The glassblowing demonstration was a little disappointing. It seemed quite rushed and then we were taken straight into the shop where they demonstrated what was for sale. It would have been nicer to have more of an explanation about Murano glass and not just a sales pitch.
The gondola ride was a bit short but nice.
Overall, not worth saving the money on a single gondola ride by combining these two things. Best just to pay a little bit more for an extended gondola ride by itself.
London April 2018
The gondola is an experience one can have when in Venice. With this combo tour, one does not have to worry about dealing with the gondoliers. The tour guide takes care of all of it. Also, the glass blowing demonstration was indeed something unique and very creative. We enjoyed the whole journey to move about in Venice in a gondola and viewing the Grand Canal.
Interestingly, we really had mixed emotions about this. The glass blowing felt somewhat staged and also felt like more of a pitch to sell you high end Murano Glass. The guide was informative about what makes Murano Glass special, but still the blowing demo was about 5 minutes and the sales pitch lasted a quite a while longer. The gondola ride was fun and a must for anyone in Venice. We were in a bat with four strangers and while it did not impact the ride, it was certainly not romantic. If you are looking for a romantic ride, pay the tariff and do your own ride. I am not sure if the gondolier spoke any English, but he spoke to every other gondolier we passed on the water. They are magicians with one oar though...have been a competitive rower I can only image how much strength they must have to push that 30 foot boot around like they do. Enjoyable and worth the trip if you just want to say I rode in a gondola.
I had a difficult time finding the guide for this event. Wasn't familiar with the square and he wasn't holding the sign up. Once I found him, he didn't really look enthused for this activity. I didn't know he was simply bringing us to the 'museum', and that someone else was taking over and he left as as soon as the demonstration started. The Glassblowing demo was great, the artisan was very talented, and the steps were explained by the person who worked in this 'museum'. After the demonstration we went to another room, where they showed us different samples of glass and gave us the prices of what these pieces costs. I wasn't expecting this, at all. A tad disappointing, cause while it wasn't high pressure sales, she certainly did mention prices a few times, and I felt a bit of 'pressure' to purchase something. I ended up purchasing some earrings for 25 Euros. We also received a very nice glass gift. This is something that made it worthwhile. The next day I decided to go to Murano and was able to watch a glass blowing demo for free.
As for the Gondola Ride, it was shared with 4 other people, and while the ride was great, the system in place to coordinate the rides wasn't efficient. There were many people scheduled for the ride at the same time, and it took some time for the guide to coordinate every thing. Our gondola driver wasn't the most talkative. He was quiet and 'just did his job'. I liked the experience, because it was my first time, but may not do it again.