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Planning a Med Cruise - looking for tips on cruise line, ports, etc.

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Not sure which "fast train" you are referring to, but as of now there are no trains other than the Regionale and Regionale Veloce (a slightly faster regional train that makes fewer stops along the way) scheduled to make morning runs from Civitavecchia to Rome.

 

There is one FrecciaBianca (one of the fast trains) that leaves Civitavecchia at 11:18 and arrives in Rome around noon. However, I don't think many people would want to wait around that long.

 

As has been noted on these boards before, the IC trains (sort of halfway between the Regionale and the really fast trains) are apparently being phased out and don't seem to be an option any longer.

 

The Regionale and Regionale Veloce trains are the ones that you can use with the BIRG pass that costs 12 euro and is also good on public transportation around Rome (e.g., buses and metro) for the day. They are a great deal, but yes, they can get crowded at peak hours. Just think of it like a subway ride.

 

 

 

In a sense, this is a good reminder that one should always research the CURRENT situation and not rely on information from previous seasons.

 

 

It appears that services has been TEMPORARILY suspended. There is an alternative in place.

 

http://www.smartcruisetours.com/index.php/visiting-rome/excursions-by-train

 

This is the company we bought our fast train tickets from and they are now offering an alternative by bus. Hopefully they will be back up and running by the time most of us cruise.

 

FWIW here is a link to my review from 2013

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1857483&page=4

Edited by BaseballMomof4

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It appears that services has been TEMPORARILY suspended. There is an alternative in place.

 

http://www.smartcruisetours.com/index.php/visiting-rome/excursions-by-train

 

This is the company we bought our fast train tickets from and they are now offering an alternative by bus. Hopefully they will be back up and running by the time most of us cruise.

 

FWIW here is a link to my review from 2013

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1857483&page=4

Is this the company that was running the private trains just for cruise passengers? Because the trains certainly have not been canceled, it's just a little more difficult to get to the train station as they mention in their blurb. So as mentioned frequently here, now you have to take the free shuttle from the ship to the drop off spot and then either take a bus to the train station or walk about a mile to the train station.

 

I just don't want people to get the mistaken impression that the trains are no longer running

Edited by CathyCruises

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This is why it's really important to set up private tours with others that share the same interests. Be really clear about what you plan to see and do (and how much time you are allotting) to each area.

 

Some people (such as myself) would want to spend the whole day at Pompeii and would just about rather eat glass than spend time shopping in Positano and Sorrento! :D

 

And then there are others like myself that would rather wander the streets of the quaint towns browsing and shopping or sitting at an outdoor café peoplewatching, than in a somber dreary museum or Archaeological site.

 

I've been to many ruins in Rome, Kusadasi, Athens, Delphi, etc. While I wanted to see Pompeii, it wasn't necessary for me to even pay the entrance fee. We walked along the outside wall, climbed to the entrance. What we saw was adequate for us. We took photos then returned to street level and walked the various shops, checking out the Limoncello and home made sandals. Our driver had told us to allow 3 hours, but I told him 2 hours would be sufficient And it was.

 

Then we headed on to Sorrento where we spent the remainder of our time before heading back to Naples, for a mini-tour of some of the historic sites found there, and returning to the ship after 8 hours.

 

We did consider our day (with a taxi driver) in Naples, Pompeii and Sorrento as the best day of our 21 day trip, going where we wanted to go and seeing what we wanted to see with our own personal escort. Of course we paid dearly at 100 Euro per person, but it was totally worth it.

 

Everyone has different views and ideas on what is best for them. Just do your research and be prepared with a Plan "A", then a Plan "B" for when Plan A falls apart, and still be prepared to go with the flow when both Plan A and B fall apart.

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And then there are others like myself that would rather wander the streets of the quaint towns browsing and shopping or sitting at an outdoor café peoplewatching, than in a somber dreary museum or Archaeological site.

 

 

I was merely pointing out an "alternative" viewpoint to the one already AMPLY expressed in this thread -- and reminding folks that everyone does have different interests and it is important to be sure IF you are planning a group tour, that everyone agrees.

