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Travel from Civitavecchia port to Rome and Rome on our own

(19 Posts)
WingDefence Sun 23-Oct-16 16:08:14

Hi - we (DH, DS7, DD3 and me) are cruising with Holland America next week and will be docking at Civitavecchia on Tuesday 1st November.

We want to take the children round Rome on our own but DH doesn't want to pay for a cruise-organised transfer into Rome and has decided that our best bet is to get the train (even though I've done everything else to do with the holiday, which is a treat from my DPs). So of course it's down to me to look into and organise it... hmm

Hopefully you lovely MNers can I've me some advice. It's a national holiday on the 1st so that may complicate things but has anyone else gone into Rome on their own and if so, have you got any tips please? The prices seem good so I think we'd get an intercity which is a bit faster as it's still so much cheaper than train fares here but which station would you get off/on in the city?
Can I book train tickets in advance - if so I assume I still have to stamp them at the station at either end before boarding?
Is it easy to get to the train station from the port and back again? Would taxi be best? The DCs are happy to walk but I'm thinking especially on the way back they might be tired so can we just get a taxi outside Civitavecchia station back to the port and does anyone know how much it is?

Lots of questions - answers gratefully received!

Kirriemuir Sun 23-Oct-16 17:26:32

Last cruise we went on to Rome passengers were seen running for the missed ship due to train delays. It's your choice. Usually the cruise line will do transport to Rome but not a tour and then bring you back. If you are with them for transport the ship waits. Train or taxi it goes without you.

StarsandBellinis Sun 23-Oct-16 18:06:54

I'very been to Rome several times on cruises and we always make our own way there and back via train. As long as you work out what time the last train you could get back on is, and then pick one that goes about an hour before that! We usually get off at Roma San Pietro which is a few minutes walk from the Vatican and then make our way across Rome coming back on the train from Termini.

If you go on the Cruise Critic forum you will find loads of detailed information to help including links to timetables. I don't know about national holidays though, could be different.

The cruise ship will always advise against taking the train due to the risk of strikes but the only people who I know who didn't make it back on time we the ones who got the wrong train from Rome and went an hour in the wrong direction! However the ship did wait for them thankfully, they were on our table for dinner so we heard all about it that night!

Not sure about tickets in advance, we've always bought on the day. In terms of getting to the train station from the ship, you'll need to wait for the port shuttle bus to take you to the port entrance and then another bus to the train station. There were taxis at the ship but they would only accept fares all the way to Rome! The queue for the shuttle bus was huge last time so it took about an hour to get to the station. That's the one thing that would put me off if I were you but if you're up and out early enough it should be OK. The shuttle bus was free, bus to the station a couple of euros. There weren't any taxis at the station on the way back.

One thing I would say is that we'd been on a couple of city breaks to Rome before going there on a cruise so knew our way around. But as long as you do your research before and leave plenty of time to get around I think you'll be fine! Rome isn't huge and a taxi can have you at a train station pretty fast! Have a great time however you get there smile

WingDefence Sun 23-Oct-16 21:55:03

Thanks for your responses. Kirriemuir I know and I agree about the risk. We don't leave port until 9pm and we'd want to be getting back to the ship at 5ish so only want a relatively short day.

Stars thanks for all that info. DH and I did a full day's cruise trip in Rome two years ago so have a rough idea of what we'd want to show the DCs but it's things like getting to the station that does concern me.

As we're being treated to the holiday apart from trips and other on board expenditure quite frankly I'd rather splash out and just pay for transfers for the ease of it all but I can see DH's point about the difference between £200+ cruise-arranged or far cheaper doing it by ourselves. You've given me a fair amount to think about and yes I'll head over to cruise critic too.

Thanks again flowers

Squirrills Mon 24-Oct-16 10:28:50

On a recent cruise I had the same kind of dilemma when we stopped at Venice. The cruise trip was expensive and i had been before. I researched the alternative and there were lots of cheaper options. In the end though i went for the cruise trip and did DIY at every other port. I was so relieved on the day, it was much more relaxing and enjoyable. There were four passengers who almost missed the ship.

iwanttobemissmarple Mon 24-Oct-16 10:34:04

I'd go onto cruise critic & look out for your roll call. They may have ideas. Personally I wouldn't risk it with Rome - there was an accident when we went & took us 2&half hours. Was stressful!

WingDefence Mon 24-Oct-16 11:07:38

You see Squirrills that is exactly what I think. Holland America trips seem pretty high end so we aren't really doing any others and are exploring ourselves mostly (although we have the same issue with Livorno but that's another post). If it was just the two of us I wouldn't be thinking about it so much but because we have the DCs I want it to go super smoothly. They are great travellers but it all just sounds like a massive hassle.

