One of the most popular cruise destinations on Mediterranean cruises has been Venice, Italy. For years there have been groups and organizations protesting what many claim could be serious damage to the buildings and canals of the water city caused by the large cruise ships. This has been countered by other groups that believe that the city receives substantial revenues from the cruise lines for dockage fees. Even after the results of two major studies found that the damage caused by frequent storms is a much more serious threat than cruise ships the United Nations and its World Heritage arm still threw their weight against the cruise ships. Unfortunately the controversy surrounding the docking of large cruise ships in Venice has now been settled – Cruise ships above certain sizes (about 90% of them) are now banned from entering Venice.
In response the cruise lines are setting up alternate ports that will still allow their passengers access to spend time in Venice and also provide other ports to replace Venice as a departure port. The two nearest ports with adequate docking potential are Ravenna and Trieste and for the time being the cruise lines seem to be selecting between the two. For example Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are focusing on Ravenna while NCL will be using Trieste.
As you explore itineraries you’ll find a number of ships are staying overnight to allow plenty of time to visit Venice. Using buses Trieste is about a little over two hours to Venice (135 miles) with the Ravenna trip coming in between one and half to under two hours (105 miles). Another option that is also gaining traction is taking advantage of overnight hotel accommodations in Venice during your port stay.
If you are inclined to visit Venice on your own there are a number of affordable options to explore with bus service still topping the list:
Trieste to Venice
FlixBus operates a bus from Trieste to Venice that leaves every 4 hours. Tickets cost $12 to $15 (€10 – €13) and takes about 2 hours. Itabus also has service 5 times a day. By rail Trenitalia operates a train from Trieste Centrale to Venezia S. Lucia every hour. Tickets cost $12 to $24 (€10 – €21) depending on seat class and the trains take 2 hours and 5 minutes.
Ravenna to Venice
The best way to go to Venice from Ravenna is by bus, which costs about $10 (€9). The train to Venice, costs about $17 (€15) with trains about every hour. By bus or train the trip takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours with the bus being slightly faster but with less frequent service than the trains.