Best Venice Accessible Cruise Vacations
By John Sage
These top 5 accessible Venice cruise vacations visit a variety of exciting destinations you won’t want to miss, including France, Spain and Greece!
Starting your cruise in Venice is a great way to spend a little extra time relaxing alongside one of its many charming canals and bridges and discovering the rich history and stunning architecture this unique city has to offer.
Accessible shore excursions are offered in nearly all of the cruise ports so there will be plenty of opportunity to sightsee and explore!
#39 – Venice + 12 night Grand Mediterranean Cruise
In my opinion, this accessible Venice cruise vacation is the best cruise for first-time cruisers in the Mediterranean since it visits so many different countries. On top of that, accessible shore excursions are possible in every port! The 12 night Princess Grand Mediterranean cruise visits the following ports:
- Venice – This Venice accessible cruise vacation starts with an overnight stay in Venice. If you choose to arrive a day early, you will have the option to create a memory you will have forever by staying in an accessible hotel overlooking the Grand Canal! You will have the opportunity to visit popular attractions like the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, as well as lesser-known attractions like glass blowing in Murano and lace making in Burano. Wheelchair accessible boat rides in Venice are also available.
- Dubrovnik – The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian Coast (shown in the photo above on the right) is ranked as one of the Top 10 medieval walled cities in the world. Numerous churches and palaces in Dubrovnik bear witness to the 15th and 16th centuries when it flourished as a rival to Venice.
- Athens – The Parthenon on the Acropolis is the must-see attraction here, but there’s so much more that many visitors miss. In the ancient Roman Agora, you’ll be able walk/roll among Roman columns and temples without having to fight masses of tourists (the main photo on the Sage Traveling Facebook page was actually taken there). In the National Archaeological Museum, you can see some of the most important historical artifacts from antiquity like spearheads and arrowheads from the Spartan battle against the Persian King Xerxes I (you may have seen it in the movie “300”). Be sure to stop by the Temple of Olympian Zeus for a great photo opportunity you can send to your friends!
- Kusadasi (Ephesus) – Kusadasi (or the nearby port of Izmir) is a popular Turkish port because of its easy access to the magnificent Roman ruins at Ephesus. Wheelchair access is limited as shown in this Ephesus accessibility video.
- Mykonos – Harbor-front seafood restaurants, narrow winding pedestrian streets through the town of Mykonos, and the famous Paradise Beach are just a few of the options you’ll have in one of the most popular of the 1400 Greek Islands.
- Naples – A variety of options greet you in Naples. One of the simplest options is to stay in Naples, experience one of most vibrant Italian cities, learn all about the former Kingdom of Naples, and see the world-class Pompeii artifacts housed in the National Archaeological Museum. My recommendation for first time visitors is to get out of the city…a visit to Pompeii and Herculaneum can be combined with a visit to Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast. The spectacular views on the island of Capri can be reached by ferry and easily combined with a visit to Sorrento or a city tour of Naples. After a full day in Naples port, you’ll be itching to come back!
- Civitavecchia – Trying to experience Rome in a day is a lot like trying to experience Europe in a week, but with private transportation you can still visit some of the highlights. You’ll want to visit 1) ancient Rome sights like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon, 2) Vatican sights like the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum, and Michelangelo’s Pieta, and 3) Centro Storico sights like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Victor Emanuel Monument, and Piazza Navona. If you’ve already been to Rome, you can visit world-class attractions like Trajan’s Market, the Borghese Gallery, the Capitoline Museums, and the Baths of Diocletian.
- Livorno (Florence/Pisa) – Most cruise passengers in Livorno head straight to Florence to see famous attractions like Michelangelo’s David, the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo Cathedral, the tombs at Santa Croce church, and the Uffizi Gallery. If you choose to book a private tour, your driver can take the small back roads instead of the highway so you can experience spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside. You can also stop for a quick visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and wine tasting at a Tuscan winery.
- Toulon – Once again in this port, you’ll have several options. You can visit ancient Roman ruins in Arles or see Avignon’s Palais des Papes (home to popes from 1309 to 1377). If you’ve already experienced enough history on your trip, you can spend the day at a wheelchair accessible beach, at a winery, and at the picturesque fishing village of Cassis.
- Barcelona – Your Venice accessible cruise vacation ends in Barcelona providing you with a few days to sightsee and unwind in one of my favorite European cities! Sightseeing opportunities include the enormous Sagrada Familia Basilica, the historic Barcelona Cathedral, the famous Picasso Museum, the Plaza de Espanya and much more. Don’t forget to taste tapas in La Boqueria market and walk/roll down the famous Las Ramblas Boulevard! Accessible beach options are just a short distance away and offer wheelchair ramps.