Thanks iwanttobemissmarple (me too grin! Do you mean there's a roll call on cruise critic? It's only our second cruise so I've not used that site before. I'll head over there now.

At the moment I'm leaning towards going for the cruise-organised coach transfers. A bit longer but cheaper. Will check out CC and speak to DH.
Thanks again smile

Philoslothy Mon 24-Oct-16 11:10:53

We are regular cruisers and often do excursions on our own, however Rome is the one that we always do with the cruise company because of the distance and risk.

iwanttobemissmarple Mon 24-Oct-16 11:14:53

If you register on cruise critic then you will be able to access the roll call for your ship. They do meet ups on the ship, organise group trips which often works out cheaper. It's a good starting point. Also log onto the HA forum for any questions you may have.

Squirrills Mon 24-Oct-16 12:30:06

I've only done two cruises, Med and Adriatic, both with teenagers. It's a very long way from port to Rome. In fact we skipped that one all together and stayed onboard.
My understanding is that they won't sail without you if you are on an organised tour but they will if you go it alone. The people who nearly missed the ship had been called out for an hour. The ship was all ready to sail as they came running down the quay. There was applause from hundreds of people who were watching.
My feeling is that £200 or whatever is worth it for piece of mind when you consider the cost of the entire holiday.

allegretto Mon 24-Oct-16 12:37:11

I would normally say do it but not on the 1st November - trains will be running a reduced service and will be really busy.

allegretto Mon 24-Oct-16 12:44:16

Actually scrap that! It looks like there are a lot of trains even on the 1st. Here there is an English language guide to getting into Rome:

You have to stamp your tickets on the machines on the platform unless they are tickets with the time and date already on them (or digital tickets!)

TheNumberfaker Mon 24-Oct-16 12:44:47

It's a long walk with a 3yr old from the edge of the port to the train station. We travelled by train from Civitaveccia to Rome but it was at the end of the cruise rather than on a day trip. A long stopping service that I wouldn't want to risk on a public holiday with kids too!
I've done the cruise excursion on a separate trip and felt ripped off...
Your best bet is to go on Criise critic and tried to arrange a shared shuttle of some kind to get you to Rome.

WingDefence Mon 24-Oct-16 16:04:42

Again, some really useful information here so thanks again. Yes I completely agree about not chancing missing the 9pm departure time but we would be planning on getting back to the ship with enough time to have our evening meal with the children - but honestly the fact that the boat won't wait if you aren't on a cruise-organised trip is a massive factor for me.

Just for info, looking at the price of the shore trips it would be $320 for the four of us by train with HAL (exclusive rail car apparently, which wouldn't bother us) departing at 8am and returning at 5ish. By coach it would be $270 for either 9am-4pm or 8:30am-6:30pm (same price for either, weirdly). So not much in it.

So roughly that's about £260 and £220 as opposed to perhaps £50 by train if we do it ourselves. The huge difference in price is probably the only reason I'm still thinking of doing it ourselves otherwise believe me I'd have book the shore excursion already!

HermioneWeasley Mon 24-Oct-16 16:07:34

Toms port guides are amazing. There's a comprehensive one on civvitavecia and Rome and maybe some of your other ports of call

MissMillament Mon 24-Oct-16 16:09:47

When we went there last year we did a transfer through the private company Cruising Excursions. It was cheaper than the cruise ship's own transfer and they guarantee to get you back to the ship on time so it might be a good compromise between you and DH. They dropped us off at the Coliseum and picked us up at St Peter's Square so we just planned our day using those as start and finish points.

StarsandBellinis Mon 24-Oct-16 17:41:20

If you don't have to be back until 9pm and are planning to be back early then just leave Rome at around 4pm and you should be fine. Last time I got the Inter City train from Termini at 15:57 and it only stopped at one other station, arriving at Civitavecchia at 16:45. You would need to check that one was running on your date though!

You need to feel comfortable with what you decide though or you'll only stress. I'm fine doing DIY most places but I always do the ships excursion to Florence as I'm not confident with that one.

WingDefence Mon 24-Oct-16 21:57:09

Thanks Hermione and MissMillament, I'll look into those.

Stars, it's giving me a headache and I'm an organised person in RL - I travel all over the UK on the trains for work but even knowing how much more it is, I'd personally rest easier knowing it was all booked with the cruise company. Bloomin DH!

Philoslothy Mon 24-Oct-16 22:41:34

9pm is a good leaving time for the "Rome" stop. I may look into Holland America cruises

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