Need suggestions about our Venice trip

Aug 17th, 2010, 08:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 19
Need suggestions about our Venice trip


We bought a 7 days vacation package from Expedia. We also bought
the shuttle boat services (by Oltrex Viaggi) between airport and Venice
(cost about $170 for me and my wife round trip). We are staying at a hotel nearby
Accademia Bridge. My questions are as follow:

1. I read from other posts, it appears that it would be more convenient
and cheaper if we buy a 7 days tourist pass (Venice Card?) at the
airport that include water boat transportation. Should we cancel
our transportation arrangement with Expedia and just buy the
Venice Card and where to buy them, on-line before the trip?

2. Would the water boat take us very close to the Accademia Bridge and
is it cumbersome to carry luggages around especially crossing the bridge?

Any other suggestions for first timer to Venice is greatly appreciated.

petertsay1 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 08:36 PM
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The Venice card does not cover transport from the airport to the main part of Venice. There are ferries, operated by Alilaguna that cost about 20 Euro per person each way, but they don’t go very close to the Academe Bridge. $170 seems a lot for transport. There is a shared water taxi option that is cheaper. Try and look at the shared transfer option. It costs 27 Euro per person each way and would drop you pretty close to your hotel. If your hotel is on the Academe side of the bridge, you would get there without crossing too many other bridges.

Hauling luggage around Venice can be hard work, particularly across the Academe Bridge – about the ”toughest” of all the bridges (I speak with experience here).

The 72 hour pass may be worth buying, or maybe not. It gives transport on the water busses, but you might not use them much anyway. In eight weeks in Venice, we only used them for a tourist cruise up and down the Grand Canal, and to Murano / Burano. Otherwise it’s easier to walk everywhere.

I wrote a long trip report, and it has a few useful hints if you can wade through it.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 11:57 PM
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We spent a week in Venice last month and bought the ACTV 7 day transport card at the airport with the museum card added on. Very worthwhile, I think, it's great to use the vaporetto without having to worry about tickets, sometimes just to cross the Grand Canal from one side to another. By Day 3 we had recouped the initial cost.

The Alilaguna airport boat, which is another supplement to the main ACTV card which you can buy at the airport, stops at Zattere vaporetto, perhaps your hotel isn't far from there? The ACTV passes are sold at the tourist information booth right in front of you on exit from the baggage reclaim area.
tarquin is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 06:36 AM
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Where is your hotel? "Near the Accademia Bridge" could mean on the Accademia Gallery/Dorsoduro side or the San Marco side. The Zattere Alilaguna stop will work great if you are on the Dorsoduro side—no bridges to cross from the Zattere stop all the way to Accademia. If on the San Marco side, a different Alilaguna route might be better.
ellenem is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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If you paid $170 RT I would assume that what you have is a private water taxi - a whole differnt thing from an alliguna or a vaporetto (water bus with throngs of people).

If the $170 is not for a water taxi - cancel it and decide how you want to get to your hotel and what you're willing to pay. (It may be simplest to take a bus to the train station and get a vaporetto from there.)
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 07:55 AM
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That transportation arrangement is, frankly, a brazen tourist rip-off. Even without the Venice Card, the standard fee (bus & vaporetto) for a two persons round trip should be 32 Euros. And with the Card, at least the vaporetto (which is far more expensive than the bus) is included - not sure about the bus, but perhaps that's included, as well. There are vaporetto stops on either side of the bridge if you don't want to carry your luggage across it (which shouldn't be too exhausting either if you travel with reasonable luggage) - just tell us where precisely your hotel is located, and we'll tell you which vaporetto line to take and where to get out. Ah yes, and we need the hour at which you'll be arriving (important for which line to choose).
franco is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 08:21 AM
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I just looked at the oltrex viaggi website, and it sounds like the shuttle boat/taxi boat transfer that they are selling is not the same as a real water taxi (it says it will only stop at certain mooring points, and specifically says that it will not go to your hotel). Cancel it. Venice Water Taxi has a website that will let you book water taxi transfers in advance (it is 94 euro from the airport and 59 euro from the train station to book prepaid). I know it is expensive, but if you can swing it for at least the arrival leg I think it is worth it for the memory factor. There is NOTHING more magical than a private water taxi whisking you directly to your hotel from either the train or the airport.
tejana is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 09:04 AM
Original Poster
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First, thanks to everyone for providing excellent suggestion.
We are staying at the Hotel American-Dinesen in the Dorsoduro
district. After I booked the transportation arrangement with Expedia,
then I learned there are better way to get to my hotel.
We will cancel that arrangement and take the Aliguna Airport
Boat and/or ACTV 7 days transport pass.

One more question, does anyone know what phone card to use
while in Venice so we can call home? We are from Chicago, Illinois.

Again, thanks so much for your help.

petertsay1 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 09:24 AM
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Alilaguna is another company - not included in the Venice Card. Will cost more than bus and vaporetto tickets, but not nearly as much as that Oltrex rip-off, of course. If you want to use your Venice Card, you have to go by ACTV bus - it's included, I checked in the meantime - from the airport to Piazzale Roma (attention, there are two companies on that line, ACTV and ATVO - you need the ACTV bus), and then by vaporetto down Canal Grande to the Accademia stop (since you didn't tell me the arrival time, I cannot tell you which line to choose) - no bridge crossing for this hotel!
franco is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 09:25 AM
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When I travel I use a prepaid phone card I purchased at Sam's Club. I believe it is Sprint, and it is specifically good for international calls. I don't remember if I used it in Italy, but I have used it in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, and Hungary since I bought it. Regardless, it works in all countries. If you go to the website on the card you can find out how many cents per minute it costs to place a call from Italy to the U.S. Just multiply that amount by the number of minutes you think you'll want and add them to the card. You can add money at any time too. It is not complicated to use (I'm an attorney, not a scientist or math professor), and it has worked everywhere I have tried to use it.
Delaine is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Excellent information! We will be arriving in Venice
on Aug. 30, 1:35pm at the gate. Maybe
another 2 hours to clear custom and
immigration. I think we will be very
tired by then so the less walking and
carrying luggage the better. We will
have two small luggages (on wheel)
plus carry-on.

