May 25th, 2008


Well… the best laid plans… had to be altered… slightly.

Day three, our last day in Venice. Admittedly, the jet lag was hitting all of us. We had a great day, though, well 3 out of 4 of us did. Mum woke up not feeling so great, so she decided to stay behind from our excursion to ST. MARK’S SQUARE and the DOGE’S PALACE. And so jbom, Kathleen and I set off…


Our excursion was very well organized by the cruise line. OCEANIA CRUISES handed us off to the local guides at the entrance to the Port building, the local guides transferred us to St. Mark’s Square, and then the local guides handed us off to the local expert that took us around the area. Everything worked like clockwork.


The day was going to be a warm one, so we were happy that we set off at 8 a.m. – especially to beat the crowds. I had heard that St. Mark’s Square would be wall to wall with people, but it was fine until we were at the end of the excursion mid-day… and guess what…. it was wall to wall people!


The pictures don’t do the site justice… the cathedral was under construction in sections, so I wasn’t able to get a shot of the full area. But the inside of the Dodge’s Palace was incredible… layered with gold embellishments, wood carvings, Venetian glass windows and the largest free span room in Europe the size of 1/2 a football field. You will have to take my word for it… as we were restricted to exterior pictures only… but pretty incredible considering that the area was first under construction in the mid-6th Century. 


Here is a shot of jbom and Kathleen listening to our guide on headsets… pretty cool… the guide speaks into a microphone and everyone on her frequency can hear her and not be disturbed by others.


Near the end of the tour our guide offered to take us to a glass blowing demonstration. Knowing that with limited time left in the day, I was not going to get to Murano to see the experts for myself – I jumped at the chance. Jbom, Kathleen and I went through two back alleyways behind St. Mark’s Square to a set of stairs and then up to the top where they were waiting for us. I immediately knew that we were in for a sales pitch, but I was game. We had 20 minutes before we were due back to the water shuttle, so we had nothing to lose.


The demonstration was actually pretty cool… the glass blower made a very traditional Venetian glass pitcher and produced it in no-time… really about 2 minutes. Then he made a horse and the technique of the blowing and bending of the glass was amazing.

The sales pitch ensued after the demonstration and I wandered away and looked from room to room to see all of the different styles of Venetian glass… modern, traditional, old-world, etc. The chandeliers were incredible… oh, and about starting at $20,000USD. Really. Okay, no chandelier for me, so I looked around for something small.


I came across a small glass bowl the size of a cereal bowl… surely I could afford this, I thought. The glass blowing effect was in the style of “millefiori” (mosaic glass made by laying colors of different glass bundled together in a special process…. Okay too much detail… just take my word for it that it labor intensive, but brilliant in the light.) But, unfortunately, at 550 Euros, too expensive for me. The owner, understanding my dilemma, and wanting to make a sale (of course), brought forward a small vase that was not exactly what I wanted, but was in the “millefiori” style and in my price range… much less than 550 Euros. He even knocked down the price a bit when I lamented about the value of the US Dollar.


SOLD! …and I had my Venetian glass! And I also picked up a Christmas ornament… so I was all set. If I buy nothing else on this trip I will still be happy that I have my Venetian glass!


We paid, and then ran off to the water shuttle to catch the transfer back to the ship…. arriving just in time to get this picture of Kathleen in front of the ship…


Upon our return we met up with Mum, who was feeling much better, and got ready for the safety drill – mandatory on every cruise prior to first departure. We donned our lifejackets (sorry, no pics) and waited for the Captain’s direction to head to our “muster station.”


Running a little late, the Captain came on and said that some guests had not returned to the ship and they were looking for them. Less then a minute later we had a call come in on the cabin phone and Mum picked it up. As it turns out, they were looking for her!!!!!! We had not advised them that she had stayed behind from the excursion and so… she had no need to leave the ship. Consequently, they had not checked her back in. Apparently the hold up of the entire ship was they were looking for Mum!!!!! Lesson learned… advise the Destinations team if someone is not choosing to go on an excursion!


Shortly thereafter, we began the drill… and no, they didn’t throw her overboard!


Dinner was a treat. Each guest gets limited access to the specialty restaurants on the ship at no additional charge… Toscana (Italian-style) and Polo (American Chophouse-style). We had a lovely dinner at Polo our first night at sea… Mum said that she was “all puffed out” as she normally does after a big meal… but then proceeded to have crème brule. I was happy that she was back to her old self and could enjoy the cruise from here on out!


And being at the rear of the ship, we had a fantastic view from the rear of the ship as we departed Venice… a lovely place that we didn’t see nearly enough of.


Onto Dubrovnik, Croatia!