When I booked this "cruise", I knew there would not be much cruising involved. However, if I'd known the boat would be completely stationery except for 8 hours during our whole stay, I would not have booked!
When did the Michelangelo move? Once, for a short hop between our initial mooring at San Basilio and our main mooring at the Giardini Bienniale; once for a two hour meander around the North Lagoon (no stops, no commentary); and a short cruise down to Chiogga and back (two and a half hours each way). When we booked, the brochure said the ship sailed to Murano and Burano but apparently larger ships are no longer permitted to moor there.
DINING AND BEVERAGES
The Michelangelo is fully inclusive - all meals including unlimited beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks and water (including bottles of water to take on excursions). The bar is open most of the day and very late into the night.
The meals are all a set menu with no choices. Helpings were generous but there was a weird disconnect between the published menus and what was served - for instance:
- "orecchiette" on the menu became plain penne on the plate;
- "roman piccata" was pork schnitzel with spaghetti and the wrong sauce;
- "caprese" salad was made with mozzarella instead of bocconcini;
..and so on. It felt as though Head Office had created an Italian menu to suit the ship's Venetian location, but the chef had never tasted Italian cuisine and just made it up (I recommend he spends some time with Google to find the recipes, and eats a few meals at real Italian restaurants!).
The British guests seemed happy with the food but the French passengers were critical and said it was well below what they expected from Croisieurope. We were disappointed with the standard but felt it must've been difficult for a kitchen of four people to cater for so many passengers, so if there was a tendency towards institutional cooking perhaps it was unavoidable.
Some passengers had booked inclusive of all excursions - we had not.
The Doge's Palace is walking distance from the ship's mooring at Giardini and the queue is short, so apart from the commentary (which was good), we felt we had wasted our money on this excursion and should have done it ourselves.
The trip to Murano and Burano seemed expensive, considering that local excursion operators do a similar trip for 20 euros which includes Torcello (which is more interesting than Burano).
The ship goes to Chioggia on the last full day, from where there's an excursion to Padua. Chioggia itself is a large town with a few old buildings on its main street, and is not worth a visit (the Michelangelo staff recommended the fish market "with lots of interesting fish" as the highlight of the town...). We chose not to go to Padua as the excursion sounded rushed. The cruise back along the edge of the lagoon was pleasant on a spectacularly sunny day, but it would've been far better with some basic commentary telling us what islands we were passing.
We were concerned that the entertainment consisted of ONE local musician on two of the evenings, but we need not have worried as she was a brilliant clarinetist who also sang, played the piano and acted as DJ. The large lounge had ample space for all including a good dance floor.
This is not a cruise! To be fair, it is not Croisieurope's fault - the Venetian authories have severely limited where larger ships can go in the Lagoon. However, perhaps that means it's time for Croisieurope to reconsider whether it's worth offering this "cruise" at all, or be more imaginative about the way they run it.
Tiny. We have not done a European river cruise before so can't say how it compares, but we were shocked at the size - far smaller than the cabin we had on our Egyptian river cruise, for instance. The bed took up the whole room, with just enough space to sidle along the bottom and the side. Suitcases have to be unpacked and stored under the bed, and at night, cushions and bedspreads have to be piled precariously on the windowsill.
The double bed was in fact two twin beds pushed together. This isn't unusual in Europe, but in some hotels they have a mechanism to fasten the two beds together so they don't separate in the middle of the night. That isn't the case on the MS Michelangelo, leading to some hilarity amongst the passengers about mishaps with the "Great Divide", particularly in moments of passion. . .
The bathroom was about the same as we've seen on other cruises and well designed. There is a safe.
TIP: If you need darkness to sleep, bring an eye mask. The ship is moored at Giardini most nights, so cabins on the landward side of the ship are affected by street lights.
Good commentary- but overpriced considering this was not a coach or boat tour, it was a walking tour and there was no need to "skip the line" as the queue was short. So we were paying a lot extra for the local guide's commentary.View All 43 Doge's Palace Reviews