When is a Venetian Adventure not a Venetian Adventure?

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm

When it doesn’t give you enough time to have an adventure in Venice, of course.

The boyfriend and I have had nothing but trouble with First Choice holidays. Last year we forked out for an excursion to Cairo when we went to Taba, and found out two days before we were due to go that there was no such excursion on that occasion, and it did in fact leave in three hours’ time. The entry to the pyramids that we’d paid for was apparently not part of this trip and we were left well and truly ripped off. First Choice’s response to our complaint? ‘We can’t possibly do anything about it without substantial proof that you were told you were going on Saturday’ – which is fairly impossible when their rep firmly removed that proof from my fingers and failed to return it, yes?

We booked this cruise back in October as a compromise – I wanted to go to Rome, Mark wanted to go to Nice, we both wanted to go to Venice. A cruise called the Venetian Adventure that started in Nice, moved on to Rome and Sorrento, traipsed through Dubrovnik (figuratively speaking) then landed in Venice for an overnight stay before concluding with stops in Split and Sicilly sounded ideal, and being the super organised being that I am, I had the whole itinerary planned to maximise those two days for a magazine feature, from the gondola ride through the Grand Canal to the trip to the Murano isle to have some glass jewellery made to order.

So it was terribly convenient when six months after the holiday was booked, and around 24 hours after actually setting sail (is that what a cruise ship does? I saw no sail. I suppose it powers along.) we were all told that actually, we wouldn’t be going to Venice overnight, they wouldn’t allow it due to the water weight.  BEDLAM. I feared the captain would be lynched, not that it was his fault; it’s not his responsibility to write to the 1,500 passengers who’d all paid in excess of a grand each to visit these ports of call on a frankly fairly shabby ship; it’s up to the tour operator. As I heard hundreds of people complain over the two-week break, First Choice and Thomson knew damn well that anyone booking a cruise called the Venetian Adventure probably wanted to see a bit of Venice, and they weren’t going to run the risk of having to give everyone their thousands of pounds back. Bad customer relations – tick.

So it was that instead of spending a wonderfully romantic evening in the restaurants of this truly unique city, I found myself herded back on to the damn ship seven bloody hours after I’d got off it to see everyone milling around in the carnival masks they’d bought in the Island Escape’s very poor idea of recreating a Ventian ball.

Disappointed? I don’t think that covers it.


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