The last time I saw Venice was about 5-1/2 years ago. It was over a Labor Day weekend when our ship docked near the Plaza San Marco and although Italy doesn’t observe our version of Labor Day, they were surely celebrating that weekend. The Plaza was
wall-to-wall tourists and accents indicated visitors hailed from Russia and Mississippi, from Brazil and Jamaica as well as all of central Europe and the Americas. It was our fifth or sixth visit so we didn’t feel the need to join the throngs for long. And there were throngs!
That’s not quite the case today, but this amazing city still draws a lot of tourists — and a lot of cruise ships.
Among the vessels docked near the beautiful new Costa Fascinosa are the MSC Musica, NCL Jade and Royal Caribbean’s Sovereign of the Sea.
Fascinosa is a lovely new vessel. Along with Costa’s Favorosa, it is the largest in the fleet. Art throughout the ship features well-known Italian film stars from Marcello Mastroianni to Melina Mercouri and many performers whose names do not both begin with the letter “M.” There are photos in each elevator car, wonderful shots of films are everywhere.
The name “Fascinosa” is translated as “fascinating.” So if the performing arts are your thing, if you “get” opera (consider each deck is named for a famous opera: Aida, Gilda, and more,) and don’t mind movie stars watching over you as you enter and exit the elevator, hope to grab a drink at the Babylon Disco, Topkapi Grand Bar, Blue Velvet Bar or the Lido Blue Moon Bar, this ship’s for you.
But the real star of the show today is the city of Venice, a wonderful old and elegant favorite of travelers from around the world. Those on the port side of the ship have a superb view of the magnificent St. Mark’s Square and the tall bell tower and amazing 14th century Basilica.
Some guests are already heading out for a ride along the Grand Canal in a romantic gondola – and some are hoping to meet a romantic gondolier – while others have are off to tour the Doge’s Palace.
My hope for tomorrow is to find time to revisit the old Ghetto and Synagogue, a short vaporetto ride from St. Mark’s Square, maybe visit a museum and get back to the ship. We’ll see.
It is oh-so-tempting. Even a $15 cup of coffee at one of the cafes around the Square would be fun – expensive but fun, but my mission is to tour the ship and see what Costa is offering. So I will keep you posted.
For now I can tell you Fascinosa is lovely. It’s new and bright as a penny. Beginning next week, she will offer seven-day cruises from Bari and Venice to Greece and Croatia and in the coming winter will sail to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.