Sharon Miceli has returned from her Transatlantic crossing aboard the Crown Princess, and weighs in on the various options for a transfer from the port town of
Civitavecchia, where she disembarked, into Rome. Sharon...
How to get from the port to the city is a common question. It takes about an hour and a half either by road or rail and the $70 to $100 per person that the cruise lines charge for the transfer causes my callers to ask for an alternative. After all, the train costs only 4.5 Euros, approximately $6.
At tea one day I listened to a spry 70-something gal describe the walk from the port to the train station in Civitavecchia as a very easy 15 minutes. I considered this idea and also, perhaps, taking a tour from the ship and just remaining in Rome at the end. But I decided I would try the train so I could better describe it for my clients. Besides, I needed the exercise.
Civitavecchiafrom Google Maps: Red X on the Left is the port, Red X on the right is the train station. It really doesn't look that far.
Exercise is what I got for sure. Princess provided free shuttle buses that dropped us off at the port's entrance but would not take us the short ride to the station despite our offer of a pound apiece as a bribe on this drizzly day.
The walk was a straight shot down a busy street lined with taxi drivers barely bothering to offer their service. My guess is that the small fare was not worth their effort nor did they expect any of the luggage-toting tourists were going to give in to them, even in the rain, having come this far. They see this every day.
I strapped my luggage together, dragged it with one hand and carried my umbrella with the other. I'm guessing the walk is indeed 15 minutes - without bulging luggage. I would highly recommend luggage with wheels that Samsonite calls "Spinners" should you be the type who wants to take long walks with your luggage. Instead of dragging the bags, which invariably tip the wrong way anyways, it feels like you are walking a dog at your side. It’s so much easier to just glide your bag instead of dragging it.
The train itself was pretty easy and not too crowded. I found a single seat by the doors and was able to set my luggage by my side for the ride to the Termini station in the heart of Rome. The tricky part of this trip was getting a taxi to my hotel without being ripped off.
After waiting about 20 minutes at the taxi sign outside the train station a car finally arrived. I got in and the man could not start the taxi. Gas might have helped! He got out and took me to another taxi and we both got in. My hotel was right next to the Trevi Fountain and I knew it was no more than a 10 Euro fare. They tried to get me for 50 Euros to which I protested and if it wasn’t for the divine intervention of a police car trying to get by us at that very moment I would have still been there arguing with them. Needless to say that when I suggested I would ask the police what the fare should be they took my 10 Euros and scurried away.
So, was it worth it to spend only 14.5 Euros, approximately $19, to take the train? What do you think? You will need to factor in not only the cost but also the time and effort required. If you are the type who counts the steps from your cabin to the elevator you will not be happy with this choice. If you have only one day in Rome and do not want to waste even a minute of it wondering when the taxis will show or do not want to haggle with the driver then this may not be for you. If you want to arrive in Rome with minimum effort and raring to go perhaps the cruise line transfer is the way to go. But I’ll let you decide.
And one last word about taxis in Rome, don’t be scared to take them, just understand how to use them. Here in the US we hail taxis on the street. Except for the few orange signs at some major sites that indicate a public taxi stand, the taxis are dispatched so always have someone call one for you. That way you know who is picking you up and how much it costs before you get in.
Thanks, Sharon. Very useful information!