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Cruises to Florence

Florence (Livorno) (Photo:gillmar/Shutterstock)

About Florence

On any Western Mediterranean itinerary, Florence is an absolute highlight -- the gem of the early Italian Renaissance. In the 15th century, when great artists like Giotto, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo worked there, they created magnificent examples of painting and sculpture that today still fill Florentine churches, civic buildings, grand palazzi and world-class museums like the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia. Architecture prospered in Florence, too. The city's signature work of art is the masterful Brunelleschi-designed dome of its cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the Duomo.

No question, Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. However, for cruise travelers with just one precious day on a six-hour port of call, it's impossible to see it all.

We should note that, as lovely as Florence's famous River Arno is, it's nowhere near big enough (and its bridges are far too low) to allow any kind of ship inside the heart of the city -- and here we include low-slung river vessels along with more traditional cruise ships. As such, it can be confusing to see a cruise itinerary that calls on Florence when ships actually dock at the huge commercial port of Livorno, a good hour-plus drive from the Renaissance City.

However, the charmless city of Livorno (it was badly bombed during World War II) serves as a jumping-off point for daytrips elsewhere. And while Florence is no doubt the richest destination of all, Livorno's north Tuscan locale means that other cities -- Pisa, with its famous leaning tower; the walled city of Lucca; and San Gimignano, with 14 of its medieval towers still intact -- are also options.

  • Why go to Florence?

  • Florence Cruise Port Facilities?

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Cruise Critic Favorite
Riviera
Riviera

10 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

702 Reviews
Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Jun 15, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Enchanted Princess
Enchanted Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

15 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

20 Reviews
Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Nov 23, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seven Seas Splendor
Seven Seas Splendor (Photo: Regent Seven Seas)

12 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Lisbon
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Apr 9, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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MSC Opera
MSC Opera

19 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

295 Reviews
Leaving:Abu Dhabi
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Apr 18, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Oct 26, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Sep 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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21 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Apr 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Trieste
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Sep 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 30, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Aug 17, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 20, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Aug 13, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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26 Night
Cruise to FlorenceDetails

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Nov 6, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Florence?

Pros:

Livorno is the gateway port to Pisa and Florence

Cons:

Transportation is required for the commute: 30 minutes to Pisa, 90 minutes to Florence

Bottom Line:

Leave Livorno to see the Leaning Tower, Duomo, Ponte Vecchio or Michelangelo's David

Florence Cruise Port Facilities?

There's absolutely no reason to. It's a working cargo port with no services.

Good to Know?

Just as you would in any town heavily populated by tourists, beware of pickpocketing and petty theft, as well as Vespa-snatching thieves. Depending on the time of year, shops tend to close from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for lunch. Beware of traffic -- particularly motor scooters, which often are driven at high speeds and are careless of pedestrians. Before booking your cruise, make sure the ship's call at Florence is not on a Monday, when major museums and galleries are closed.

Getting Around?

By Taxi: If traffic isn't a huge factor, it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive to Florence from Livorno. Taxis line up outside the ship; one-way prices can push 200 euros, but if you decide to splurge on the ride, your best bet is to negotiate a round-trip fare so the driver will wait around for you. Taxi drivers will also happily offer daylong tours of Florence and Pisa. However, Florence is a small city, and the traffic can get clogged. With a map, though, it's not difficult to find your way around.

By Train: Ships typically provide shuttles to Livorno's Piazza Grande; the train station is then a 15-minute cab ride away. Getting to Florence by train takes about 90 minutes, and there are several "early morning" departures. Trains return to Livorno from Florence's Santa Maria Novella Station. Check the train schedule just prior to your cruise.

By Motorcoach Shuttle: Most cruise ships offer "shuttle service" (a motorcoach to and from Florence) for those who want to travel independently. Because of the distance and the likelihood of traffic problems, we've found these to be a good deal. Plus, guides sometimes accompany the motorcoach and can offer recommendations for things to do and see, as well as places to eat.

By Rental Car: Hertz and Avis set up tables at the dock in Livorno. One warning: Driving can be challenging, and even though they advertise that it's easy to park in Florence, that's simply not true. Unless you're planning to visit other Tuscan spots, such as Lucca or San Gimignano, we'd recommend using your ship's motorcoach transportation.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the euro. There are plenty of ATM machines and exchange bureaus in town.

Language?

The local language is Italian, but at least basic English is spoken in most tourist spots; phrase books can come in handy.

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships dock in the commercial port in the city of Livorno.


Florence Cruise Reviews
At the time of our cruise Italy requires cruise passengers to take cruise organized excursions in order to enter the country. Out trip to Florence was enjoyable, though we were also required to dine together and theRead More
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Holmesie
Lots of walking- but the leaning tower is still leaning!Read More
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Grandmajoe
Mediocre tours included unfortunately includes a lot of walking which was challenging for some guests Read More
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pattieuk
Took a nice tour with a stop at a winery that included lunch, and a stop at Pisa for the tower and other sights. That also included a stop and the end at a lovely restaurant with a garden where we had a drink and cooRead More
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tombli

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