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 Veniceforvisitors.com 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:
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.