“Venice is a city of dreams... A city of a forest, resting on wood, a city of dreams, a floating dream.” - J. Aman
A mecca for hopeless romantics, Venice is also known as “The Floating City”, “City of Bridges”, and “City of Masks”. This brilliant place attracts about 22 million visitors a year, and I can see why. It is a special city, unlike any other. Getting lost in the cobblestone streets, alleys and bridges of Venice is the best way to discover its essence. Be prepared with a map, or better yet, a GPS app pre-loaded on your smartphone to find your way. It's easy to get lost or happen upon dead ends when walking the maze of lovely walkways, canals, bridges and small squares. In fact, plan on getting lost. It’s the best way to discover this magical place.
Venice's main waterway, the Grand Canal, is lined with approximately 200 marble palaces that were built between the 12th and 18th centuries. The city is made up of 108 interconnected little islands filled with mystery and rich in history. In recent times, a large part of the population has migrated to the mainland as real estate values and living expenses have soared. Thirty years ago, there were 163,000 Venetian inhabitants. Today, Venetians number only about 38,000.
I loved taking gondolas and water taxis around the canals to explore Venice and highly recommend taking a water taxi to your hotel. The water taxi, basically a small boat, traversed the back canals and deposited us directly to our quaint B&B, as we climbed off the taxi directly through a 4-foot window into the living room of our Locanda Orseolo. Remember, the water taxis and gondolas are different than the vaporetto, the public transportation system of ferries.
Venice, with its plethora of bridges and cobblestones, can be difficult to traverse by ground with baggage. Azamara took care of this by arranging a water taxi for us directly off the St. Basilio pier where we had pulled into port. This was very helpful as we were lucky enough to stay an extra two days in Venice.
The cruise went by so fast. I remember being so excited to begin in Athens. I was greeted and welcomed by Azamara’s top-notch staff. They anticipate your every need. For example, after reaching the embarkation port, I realized I had left my camera bag at the hotel. Not to worry because Azamara sent a taxi back to the hotel to fetch it. I was so relieved to be reunited with my camera less than an hour after settling into our cabin. We offered to take the taxi back, but the concierge insisted we relax and have a glass of bubbly – which we did!
At the end of our cruise, we were treated to a performance by Italian tenor David Righeschi on the pool deck, while we enjoyed dinner and conversed about our unforgettable sailing through the romantic Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. This was such a special touch to end our unforgettable journey. I love that the Azamara team went above and beyond in making us feel at home while adding a unique flavor of what makes each cruise special to each passenger.
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