If cruising into or out of Venice, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Venetian Lagoon and Giudecca Canal.
Our sail-in on the Crystal Serenity took more than 90 minutes from the time we entered the lagoon to the time we docked at the main Venice cruise terminal, the Stazione Marittima.
It was one of the most magnificent port arrivals we’ve experienced – cruising past colorful historic palaces and St. Mark’s Square, gondolas bobbing in front, on a sunny September morning.
We spent the afternoon and night on our Crystal Cruises’ ship in Venice. Then the next morning, like many cruise passengers who disembark in Venice, we took the train to explore more of Italy.
Florence is just over 2 hours away by high-speed train. Another popular city to visit from Venice is Milan (also only some 2 hours away). You can easily spend 3 days in Milan – especially if you love shopping!
For us, the Puglia region was our destination.
If you too plan to catch a train from Venice at the end of your cruise, here’s how to get from the Venice port to the train station.
Venice port to train station
Cruise port in Venice:
There are two cruise terminals in Venice.
Marittima (where our ship docked) is a basin with several terminals. Large ships with Holland America Line, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and other cruise lines dock here.
(The other terminal is the San Basilio Pier, just off the Giudecca Canal.)
Santa Lucia train station:
Our train left from the Venezia Santa Lucia train station, which is the train station closest to the Marittima cruise port.
1) Exit the Marittima Venice port
Once you’ve disembarked your ship and collected your luggage, you can either walk to the port exit or take a ship shuttle. Most ships offer a complimentary shuttle. The walk is along a paved pedestrian walkway.
We initially thought we’d take our ship’s shuttle, but decided not to wait for it. We were traveling relatively light (two rollaway carry-ons and one larger rollaway suitcase) so the 10-minute walk was easily doable.
2) Take the Venice People Mover
At the port exit, you’ll see Venice’s “People Mover.”
It’s a driverless elevated train that shuttles people between the Marittima port station to the Piazzale Roma on the edge of Venice’s historic center. The Piazzale Roma is a square where buses, taxis and cars arrive or depart. (The People Mover also extends the other way beyond the Marittima station to the Tronchetto parking island.)
The ticket cost for the People Mover is 1.5 Euros p.p., payable at a handful of automated ticket dispensers. You can pay with cash or credit card.
You may have to wait in line, depending on whether there’s a crush of people all wanting to buy People Mover tickets. Line-ups are a fact of life in Venice! (If you do a little advance planning, however, you’ll discover ways to skip the lines in Venice.)
Note: Even though you press the button for English, it may only display Italian for you. Thankfully, another Italian gent waiting to buy a ticket helped us with the machine.
Choose either the elevator or the escalator to take you up to the elevated train tracks.
We just missed one People Mover train and our wait time was about 10 minutes for the next. The ride itself to Piazzale Roma only took about 5 minutes.
3) Cross the glass bridge from Piazzale Roma
From the Piazzale Roma, you must walk across Venice’s infamous Constitution Bridge. Built in 2008, this glass-and-steel bridge traverses the Grand Canal, connecting the Piazzale Roma with the Santa Lucia train station.
Crossing the bridge is unfortunately not an easy feat if you’re dragging a suitcase (or two).
There’s no smooth ramp up or down the bridge. Instead, you have to haul your wheely suitcase, bumpety-bump, up at least 50 low-rise steps, and then repeat the bumpety-bump down another 50 steps. The glass steps are a little slippery; some are cracked.
Many tourists have slipped or tripped on the bridge since it opened. The City of Venice recently fined the bridge’s Spanish architect $86,000 USD for “macroscopic negligence” for designing a bridge that isn’t tourist friendly.
Tip: The center strip of the bridge has concrete steps, and these are less disorienting than the glass steps.
How long does it take to get to the train station?
We left our ship at 7:45 am and arrived at the Santa Lucia train station just over an hour later – walking from the ship through the port, then using the People Mover, and walking the last leg over the glass-step bridge to the station. We arrived in plenty of time to have a 15-minute coffee at the station before boarding our train.
We were one of the first guests off our ship and it wasn’t very busy around 8:00 am at the People Mover. If it’s busy, it will obviously take you more than an hour to reach the train station.
Taxi from Venice cruise port to Mestre train station
Most long-distance trains to Florence, Rome, and other popular destinations which depart from the Santa Lucia train station, Venice, also stop at the Mestre train station. Our train to Bari did.
We understand the cost of a land taxi from the cruise port to the Mestre train station is about 50 Euros, which of course saves you some hassle. Depending on the traffic, the ride takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
If you’re flush with cash or laden down with heavy luggage, you may prefer to simply take a cab to the Mestre station.
Venice cruise terminal in future
Sadly, Venice is over-run with tourists (like several popular destinations these days).
Between 25 and 30 million visitors flood Venice each year; almost 6 million people disembark from some 600 cruise ships from April to October.
There are reports that Venice plans to re-route about 1/3 of cruise ships away from the current cruise port, starting in 2020. But whether that actually takes place remains to be seen.
In the meantime, if cruising to Venice, chances are your port will be the Stazione Marittima Venice port. And if catching a train, you’ll be making your way from this cruise port in Venice to the train station.
More useful cruise tips
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Photos © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase (except Photos 1 and 4)