Venice by Water


Fri, 07/09/2018 - 14:00 to Sat, 15/09/2018 - 09:00

If you are interested please contact Gabrielle Ryan at gabriellecryan@hotmail.comCome and join the Little Ship Club Motorboat Cruise of Venice and the Lagoon!

We aim to charter boats from the Le Boat Company based at Casale on the Sile River in the northern part of the Lagoon in mid-September 2018. At that time the weather should be sunny and the temperature in the mid 20’s.   

There is no better way to appreciate the Venetian architecture than from the water.

If you are interested, or if you would like a berth, please contact Gabrielle Ryan at

Venice is both a magical place and a well organised tourist trap. It is expensive to visit and it can be a frustrating and wearying experience, especially at the height of “the season” when multiple cruise ships disgorge thousands of tourists into the island.
However, chartering in Venice is the answer as you have transport and accommodation in one and the ability to eat on board if required.
We aim to be there just on the last edge of “the season”  in mid September, when the main tourist rush has gone, the charter prices are less and the frenetic pace of traffic in the lagoon has slackened and entrance to the museums and other places of interest is easier.  

Rationale of the Cruise
It is forbidden for charter boats to go up and down the Grand Canal but there are plenty of waterbuses that do the trip if you want to see the Grand Canal from the water. There are marinas that will let you moor up on the main island (at a price) from where you can walk in to the Piazza San Marco and the surrounding attractions.
However, there are other marinas a little further out in the lagoon which offer reasonable prices and there are free moorings (reserved for Le Boat) on islands nearby which are on the waterbus network thus giving ready access to the main island.
Charter boats can otherwise explore the entire lagoon unrestricted and the outer islands in particular have both their own atmospheric attraction and individual places of interest such as the Basilica on Torcello.
Smaller boats are preferred over larger simply for ease of finding moorings. The boats offered are generally spacious and comfortable.
Moorings on the outer islands are quiet and are set within nature reserves.

Attractions (Places not to miss) 
On the Piazza San Marco :
Basilica San Marco – famous mosaics
Palazzo Ducale : the Doge’s Administration Centre : splendid paintings, enormous rooms, excellent museum, the Bridge of Sighs and the jail. Impressive and intended to be.
10 minute walk from the Piazza San Marco :
Santi Giovanni e Paolo : the Doges’ Mausoleum
Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni : splendid Carpaccios

Near the “Frari” Santa Maria del Frari  : Titians
The Miracoli : Marble fronted church in central Cannaregio.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco : Tintoretto.
The Rialto Bridge and market (lively local market early in the morning).

On the Dorso Duro (on the other side of the Guidecca) :
Punta della Dogana : Contemporary art right on the tip of the Dorso Duro.
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (the Salute) : Splendid recently restored Tintoretto : The feast at Cana. (In the sacristy museum)
San Giorgio Maggiore plus Campanile – access from the lagoon.
Accademia : top museum of art. V. interesting exhibitions
The Redentore  

The Arsenale gates : the lions in front of the main gate, one of which dates from 300 BC.

Venice is not for the faint hearted, navigation amongst the traffic can be tricky and the flat bottomed charter boats have a tendency to go sideways just when you want them to go straight. The traffic in the lagoon moves at high speed (the charter boats are governed down to max 7 knots but some of the boats in the lagoon are moving in excess of 15 knots) and it takes time to relax and realise that the other boats will in general move to avoid you.
Access to water and power is very limited except in the marinas but the batteries charge up quickly off the engine and the boats carry large amounts of fresh water (400 litres plus).
What we have discovered is that although it is essential to get into the centre of Venice and see at least some of the main items, one needs to limit the amount of time given to visiting “points of interest” as much of the paintings and statuary become repetitive (despite the magnificence of the art and its settings) and eventually one starts to look around for other attractions. The major exception is the Palazzo Ducale which is stunning and very impressive and needs to time to absorb it. 
It is essential to have some scepticism about some of the “attractions” offered by the charter companies. So, for instance, the Brenta canal leading to Padua can be scenic but it is not easy to navigate and has few decent moorings and takes a long time to get up and down. It is better to moor up in a quiet spot near the entrance to the Brenta or in Chioggia and get a bus to Padua (which is worth seeing)  and the same goes for the Sile river and getting up to Treviso. Chioggia however, is worth a look and the beaches (on the Adriatic) of Pellestrina or Sottomarina are extensive, shallow and clean.  We were advised however not to swim in the Lagoon.
Mosquitos can be a nuisance (not everywhere) but the boats in general have screens and by arming oneself in advance with sprays and repellents, one can avoid the worst and eat either on the boat or (indoors) in local ristorante from dusk to mid-evening.
Moorings have to be chosen carefully as some are susceptible to wash from passing craft and can result in a bumpy night. 

Navigation in the lagoon is by means of following lines of wooden piles standing up out of the water and spaced along channels between the sand banks.

Food is generally excellent and an amazing amount of fish is caught every day and brought to markets in the islands. However, restaurant prices tend to be high everywhere.
Many of the bars serve little snacks (cicceti) with a glass of Italian wine which makes a reasonable snack.

Basilica on Torcello

Off the Piazza San Marco heading for the Giudecca

Gate to the Arsenale

Gondoliers training in the mist

We will be drawing up a suggested itinerary with proposed gatherings at certain points. 
As normal, we will leave everyone to plan their own course and make their own arrangements.
For now we need an indication of interest to see roughly how many boats should be provisionally reserved. We do need numbers fairly quickly as the reservations for 2018 opening now.
If you are interested please contact Gabrielle Ryan at