This was my 5th cruise and my husband's 3rd with all prior cruises being on Celebrity ships. We chose the cruise for the itinerary, as it went to most of the ports we wanted to experience in the Western Mediterranean. We flew into Venice Sunday morning at 11am to make sure were there in time to embark on Monday and also because we love Venice. It is well worth it to make time to spend in Venice, especially if you have never been there before.
Once our plane arrived in Venice and we collected our luggage, we began the 6 minute hike to the Water Taxi stand. Make sure if you take a water taxi into Venice from the airport (or anywhere for that matter) that you take the official Venetian Water Taxi, identified by the yellow taxi strip along the side windows. It should cost about 90 euros, depending on where you are being dropped in Venice. The ride takes about 25 minutes. Our taxi took us straight to the window of our Locanda on a small canal. We stayed at Locanda Orseolo in a room on this little canal. This is the second time we had stayed here and would not stay anywhere else in Venice. It is a superb location (just off St. Mark's Square), amazing service (a staff that treats you like family and remembers you when you return, not to mention will do anything to make your trip special), and excellent accommodations. (see my review on Tripadvisor.com). On Monday morning we took a water taxi direct from our hotel to the port, which cost about 100 Euros, but is well worth it. You pull up right next to all the cruise ships and as soon as you get off at the dock, your luggage is taken to the ship and you are given a number to turn in once inside the terminal and instructions to follow once in the terminal.
Embarkation was a breeze. We were in a Grand Suite (7295) so had priority embarkation, but we arrived at the terminal about 12pm and pretty much everyone there was able to casually walk on the ship regardless of priority which was nice. You do have to show your cruise ticket and go through a security scan (less strict than airport), but after that, it is a photo on the gangway and you walk right on. Once on board, the crew directs you to the buffet restaurant for lunch and there is a bag check at the door where you can check your carry-ons if you like so you don't have to carry them with you. We were not ready for lunch and asked someone when we could go to our cabins and were told we could go to our cabin at anytime as the keys/cruise card would be on the bed in the cabin. So we found our way to our suite and sure enough there were the cards on the bed along with the schedule for the day. We perused this and noticed that in order to pre-register your credit card so all onboard charges would be billed to it, you had to meet at one of the meeting rooms at 2pm. We decided to make this a priority since we knew if we waited too long, the line would be long. There was a nice bottle of Prosecco chilling in the room with some snacks and a bowl of fresh fruit. We saved the Prosecco to enjoy while we dressed for dinner after sail away. We looked around the ship and were at the meeting room by 1:45pm so we were among the first to get our cards registered with no wait. By the time we left, a crowd was forming and people were taking numbers to wait their turn.
Great closet space, small balcony with a door that opens out - would be better if sliding door, quiet location, very nice bathroom and dressing area, plenty of room for 2 people to stretch out and enjoy.