This for me was the one port I was most looking forward to, for two reasons. Firstly because it was a place I had never been to and secondly because we would eat the chance to sail through the canal to port and watch from the top deck.
This meant a nice, relaxing start to the day with brunch at Lumiere’s making sure we timed it with enough time to take Harry to the kids club and head up to top deck with the camera. The trip through the canal of Venice to the dock would take around 90 minutes and we we traveled through we passed very close to many Venice landmarks include a view of St Mark’s Square and their gondolas. We would visit there later.
Upon arriving at the port just after 1pm, we had just enough time for a buffet lunch in Topsiders before heading to Rocking Bar D for a 2.45pm. I must mention here that we were a little concerned about the fact we found a mouldy Raspberry on one of the deserts and since then, several guests have mentioned eating and Topsiders and feeling a little unwell after. I’m hoping this was just a coincidence and nothing more.
Our excursion this afternoon was entitled “Gondola and Leisure Time”. We were transported by boat directly from the ship to a mooring just down from St Mark’s Square. Our tour guide gave us some information about Venice on the way in but she was too long winded in her explanations to really take it in. We were then guided to our the Gondola station and asked to make groups of 6 to board. This did cause a few issues as some groups were only fours whilst other had already made sixes. The tour guides (non-Disney) were a little agitated at the fact some were only in 4s and even threatened to split up groups to fill gondolas. This wasn’t well received and she soon realised she wasn’t getting anywhere.
The gondola ride itself lasted around 35 minutes and took us on a predetermined route through the city. Having begun by moving out in to open water and have to navigate our way through several other gondolas and water taxis (boat if the only way to see Venice, there are no vehicles in the city at all) we entered the canals of the city for a very serene cruise. Having never visited Venice, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect but the city is stunning and the architecture unlike much I’ve seen before.
As soon as we disembarked, we had around 2 hours to explore the city on our own before heading back to our boat and a cruise back to the Disney Magic. It is advisable to give yourself plenty of time in Venice and its always good to have a map with you. Many of the back streets look similar and with such narrow streets and tall buildings there is no horizon for you to use to get yourself back to the edge of the river. During our 2 hours we came across several traditional Venetian mask stores, cafes, the Ferrari store (because Luigi only follow the Ferraris) and the Disney Store, which we might have used Google maps to find. Finally, after several hours and a few wrong turns, we arrived back in St Mark’s Square, scared a few pigeons and listened to music from some of the ensembles playing in each of the cafes in the square. People have said not to sit and drink coffee in the square as it is too expensive. We found most cafes to be around €6-7 for a Latte and avoided them. We did stop at a cafe in a back street and bought 2 bottles of Sprite and a Coke which cost us £10, not as cheap as we hoped. Oh well, when in Rome…….
At 6.20, we made our way back towards our transport back to the ship. This was the most frustrating part of the day as we seemed to stand around for some time while we watched other tour groups get on boats before us without any reason for the hold up. It took a good 20 minutes before our tour guide seemed to negotiate with a pilot and we got on. The hold up meant several people on first seating dinner missed their reservation.
Due to Venice rules, we couldn’t board the ship and instead we had to pass through the port building. It’s was a long walk from the drop off point to the ship and included a queue for security where we had to show Key to the World cards and Passports. We arrived back on the ship around 7.15 with just enough time to get ready for dinner. We had missed the show for the evening whic was screening of the new Lone Ranger film as the film would be repeated again in the Buena Vista theatre we weren’t too bothered. Tonight was the first back to back trip to Lumiere’s. This evening was the Bella Italian menu, designed especially for the cruise and featured a list of Italian classics. To finish off the Italian themed evening guests were invited to deck 9 and 10 to watch a Masquerade Carnival, presented by Venice locals. All I will say is we watched 10 minutes of it and then left, picked up Harry for the Oceaneer’s Lab and then went back to our stateroom for the evening.
It felt unusual to sleep in a cabin and there be no feeling of movement. The gentle rocking is very soothing and really helps with getting sleep. As we overnighted in Venice we had the chance to get off again the next day and do our own thing. Having already got a taste of the city we decided to stay aboard. Our decision was also aided by the distance from the port to the city by foot and a return trip aboard Venice transport from the port was €15 for everyone 7 and over. Instead we chose to stay on the ship and enjoy its amenities on board. There was plenty of swimming in the pool, a win at the Disney Trivia Quiz and a trip to kids club for Harry leaving us the chance to see a matinee screening of the Lone Ranger. Without going in to a few review of the movie, the film is great, Johnny Depp is great, Armie Hammer is great and the film is pretty funny. The team behind it are the same team that brought us the Pirates movies which is already a recipe for success. Expected their to be a sequel.
We came out of the cinema just as the ship began to pull away from the port and gave us one final chance to see Venice as we sailed back through the canal into open waters. As tonight’s show was a little later, it meant we had enough time to watch us leave before getting ready for the evening. Tonight was the turn of Rebecca and Donovan, an American pair who had appeared on Americas got Talent. It was something new although Donovan’s singing was a little bit “cabaret” as Simon Cowell would say it was nice to see something a little different to the usual Disney shows.
Dinner was a return the Lumiere’s and was their signature French dinner that included snails and French Onion soup. As if one quiz wasn’t enough, I ventured back to the Promenade lounge for a second go at Disney Trivia. Sadly, a score of 22 out of 25 wasn’t enough to win it this time! Tomorrow we dock in Dubrovnik, Croatia