We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Disappointing - short-tempered instructor ruined the experience”
Review of Row Venice

Row Venice
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Learn to row like a Venetian! Try the stand-up style made iconic by the gondoliers. You'll support this local tradition with a sustainable activity as you connect with Venice in a rare, traditional Venetian all-wood batella coda di gambero. You can't know Venice if you don’t row Venice!
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed December 9, 2017

I'm glad that other people have had such a good experience, but our experience less summer was less than stellar. (And I see that a few others have had experiences like ours.) We had two different boats - my husband and son were in one and seemed to have a great time with their instructor. My daughters and I were in the other. I'll be the first to say that I have no athletic talent, but my daughter (15) rows crew and is pretty coordinated. The rowing was much harder for all of us to get the hang of than other reviews suggest. That would have been okay, except that the instructor in our boat was downright cross. She yelled at us a lot and was very critical (not in a constructive sort of way, but more in the "you're an idiot" kind of way). When my youngest daughter tried it, the instructor kept screaming at her that she was going to wreck the boat, and my daughter was near tears for a big portion of the ride. She cried when we finally got out of the boat.

I understand that equipment can be fragile, but this is advertised as something kids her age can do and with some better communication and instruction that might have been the case. There was no real teaching, just a lot of impatient barking at us about how it really wasn't that hard and what was wrong with us? What I hoped would be a memorable family outing on the Grand Canal turned into an unpleasant experience we were all wishing would just end. My son said after we got out of our boat, "I couldn't hear everything your instructor was saying, but she was really mean." Yeah, that about sums it up. I assume she was just having a bad day, but it put a damper on our evening and certainly wasn't worth the money we paid. In retrospect, I wish I'd made a fuss at the time and asked for a refund, but truthfully, I just wanted the experience to be over. I don't like to write bad reviews, but since I depended so heavily on these positive reviews in deciding to book this experience, I thought I should share my experience.

Date of experience: June 2017
Thank lgs73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RowVce, Administrator at Row Venice, responded to this reviewResponded December 18, 2017

Thank you for taking the time to write such a lengthy review. We take our customer service and satisfaction extremely seriously. It is a shame, as you note, that is has taken you 5 months to write your complaint as it is difficult to solve any problem with this lapse of time.

With over 3000 lessons a year, it is fortunately very rare that anyone does not enjoy this unique experience; our women instructors are all very keen and enthusiastic about sharing their sport with you. It can happen that a person who is fatigued is perhaps not as charming as usual, which seems to have been the case here; and we (along with the instructor) are quite surprised and sorry to hear your recount.

We normally avoid instructor fatigue by sharing the work out amongst our 20 athletes. On an other consideration a long day of sight seeing can also render someone more tired and tense than usual and the secret to mastering venetian rowing is to have a relaxed fluid movement. We are truly sorry this was not your experience.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (1,508)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"rowing lesson"
in 79 reviews
in 59 reviews
"gondola ride"
in 200 reviews
"venetian rowing"
in 41 reviews
"cichetto row"
in 35 reviews
"learning how"
in 49 reviews
"great instructor"
in 26 reviews
"great fun"
in 77 reviews
"highlight of our trip"
in 78 reviews
"learn how"
in 48 reviews
"non profit"
in 18 reviews
"highly recommend this activity"
in 14 reviews
"unique experience"
in 64 reviews
"quieter canals"
in 28 reviews
"venetian style"
in 30 reviews
"grand canal"
in 138 reviews
"open water"
in 28 reviews

170 - 174 of 1,509 reviews

Reviewed November 26, 2017 via mobile

We spent a fantastic few hours with Anna who is absolutely passionate about the gondolas and canals of Venice and with her support me and my 3 sons learnt how to row a gondola! And most amazing of all no one fell in! It was so good to be an active participant in such a iconic activity.

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank sheena0115
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 22, 2017

My boyfriend and I were in Venice, Italy for a short 3 days - and just like every other traveler (tourist) it was on our Bucket List to "Ride a Gondola". However when you arrive you realize that it is SUCH a touristy thing to do and the thought of overpaying for a short and uneventful ride eliminates all worth of the ride itself.

Therefore, instead we decided to look for an EXPERIENCE and we are very very thankful that we found Row Venice. Our gondolier, Anna, was so friendly and she truly LOVED teaching others about Venice, the history and the gondolas. Not only were we able to escape to canals "off the beaten path" but also into the Venice Lagoon which provided an AMAZING view of the mountains.

This is definitely a memory that will stick with us FOREVER, and we HIGHLY recommend Row Venice to anyone and everyone visiting Venice.

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank Karson W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 16, 2017

My husband and I wanted to try something adventurous while in Venice. We found this activity on TripAdvisor and are leaving this review to help others plan a fun time in Venice. Our instructor’s name was Anna and she was a sweet lady and really set the tone for our rowing adventure. I would highly recommend attending the rowing session because of how unique an experience it is and how much appreciation for the sport and technique of Venetian rowing you will walk away with.

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank Emily C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed November 12, 2017 via mobile

We had such a great time today! booked a Sunday morning trip as the canals are quiet at that time, Anna was amazingly helpful and a wealth of knowledge about Venice and it's history! Grazie Anna!

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank Georgiapope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Row Venice also viewed

Venice, City of Venice
Venice, City of Venice

Been to Row Venice? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing