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May 2012

Venice's waterbus fares go up

Ferrovia ACTV station

ABOVE: A vaporetto platform at Venice's Santa Lucia railroad station.

Venice's vaporetto fares have been obscenely high for years, but now they've jumped again. Last week, ACTV (the municipal transit authority) raised the price of a single ride on a water bus to a whopping seven euros. Prices for tourist tickets of 12 to 72 hours also went up. (The 7-day tourist ticket is still a bargain, relatively speaking, at €50.)

Our advice: Ride the vaporetto only when you must, and plan your excursions to take advantage of time-delineated tourist tickets. (If you use a wheelchair, be sure to ask for a special "disabled ticket," which costs only €1,30 and lets a companion travel with you for free.)

For more information on the ACTV's current fares, see our Venice for Visitors Vaporetto and Bus Fares article. Remember, too, that Venice is a small city where walking is often faster than taking a water bus. Our Walking in Venice article will help you get around with the help of maps and street signs.

Finally, our Venice Local Transportation Index has links to articles about water buses, the inexpensive gondola ferries known as traghetti, water taxis, using automatic ticket machines at ACTV stations, and more.

Don't let a cruise line, airline, or travel agent pick your hotel

View Larger Map

ABOVE: The Crowne Plaza Venice East (orange marker) may be a fine hotel, but it's 30 km or 20 miles from Venice near a motorway exit on the Venetian mainland.

by Durant Imboden

This isn't a new rant, but it bears repeating:

Do not blindly accept the recommendation of a cruise line, airline, or travel agent when booking a hotel in Venice.

Why? Because the hotel may not be in a location that's convenient for your purposes. In fact, the recommended "Venice hotel" may not be in Venice at all.

Case in point:

A few days ago, a reader commented that he'd booked a room at the Crowne Plaza Venice East on the recommendation of Princess Cruises. He wrote: "The Crowne Plaza had a very competitive rate and as we are using the Princess transfer from the airport to the cruise terminal, I decided to use the hotel they recommended."

In another comment, he added: "The hotel is a 10-minute shuttle ride from the airport but the fixed shuttle times are inconvenient for our arrival time. We must reserve in advance and wait up to two hours for the pickup. Does the airport have taxis that service the local airport hotel area? I’ve looked into the airport transfer companies and found the price to be very high for a 10-minute ride (50 Euros)."

The reader could have saved himself a lot of money and trouble by heeding our No. 1 Warning, and by reading our Venice Hotel Recommendations by Area.

Why did Princess Cruises make such an irresponsible hotel recommendation to our reader? We can only speculate, but here are three guesses:

  • Princess has a promotional arrangement with Crowne Plaza or Holiday Inn (which owns Crowne Plaza);
  • Princess's hotel recommendations are picked automatically from a database, using keywords supplied by hotel vendors (such as "Venice" for hotels that aren't in Venice); and/or...
  • An employee of Princess who was responsible for selecting Venice hotel partners knew little or nothing about Venice's geography.

To be fair to Princess, other travel vendors screw up, too:

  • When I booked a Delta Air Lines flight to Venice last summer, Delta tried to sell me hotel rooms in several high-end hotels (the Danieli, the San Clemente Palace, and the Hilton Molino Stucky) at rates that were far higher than I could have obtained through the Venere and Booking.com links on our own site.
  • Many of our readers have e-mailed us with questions about transportation from hotels in inconvenient locations that they'd booked on the recommendations of travel agents.

Moral: Don't assume that a cruise line, airline, or travel agent is being helpful or competent when it recommends a hotel in Venice. And don't book a non-cancellable, prepaid hotel room without knowing where the hotel is and whether its location is right for you.