Italy: European Waterways Announces New Venice Cruise for 2011

Venice, one of the most romantic cities in the world, will soon be home to one of European Waterways’ newest luxury hotel barges, the 20-passenger La Bella Vita, offering a unique itinerary that spans the Venetian Lagoon and River Po Valley to the Renaissance city of Mantua.

As on all European Waterways cruises, guests enjoy gourmet dining, fine wines and visits to famous cultural and historic attractions—and the attention of a friendly, knowledgeable English-speaking crew.

La Bella Vita, Italian for “the beautiful life,” offers an experience that truly lives up to its name. The ship features comfortable, air-conditioned accommodation, a bright and spacious dining room and bar area, side decks and a great sun deck for viewing picturesque scenery that includes magnificent architecture, lagoon islands, wild beach dunes and pine woods with abundant bird life.

Cruise highlights include a guided tour of Venice exploring its hidden gardens as well as its many cultural treasures. Guests also tour the colorful port of Chioggia, where they accompany their vessel’s master chef to the famous red fish market to select the catch of the day for the evening meal. They also enjoy private wine tastings at renowned local producers and a cruise along the Bianca Canal, which follows the Po River to Adria’s museums and cathedrals.

The tour culminates at picture-postcard Mantua, surrounded by lakes on three sides. The cultural and musical center of Northern Italy, Mantua was once home to one of the greatest Renaissance courts in Europe. In 2008, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its medieval and Renaissance planning and architecture.

Prices for a fully-inclusive six-night/seven-day cruise aboard hotel barge La Bella Vita are from $3,490 per person in a twin/double cabin and from $57,000 for a full boat charter.

European Waterways, 877-879-8808,