Touring the Vatican and the Colosseum

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Ask a Cruise Question
Post your general cruise questions here.
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 08:39 AM.
#1
Marlton, New Jersey, USA
720 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
How long does it take to take a tour of the underground at the Colosseum and the Foro Romano. We will be in Rome for the day off the Epic and I already have tickets for the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel but would like to tour both areas.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
NCL Pearl - Western Caribbean November of 2010
NCL Gem - Bahama's March 2011
NCL Epic - Western Mediterrian May 2013
NCL Epic - Western Caribbean December 2014
Celebrity Silhouette - Baltics June 2016
#3
82,468 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Hours.
You are trying to do too much in one day.
It is at least 60-90 minute ride from Civitevecchia to Rome depending upon traffic.
We have spent a great deal of time in Rome and still have seen only a fraction of Vatican Museum. You can't see it all in a lifetime. To rush through the Sistine Chapel would be so painful to miss so much.

I suggest you choose the things you want to see the most and plan more realisitically.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
<img src=http://www.hollandamerica.com/images/5starMariner.gif border=0 alt= />

sail7seas7 At yahoo .com
Please put CruiseCritic in Subject Line
#4
20,461 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Give us a little more information about your plans. How are you getting to Rome? What time are your tickets for the Vatican museum, and are you getting a guided tour there? What time do you have to start back to the port?

I think it's doable if these are the only things you are doing. But the Colosseum Underground is only offered as a tour, and that tour is only offered at certain times (which is why I suspect you're asking...)
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Wherever the wind takes me I travel as a visitor. (Horace)
#5
Marlton, New Jersey, USA
720 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
We are taking the fast train from the port. Leaves at 9am and arrives at 9:40 at S. Peter's station. It is a dedicated train for cruisers and only runs when there is a ship in port. It leaves the station at 4:40 and gets back to the port at 5:20.

It the spirit of "the well laid plans of mice and men" I am thinking we can take some type of public transportation (maybe the HOHO) from St Peter's to the Colosseum and do our thing there and then head back to the Vatican and see as much as possible until it is time to get back on the train.

Just don't want to be saying "well it sounded like a good idea at the time". What do you think. Is 7 hours enough time? Is it a deal or no deal?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
NCL Pearl - Western Caribbean November of 2010
NCL Gem - Bahama's March 2011
NCL Epic - Western Mediterrian May 2013
NCL Epic - Western Caribbean December 2014
Celebrity Silhouette - Baltics June 2016
#6
Connecticut
12,152 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
If you want to see the Vatican, including the Sistine Chapel, you will not have time for the Colosseum. You might be able to have a taxi stop so you could get a glimpse of the forum. As another posted noted, you will probably spend at least three hours just traveling to and from Rome. At least two hours just to see the Sistine Chapel -- you do not just walk in, you will be among literally thousands in a long line snaking through. Then, at least an hour to get a glimpse of St. Peter's (what most people think of when they say "Vatican". And, once there, allow at least two hours for the museum.

If all you want to do is see St. Peter's , you can probably get through the line and get in and out in a little over an hour, then leave time to get to the Forum or the Colosseum - where you are likely to wait close to an hour to get in. To try to do all three will let you say you have "seen" them, but you really have just spent the day traveling between things you have not had anywhere enough time to experience.

If you forget the Vatican altogether, you can probably take in both the Colosseum and Forum.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Six US Navy ships,
25+ cruises: Orient (1), Holland America (12), Norwegian (6), Carnival (1), Princess (1), Celebrity (3), Cunard (2), Royal Caribbean (1) - (1996-2017).
Coming up: Royal Caribbean, January 2018
#7
20,461 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Again, I disagree. On the Italy boards we hear almost weekly from people who manage to do several things on a day in Rome.

For the OP:

If you've already booked the Fast Train, then we'll work with that. If not, why not just get to the train station ASAP when your ship is cleared and take the first available regionale train to Rome. You can be at San Pietro station in about 55 minutes.

Second, to maximize your time, do NOT take the HOHO bus. They stop frequently, wait, and move slowly in the Rome traffic. Instead I recommend getting a taxi to the Colosseum. There may not be any taxis at the San Pietro station (or you may be lucky enough to nab one). If not, walk to St. Peter's Square and pick up a taxi at the stand there.

You didn't say what time your Vatican tickets are for?

If you just want to see the Colosseum on your own, timing (of a tour) is not a problem. You wouldn't be able to do the underground, but you can see part of it from the interior anyway. Download a podcast that will give you the basics as you tour the inside. (Rick Steves has a free downloadable that is very decent.)

You can also pre-reserve your Colosseum ticket. I don't usually recommend it, as you can just walk a couple of blocks to the (much less busy) Palatine Hill ticket booth and get a ticket there with no surcharge. However, with your schedule, it may be worthwhile to just purchase in advance and be ready to go.