Edited by cruisemom42

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Is this the company that was running the private trains just for cruise passengers? Because the trains certainly have not been canceled, it's just a little more difficult to get to the train station as they mention in their blurb. So as mentioned frequently here, now you have to take the free shuttle from the ship to the drop off spot and then either take a bus to the train station or walk about a mile to the train station.

 

I just don't want people to get the mistaken impression that the trains are no longer running

 

I don't believe it was exclusive to cruise passengers, but it certainly was full of them! It was a great experience and very easy to do at the time. I am hoping they will be back up and running normally by the time we cruise in 2016 - but it is Italy! :p It only took us 45 minutes to get to Rome compared to the regular train which took an hour an a half. The "fast train" made no stops between Civi and Rome.

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I was merely pointing out an "alternative" viewpoint to the one already AMPLY expressed in this thread -- and reminding folks that everyone does have different interests and it is important to be sure IF you are planning a group tour, that everyone agrees.

 

Totally agree. That's why when we did it we talked a great deal beforehand about who wanted to do what. The majority of the group of 8 was myself, my three sons and my friend. We spent a long talking to another couple who was bringing their son and we were all in agreement about what we wanted to see and where we wanted to go. That is why we chose to pay a little bit more to be in a smaller group as opposed to the larger, cheaper bus tour. It was a fabulous day and we all felt it was totally worth the money spent - approximately 75 euro per person at the time.

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And then there are others like myself that would rather wander the streets of the quaint towns browsing and shopping or sitting at an outdoor café peoplewatching, than in a somber dreary museum or Archaeological site.

 

I've been to many ruins in Rome, Kusadasi, Athens, Delphi, etc. While I wanted to see Pompeii, it wasn't necessary for me to even pay the entrance fee. We walked along the outside wall, climbed to the entrance. What we saw was adequate for us. We took photos then returned to street level and walked the various shops, checking out the Limoncello and home made sandals. Our driver had told us to allow 3 hours, but I told him 2 hours would be sufficient And it was.

 

Then we headed on to Sorrento where we spent the remainder of our time before heading back to Naples, for a mini-tour of some of the historic sites found there, and returning to the ship after 8 hours.

 

We did consider our day (with a taxi driver) in Naples, Pompeii and Sorrento as the best day of our 21 day trip, going where we wanted to go and seeing what we wanted to see with our own personal escort. Of course we paid dearly at 100 Euro per person, but it was totally worth it.

 

Everyone has different views and ideas on what is best for them. Just do your research and be prepared with a Plan "A", then a Plan "B" for when Plan A falls apart, and still be prepared to go with the flow when both Plan A and B fall apart.

 

And then there are those of us who wanted a little of both - sadly that left us feeling like we didn't get enough of either. Pompeii is amazing, but honestly after the 4th or 5th "this was a shop, this was a kitchen, etc." we were done. It is fascinating but it is huge and repetitive.

 

We adored Positano and would have loved to have sat down for a coffee and relaxed and enjoyed the area more, but we only had about an hour there.

 

We had a little more time in Sorrento as that is where we stopped for lunch, but again we felt rushed to get back to our van and could not enjoy a leisurely stroll through the area.

 

The good news this time around is that we will be sailing the Vista and will have much longer port times than we did on tfhe Epic so we will not be as rushed. My son wants to go to Capri this time and that is probably what we will do even though I would love to get back to Positano and Sorrento! I guess that is a good excuse for another trip after 2016!

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It appears that services has been TEMPORARILY suspended. There is an alternative in place.

 

http://www.smartcruisetours.com/index.php/visiting-rome/excursions-by-train

 

This is the company we bought our fast train tickets from and they are now offering an alternative by bus. Hopefully they will be back up and running by the time most of us cruise.

 

FWIW here is a link to my review from 2013

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1857483&page=4

 

 

I'm seeing that the bus doesn't depart until 9:30 am. I seem to recall the fast train also had a somewhat late departure time (and only one time) -- I assume they do this to make sure they get as many cruise pax as possible.

 

I'm certain one could get to the train station earlier and catch a regionale or regionale veloce train (with fewer stops) and still get to Rome ahead of the "fast train" or the bus...

 

Also, if you take the regular train, you have your choice of exit points in Rome. If you want to see the Vatican first, then the "fast train" offered by Smart tours would work. But if you want to get to the Colosseum early (Ostiense station) or head to Termini, you don't have that option.

