This was my ninth cruise, and my Mother's first. Seeing a cruise ship through the eyes of a first time cruiser helped with a few of the disappointments that were based on prior cruising experience, such as long waits for a table for two in the main dining room, and one very poorly run shore excursion. Overall, the minor inconveniences were just that, minor, and I had a fantastic time.
We stayed in Venice for two nights pre-cruise and with a 48 hour Vaporetto pass managed to see quite a bit. The overnight on the ship gave us that third day to finish exploring and even though we didn't depart until 2pm, we opted to not go ashore that last morning and just relax on board.
Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the port quite early but that allowed us to be in group #5 to board and once they called our number we were on the ship in just a few minutes time.
We had a mini suite and it was very nice. Plenty of closet space and room to spread out. The beds were hard as rocks, but the addition of an "egg-crate" mattress topper helped immensely.
We did laundry several times on the cruise. Our cabin (D726) was just steps away from the laundry room. We only had to wait for a machine once and it was nice to have been able to pack less.