Cruises to Florence

1,138 Reviews
Florence (Livorno) (Photo:gillmar/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to 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 [cruises to Italy](/find-a-cruise/destination-italy) 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.

  • More about Florence

  • Why Cruise to Florence?

  • Florence Cruise Port Facilities?

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More about Florence

Why Cruise 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
We opted for the Florence On Your Own excursion, which gave us 5 hours in Florence. It rained for most of the day but we still enjoyed the day as Florence is quite compact.Read More
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Sussex Duo
Florence was beautiful. We did an "on your own" excursion. Truly the day was one of the highlights of the cruise. An amazing city.Read More
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SteveRu
You have to get out of the Port area by shuttle or by taxi, if they are available. Or you can do a NCL excursion. Florence and Pisa was awesome. Would recommend doing an overnight hereRead More
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Redee2cruz
While most of the passengers on our ship went to Florence or Pisa, we headed up to Cinque Terre and loved it. We had a small group tour with just 7 of us in a minivan. Loved the little towns and the amazing scenery oRead More
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BingoBoy

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