Rome (Civitavecchia) Rome on Your Own Excursion Reviews
We had a blast experiencing Rome on our own! We had been before, so we were revisiting the sites at our own pace! We ended up walking our legs off, but we had a great time. Such a charming city!!
The distance between Civitavecchia and Rome was too large to adventure on our own, so we booked to coach ride to the centre. At 45 euros per person, it was rather expensive, but at least provided us with the security of getting back on board in time and without losing to much safety margin. The city map we were provided with was sponsored by some restaurants, which given the number of guests and the price they pay, slightly irked me. The toilet on the bus was not open, causing us to have to stop and lose 10 minutes because one of the passengers really needed to go. Again, with a full bus at 45 euro per person, this could and should have been avoided.
Rome itself was as eternelly beautiful as it has always been. We moved through the mayor sites at lightning speed. Since we were dropped off at the Colosseum, we took a metro to Saint Peter's first and walked back.
We stopped for lunch at Piazza Navona, where they were busy setting up the Christmas market. We ate at Il Grifone, and - although given the location we were expecting a tourist trap and likewise prices and quality, we ate the best pizza we ever had, accompanied by 50cl of rather good red wine, a friendly waiter, a clean toilet and a bill that was so low we doubled the tip we intended to give. As a thank-you for that, we got a glass of Limoncello each. I don't know if it was just this place, but in general our experience in Rome was very positive; with cars stopping to let us cross, even though they could have squeezed through before us etc.
If you're into geocaching (google it if you're not), we found the app very helpful on our hurried trip passed all the mayor sights. After an initial stop at a Mac Donalds (beware though that in Italy, because of local laws you need a complicated sign in procedure to be able to access wifi internet anywhere) to charge the sattelite and map, it guided us quickly to all the places we wanted to see.
Having visited Rome before we decided to do our own thing and booked the ' Rome on your own' tour which basically meant that the ship took you on a coach to Rome , dropped you off and then you met up again for the return journey to the ship. We were dropped off at 10am and had to be back on the coach for 4pm. This would normally give you enough time to see some sights, the metro system is easy to use ( there are only 2 lines ) and quite cheap it was 1 euro 30 cents each for a timed ticket valid for 100 minutes of travel. HOWEVER what they didn't tell us was that EVERY WEDNESDAY ( yes you guessed it - it was a Wednesday) the Pope gives an audience in St Peters square !! therefore we and 100,000 other people were in Rome trying to get into St Peters basilica. We only wanted to go up to the Cupola ( the dome of St Peters) and down to the grottoes ( tombs of the Popes) however the police closed everything down til 1 pm. We went back at 1 pm and fought ( and I do mean fought) our way through the crowds of people only to be told that the ppope was then deciding to take a little ride in his car and so it would be closed til at least 3pm!! Bearing in mind our return time of 4pm for our coach our visit to St Peters was completely ruined. We asked an English speaking guide how come this was al happening and were told that this happens EVERY Wednesday..........now NCL have run countless cruises to Rome and I feel that they should have known this info and imparted that info to their PAYING guests, we ended up spending $180 for a coach trip to stand shoulder to shoulder with 100,000 others and see exactly NOTHING !!!
If I had known that I would have opted for a different tour and actually seen something instead.
Although I only managed a few of the sites I preferred seeing a lot of a few rather than a glimpse of everything as I like to use my camera. if you are flying too and from Rome you can leave your bags at the airport and take a bus into town to se the sites
Approx 90 minute drive into the city stopping right in front of St Peters square a perfect position to explore Rome.
We took the sight seeing bus and saw all the major sights.
Since Rome has so many worth visiting places, one should decide and prioritise the options. Again, the Princess prices seemed to be inconvenient, so we chose to make a combo: we booked online, at Smart Cruise Tours (www.smartcruisetours.com/?) the Fast Track Express Train + Vatican Museums excursion, including both the round trip access to Rome by the express direct train and the skip the line Vatican tour. Afterwards, we negociated a taxi non-formal tour of all important touristic highlights in Rome! It was an excellent idea, since we enjoyed privacy, setting our own rhythm and still managing to have a very complete sightseing passage in Rome, where the distances between the sites of interest are so long, that one cannot compress the visit of the ethernal city in the available 8-9 hours.
The train dropped us off in Rome St Peter's railway station in 40 minutes and after other 10 minutes easy walk we reached ORP Meeting Point in St Peter's Square, just in time to catch the 11.00 Vatican Tour, including the Sistine Chapel. The tour ended in the majestuous St Peter Cathedral. Note that Rome, the Vatican are quite overcrowded in this period and a skip the line facility is mandatory if you wish to be back in time on the ship.
The taxi sightseing drive that was the only option for the short free time left after the Vatican tour allowed us to see at a more than convenient price the Colosseum, the the Roman Forum, the panoramic views from Palatine Hill, the Pantheon, the Spanish steps (Piazza di Spagna), Piazza Navona, the St Angelo Citadel, Piazza del Popolo, the Trevi Fountain, and many other wonderful places.