First time NCL for me and my friend. My previous cruises were twice on Carnival both times in the Caribbean, my friend has cruised previously with Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean in the Caribbean and Panama Canal, so the Mediterranean experience was new for us as well. We cruised 14 days back to back.
We booked through a local travel agent but after much research we selected our own air (KLM) and hotel in Venice (Best Western Olimpia) Both were good. The Olimpia was exceptional and very conveniently located on a small canal near P.le Roma. We travelled from Marco Polo airport by ATVO express coach for 3 Euro. Very easy except we had to load and unload our own luggage on and off the coach - a bit difficult for us but we managed. Short walk from bus drop-off over one small bridge to hotel. On embarkation day they stored our luggage until we were ready to go to the port.
Venice was wonderful although we only stayed one night. We wished we had more time to explore. Thankfully we had booked a time slot for the Basilica for priority entrance on the Friday afternoon (4pm) and were able to enter early (3:30pm) although the regular line-up didn't look too bad. We went back to St Marks square on the Saturday morning around 9:30am and the lineup was really long. We went to Doge's Palace with pre-purchased tickets and entered as soon as it opened.