When you are done at the Colosseum, you could take the Metro back to the Vatican. The Colosseo station is literally right across the street from the Colosseum. Take the metro (Blue line; it's the only line there) to Termini, then switch to the Red line and take it to the Cipro stop, which is closest to the Vatican Museum entrance (still about a 10-15 minute walk).
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Wherever the wind takes me I travel as a visitor. (Horace)
#9
Raleigh NC
24,683 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
I agree with CruiseMom, skip the fast train, be the first ones off the ship and assumming a 7:00 disembarkation, you can make the 7:33 train, we did and the BIRG tickets are only 12€. If you get tickets at Palatine Hill you could be done with the Colosseum before lunch. Grab a cab to the Vatican and you could have 2 -3 hours there before walking to San Pietro train stop.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Kirk


Future Cruises
Viking Sun 11-6-2017 - Our first Viking Ocean cruise
HAL Prinsendam 12-18-2017 - Christmas on the Elegant Explorer
HAL Zaandam 6-4-2018 - Alaska bound
HAL Maasdam 7-14-2018 - New England and Canada
HAL Prinsendam 7-16-2018 - Four months on the Elegant Explorer
Island Princess 11-20-18 A taxi to visit our daughter
HAL Zaandam 12-6-18 Back to the frozen south
HAL Amsterdam 1-22-2019 - Grand World Voyage
#10
20,461 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I must've been half asleep last night when I posted....

IF you don't take the fast train, and you want to go to the Colosseum first, there's a much faster way.

Rome has several train stops. Get off the train at the Ostiense stop and walk to the adjacent metro building (this is the Pyramide metro stop). Then get on the Metro going in the direction of Rebibbia and go 2 stops to the Colosseo stop.

You will be right there at the Colosseum.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Wherever the wind takes me I travel as a visitor. (Horace)
#11
Connecticut
12,152 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by KirkNC
I agree with CruiseMom, skip the fast train, be the first ones off the ship and assumming a 7:00 disembarkation, you can make the 7:33 train, we did and the BIRG tickets are only 12€. If you get tickets at Palatine Hill you could be done with the Colosseum before lunch. Grab a cab to the Vatican and you could have 2 -3 hours there before walking to San Pietro train stop.
Sure, it is possible to be at all three sites and sprint through them -- but why?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Six US Navy ships,
25+ cruises: Orient (1), Holland America (12), Norwegian (6), Carnival (1), Princess (1), Celebrity (3), Cunard (2), Royal Caribbean (1) - (1996-2017).
Coming up: Royal Caribbean, January 2018
#12
20,461 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by navybankerteacher
At least two hours just to see the Sistine Chapel -- you do not just walk in, you will be among literally thousands in a long line snaking through. Then, at least an hour to get a glimpse of St. Peter's (what most people think of when they say "Vatican". And, once there, allow at least two hours for the museum.

This confuses me. You go through the Museum on the way to the Sistine chapel, not through the Basilica.


One can pre-reserve timed tickets for the museum/Sistine chapel portion, which it sounds like the poster has already done. This gets rid of the need to wait in a long line for entry. It's unclear whether the OP even wants to see the basilica; they don't mention it.


If all you want to do is see St. Peter's , you can probably get through the line and get in and out in a little over an hour, then leave time to get to the Forum or the Colosseum - where you are likely to wait close to an hour to get in.

Again, there are two easy ways to avoid waiting in the often long line at the Colosseum ticket booth. You can pre-reserve tickets online (they are not timed, so you can enter at any time), OR you can go to the Palatine Hill ticket office, which is only a couple of blocks away and is never very crowded.
Originally posted by navybankerteacher
Sure, it is possible to be at all three sites and sprint through them -- but why?
Perhaps the poster feels that he/she will either never have the chance to return, or may not be able to do so for many years. I don't see a need to pass judgement on how they choose to spend their day in Rome.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Wherever the wind takes me I travel as a visitor. (Horace)
#13
Connecticut
12,152 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by cruisemom42
Perhaps the poster feels that he/she will either never have the chance to return, or may not be able to do so for many years. I don't see a need to pass judgement on how they choose to spend their day in Rome.
Not a matter of wanting to "...pass judgement...", simply pointing out the fact that trying to see too much can result in spending the bulk of the day in transit and in lines rather than really seeing anything.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Six US Navy ships,
25+ cruises: Orient (1), Holland America (12), Norwegian (6), Carnival (1), Princess (1), Celebrity (3), Cunard (2), Royal Caribbean (1) - (1996-2017).
Coming up: Royal Caribbean, January 2018
#14
Kentucky
13,277 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Can be done. Will be a very, very full day and might be best not to do so much but ,hey, when in Rome.....
#15
Marlton, New Jersey, USA
720 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Thanks to all of you for responding. The situation is this. I purchased vouchers for the fast train and the Vatican in error. I want to see the Colosseum so I asked you all what my options are. The booking site that I used has agreed to cancel the Vatican tickets and exchange them for the underground and third level tour of the Colosseum at 12 noon. That takes about 60 minutes I think. We will travel by taxi to and from the Colosseum area to save time. Because we are on vacation we will then have lunch in Rome and see what we can see as we walk around the area or go back to St Peters square and try to get into the Sistine Chapel or not.




