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


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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.

Comments

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Karen Archibald

You have lumped ALL travel professionals into one opinion. I am not sure what you do for a living but I would image you would not want your career and reputation "generalized" as being incompetent.
There are many (not everyone I agree) travel professionals that know what they are doing. But I know quite a few who are compentent as well as honest, hard-working, Christian value-minded people. So please don't generalize people in any job category in that fashion. That is simply irresponsible on your part Durant Imboden.

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

No, I haven't "generalized" all travel professionals as being "incompetent." But at the same time, I'm not going to gloss over facts at the expense of our readers.

Fact: It's naive for a traveler to assume that every travel agent, cruise line, tour company, airline, etc. has a detailed working knowledge of Venice. Some do, some don't, and some recommend hotel locations for reasons that have little to do with geography.

For example, a cruise line may pick a hotel that can accommodate hundreds of guests, is accessible by tour buses, and has a contractual business arrangement with the cruise line. For the cruise line, picking a hotel like the Crowne Plaza Venice East (which is miles from Venice) may make perfect sense. For the traveler, however, that choice may be terrible. That's why we recommend that our readers do their homework instead of assuming blindly that the recommendation of a travel vendor is appropriate for them.

Eric Brink

My Wife and I will be joining her Sister and her husband for a Norwegian next September. We're coming in the night before and I have looked at the Crowne Plaza (via Google search) and they offer a rate that includes transfer to the Airport and then to the Cruise Terminal. Both the Wives have made it clear that they won't walk to the Terminal. In other words, taking the train in is not their first choice. Do you know any options that meet their criteria?

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

I assume you're referring to the Crowne Plaza Venice East, which is nowhere near Venice (it's out in the sticks). A much better option, if you want to go from your hotel to your ship, would be to stay on or extremely near the Piazzale Roma in Venice or in downtown Mestre on the mainland. From either the Piazzale Roma or downtown Mestre, you could hire a land taxi to the cruise terminal. See our articles on getting to your ship and on cruise hotels (for the Marittima cruise terminal) at http://veniceforcruisers.com.

James

We are going to our cruise trip from Venice this month, thought we would like to stay an extra night in Venice and go to St Marks square as love the atmosphere. Now we found out the hotel is so far from the center of Venice that we have to take a train and water taxi to get to St Marks square. We are very disappointed. The hotel suggested by cruise line is Crown Plaza East Venice which so so far from the Venice we know and love. We trust the cruise line and never questioned it and now its all booked and paid for, we stuck with the hotel and all the flights.

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