Well, we arrived safe and sound after a long journey of 13 hours or so. At DTW I presented Jean (Mum to me), Kathleen and John with Tour Books for the trip. The tour book detailed the entire trip and it was a considation of all of my multi-month research putting this trip together. Needless to say, Mum and Kathleen loved it… John just rolled his eyes. He knew that I was up to something over the long Michigan winter, but it was a worthy effort, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, we landed in Venice and really the highlight of the journey was the ride to the hotel in the motoscafo (water taxi). We first had to take a shuttle to the dock and then we loaded all of our bags in the motorboat and we were off! The ride was about 30 minutes to the hotel… it sprinkled a bit… but it truly was a blast – especially after being cooped up in planes for sooo long.

After a bite to eat at the hotel we took a stroll around the area… we came across this lovel canal very near our hotel. It really says it all… we really were in Venice after all!

We stayed our first night at The Hilton Molino Stucky on Guidecca Island. We were not on Venice proper, but it afforded us some spectatular views of Venice… truly a picture postcard at dusk… we just stared and stared at the skyline of Venice for over an hour and just watched the water craft, small and large, just fly by.

Saturday was a busy day… we checked out and ended up taking a motoscafo to the pier. The “water taxi driver” made the mistake of taking us all the way around to the cruise terminal… he insisted… as I tried to tell him that our ship was embarking right across from our hotel. He understood me… but took us all the way around and then all the way back, after being told we were in the wrong place. He just turned around and said “scuzzi” (excuse me)… realizing the error. “No problemo” in my broken Italian… Rosetta Stone was paying off! Sort of…. 😉

So we embarked after a little delay and got settled on the ship. OCEANIA CRUISES has three sister ships and we are on the Insignia. It is very beautiful… modern, but traditional at the same time.

The ship is immaculate… very clean and everyone is incredibly friendly. We know that we are in for a good time as we have been chatting with fellow passengers that have been on multiple cruises with this line. They keep coming back and back. Hopefully we’ll feel the same way at the end of this journey!

Mum if off to a good start… she and I enjoyed some time poolside on our first day taking in the atmosphere. Kathleen and John, lacking sleep and feeling the jet lag from our journey, took naps. Being on a cruise for this first time, Mum and Kathleen have a lot in store for them and rest is definitely recommended.

Tomorrow is our final day in Venice. We’ll be up early, early for an excursion to the famous St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. From there, we are taking the vapretto (water bus) to Murano to see the famous glass factories.

More soon…