Massive cruise ships keep a graceful rhythm at sea: sailing through the night, docking in major ports at dawn, and letting their passengers off to frolic on land until about 6:00 p.m. and return to enjoy evenings on their floating home at sea. This video shows the view from my little deck as we arrived in Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. Rather than going into Rome, I spent today nailing down all the details of this port and figuring out good travel strategies. Rome is an important cruise port because many cruises start or end here, and many travelers just get a single day in the Eternal City during their cruise.
As is the case in so many great ports, at first it seems complicated to get into the main city (an hour away by train), but actually, it’s really easy. From the huge dockyard in Civitavecchia, you take a free shuttle bus from your ship to the cute little gateway to the port, walk ten minutes to the Civitavecchia train station, and then catch the train into Rome (1-hour ride, 2/hour, €4 ticket). My challenge in fine-tuning this book is to find the smartest plan (for example, a €9 day pass covers your round-trip train ticket into Rome — plus all your bus, tram, and Metro travel within the city). Once you reach Rome, get off at the Ostiense train station and then hop on the subway; in two stops, you’ll land on the Colosseum’s front door. After you do some frantic sightseeing for the day, walk from St. Peter’s Basilica to Rome’s San Pietro train station and catch your train back to Civitavecchia. Do it once and it’s a snap. My hope is that with my guidebook, it can be a snap for you on your very first time.
If you can’t see the video below, watch it on YouTube.