For all cruise aficionados out there, we’d like to share how to best take advantage of your limited time in the city.
First things first, if you’re able to extend your stay in Rome that’s definitely recommended. Rome, after all, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. “Roma,” as my old boss used to tell me spells “Amor” backwards. Of course, he was Roman and like many Romans, they are very proud of their city. From the word “Roma,” we also get the word “romantic.” So for all you romantics at heart of there, this is the place to visit. Romance never seems to get old nor does Rome. It’s really a timeless city. So that being said, it’s worth a serious consideration to come and stay a little longer!
If you can’t no worries, you can just consider your day in Rome as a preview to a longer trip which may be in your future. Usually, cruise ships dock in the early AM and passengers are invited to disembark around 8 AM. Since there are so many passengers on each ship, the process may take a little while and usually you can expect to be on land at 8:30 AM and normally you’re expected back on ship before 6 PM if you don’t want to be left behind!
Whether you choose to visit Rome on your own or with a tour guide, there are certain places you really must see including the Colosseum, home to the ancient gladiator matches and exotic animal fighting. The Colosseum, originally known as “The Flavian Amphitheater” dates back to the year 80 A.D. To this day, it is the largest amphitheater ever created. It was in active use for 4 centuries, and suffice to say, a lot went down there. Next to the Colosseum is the Roman Forum, which was the center of Ancient Rome. Surprisingly, there are still structures standing there. Nothing is marked though so it’s helpful to either have a guide book or a live guide with you to really get you into the mindset of an ancient Roman. I’d suggest dedicating at least 2 hours to this area.
Then there’s the Sistine Chapel, the ceiling of which master artist, Michelangelo created. The Sistine Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museums which is nestled right next to the Catholic Church’s hub, St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s Basilica is breathtaking. St. Peter was the first official Pope of the Vatican and Catholic Church. Eerily, St. Peter was crucified (upside down even) in what is known today as St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican Museums is home to the Vatican’s massive art collection which includes Bernini, Michelangelo, Raphael, Pomodoro, and more.
Due to such tight time scheduling, a lot of cruise passengers feel constrained to stick with their ship’s excursions only to feel herded around in a large group. Oftentimes, ship’s plan excursions for a bus-load of people. Usually 50 people fit on a bus so the quality of the experience can seem a bit robotic.
For those looking for a more personalized and memorable experience, we offer a private tour into the city. A Presto Guide meets you at Civitavecchia Port, accompanies you throughout the whole day visiting inside the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Once you arrive in Rome, your guide will explore the city with you from approximately 10 AM to 4 PM. Your guide then accompanies you to the train station and sees you off on your train which will get you back to your ship with plenty of time to spare before your ship’s departure.
Our Rome Shore Excursion includes a Presto Tour Guide for 9 hours and Colosseum, Vatican, and roundtrip train tickets for all guests. We utilize the express trains because trains are much more reliable time-wise and are more cost effective. By taking the train, we bypass all traffic (which can be nightmarish in Rome) and in this way we ensure more dedicated time at the sites. (The train trip is 50 minutes while a car takes about 1.5 hours each way.)
For those who prefer a private, air-conditioned luxury vehicle for the day, we do offer private transportation as a supplemental option. A private driver usually costs over 500 Euro for the full day while public transportation costs just 17 Euro/person for the full day.
A few more not so serious and essential notes on your visit…! You must try a gelato and you must grab a slice of pizza. There’s an excellent pizza by the slice joint near the Vatican called “Alice Pizza.” It’s a take-out place although most people will sit on the front steps to savour their pizzas. You may want to study their menu to dream up what you might order. They have vegan, vegetarian, and meat options. They even have a pizza academy but you’ll have to save that for another trip!
If you decide to visit Rome on your own, check out this video for directions on how to get into Rome by train. It’s really a cinch!
For more information, see our Rome Shore Excursion