I'll preface by saying this was a last minute booking with little preparation for the various ports. Our port activity decisions were based solely on an electronic copy of Rick Steve's book and the ship's port expert's TV show the night prior to each visit. We found Rick Steve's book to be invaluable. We thoroughly enjoyed each port and would return to any of them in a heartbeat.
Following a grueling overnight flight (for me anyways as I didn't sleep) we took a cab (21eur)to our hotel, Holiday Inn Venice - Mestre Marghera. Our package included a 3 course dinner, breakfast and a roundtrip transfer to Venice. This place worked out great, especially for just under 150eur. We slept a few hours, had an excellent dinner and went back to bed.
Next morning we enjoy a nice breakfast, and about 11:30 we take the shuttle to Venice and the monorail to the ship. We went through boarding and were on the ship in about 10min, never had to stand in line. Princess had a water-taxi about 200 yards from the ship that provided continuous service, it was very nice of them to pre-bill our account $19 each for this service. OK, perhaps not, but we thought it was at least convenient and after a quick bite at the buffet, we were off to Venice. We went about shopping, gawking, exploring and losing ourselves in this charming city. Eventually we made our way to St. Mark's Square and joined the throngs of tourists snapping pics of all the famous sites. By late afternoon we decided to head back to the ship thinking we'd return after a short nap and a bite to eat. When we returned it was getting dark and it was far less busy; it was quaint, quiet and the gondoliers were singing... just like in the movies! We made our way to the Rialto Bridge, and noted further evidence of the old-world charm that unlike most places, seems to genuinely reflect a bygone era. We also marveled at the large vaporettos providing public transportation in and out of the area.