The 12-Night Grand Mediterranean Cruise sails on the Regal Princess cruise ship, which is one of the newest ships on the seas!
#40 – Venice + 7 night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise
Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas has a 7 night voyage through the Eastern Mediterranean that starts and finishes in Venice. Accessible shore excursions are available in every port on the itinerary: Venice, Dubrovnik, Kusadasi, Santorini, and Katakolon.
Venice, Dubrovnik and Kusadasi attractions are described in Accessible Vacation #39 above. Santorini is also visited on this cruise and is routinely voted as the most scenic Greek island. The white buildings perched on the cliffs on Santorini’s extinct volcano are some of the most picturesque views that you’ll see anywhere!
Katakolon is the gateway to some of the most impressive Greek ruins in existence…the site of Ancient Olympia. 2800 years ago the first Olympic games were held here, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, was housed here. You can still view the 45,000 person stadium, the ruins of the Temple of Hera, the Philippeion ruins, Mount Kronos, and more.
#41 – Venice + 7 night Greek Isles Cruise
This 7 night accessible Norwegian Cruise is your best option for easily visiting the beautiful Greek Islands. The Norwegian Jade will
comfortably transport you between Venice, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, Katakolon, and then back to Venice.
All of the ports on this accessible Venice cruise vacation are described in the two cruises mentioned above except the Greek Island of Corfu. While on the second largest of the Ionian Greek Islands, you’ll have options to see the whitewashed buildings of the Old Town, the 120+ year old Achilleion Palace built by Empress Elizabeth of Austria, and the Terrrace of the Muses. Alternatively, you can view older sites like the remains of Venetian fortresses from the 17th century and drive to the top of Mount Pantokrator and the Bay of St. George (shown in the photo above on the right).
#42 – Venice + 11 night Adriatic Highlights Cruise
Celebrity offers several 11, 12, and 13 day accessible cruise options from Venice. My top recommendation for disabled travelers is the 11-Night Adriatic Cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette since nearly all of the ports have accessible van excursions available.
During this accessible cruise vacation from Venice, you’ll visit Dubrovnik, Civitavecchia, Naples, Catania, Valletta, Kotor, and Split, and then finish with 2 days in Venice. Venice, Dubrovnik, Civitavecchia, and Naples highlights are described in Accessible Vacation #39 above.
- Kotor (Montenegro) – The UNESCO World Heritage site of Kotor, Montenegro (shown in the photo on the right) offers one of the best preserved medieval old towns on the Adriatic Sea. In Montenegro, you can view the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, the old city walls, and the surrounding mountains rising right out of the sea.
- Catania (Sicily) – The town of Catania is located below the most active volcano in Europe, Mt. Etna. In addition to visiting Mt. Etna, you will have numerous options such as the magnificent Roman Theatre at Via dei Crociferi, the Bellini Gardens, and Catania’s Duomo Cathedral. You can also book accessible transportation to visit sites in nearby cities like Messina’s Fountain of Orion, the Roman Odeon at Taormina, and Syracuse’s 13th century Castello Maniace fortifications.
- Valletta (Malta) – Civilization on the Island of Malta goes back to 5200 BC. Many of the buildings you will see in Valletta, the capital of Malta, were built in the 16th century when the Knights of Malta began ruling the country. The Armory, the National Museum of Archaeology, and the Upper Barrakka Gardens are a few of the sites you can visit while onshore.
- Split (Croatia) – This port reveals yet another UNESCO World Heritage site. The Palace of Diocletian dates from 305 AD and has been used as a filming location for the HBO series Game of Thrones. The Archeological Museum and the Riva Harbor are also worth visiting.
One of my favorite itineraries for a short Mediterranean cruise is this 7-Night Cruise on the Celebrity Equinox. It starts in Venice and finishes in Istanbul which makes it easy to spend an extended stay on both ends of your cruise. The cruise itinerary includes Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Katakolon, Santorini, Kusadasi, and Istanbul (2 Days). All ports of call are described in the Accessible Vacations listed above.
Learn more about the Top 50 Awesome Accessible European Vacations:
1-6: London & Paris
7-11: The Low Countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and more)
12-14: Baltic Cruises
23-25: Mediterranean Riviera
26-27: Ancient Civilizations
28-31: Europe-wide Vacations
32-34: Mediterranean Cruises from Barcelona
35-38: Mediterranean Cruises from Rome and Istanbul
39-43: Mediterranean Cruises from Venice
44-45: 3 to 4 Week Mediterranean Cruises
46-50: Luxury Mediterranean Cruises