Vying for Venice

Cruise lines plan their 2009 Mediterranean itineraries with Venice in mind

By: By Marilyn Green

The attractions of Venice have made it both a popular home port for cruising and a destination where the cruise lines offer overnights, often at the beginning or end of the sailings. And fortunately, a number of new ships and new itineraries highlight the 2009 season.

Azamara Cruises
Azamara Cruises’ Azamara Journey sails a 10-night Barcelona to Venice cruise April 5 and a 10-night Venice to Rome itinerary April 15.

A seven-night Rome to Venice sailing departs April 25 and a seven-night cruise from Venice to Athens is scheduled for May 2.

Azamara Quest cruises the Eastern Mediterranean and Adriatic Coast on a 10-night itinerary from Athens to Venice on Sept. 6 and three Western Mediterranean itineraries: a 10-night cruise from Venice to Barcelona Sept. 16, an 11-night cruise from Barcelona to Venice Sept. 26 and a 10-night Venice to Rome cruise on Oct. 7.


Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit will be sailing a 12-night, Classical Mediterranean itinerary from Barcelona to Venice May 10, June 3 and 27, July 21, Aug. 14 and Sept. 7. The ship also offers a 14-night cruise from Barcelona to Venice on Oct. 3 and 31 and a 10-night Mediterranean Legacies cruise from Venice to Barcelona on May 22, June 15, July 9 and Aug. 2 and 26. A 14-night itinerary from Venice to Barcelona departs Sept. 19, Oct. 17 and Nov. 9.


Costa Cruises
Costa Cruises’ Costa Fortuna and Costa Serena will be based in Venice April through November, both offering a series of seven-night Italy/Greek Isles/Croatia itineraries and a five-night Nov. 30 sailing to Italy, the Greek Isles and Malta. Costa Victoria offers the seven-day Italy/Greek Isles/Croatia cruises May-November, and the new Costa Luminosa will feature special pre-inaugural cruises.


Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity will embark or disembark in Venice on ten voyages from the beginning of June through October (on seven- or 12-day itineraries). The line has several Celebration Fares and a new Save Now, Save Later program for Europe and the Mediterranean.


Holland America Line
Holland America Line’s Vista-class Oosterdam begins its Mediterranean sailings next year, with itineraries from April through September including a 12-day Mediterranean Tapestry cruise from Barcelona to Venice; the 12-day Mediterranean Empires roundtrip cruise from Venice; the 12-day Mediterranean Romance sailing from Venice to Barcelona; and the 24-day Magic of the Mediterranean sailings from Barcelona to Venice. In addition, the 16- or 28-day European Serenade cruises from Venice to Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 5.


MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises has three ships offering turnaround in Venice: MSC Poesia is sailing seven-night roundtrip Turkish Treasures & Croatian Coasts cruise from April to October; MSC Musica will offer a seven-night roundtrip Greek Islands in the Sun itinerary from April to October, as well as two 18-night transatlantic cruises. MSC Armonia will also sail seven-night roundtrip Wonders of the Aegean cruises from Venice from April through October.


Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises is offering a variety of turnarounds in Venice, including the 12-day Ionian Inspirations cruise between Rome and Venice. Regatta sails this route departing Ma y 2 and Oct. 5, and Insignia offers it on July 14 and Sept. 16. Insignia also sails a 14-day Mediterranean Tapestry cruise from Venice to Barcelona with an overnight in Venice; departures are July 26 and Sept. 28. In addition, Insignia’s 16-day Ancient Meanderings cruise (from Venice to Rome) starts with an overnight in Venice, departing on May 15. The Nov. 3 Mythical Medley aboard Insignia is a 12-day Venice to Rome cruise starting with an overnight.


Peter Deilmann Cruises
Peter Deilmann Cruises’ Deutschland will sail a seven-night itinerary March 29-April 5 from Venice to Civitacecchia, which is included in the company’s $99 Air & Shore Excursion program, offering roundtrip airfare from any of 73 North American gateways as well as a package of pre-arranged shore excursions valued up to $700 per passenger and transfers. Business class upgrades are $2,800; travelers arranging their own air receive a $750 per person fare deduction.


Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises’ new Ruby Princess will sail five, 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises from May through July, and the line’s Royal Princess has three, 12-day Mediterranean Collection cruises from June through August. Ruby Princess, Grand Princess and Crown Princess offer six , 12-day Greek Isles cruises from June through November and Ruby Princess, Grand Princess and Crown Princess sail four, 12-day Greek Isles and Mediterranean cruises from May through September. Royal Princess offers five, 12-day Holland cruises from May through November and two, 12-day Crimean & Aegean Coasts cruises from July through September.


Regent Seven Seas
Among the cruises using Venice as a turnaround port are two, seven-night Mediterranean cruises aboard Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Voyager: a Sept. 18-25 Monte Carlo to Venice cruise (the ship overnights in Venice Sept. 24-25 at the end of the cruise) and Venice to Istanbul cruise on Sept. 25 through Oct. 2.

The line’s Seven Seas Navigator offers five, seven-night Mediterranean cruises, including a May 23-30 cruise from Athens to Venice (the ship overnights in Venice May 29-30 at the end of the cruise) and a July 24-31 cruise from Istanbul to Venice (it overnights in Venice July 30-31).

Also planned is a July 31 through Aug. 7 cruise from Venice to Monte Carlo and an Aug. 21-28 cruise from Istanbul to Venice (the ship overnights in Venice Aug. 27-28) and an Aug. 28 through Sept. 4 cruise from Venice to Monte Carlo.


Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International’s 2009 Mediterranean offerings include a number of cruises based in Venice on Splendour of the Seas, including a roundtrip, seven-night Greek Isles itinerary offered May to mid-October, a roundtrip seven-night Greek Isles and Turkey cruise offered April through November and a 10-night Mediterranean cruise from Venice to Lisbon on Nov. 21.


Seabourn Cruise Line
Starting June 24, Seabourn Cruise Line’s Seabourn Odyssey will sail her maiden voyage on a 14-day cruise from Venice to Istanbul, plus three, seven-day cruises between Athens and Venice through September. Seabourn Spirit has 14 calls from May through October on new, seven-day cruises between Rome and Venice or Venice to the Adriatic Dalmatian Coast and Italy including Puglia.


SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream II has scheduled a seven-day cruise from Venice to Dubrovnik June 13, July 25 and Aug.15. In August, it also has planned a seven-day Dubrovnik to Venice itinerary and a seven-day cruise from Venice to Athens. In September, SeaDream II will sail an 11-day itinerary from Istanbul to and a 10-day Venice to Athens cruise.


Silversea Cruises
Silversea Cruises’ Silver Wind and Silver Whisper are scheduled to visit Venice from June 6, 2009 to Oct. 3 on 10 cruises ranging from 7-10 days. These include Athens to Venice, Rome to Venice, Venice to Athens, Venice to Barcelona and Venice to Rome itineraries.


Windstar Cruises
Windstar Cruises is responding to guest requests to launch a new Venice roundtrip sailing aboard all three ships in 2009, calling in historical Croatian destinations and Slovenia. Wind Star's sailing departs July 11, and Wind Surf's sailings depart June 7, Aug. 2, Aug. 30 and Sept. 6.

In addition, Wind Surf has scheduled a series of seven-day cruises calling in combinations of Italy, Greece and Croatia and departing or disembarking in Venice. These include including a May 31 Rome to Venice itinerary, a June 6 Venice to Rome sailing, a July 26 Rome to Venice cruise and a Sept. 13 Venice to Rome itinerary.

Wind Star’s seven-day cruises call in Greece, Croatia and Italy, with a July 4 Athens to Venice cruise and a July 18 Venice to Athens sailing.

Wind Spirit offers a series of seven-day cruises involving Venice, such as a May 2 Rome to Venice itinerary calling in Italy and Croatia; a May 9 Venice to Athens itinerary, which visits Italy, Croatia and Greece; a July 11 Athens to Venice cruise calling in Greece, Croatia and Italy; and a Venice to Athens sailing on July 25 visiting Italy, Croatia and Greece.