We will be on vacation and do not want to have to get up early to catch the first train and then take this and go here and then go here before it gets too crowded. We booked 3 days pre cruise in Barcelona to enjoy the city and my girlfriend says that if we like Rome and don't get to see everything that we want to see we will just have to go back and see it.


Thanks again for all of your suggestions and consideration. Maybe some day we will weigh anchor together.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
NCL Pearl - Western Caribbean November of 2010
NCL Gem - Bahama's March 2011
NCL Epic - Western Mediterrian May 2013
NCL Epic - Western Caribbean December 2014
Celebrity Silhouette - Baltics June 2016
#16
82,468 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Rome is a huge, fabulous city. One of my world favorites.
There is so much to see it is impossible to imagine until you see that fantastically busy, beautiful, incredible city. It's so hard to choose just what to see but you can't dream of even tasting it in one day.

If a pretty day, lunch at Piazza Navona is unforgettable..... the Bernini fountains will blow you away.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
<img src=http://www.hollandamerica.com/images/5starMariner.gif border=0 alt= />

sail7seas7 At yahoo .com
Please put CruiseCritic in Subject Line
#17
Marlton, New Jersey, USA
720 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by sail7seas
Hours.
You are trying to do too much in one day.
It is at least 60-90 minute ride from Civitevecchia to Rome depending upon traffic.
We have spent a great deal of time in Rome and still have seen only a fraction of Vatican Museum. You can't see it all in a lifetime. To rush through the Sistine Chapel would be so painful to miss so much.

I suggest you choose the things you want to see the most and plan more realisitically.
Ever since ancient history class in high school I've wanted to see Pompeii, the Colosseum and the Pyramids in Egypt. I will accomplish two on this cruise. The pyramids will have to wait till another life.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
NCL Pearl - Western Caribbean November of 2010
NCL Gem - Bahama's March 2011
NCL Epic - Western Mediterrian May 2013
NCL Epic - Western Caribbean December 2014
Celebrity Silhouette - Baltics June 2016
#18
Southwest Florida
3,255 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
We will be traveling with kugamuga and I too appreciate all of your comments. We had been toying with trying to see the Sistine Chapel (if we had time) after touring the Colosseum and Forum area and seeing the Trevi Fountain.

Sounds to me like seeing the Sistine Chapel after all of the rest may be overly ambitious. I think I will just pre purchase our Colosseum tickets and hope for the best!

Thanks to Kugamuga for posting and thanks to all of you for your input!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
9 Day Med - Jewel May 30, 2018 - Rome, Messina, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Athens, Naples
10 Day Mediterranean - Vista May 2016 - Athens, Rhodes, Valleta, Messina, Naples, Rome, Florence, Marseille, Barcelona
7 Day Eastern - Glory - St.Thomas,SanJuan,GrTurk,HalfMoonCay
7 Day Western Mediterranean - NCL EPIC out of Barcelona - 5/2013
7 Day Eastern - Liberty '11 - St.Thomas,SanJuan, GrTurk
7 Day Western - Glory 2009 - Cozumel, Gr. Cayman, Belize, Roatan
4 Day Western - Imagination 2006 - Key West, Calica
7 Day Western - Triumph 2005 -Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Caymen





#19
Connecticut
12,152 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by BaseballMomof4
We will be traveling with kugamuga and I too appreciate all of your comments. We had been toying with trying to see the Sistine Chapel (if we had time) after touring the Colosseum and Forum area and seeing the Trevi Fountain.

Sounds to me like seeing the Sistine Chapel after all of the rest may be overly ambitious. I think I will just pre purchase our Colosseum tickets and hope for the best!

Thanks to Kugamuga for posting and thanks to all of you for your input!
I think that is a wise call. The Sistine Chapel involves a serious investment of time -- and once in the Vatican it would be a shame not to see the museum ant St. Peter's. Give yourself a reason to return to Rome - perhaps on a cruise embarking there so you could arrive a few days early.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Six US Navy ships,
25+ cruises: Orient (1), Holland America (12), Norwegian (6), Carnival (1), Princess (1), Celebrity (3), Cunard (2), Royal Caribbean (1) - (1996-2017).
Coming up: Royal Caribbean, January 2018
#20
82,468 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by kugamuga
Ever since ancient history class in high school I've wanted to see Pompeii, the Colosseum and the Pyramids in Egypt. I will accomplish two on this cruise. The pyramids will have to wait till another life.

I LOVE when someone's dream comes true.
Hope you have a sparkling bright, blue skied day and enjoy every second of your time in Roma. Sigh...... one can never get enough of Rome.

Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
<img src=http://www.hollandamerica.com/images/5starMariner.gif border=0 alt= />

sail7seas7 At yahoo .com
Please put CruiseCritic in Subject Line