We booked a water taxi with the cruise line at the end of the cruise. It was $16 round trip, and was a taxi ride only, not an actual tour. It was quick and easy, and dropped us off right near St Mark's Square.
Just used the ships shuttle service, You have to go to Venice once, but we found once is enough as the whole place was just geared up to rip off tourists. Yes I expect to pay greater amounts because of it's name, but 170 euros for a 30min ride & wanting 10 euros to sing!! Also cafe's charging extra 5 euro's (not displayed of course) on the bill after having food & drink just to sit down!!
lovely place if somewhat scruffy, wasted on ungrateful local establishments who cannot even be bothered to smile whilst ripping off tourists
This is a wonderful place to visit. There was a service going on in the side and I felt sorry for the worshipers trying to worship with the noise of tourists in the background, but I suppose they are used to it.
Venice: We took the "St. Mark's at Night and Gondola Serenade" excursion through the ship on the first day. St. Mark's is stunning.
We stayed at the Crowne Plaza as part of the NCL post-cruise package, and it was good. Taking the train from Quarto d'Altino into Venice was a piece of cake.
You can book a fast track pass to enter the Basilica by skipping the line by purchasing it online in advance. That's what we did. The lines were outrageous, so it paid off for just a few euro each. Check the official Venice Tourism site to do this.
Overall, Venice was beautiful from all the vantage points we had... on water level with the gondola & valporetti; from the streets of Venice, which we walked extensively, getting away from the crowds on the waterfront; from the cruise ship, especially when we departed on Saturday at around 6 pm and all the bells in the city were ringing... what a memory! And finally, from the air when we landed and departed. Arriva Derci, Venice!