I am writing this from the perspective of an American with lots of cruise experience with Carnival. As the title indicates this was our first cruise in the Med after many Caribbean, Alaska and West coast of Mexico cruises. We sailed round trip from Rome. Technically we sailed from Civitavecchia, the port that services inland Rome. Most of our cruise experience is with Carnival but we sailed with Costa twice before in the Caribbean (from Ft Lauderdale). We are Platinum with Carnival.
We went to Rome a few days early and stayed at an airbnb. It was about a 10 hour flight from the US east coast. The length and cost of the flight are considerations about ever coming back to Rome. The fights were pretty smooth but their length was absolutely Purgatorial. Delta did provide decent “bread and circuses” with a full meal (by airline standards), snacks, drinks and a back of the seat entertainment system with access to a lot of quality programming.
If you are staying in Rome before the cruise there are two primary ways to get to the ship. You can take a train from Rome’s Termini station to a train station near the port and then use a local shuttle bus (or walk, in theory) to get to the embarkation point. Or you can pay more, significantly more, (about 125 euros) to take a taxi from Rome to the Port of Civitavecchia. It’s about a 45 minute drive by taxi. We were traveling heavy (never again) so we chose the taxi. We had an early boarding slot so we were able board very quickly. Besides showing our boarding pass and passports we also had to show proof of a negative Covid rapid test taken within 2 days of boarding the ship. When we signed up and paid for the cruise the agreement was that this testing was to be done at the pier and at Costa’s expense. Somewhere along the way Costa changed its policy and now passengers are required to procure their own tests and pay for them as well. You can’t bring a rapid test from home and do it on your own. You have to find a certified pharmacy or lab in Rome to do the rapid test for you and provide you with written report with a negative result. Our Airbnb hostess helped us with this. Fortunately for us there was a nearby pharmacy (Savignoni Pharmacy-via dei serpenti ) that took care of our needs and provided us with an official NEGATIVE result/report for 22 euros per person. Other people have used Piram Pharmacy in via Nazionale and had good results. Savignoni was closer for us so we chose them. It pisses me off a bit that when I signed up for the cruise the pre cruise Covid test was to be done at Costa’s expense, not mine. But thats not how it worked out. I paid. Costa should have given everyone onboard credit for changing the terms of the deal but that didn’t happen. In my mind Costa owes me 66 euros. By the way, unlike a typical Caribbean cruise, passengers come and go at every port of call along the way. So there is a revolving door of passengers.
Bring clothes pins with you if you have a balcony. The chairs on your balcony are perfect for drying wet swimsuits or for drying small hand washed clothes. But without clothes pins your laundry may blow away. Costa will also offer you “magic bag” laundry late in the cruise where you can have up to 17 items washed and dried for €19.99. We did take advantage of the magic bag. Our cabin steward cleaned our cabin once daily always in the morning after we left for a shore excursion. However if we needed something he was always available to help.