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Cruises to Sorrento

Sorrento (Photo:SGoran Bogicevic/Shutterstock)

About Sorrento

It's almost a pity that most cruise passengers use Sorrento as a mere transportation hub, pausing just long enough to catch a bus, train or ferry to big-name destinations like Pompeii, Capri and Naples. The clifftop town -- with its alfresco cafes, 19th-century villas-turned-hotels, warrens of old city shopping streets and coastal views -- is a picturesque place to spend a relaxing day ashore. Sorrento offers cruisers a delectable taste of Italy that will leave you hungrily anticipating later ports of call along the Italian coast or yearning to return to take a bigger bite out of the scenic Amalfi Coast.

Sorrento wears its history on its sleeve -- a 10th-century church here, a 14th-century cloister there, a 15th-century loggia across the way. The area was first settled by the Greeks who called their new home "the city of Sirens" -- where in mythology, those lovely mermaids lured seamen to death with their pretty songs. In Homer's "Odyssey," Ulysses stuffed the ears of his crew with wax and bound himself to the mast so he could hear the tempting tunes as they passed by. Even so, Sorrento's alluring call enticed to its shores a number of different empires, whose wealthy saw the area as an ideal seaside playground. Roman emperors built vacation homes here, and the appeal carried into the 18th and 19th centuries when Europe's elite came here on their Grand Tours and the literati of the time wrote the praises of this seaside spot.

Today, Sorrento continues to be a popular tourist destination and the perfect spot for leisurely independent exploration. From the tender piers at Marina Piccola, it's a short bus ride (or more arduous walk) up the cliffside to Piazza Tasso, the main town square. From there, you can wander through the small tourist center, pausing to admire the inlaid-wood decorations in the Duomo, spend your euros on a leather bag or lemon-flavored chocolates, or simply admire the pastel-colored villas. There's no shortage of scenic overlooks for photos of your ship or the Amalfi Coast, and weary sightseers can rest their feet and fill their bellies in any number of alfresco cafes (try a wood-oven pizza for a true taste of the Campania region).

You certainly can't go wrong with day trips to Sorrento's more famous neighbors. A tour of the ruined city of Pompeii (or less famous Herculaneum) lets visitors experience how ancient Romans lived, worked and played. The Isle of Capri is a playground for the rich, but the casual tourist can enjoy dramatic views and upscale shopping from the island's picturesque towns. Cruise ships offer a variety of tours to all of these attractions, yet independent travelers should know that most day-trip destinations are easily reached on your own by Sorrento's trains and ferries.

If you do head out of town, try to come back early. Sorrento's pleasures can be sampled in only an hour or two, and a stroll through the town will be a wonderful cap to your day on the Amalfi Coast.

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Emerald Azzurra
Emerald Azzurra (Photo/Fran Golden)

14 Night
Discover The Highlights Of The Mediterranean

Leaving:Nice
Cruise Line:Emerald Cruises
ItineraryShipReviewsFull Details
Apr 25, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Azamara Onward
Azamara Onward (Photo: Azamara)

11 Night
Italy Intensive Voyage

Leaving:Venice
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jun 17, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Riviera
Riviera

17 Night
World Cruise

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Aug 28, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Oceania Cruises

Seven Seas Voyager
Seven Seas Voyager

12 Night
Mediterranean - Eastern Cruise

Leaving:Monaco
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Sep 21, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

17 Night
World Cruise

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Jun 10, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
7-nt Amalfi & Dalmatian Coasts Voyage

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Azamara
Apr 29, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Best Of The Med Voyage

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jul 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Mediterranean Cruise

Leaving:Venice
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Aug 21, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Enchanting Greece & The Amalfi Coast 7d Cvv-pir

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Apr 29, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Mediterranean - Western Cruise

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
May 8, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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8 Night
Classic Italy & The Dalmatian Coast 8d Vce-cvv

Leaving:Venice
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Oct 24, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Classic Med Voyage

Leaving:Ravenna
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jul 18, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Highlights Of Southern Italy

Leaving:Dubrovnik
Cruise Line:Emerald Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Mediterranean - Western Cruise

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Star Clippers
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Italy Intensive Voyage

Leaving:Nice
Cruise Line:Azamara
Aug 6, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Sorrento?

Pros:

Head to Pompeii, Capri or Naples -- or equally enjoy a day in this picturesque, clifftop town

Cons:

There's not enough time to do everything! Worse, rough seas might prevent tendering

Bottom Line:

This scenic spot is a perfect homebase for exploring the Amalfi Coast

Sorrento Cruise Port Facilities?

