Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday, Saturday, June 12-13, 2015 – Venice, Italy – Sunny – 86F

Interesting Note. Around the year 900, Venice, in an effort to improve its standing, the city decided to bring back a notable Saint to protect the city.  Two individuals from the city traveled to Egypt and stole the body of St. Mark.  The remains were smuggled past customs by covering it in pork (keeping the Muslim officials away).  St. Mark stands today as the symbol of Venice.

Voyage Note – We switched rooms – now in 4128 Aft/Midship – this room does not get music from the Queens Room.  The QV staff was extremely receptive to our needs and executed the move seamlessly.

Friday – Sunny and warm – 84F

The weather is a welcome change from the last few times we have been here.  Generally, we are met with either very cold weather or heavy rains. 

There was no narration during the sail in but it was spectacular nevertheless.

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Venice Marina

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Old Custom House and Santa Maria della Salute

20150612_ Piazza San Marco 1 (Small)

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Piazza San Marco Sail By

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Bridge of Sighs

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Looking Back at the Grand Canal

The Queen Victoria is docked at Terminal 117, the outermost terminal. Getting around is still pretty easy since there is a people mover nearby that takes you to the Vaparetto Station.

Both of us are on the same tour today - “Venice Lagoon, Gondola Ride,and Murano Glass Factory”.  We boarded a large tour boat directly from the ship’s pontoon for the tour of the lagoon.  We have two tour guides, both Venetian girls, Francesca and Monika.  They both speak good English but with heavy accents.  It is difficult to determine what they are pointing out in the lagoon – understandable due to the many islands big and small that populate the Venice Lagoon. 

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Our Venetian Water Chariot

There are several ships here today and we got a good view of them from the launch.  Included in the flotilla are the Splendor of the Seas, the Norwegian Jade, the Costa Mediterranea,

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Saga Sapphire and Costa Mediterranea

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Azamara Journey

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Queen Victoria Docked

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Sega Sapphire

an Aida Ship, an MSC Cruiser, the Sega Sapphire,  along with the Azamara Journey (who seems to be on the same itinerary).

Our launch stopped at San Giorgi di Maggiori – a magnificent church and museum just across the Grand Canal from Piazza San Marco.

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Ellen, the Grand Canal, and Piazza San Marco

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Our Long Boat Awaits

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View from the boat landing at San Giorgi di Maggiori

We stopped for about a half hour before getting back on the launch.

Our next stop was the Gondola Station, where were divided into small groups for our gondola ride around Venice. 

There is a Guggenheim Museum in Venice accessible by boat (pictures below) nearby.  You won’t find that everywhere.

20150612_ Guggenheim museum 1 (Small)

20150612_Guggenheim museum (Small)

The gondolier didn’t say much (probably a good thing) but he did keep the ride smooth.  There was no narration so we did not really know where we were or where we were going.  I was asked to sit in the front alone to balance the weight of the gondola.  Good thing or bad thing, not sure?

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20150612_HT gondola (Small)

It was just beautiful on the gondola – smooth and warm.  Not a lot of speedboats whizzing buy creating wake.

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20150612_view from gondola (Small)

After the gondola ride (which was fun), we re-boarded our big boat for the short ride out to Murano, one of the islands in the Venice Lagoon.  Murano, of course, is the home of Murano Glass, fine quality glass items known the world over.

We were given a choice of staying with the tour in the Glass Factory or checking out Murano on our own.  We had seen glass factories before and it was hot in the building so we opted to wander around the area near the factory. 

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Find Ellen on the Bridge

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Campo Santo Stefano and 19th Century Clock Tower

Before we headed back to join the group, we enjoyed gelatos in the patio area of one of the island’s restaurants.  The gelato was good but you had to eat it pretty quickly in this heat.

The tour boat dropped us off at the pier opposite Pier 117.  It was a fair distance to our terminal building and gangway from there (folks with mobility problems would have struggled).

After dinner, we went to see Fly Right again.  This time, they were joined by the Singers and Dancers doing a tribute to the music of Sting.  It was an excellent show.

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Fly Right and the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers

On the reading front, I finished S.J. Bolton’s, “Now You See Me”, a modern day Jack the Ripper Copycat killer novel and the first book in the Lacey Flint Series.  I liked it (many plot twists).  I started “The Fifth Heart” a mashup involving Sherlock Holmes and Henry James (yes) by Dan Simmons.  The two characters, fictional and semi-fictional were amusing but I wasn’t hooked.  I may pick it up later.  Instead, I started “The Keepsake” another Rizzoli and Isles novel by Tess Gerritsen.  This one involves an Egyptian mummy so immediate hook.

Saturday - Mostly Sunny - 84F

We walked into Venice from the Cruise Terminal – we were looking for the Jewish Ghetto Area but wound up exploring the smaller streets of the city.  It was too hot to walk more than a couple of hours before returning to the ship.

We were told that about 1100 new passengers embarked in Venice.

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Basilica di San Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

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Chiesa di San Rocco

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Grand Canal – Toward Piazzale di Roma

We got some pretty good steps in today.

After dinner, we went to see tonight’s headliner – Mark Donoghue – Violinist/Guitarist.  Entertaining show. 

After the show, we went to the Commodore Lounge to hear Clarolyn, who finally let me take her picture.

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We got great seats and watched the sail out.  Venice is very interesting at night – lots of lights that make it look quite a bit more modern that it appears during the day.

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20150613_Venice Sail Away (Small)

A very nice stop in Venice.

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