No Unity. No GNOME Shell. But a GNOME 2*ish-looking GNOME 3 + Compiz Muffin window manager, dubbed Cinnamon. It comes with a certain amount of polish, subtle desktop effects, and the right amount of default software to get most people started.
An hour into Linux Mint 13 “Maya” made me certain that this is finally a Linux distro I can suggest to the new-comers.