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Carnival Breeze Mediterranean Cruise Travel Journal

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8 of 11

A Day in Venice
Bridge of Sighs and Gondola in Venice, Italy

It's hard to take a bad photo in Venice. This one shows two Venetian icons--a gondola and the Bridge of Sighs.

Venice (c) Linda Garrison
We got our first look at the low-lying islands of Venice about 8:00 the next morning. By 9:00 am, we were out on the decks watching this gorgeous city float by. (Or I guess they watched us float by.) The Carnival Breeze docked at Maritima (where all the large ships dock) about 9:45. Since none of the public transportation was working due to the nationwide strike of government workers, Carnival had sold tickets on private water buses (vaporettos), and they picked up guests right at the ship and took them directly to St. Mark's Square (San Marco). Unfortunately, about 3,000 passengers took advantage of the Carnival water shuttles, so the line was awful! Cruise director John Heald asked everyone to take their time and not go ashore for a while, so mom and I waited until 11 am. However, the line was still very long, so we decided to do our own walking tour of Venice. After all, it's a great city for walking.

We got lucky. The People Mover (1 euro each way) was working. We didn't think it would be since it is a government entity. It doesn't take you far--just a couple of minutes from the outskirts of the Maritima cruise ship terminal to Piazzale Roma, but it's a boring, hot walk. I knew we were going to be walking a long ways during the day, so I bought tickets and we were off for the short ride. Reaching Piazzale Roma, we struck out for the Rialto Bridge, meandering (that's the way you have to walk in Venice) through the narrow streets and doing some window shopping. Mom bought her neighbor some earrings, but we didn't buy anything else. Think I was too lazy to tote much in the continuing heat. It was so hot, I had a ice cold gelato even before lunch.

Mom and I stopped for lunch and a cold drink (our "usual" of cheese pizza, beer, and ice water) at a small cafe right on the Grand Canal. Although there were no vaporettos plowing up and down the canal, the private taxi traffic and the gondolas were running, so we had plenty to keep us occupied. One thing very interesting--although this was a 24-hour, nation-wide strike, we didn't see a single sign or any protestors. Someone said at dinner that he thought maybe the Italian government workers just wanted a Friday off!

Making our way across the Rialto Bridge, the foot traffic got more congested, but mom and I slowly made our way to the famous San Marco Square. Unlike the narrow alleyways that were mostly shaded, the square was baking in the hot sun, so we didn't linger. Mom hadn't seen the renovated Bridge of Sighs, so we sauntered over to it, taking a couple of photos and feeling the cool breeze roll in off the sea.

We slowly made our way back to Piazzale Roma. One thing about Venice--you can go many times and always see something new. I think you could spend one trip just looking at doors, another at windows, another at bridges, and a fourth at laundry! I was a little worried that the People Mover might be shut down, but it wasn't, so we bought our tickets, rode to Maritima, and then took the hot walk back to the ship, arriving about 3:30 or so.

Mom and I rested, took long showers, and went down to the Ocean Plaza for a cocktail before dinner. The young bartender there remembers our drinks every time--and now she remembers my folio (card) number. Her name is Sri, and she's from Indonesia. Very nice to have such personalized service on such a big ship. Our cabin steward, KunKun, is also from Indonesia, and he called us Miss Linda and Miss Marvel from the very first day we were on the ship. Guess we are more memorable than I thought!

Since the Breeze wasn't sailing until 11 pm, we only had a small turnout for dinner. It was still fun. Mom wasn't very hungry so she got two appetizers. I had a delicious tuna tartare, fried chicken that was a little dry, and my third scoop of ice cream of the day--chocolate this time to top off the Stracciatella (chocolate chip) and lemon I had in Venice.

The show was another new one. I like having a 30-minute show rather than a 45-minute one, but I think the reliance on the high-tech LED screen shows takes away from the entertainers. Carnival has also cut back from more than a dozen singers/dancers down to only eight. They almost look lost on the large stage. The technology used for the high-definition screen is very impressive, but it certainly distracts from the live entertainment. I think younger travelers will enjoy the new shows more than senior citizens.

After the show, we went outside on the deck next to the RedFrog Pub for a drink and to watch the sail away. I was a little disappointed. Venice wasn't lit up like I expected it to be. The streets were mostly very dark, as was St. Mark's Square.

Back to the cabin by midnight. Another nice day on the Carnival Breeze. We would have a welcome day at sea before arriving in Messina, Sicily.

Carnival Breeze Mediterranean Cruise Itinerary

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