I'm looking at our itinerary for our full day in Venice. It looks like all we'll be doing with our guide that morning is walking the back streets? I found a full day tour that also includes a gondola ride. We would have to skip the RS tour walk that morning though? How much would we miss?
Day 6: Exploring Venice
Our local guide will join us this morning for a historical walking tour — with a modern Venetian's-eye view — through the backstreets of Venice. Along the way, we'll learn about the city's remarkable past and its challenging future. We'll finish our morning walk in St. Mark's Square and Basilica (when available). The afternoon and evening are yours to explore the imposing Doge's Palace, take in a church concert, waltz on St. Mark's Square, or pub-crawl your way through this unique city. Later tonight, your guide will help organize an optional romantic gondola ride for those who are interested
In addition to the back streets focus, we also stopped at a mask shop and had a demonstration on how they are made. Also note the guide will arrange for a gondola ride ( extra cost, but a discounted rate) . On our tour we had a singer and accordionist on one of the boats and the boats stayed clustered so everyone could hear.
There is no refund if you skip the RS tour; if you do choose to skip the RS tour be sure to let your guide ( and "buddy") know.
esgat, if the full day tour goes places you want to see, I'd opt for that. We've done the RSE part-day walking tour twice, and found it less fulfilling than other local guided tours. The second time, I told Stan I wanted to skip it, but he talked me into sticking with the group. After the tour, he told me I had been right.
But there's really no wrong answer here; do you have to pay for the full day tour ahead of time? Is it refundable, if so? Your RS guide may have some other things planned that don't show up in the printed itinerary.
It's hard to answer this without knowing more about the full-day tour you're considering as an alternative. If it includes specific places you want to see, doesn't involve too large a group or "shopping opportunities" (unless you're into them), and seems like a good value, you could go for it. When I took the RS walk, it ended up in St. Mark's Basilica, having skipped the line. That's worth a lot. I also found the guide and routing very good. And I had specific plans for the rest of my day. We got the gondola ride on the RS tour anyway (including a guy singing "Volare" for what that's worth).
Thank you everyone for the helpful information. I decided to go ahead and book the outside 6-hour tour that includes St. Mark's Basilica, Doges Palace, Bridge of Sighs and more, plus the gondola. It begins at 9:30am, so we will have the main sights done by 3:30pm. We'll have to to return to the hotel to rest and refresh before dinner. There are some opera and church concert events that look interesting after dinner. I'm pleased with how that tour organized our only full day in Venice!