A couple on our ship in 2005 when we stayed overnight did go and do it on their own but they had to wait for about 2 hours to get one. The city of Venice sets official rates for gondola rides, which started at €80 [£45] for 40 minutes the last time I checked. Additional 20-minute increments are €40 [£25]. After 7 p.m., the base rate climbs to €100 [£60], with €50 [£30] for an additional 2 minutes. Up to six people can however share a gondola. I am sure you could book but if the weather was bad tough luck you go at the time booked so another consideration. No doubt others will clarify.
Please do not do this tour, we did it 3 years ago. what a shambles. we were herded off the ship and deliveried to the grand union canal by coach there was about 40 of us. we were then put into a gondola 6 people to each boat you cannot even sit by your partner there is only one double seat with the rest sitting sidway with your back to the water. you are then given a bottle of cheap fizz and two white plastic vending cups you then begin the trip which is like a camel train one boat following the other. with some guy belting out songs thinking he was a member of G4. not a pleasent experience..
it was our 25th wedding aniversary what a complete waste of money. if i had my time again i would just turn up to the many gondolas and negotiate .
Sounds Expensive. There are plenty of them in Venice and its quite simple to just walk up to any of the several gondola docks (there is one right next to St Marks Square) and hire a gondola. The going rate is about 80 Euros (a little more at night) and that should get you a 40 min ride. That cost is for the entire gondola, and they will hold up to 6. Most of the organized tours we have seen will pack 6 in each gondola and go in a group with one of the gondolas having a singer. The bottom line is that 2,4, or even 6 can hire a gondola for about $150 total, but you might not get any singing.