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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman

 

Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
~ Istanbul to Genoa ~

Two Days in Magical Venice, Italy

June 12, 2002

If there is a better way to arrive in Venice than by ship, I have yet to discover it. 

Silver Whisper reached the "Queen of the Adriatic" before 7:30 am and I didn't want to miss a moment. An early room service breakfast served as my wake-up call. The doorbell never fails to arouse me and I had plenty of time for juice, coffee, and flaky croissants before the campanile, or bell tower of St. Mark's came into view. What a glorious vision on a clear morning kissed with the promise of sunshine. It was made all the more interesting by the commentary from the bridge, which was relayed to early risers on the open decks and, to those of us watching from starboard suites, on the television. My suite balcony proved to be the perfect perch to view the sights on this itinerary.

Hotel Cipriani Gardens

Before heading to the city, I had a luncheon engagement at Hotel Cipriani. Situated on the Island of Giudecca, it is just minutes by boat from St. Mark's Square. Attained only by private launch, it affords convenient access to the city and a tranquil haven for guests. After a stroll through the gardens, we dined al fresco beside the magnificent swimming pool —the only one in Venice— sampling the superb cuisine and the Hotel Cipriani's unique "Casanova Salso" wine. Over an iced parfait and espresso, we speculated whether Paul McCartney would be honeymooning in one of the deluxe suites. The list of celebrity guests is impressive and includes Hollywood's elite as well as genuine royalty and even American presidents.

When the hotel's launch delivered me back to reality—and the heart of Venice—the waves of swooping pigeons, endlessly moving crowds, and heat took their toll. I was ready to escape to Silver Whisper at the Stazione Marittima. Although I've visited Venice a number of times, I've never mastered the art of riding vaporetti, Venice's water busses. No matter—our complimentary water shuttle made an hourly circuit between Riva degli Schiavoni and Silver Whisper's berth—a major convenience. I have a somewhat misguided sense of direction on dry land and water only adds to my confusion.

I passed on a gondola ride along Venice's narrow canals and libations at Harry's Bar with my friends, as well as the evening's on board entertainment, a big screen film in the Viennese Lounge. Excitement for this weary traveler meant a movie in the VCR and comfort food—a good old-fashioned cheeseburger, elegantly served by room service. I was asleep by the time my head hit the down pillows.

June 13, 2002

Refreshed and revitalized, a shore excursion featuring famous art works in less touristy surroundings filled my second morning in Venice. The walking tour of Scuola Granda di San Rocco and Frari Basilica satisfied my thirst to view the spectacular paintings of Tintoretto, Bellini, and Titian in their historic settings. This is surely one of Venice's highlights.

Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge

Instead of taking the tour's launch back to the ship, a friend and I headed on foot through the maze of streets, canals, and bridges from Frari Church to St. Mark's Square. Our map proved to be bewildering and  unnecessary; we took the advice of our ship's Tour Manager and simply followed the signs and arrows and eventually found the Rialto Bridge, a shopper's haven with the bonus of a Grand Canal photo op. Lunch began to sound very appealing and we barely slowed down in St. Mark's Square (where a pigeon made a good luck "dropping" on me) on our way to a waterside café. Celebrating our good fortune at being in Venice on a beautiful day, we feasted on pizza and cappuccino.

Back on board Silver Whisper, a "Bellini Party" on deck toasted our sailing from Venice. "Bellini" is a refreshing combination of champagne and peach liqueur—the perfect ending to two days in one of the world's most beautiful cities.

Next -> Shore Adventures in Split, Croatia & Bari, Italy

Back to the Istanbul to Genoa Cruise Diary Index

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