Tip 1. Plan your route carefully. The shortest may not always be the quickest.
Tip 2. Try to board/disembark at a less popular spot, sometimes only 100 metres away.
Tip 3. DON'T buy a one trip ticket, they are a waste of money and only valid for one hour one way. Plan your sightseeing to visit a number of locations on the same route and buy a time period ticket - see Tip 4.
Tip 4. DON'T buy a 24 hour ticket, unless you plan to travel during the night - you will waste around 12 hours use. Instead, buy a 12 hour ticket for one day, or a 36 hour ticket for two days travel (must be consecutive days). See the ACTV website.
Tip 5. Time period tickets must be validated for the first time within 12 hours of purchase (this means you could buy the evening before first use - saves time). We were recommended by ACTV also to validate tickets before each use. Validation is simply by blipping at the machines as you walk onto the landing stage.
Tip 6. If buying your tickets at the Piazzale Roma Hellovenezia ticket office, you could queue for 15 minutes or more at the three external tourist booths on the bus station side, OR you could walk less than 10 metres to the other side of the building to one of the five indoor ticket booths for the locals. No queues, and English is spoken. OR you could go to any of the four ticket booths down by the boat landing stages. Why queue unnecessarily?
Tip 7. On board, if you want to stand in the middle of the boat rather than sit downstairs, forget manners and just shove to claim your place, like the locals. Some boats also have outside seating at the back.
Tip 7. DON'T think of travelling without a ticket, or validating your ticket. Checks are regular and fines are heavy - I think 50 Euros per person. The locals will shop you to the crew if they see you fiddling.
Tip 8. Be careful getting on and off. The waters are always choppy, the boats sway a lot, the gap is sometimes large, and if you stand too close to the edge you could get wet. Also be aware that sometimes the boat will be stopped for less than a minute, so make sure you get up to disembark in plenty of time. They will not wait for you.
Tip 9. Enjoy. It's a great experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.