Make the Most of Your Cruise Stop in Rome, Italy

Civitavecchia is one of the most popular stops on Mediterranean cruise itineraries and even though there are plenty of things to do in the Italian city, most travellers prefer to storm through as they head for the country’s capital. Rome is just an 80-minute train ride away from Civitavecchia, which means if you don’t mind rising early and dealing with the local public transport network, a day in one of Europe’s most popular capitals is completely doable. If you can visit over Christmas, so much the better!

Rome Cruise Shore Excursions Tips The famous 'Unconditional Surrender' statue in Civitavecchia.
‘Unconditional Surrender’ statue in Civitavecchia: Photo CucombreLibre / CC BY 2.0

But with most cruise lines stopping in Civitavecchia for just ten hours or so and the round journey taking three hours of that time alone, experiencing everything Rome has to offer during a single cruise stop is difficult – but not impossible.

If you’re planning a Mediterranean cruise which includes a stop at Civitavecchia, check out these Rome cruise shore excursion tips to help you make the most of your day trip.

Rome Cruise Shore Excursions Tips: The Colosseum
The Colosseum’s exterior is just as impressive as the interior: Photo Runa Bhattacharjee / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Rome Cruise Shore Excursions Tips

1. Admire your must-see attractions from the outside only

Aiming to pack as many famous landmarks as possible into your Rome cruise shore excursions list? Then forget about signing up for long-winded guided tours of the inside of the attractions – you’ll save yourself literally hours by just looking at the biggest and best sites from the outside. The Colosseum, the Pantheon and St Peter’s Basilica look incredible from the outside and you’ll be able to take all the easily recognisable photos you need from outside these structures – the insides aren’t so iconic.

Rome Cruise Shore Excursions: There's no queuing to see the Trevi Fountain!
There’s no queuing to see the Trevi Fountain! Photo Ruben Holthuijsen / CC BY 2.0

2. Visit landmarks which require zero waiting around

Another way to save time is to visit landmarks which have no official entry point that requires you to wait in line. The Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona are all fantastic examples of important Roman attractions worth seeing – none of which require any queuing.

Rome Cruise Shore Excursions: Takeaway pizza is just as delicious as anything you'll get in a restaurant.
Takeaway pizza is just as delicious as anything you’ll get in a restaurant: Photo bionicgrrrl / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

3. Grab something to eat on the go

Having lunch at a restaurant can take hours off your day in Rome – especially if you choose a popular restaurant close to a major attraction. Instead, save yourself time (and money!) by grabbing something local and delicious from a takeaway food venue and eating it in Rome’s beautiful baroque streets or on the way to your next attraction. Don’t think takeaway food means poor quality greasy rubbish. Eating food on the go is a big thing in Rome, making it easy to pick up authentic Roman pizzas, delicious pasta dishes and all kinds of incredible paninis for just a few euros all over the place.

Rome Cruise Shore Excursions: Roma Termini
Roma Termini – the station you’ll arrive at in Rome: Photo xiquinhosilva / CC BY 2.0

4. Plan your route in advance

Having a solid Rome cruise shore excursions plan can be the difference between seeing everything you came for then getting back on your cruise ship in time and seeing only a fraction of what you wanted to then turning up at the port only to see your cruise ship sailing away. It’s vital that you pull up a map (either a paper or digital one) and mark everything you want to see before the big day. That way you can work out the fastest and most logical route. Don’t forget about transport options! Travelling on the train, on the underground, by bus, by taxi and by foot all have their ups and downs – chances are you’ll end up using a combination of all five in order to cover the most ground in the quickest way possible.

About Nicola Quinn


Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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