My wife works for a bank. The exchange
rate for dollar to euro is $1.3 to one
euro. Would we get better rate once
we are in Venice using ATM?

Thanks again to all!

petertsay1 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 11:15 AM
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If it really is $1.30 for 1 euro with no additional charges, you are getting a fantastic rate if it's a USA bank. It's about the same as what you would get at a bank ATM in Europe right now. Just be certain that you would really get that rate--maybe you get a special low rate because your wife is an employee, because the bank is losing money on that deal once you factor in labor costs to get you your cash.
Paul1950 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 11:33 AM
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hi peter,

how nice to read a thread from someone who asks intelligent qs and reads the answers!

I'm going to differ from Peter-Aus here and suggest that you do purchase the 7 day vaporetto card. we did, and we never regretted it. i know that some people say they walk everywhere in Venice and that's part of the fun, but it does mean that you have to factor in the walking back, which can discourage you from exploring as far as you might. What I like is to wander around, [almost] at random, and then when I'm exhausted, catch a boat [or two] back. like another poster above, we recouped the cost of our vaporetto pass very quickly and liked the freedom it gave us.

have a great trip,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 11:50 AM
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Well, from the airport to the Alilaguna ferry, there's a walk of several minutes. I think the busses are much nearer by, but wait for others to confirm that. If you take the bus, you have to take vaporetto no. 1 at that hour, from Piazzale Roma to Accademia (about 35 minutes).
franco is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 12:02 PM
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The bus stop at Marco Polo is directly in front of the terminal as you exit from the building. It is under the roof. The ACTV bus that is covered by the pass is big and orange. It looks like a regular city bus. It will drp you at Piazzale Roma in about 25 minutes.

The other bus serving the airport is big and blue and has ATVO In big letters on the side. The vaporetto pass does not cover this bus. Current rate is 3 euro and takes about 20 minutes. It is an express.
notbob is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 12:07 PM
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hi again,

yes, the buses are closer, as they are right outside the front of the airport. the ATVO bus [€3 single, or €5 return i think] is closest, and IMHO easiest as there is luggage space underneath, and it only stops at the airport and piazzale roma. but you still have to cross the piazzale and lug your luggage onto the vaporeto, and find the right one, and get off ni the right place, etc. etc.

then there's the ACTV bus which stops a bit further away, it included in your vaporetto pass if you get one at the airport, but stops everywhere and is jammed with all the luggage. and has exactly the same problems when you get to Venice of negotiating the vaporetti.

finally there's the water dock for the water taxis and the alilaguna. you come straight out of the sirport building and ninstead of gonig striaght on for the buses, yo turn left and walk along a very flat covered walkway that talkes you all the way to the dock -it's really only 5 minutes easy walk with a wheeled case or other luggage. when you get to the dock, there will be taxis waiting, and the alilaguna boats.

if you are staying on Dorsoduro, the alilaguna would seem to be the way to go as it stops on the Zattere and you should have a fairly short walk to your hotel with minimal hassle.

i seem to remember that you could get a vaporetto pass with the alilaguna includedbut it didn't work for us as we were arriving and leaving after they'd stopped. that doesn't seem to be the case with you.

I'm not sure that I fully understand how the pricing of passes works now, but here's a link that may help.

my understanding, which may well be inadequate, is that if you book on line through venicecard at least 7 days in advance, [there's a link at the bottom] depending on whether you are travelling in high, mid or low season [not necessarily what you would think but may vary during the same week!] you can buy the passes at a discount. for example when i looked, for next week you could get a 7 day pass which normally costs €50 pp for €42, and there were other offers too.

why it has to be so complicated, I have no idea.
annhig is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Peter - Marco Polo is a smaller airport, it should not take you 2 hours to get through the official stuff.
notbob is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 12:14 PM
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ditto notbob. unless you are very unlucky, say 30 -45 mins to get through passport, collect your luggage, and exit customs.

if you have not bought passes, or want to collect them, they do this at the information desk right in front of you as you exit customs.

if you have a rush of blood to the wallet, you can book a water taxi there too.
annhig is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 08:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 19
Again thanks so much for the overwhelming responses I have
gotten so far. You all provided excellent and useful
information to help me plan for this trip.

I think we will purchase the 7 days-Vaporetto Card on-line
to get the discounted price. My wife can get cranky with
jet-lag after long travel so I think probably taking Alilaguna
is the way to go for the arrival to Venice. Quickest way to
get to hotel and get some rest for the first day.

My wife told me today's exchange rate at her bank is $1.34
to one Euro. She works at Northern Trust Bank. I am not quite
sure if that is the prefer rate they provided to their
employees. I think we will just get the cash here instead
of searching for ATM there. We will be using our credit
card as much as possible.

It's good it only takes 30-45 minutes to clear custom and
immigration. Here in Chicago's O'Hare, it can take up to
two hours sometimes even more.

Thanks again to everyone,

petertsay1 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 11:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Is there any more enjoyable topic than Venice?
tarquin is offline  

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