic as the Rialto Bridge, the Constitution Bridge has become famous in its own right. The glass and steel bridge stretches over the Grand Canal, luring history buffs and architecture lovers, alike.
Read On: Top Things to Do in Venice
Popular Tours in Venice
Have a few hours to spare in Venice? Book a tour through your cruise line, explore the city on your own or check out tours available from independent outfitters.
- Highlights of Venice You'll find a dizzying array of 16th-and 17th-century piazzas and spectacular art collections in Venice, making an expert-led tour the best way to experience it all. Many major cruise lines and a variety of independent outfitters, including SeeVenice and DiscoveringVenice, offer guided city tours of must-see sights, such as Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Square and the Bridge of Sighs.
- Gondola Tour Once the main mode of transportation in Venice, gondolas have become a tourist fascination. A variety of cruise lines, including MSC, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian and trusted tour companies, like Row Venice, offer romantic gondola rides and private rowing lessons along the Grand Canal.
- Murano and Burano Visiting the Venetian lagoon and its surrounding isles is a must when in Venice. Murano is known for its intricate glassware and Burano is famous for its handmade lace, making them ideal places to pick up one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Major cruise lines, including Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean, offer excursions to these islands.
- Saint Mark's Basilica After Hours Tour Saint Mark's Basilica's opulent church is drastically different without throngs of visitors crowding its site. Enjoy the intricate designs and gilded interior mosaics as you walk through the cathedral accompanied by an expert lecturer. Many cruise lines, including Norwegian, Princess and Oceania, offer after-hours visits.
Restaurants near the Port of Venice
Beyond the tourist traps around the San Marco area, you'll find plenty of traditional, and cost-effective dining spots dishing out crowd-pleasers like clams (vongole) and sea bass (branzino). Here are top recommended places to eat near the Port of Venice:
- Impronta Cafe
- Hosteria Barbarigo
- Bacareto Da Lele
Located less than a mile from Piazzale Roma and 10 miles south of Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE), the Port of Venice's cruise ship terminals are easily accessible by water taxi (motoscafo), vaporetto (water shuttle) and public bus. From the Marittima cruise terminals, you can easily reach Piazzale Roma on foot or by taking the Venice People Mover (a cable-operated train), which operates year-round. Alternatively, you can reach Piazzale Roma on foot or take a free cruise line-sponsored shuttle bus shuttle bus (when available). Cruisers docking at the San Basilio pier can walk over to the platform for the No. 2 vaporetto and enjoy a short ride to Piazzale Roma. A water bus from Piazzale Roma takes you further into Venice. If you're entering Venice from the St. Lucia Railway Station, you can either take a water bus to Piazzale Roma, a water taxi to the Marittima or the No. 2 vaporetto directly to the San Basilio pier.
From the airport, the rate for a land taxi will cost you around €50 (about $60 USD) to the Marittima and less than €40 (about $50 USD) to the Piazzale Roma, from which you can easily reach the San Basilio pier. A water taxi from the St. Lucia Railway Station directly to the Marittima costs around €65 (about $75 USD). Note that although water taxi rides are more scenic, they can cost a pretty penny.
Read more about Getting Around Venice»
Which cruise companies sail to/from Venice?
- Azamara Club Cruises (2)
- Celebrity Cruises (1)
- Costa Cruises (2)
- Crystal Cruises (2)
- Cunard Cruise Line (2)
- Holland America Line (7)
- MSC Cruises (6)
- Norwegian Cruise Line (3)
- Oceania Cruises (3)
- Princess Cruises (2)
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises (3)
- Royal Caribbean International (4)
- Silversea Cruises (3)