Sorrento is a tender port, and one that is easily canceled if rough seas don't permit the tenders to run. Tenders dock at Marina Piccola, which is also where the hydrofoil to Capri departs. There's no terminal or any other port facilities.

Marina Piccola is located at the bottom of the cliff upon which the main town of Sorrento perches. Within steps of the tender drop off are souvenir and tobacco shops, a currency exchange office and several cafes. There are also ticket booths where you can buy ferry tickets to destinations like Capri, Naples and Positano, and a staging area to catch a bus or cab.

Good to Know?

Sorrento appears not to believe in pedestrian crossings, so take care when crossing main roads such as around Piazza Tasso. It's not always obvious where the best place to cross the street is, especially with so many cars and Vespas darting about in multiple directions. When you see a clearing, walk quickly and confidently across the road and oncoming traffic should stop.

If you plan on touring the Amalfi Coast independently, pad your schedule with extra travel time, especially during the summer high season. Battling nightmarish traffic on your own could easily cause you to miss your ship. If you want to venture out of town, this is one port where shore excursions can be a lifesaver.

As is common throughout Italy, opening hours are subject to frequent change, fluctuation and whim. We've done our best to list hours accurately, but be sure to confirm before setting out. The same goes for sailing times of ferries and hydrofoils. No matter what a sign says, confirm that the boat you think will get you back in time is really going to be sailing. Even confirm that you're standing in the right spot to catch your boat, train or bus. (We once watched a Sorrento ferry sail off from the dock labeled "Napoli," only to discover it had been our ferry to Capri; at least all the waiting Italians were fooled, too!)

Getting Around?

By Foot: The walk from the marina to town takes about 20 minutes and is mostly uphill, involving some 200 steps (not recommended for the faint of leg). While the walk from Sorrento back down to Marina Piccola isn't too bad (the steps start right after the scenic overlook on Via de Maio), most people will prefer to catch a bus up from the tender pier to the main town. If you're not venturing beyond Sorrento proper, you can easily walk to all the attractions, shops and cafes of the city center.

By Elevator: Follow the walkway to the right along the shore (toward the swimming concessions) a few minutes and you'll reach an elevator that takes you to the top of the cliff (1 euro one way or 1.80 euro round trip).

By Bus: From Marina Piccola, the blue bus (buy tickets onboard) heads directly to Piazza Tasso, Sorrento's main square. The orange bus (buy tickets at one of the nearby shops) goes to the Circumvesuviana train station. Intercity buses to destinations along the Amalfi Coast also depart from the train station, but be warned that the roads are winding and in high season, traffic can be heavy. City Sightseeing Sorrento offers a hop-on, hop-off bus tour in the greater Sorrento area, as well as excursions to Ravello, Minori/Maiori and Positano. Buses depart from various locations, depending on the tour. You can buy tickets online, onboard or in authorized agencies, such as hotels.

By Train: The Circumvesuviana Railway runs from Sorrento to Naples, with stops in Pompeii, Herculaneum and other towns. It's very easy to do independent exploration by train. Take the orange bus from the tender pier to the railway station; otherwise, it's a short walk from Piazza Tasso. Trains run about every half-hour.

By Ferry: Catch a ferry or hydrofoil from Marina Piccola to Capri, Naples, Positano or other destinations. The ticket booths and the departure points are steps from the tender drop off. The hydrofoil to Capri should take about 25 minutes.

By Taxi: You can hire a taxi from stands at Marina Piccola or in Piazza Tasso, if you wish to take a cab to nearby destinations or the Amalfi Coast. Be sure to agree on a price before you start driving.

By Car: Various local and international car rental agencies have offices in Sorrento, such as Auto Europe, Europcar and Hertz. However, even if you're willing to brave the twisting coastal road, with summer traffic you're better off taking a ferry or train.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The euro is the currency in use throughout Italy; for current currency conversion rates, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. There's a currency exchange office, but no ATM, near the Marina Piccola tender pier. Once up the hill, ATMs can be found in Piazza Tasso (northeast corner of the square) and just off Piazza Sant'Antonino at the intersection with Via San Francesco. Currency exchange offices are much more prevalent than actual banks.

Language?

Italian is the official language, but English is widely spoken in the tourist areas, and English-language menus are available in many cafes.


Sorrento Cruise Reviews
Sorrento was very nice, good restaurants Read More
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frenchluna
Spent most of the day waiting but it was beautiful.Read More
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Saluki79
Another pretty town with alot of quality shopping and nice eateries every where you look. We caught the lift from the port area up to the top of the hill. It is quite a strenuous walk otherwise. The lift costs 1Read More
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Rustyharpoon
On our own Taxi great location and would avoid Regents but tours Read More
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Nickcockett

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