As promised my review of my floating hotel Michelangelo on the Venice Lagoon and River Po.
First I shall talk about fellow passengers. Being a French ship most passengers were from France with a large French speaking Belgian group from an organisation called Kwiani (hope I have the correct spelling). 6 Spanish speaking guests and the English speaking table consisting of 4 British and 2 Flemish speaking Belgians. French was the predominant language for announcements followed by English then Spanish. CroisiEurope do not have independent Cruise Directors but directly employed staff from Animation or entertainments as we know it perform this function. Sarah the senior of these came to the English and Spanish tables each night at dinner and went through the following days programme. Her English was very good and she was very helpful. Some of the French and Belgians spoke English and I was able to hold conversations including one in partial French with a lady who felt it unusual for such a young man to cruise on his own (I am 64)!
The ship had an age range from around 5 years to I suspect around 80 years. There were 6 children on board the oldest traveling with a younger brother and grandmother was 15. This was one of CroisiEuropes dedicated Kids Club cruises where a member of the Animation team ran the kids activities which gave parents/guardians the chance to go on excursions knowing their children would be safe on board.
The ships crew/hotel staff was a mix of French, Italian and Hungarians. The waiter/waitress staff are not allocated to tables and often would address us in French when first serving our table. Some did speak a fair amount of English and some had very little English. I do think they were getting worried for the trip following mine as only 10 French were on board the rest being English speakers. It does go to show how on these ships the crew do many jobs. I thought I had asked a deck hand a question before checking in. That night he had his full uniform on and was introduced as Chief Engineer.
Breakfast was the usual buffet with set meals for Lunch and Dinner. Menu was broadcast on the televison and if the meal was not suitable the chief would do his best to find an alternative. The chef was French so a good deal of French and Italian food was on offer. Sometimes it was a bit overpowering with a four course lunch and a four course dinner on the same day. As far as dressing for dinner then smart casual was the norm and on the gala night some chaps wore a tie about 6 wore suits and a few ladies were a little elegant.
Actual Cruising and Excursions
If you want a major river cruise this is not the trip for you. On the first night we cruised from one side of St. Marks Square to the other around 30 minutes. The following morning was a 2 hour cruise to Chioggia where all passengers had to disembark. There was and optional trip to Padua with a trip to SottoMarina for those not wishing to take this. The ship made its was to Cattelan Gas where we all re boarded. This section is at sea and we were told that for the past couple of years the Italian authorities will not allow either of the river boats to carry passengers over this section following the Costa Concordia disaster. During Dinner the ship cruised to Polesella which could not have been more than a couple of hours sorry I just cannot remember. Day 3 was a morning coach trip to Ferrara which was very nice. We had a tri-lingual guide and the Spanish and English speakers saw this town together. After lunch the choice was an excursion to Verona or stay on board while the ship sailed to Banchina Grandi when everyone was off again due to sailing at sea. We rejoined the ship at Chioggia again. 2 of the excursion coaches were delayed by a 3 car traffic accident getting back to the ship after the scheduled dinner time. However dinner was delayed but we only had 15 minutes from arrival to first course. Day 4 and we sailed back to Venice during breakfast in time for the optional excursion to the Doges Palace. That afternoon was free time in Venice and I took the opportunity to have a couple of hours sleep (first time I have ever done this on a cruising trip) as I was excursioned out! That night Uniworlds River Countess moored alongside and was there all of the following day. Day 5 was a boat excursion to the Islands of Murano and Burano. At Murano we were taken to a glass foundry and saw a demonstration of glass blowing. Of course this was followed by a visit to the shop. Burano was a very pretty island where one could relax or wander around at leisure. After lunch was free time and I wandered into St. Marks Square which took me about an hour at a very slow pace.
The Michelangelo is one the lines 2 cabin deck ships with a lounge and bar, restaurant and cabins on the upper deck and cabins only in steerage where I was. I had one of the two single cabins which was comfortable but compact but just right for me. Small double bed, desk, chair, T.V. and wardrobe space. Very small shower room with hand basin and w.c.
On the sun deck was a small inflatable pool, loungers and chairs around tables.
Certainly not a trip I could compare to any other being more excursion based rather than cruising based. However a great way to see Venice rather than being in a hotel. Even though I class myself as a Croisifile I do not think I would do this trip again. Next year I shall be looking towards one of their paddle boats if I can save up enough pennies.
Please feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer.
Compact cabin with desk television and hanging space
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very interesting place but unguided due to being only English speaker taking it.View All 43 Doge's Palace Reviews
very nice island plenty of photo ops and time for people watching as wellView All 63 Murano Island Reviews
Unguided walking around found it to be a picturesque townView All 8 Padua Walking Tour Reviews
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