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Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

Seattle
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Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

Hi,

Maybe I'm way off base but follow my train of thought (once a scientist always a scientist ;-) :

From an earlier post on itinerary planning by TA member "Luckybluesman", I was introduced to his term "port load" to mean how many cruise ship passengers were expected in Venice on a given day. What an interesting concept, I thought--so I did a little Google hunting to find out what this might mean for us.

By going to vtp.it/pages/calendario/calendarioFiltri.jsp…

you can find out which ships are due in or docked by plugging in the date. I wrote down the ships listed, and when they were scheduled to depart.

Then I found a website www.shipstips.com. It lists nearly all cruise ships by name, and you can click on the "cruise ships statistics" link to find out their passenger capacity. Pretty cool!

That way, I found out that the 2 full days we're in Venice (assuming close to full capacity of ships) there could be as many as 9500 folks in Venice just off the ships. Wow! And...the day we leave, there are no ships due in--just one lingering from day before and leaving midday. Big difference!

So, what is my take home message? Not sure what this means, except 1) I think we'll stick to our US Pacific time zone and not fight jet lag those two busy days: nap in the afternoons and wander "backroads" Venice early in the morning and later at night (does this make sense to those experienced travelers?) and 2) we will linger on our last day (leaving by car, so our schedule is our own) and enjoy fewer crowds during the day, and maybe plan the more "mainstream" sights this day?

Curious if this really works this way--do those of you who spend more time in Venice see swells in the tourist numbers related to the ship schedules? If so, this might be an interesting tool to plan a trip if you want to be in Venice a few days...

S.

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

Ugh! There are so many ships in on the days we are there I don't think I can do the maths.

What we found on previous visits to Venice is that there are groups of people with tags from their ships attached to their clothes who frequent the main areas, San Marco, Rialto bridge and markets particularly. They seem headed for particular shops, maybe told to go there for a discount, or a kickback to the guide or whatever. They rarely wander off the beaten track. I don't recall seeing them at night either, so they are probably back on the ship for dinner.

It sounds awful but as a group they also seem particularly ignorant of the town they are in or the names of places, eg not knowing San Marco is St Mark or sometimes that Venezia is Venice. You don't have to be expert at Italian to know this. This led to panic on the vaporetto, "We don't want to go to San Marco, we want to go to St Marks" But I guess it works in our favour because they don't know of other areas and treasures.

Mind you, I am still bemused by one guy who wanted to visit the Accademia and got REALLY angry and very rude at being asked to check his daypack before entering. In the end their whole party left. Still scratching my head over that one.

In short, you should be fine till after breakfast and again at dinner time. Look at the less well known places during the days of heaviest traffic.

Seattle
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2. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

I reiterate your "ugh", but I think it is kinda cool that we can check and see and plan accordingly. The wonders of the great wide internet. Big salutations to Mr. Luckybluesman for sending me down the path looking for this info. He gets the credit for posting about the "port load"! I'm just glad I can pre-plan so as not to be taken unawares by all those fresh off the boats!

Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

Fascinating! We were in Venice last June and I never saw a cruise ship. The crowds weren't bad either, so that probably had a lot to do with it.

It was our first stop in Europe and we were still jet-lagged. We got up very early both mornings and went walking before breakfast. We had St. Mark's Square pretty much to ourselves. That worked great.

We really enjoyed the Doge's Palace Secret Tour because the guide explained so much about how the Venetian government worked in the old days - lots of checks and balances. We'd encourage you to take that - probably cruise boat people will not.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

Our first two days will be blessed with over 10,000 cruise passengers, then it drops to 5000, then to 1.5 to 2.5 thousnad.

Mind you I found a boat I would like. I will have to check it out coming down Guidecca on July 29 at 6.30 in the evening. I think I could be sitting somewhere on Zattere as it goes past, sipping a wine perhaps.

www.choosingcruising.co.uk/discover/ShipDetailsQuery_2.asp?client=choosing&nShip=Le+Levant

So thanks to Luckybluesman and Seattle Badger, I think Torcello on the first day, 26th July, Cannereggio on the 27th.

Seattle
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5. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

Iluvoregon--(I do, really--my favorite city!)--thanks for the pitch for Doges Palace tour. I've been teetering, but now think I'll go for it.

Lynnb48--I see you figured out the math! I, too, did see some interesting boats due in while were there, so I love your idea about watching them come in and out. There was a French one, with only about 250 passengers that has caught my eye...

That said, I really don't want to cast any aspersions on people who cruise. I realized that may be what this sounds like, and for that, I apologize. One could even discuss how many planes are due on in a given date and calculate the hordes of passengers descending on Venice via Marco Polo and Treviso...

What caught my interest mostly was being able to see that there are some days with lots of cruise traffic and others with very little--and how to take advantage of that information.

PS--Lynnb48: when sitting enjoying a spritz or glass of wine on Torcello on the 26th, wish me happy birthday ;-)

When we're there, we'll be celebrating my belated birthday, an early 20th anniversary and enjoying a few last weeks with our soon to be in college first-born daughter! (sigh) Hence our desire to make this a great trip--so thanks to all for help.

Seattle
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6. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

And where is that edit button??

IluvOregon--my favorite city is Portland, as your location is specified. I wouldn't be a west coaster worth her salt if people thought I was referring to "Oregon" as a city! (though it is in Wisconsin...)

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

It's all six degrees of separastion isn't it. My middle son married an American lass and now lives in Portland Oregon. Last time there we drove up to Seattle too.

Last time in Venice we sat on the Zattere as the cruise ships came up the canal. Some of those monsters are huge, like floating bricks, much, much bigger than the gold figure on the Customs House.

It was the one called Le Levant that I want. 90 passengers, 55 crew, sleek as a gull. I fancy Venice to Athens through the Corinth Canal. One very like it called into Napflio when we were there once. I was very envious

Seattle
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8. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

Can't argue with 55 crew for 90 passengers! (If only our schools had such a ratio...)

For my 40th birthday, my husband and I, together with my father-in-law, did a barge cruise on the Canal de Bourgogne. 7 crew for 13 passengers. My h and I were by far the youngest, and certainly unaccustomed to and uncomfortable with such high level of service....but after, ohhh, about 10 minutes, we were used to it and loved it!

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

Ohh, please send me some info on that. Sounds divine. After watching that chef fellow Rick Stein drift down the canals I have wanted to do likewise.And I have decided I much prefer country France to Paris (heresy I know)

Seattle
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10. Re: Planning around cruise ship schedules: crowds?

Hi,

Found this online--it is about the boat we barged on. Pretty expensive, but really a magical experience. It helped that my father-in-law pitched in a little. It was a perfect "multi-generational" trip. You could be as active (biking nearby towns, hiking, etc) or sedentary as you wanted. The barge moves slowly and is easy to find if you head out on bikes or on foot. Daily excursions to wineries, castles, markets, etc. And the food, wine and cheese were divine. And my father-in-law did a hot air balloon ride that was a life highlight!

…blogspot.com/2008/08/news-from-barge-luciol…