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We’re just back from a weekend break in Venice – non-cruise. It’s the first significant non-cruise holiday we’ve taken for quite a while, and I thought it might be interesting to give some information about the prices and some other experiences.

We stayed in a good room in a good three star hotel not too far from the Rialto (in Canareggio, for Venice afficionados). We had one of their better rooms, with a canal view, so the equivalent of a good cabin: deluxe balcony, say. The room cost us €450 for two nights. Then we spent about €350 on this and that. Some of that was for excursions – vaporetto tickets, airport bus tickets, entrance money, daytime drinks & coffees, etc, but I would say that at least 50% of it was for meals and stuff that on a cruise would have been included in the price. Finally, we paid for travelling to Venice & back, which with flights, the overnight Travelodge, breakfast at LBA & petrol to and from home, came to not far shy of £300. Again, let’s say that we might have spent 50% of that getting to and from Southampton.

Then there was the whole ‘meals out’ thing. Frankly, this was the most disappointing part of the weekend. The meals were OK but not great – not as good as we would expect to have in the MDR on a cruise. The service in these restaurants was comically inefficient – much, much worse than anything I have seen on a ship. And then there was the whole “where shall we have dinner?” thing, which you simple don’t get on a cruise.

It brought home to us what good value cruises are. Yes, we could have done it all cheaper, but we choose to spend a certain amount on a holiday because they are important times for us. But we’re looking forward to the next cruise.

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