OceanaP&OPort Guides

Venice Cruise Guide

Venice is a World Heritage city and is perfect, as everything is so easily accessible on foot. We recently visited during our P&O Oceana cruise around Malta, Italy and Croatia.

Sailing in to Venice

Below you will see our video of the Venice sail in and some views of Venice, you will get a sense of how amazing the sail in to Venice actually is. To see this you need to be up on deck early and they will advise you on the time the day before.

Our cruise had an arrival time of 8 am, so we were up on deck by 6 and the sail in and commentary by the port presenter started about 6.30. Make sure you get up and see this!


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Getting from the Ship to St Marks Square (Piazza San Marco)

The ship docked at the main Venice cruise terminal complex and in port that day were 3 other ships. We purchased the P&O ‘motor launch’ tickets on board, these cost £16 per person and allow you to take the motor launch in to Venice and back.


Other options exist such as the Vaporetto (water buses), the Hop On Hop Off boats or even the ‘People Mover’ but as this was our first time we played it safe and went with the P&O option.

The motor launch leaves from the cruise terminal area, it’s a case of following the big P&O signs to find it – unfortunately it seems everyone had the same idea and many boats use the jetty so queuing is likely. It’s then a 20 minute ride, retracing our earlier steps from the sail in before docking just further down than St Mark’s square.

Bridge of Sighs, Gondolas' and St Mark's Basilica
Bridge of Sighs, Gondolas’ and St Mark’s Basilica


St Mark’s Bell Tower

Once off the boat we headed to St Mark’s square, where we had pre booked the Bell tower. We recommend doing this in advance, even though it will cost you more you get to jump the line and go straight in at your allocated time, which is worth it. The line was huge with no shelter from the blistering hot sun so we were very glad we did this.

It was 13euro per person and you can book at http://www.basilicasanmarco.it/informazioni-per-i-turisti/prenotazioni/?lang=en

St Mark's Bell Tower
St Mark’s Bell Tower

Getting lost in Venice

After this we decided to get lost in Venice as everyone says you have to do this! After 2 hours and a couple of Gelato’s later we found what we’re looking for, the Rialto bridge.   We took an obligatory selfie and then we went to the DFS shopping mall.

Shhhh, it’s a secret… lets share a little unknown secret about the DFS mall. Above it is a terrace where you can get panoramic views of Venice’s Grand Canal and the best bit its free!

To book the DFS mall, you need to visit this website https://www.dfs.com/en/venice/t-fondaco-rooftop-terrace.  You can book on one of the terminals on the top floor too, you just need to show them the confirmation email.

We booked this for 4pm, so it gave us enough time to have a pizza in one of the restaurants nearby overlooking the Grand Canal.

Rooftop Views
Rooftop views

After our 15minutes on the roof of the mall, we headed back to meet the motor launch – this time using Google Maps so its was nice and quick.

What a great day

So that’s a very brief overview of what we did in Venice. It’s a beautiful place, the crowds and heat were overwhelming, but the locals and food are amazing.

Do like they say, get lost in Venice, go down the back streets and get stopped in your tracks by dead ends, take time away from the crows and discover how beautiful and peaceful this place can be – we did over 22,000 steps that day, so think we managed to explore quite a bit.

Exploring Venice
Exploring Venice

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