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November 2011

In Venice for a while? Save on transport with Cartavenezia.

Venice Cartavenezia

ABOVE: The face on the card above may not be handsome, but the Venice transit system's Cartavenezia card is a beautiful way to save money on vaporetto fares.

by Durant Imboden

We've written previously about the imob.venezia Cartavenezia stored-value card, which lets visitors pay resident rates on Venice's waterbus system. The savings can be significant, once you've shelled out 40 euros for a three-year card: You'll pay about one-sixth the tourist fare, or a maximum of 1,20 euros per ride compared to 6,50 euros for a standard boat ticket.

When Cartavenezia was made available to non-residents a few years ago, the card wasn't especially convenient to obtain. That's changed. Now, you don't even have to bring your own photo, as you did until recently. Reader George Edwards of the UK bought the card earlier this month, and he reports: 

"I have just returned from Venice and while there I purchased  an imob card (7th November 2011). It is still 40 euros but you no longer need to take a passport type or any other photo with you. The clerk will take a photo of you with the computer camera, as she did with a young lady in front of me. I did take a passport photo and she took a photo of it!"

For an updated version of our imob.venezia Cartavenezia article at Venice for Visitors, click here. (The article is accompanied by step-by-step instructions on how to buy the card when you're in Venice.)

  • Tip: For shorter or less frequent stays, consider purchasing an ACTV Tourist Travel Card, which offers significant savings if you plan on using water buses frequently. Cards are available for periods of 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, or a week.

Add a cruise to your Venice vacation

Venice's Stazione Marittima from MSC POESIA

ABOVE: A fisheye view of the Marittima cruise basin in Venice as MSC Poesia departs on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise.

We admit it: We're suckers for ships. In Venice, where cruise liners often move slowly up or down the Giudecca Canal, we can't help feeling envious whenever we see passengers waving from the railings as they set off on adventures in the Adriatic and beyond.

Fortunately, it's easy to combine a cruise with a stay in Venice, especially if you book a roundtrip cruise. (That's exactly what we did a couple of years ago when we cruised on MSC Poesia from Venice to Istanbul and back.)

If the idea of adding a cruise to your Venice vacation appeals to you, here are some facts to whet your appetite:

During 2012, eight major cruise lines will offer dozens of roundtrip departures from Venice, on ships that range from the relatively tiny Seabourn Spirit and L'Austral to megaships like MSC Magnifica, Costa Fascinosa, and Norwegian Jade.

In addition, a French line--CroisiEurope--is operating river-ship cruises in the Venetian Lagoon and the Po Valley. Ferries of two shipping companies (Minoan Lines and Anek Lines) will sail year-round between Venice and Greece, which means you can book roundtrip tickets to create your own minicruises in the Adriatic and Aegean.

We've published an in-depth article at that lists alll 11 cruise and ferry lines, describes their itineraries from Venice, and provides links to their Web sites. To read the article, click this link:

Roundtrip Cruises from Venice

We also suggest looking at our Venice Cruise Videos, which will give you an idea of what people on shore will see as your ship sails from the Marittima or San Basilio cruise terminal.

BELOW: A topside panorama of an MSC ship in Venice's Giudecca Canal.

MSC ship in Giudecca Canal

Bottom photo: MSC Crociere.