You may initially question the logic of a luxury barge cruise around the Venice area that only spends about a half-day—gasp!—in the actual city itself. But that's exactly what Go Barging (www.gobarging.com) has done with its new "La Dolce Vita" program to the Venetian Lagoon.
Go Barging's new seven-day, six-night aquatic jaunt around
the Venetian Lagoon (stopping at Murano, Lido, Burano, Torcello,
The Wraysbury, England-based company's inaugural trip departs October 8, a special three-day kick-off journey for which they offered a 20 percent price reduction. It has scheduled 30 departure dates for the coming year from April 1 to October 21, with a price tag varying from $2,550 to $3,100 based on double occupancy, without air. Below is a rough itinerary of the cruise.
On Day 1, cruisers begin with a round of prosecco at the
Villa Laguna Hotel in
On Day 3, passengers visit the Murano Glass Works, then tour
On Day 4, guests visit a fishing market in
On Day 5, cruisers visit
Later, cruisers head to to Dolo, along the river Brenta. Dinner is in Dolo, where passengers can have a glass of wine in its historic water mill.
On Day 6, they cruise to Stra and tour the Villa Pisani. (It's possible to follow the barge by bicycle along the river Brenta.) Guests then take an afternoon cruise to Mira for the captain's farewell dinner, served on board.
On Day 7, Go Barging arranges for a transfer to a hotel in
All cruises are seven days, six nights; three-night charters are available upon request. The majority of the departures are on a Sunday, with trips ending on a Saturday morning. There are a handful of departures remaining for 2006: Oct. 22 and 29 retails for $2,450 and Nov. 5 and 12 for $2,150. Check with the company for availability. A map of the Venetian Lagoon (Laguna Veneto)
Don't be confused by the fact that Go Barging also is known as European Waterways (www.europeanwaterways.com); that they have separate web sites.
From Cargo to Luxury
It may come as a surprise that all of Go Barging's vessels previously sailed as working cargo barges. The company's first, a barge called Anjodi, actually hauled grain. The boats have been completely overhauled and retrofitted to become what the company refers to as "floating country hotels." Built by Dutch shipbuilders nearly a century ago, La Dolce Vita houses six passengers in three cabins, along with a crew of three: the captain, a chef and a housekeeper. The barge is air-conditioned and features a sundeck. The captain, Massimiliano, is a tall Venetian who hails from a family of sailors.
For more information and the complete 2007 Go Barging cruise