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And then there are those of us who wanted a little of both - sadly that left us feeling like we didn't get enough of either. Pompeii is amazing, but honestly after the 4th or 5th "this was a shop, this was a kitchen, etc." we were done. It is fascinating but it is huge and repetitive.

 

We adored Positano and would have loved to have sat down for a coffee and relaxed and enjoyed the area more, but we only had about an hour there.

 

We had a little more time in Sorrento as that is where we stopped for lunch, but again we felt rushed to get back to our van and could not enjoy a leisurely stroll through the area.

 

The good news this time around is that we will be sailing the Vista and will have much longer port times than we did on tfhe Epic so we will not be as rushed. My son wants to go to Capri this time and that is probably what we will do even though I would love to get back to Positano and Sorrento! I guess that is a good excuse for another trip after 2016!

 

Yes, that's the problem I have with a lot of ship tours or private tours. I prefer doing a few things in depth (the things I'm interested in :D) and not race through the day checking things off a list.

 

As you say, it's a good reason to keep cruising the Med.

 

If you like Sorrento and Positano, you will likely also really enjoy Capri.

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I'm seeing that the bus doesn't depart until 9:30 am. I seem to recall the fast train also had a somewhat late departure time (and only one time) -- I assume they do this to make sure they get as many cruise pax as possible.

 

I'm certain one could get to the train station earlier and catch a regionale or regionale veloce train (with fewer stops) and still get to Rome ahead of the "fast train" or the bus...

 

Also, if you take the regular train, you have your choice of exit points in Rome. If you want to see the Vatican first, then the "fast train" offered by Smart tours would work. But if you want to get to the Colosseum early (Ostiense station) or head to Termini, you don't have that option.

 

Actually no. We left at 9 or 9:30, and we arrived ahead of the regional train. The bad news was it was Wednesday, the Pope speaks on Wednesday, which was very cool but also ensured that Rome was packed!

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Yes, that's the problem I have with a lot of ship tours or private tours. I prefer doing a few things in depth (the things I'm interested in :D) and not race through the day checking things off a list.

 

As you say, it's a good reason to keep cruising the Med.

 

If you like Sorrento and Positano, you will likely also really enjoy Capri.

 

I would annually if the checkbook would allow! :p

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Actually no. We left at 9 or 9:30, and we arrived ahead of the regional train. The bad news was it was Wednesday, the Pope speaks on Wednesday, which was very cool but also ensured that Rome was packed!

 

I've seen people post about getting on the regional train that leaves around 8:00 am and arrives at Rome well before 9:30...:confused:

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I've seen people post about getting on the regional train that leaves around 8:00 am and arrives at Rome well before 9:30...:confused:

 

I am confused as well. Perhaps I am miss-remembering my times. All I know is we watched folks running to the regional train from our balcony that morning and then we took a leisurely stroll to the train station, boarded our train and got there before that regional train. I know this because people from our meet and greet were on the regional train and we spoke to them about it.

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I am confused as well. Perhaps I am miss-remembering my times. All I know is we watched folks running to the regional train from our balcony that morning and then we took a leisurely stroll to the train station, boarded our train and got there before that regional train. I know this because people from our meet and greet were on the regional train and we spoke to them about it.

 

There is more than one regional train; they leave regularly at about half-hour intervals (less frequently on Sundays). So perhaps they were on a later train.

 

But that's my point. There are ways to get to Rome earlier than the "fast train" -- if one wants the extra time in Rome. (I know I always do. :))

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Some great questions. We would urge the OP to find someway to increase their time away from home to at least 10 days (14 is even better). The airfare to Europe is expensive, jetlag can make the first couple of days a bit difficult, etc.

 

As to ship motion, the most stable cabins are located on the lower decks amidships.

 

Regarding time of the year, we really like mid to late May. Mid to late September can also be fine. If you want to swim in the sea then Sept is much better then May when the sea temps are still chilly.

 

Hank

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There is more than one regional train; they leave regularly at about half-hour intervals (less frequently on Sundays). So perhaps they were on a later train.

 

But that's my point. There are ways to get to Rome earlier than the "fast train" -- if one wants the extra time in Rome. (I know I always do. :))

 

And my point was there were those who dashed off the ship at the first opportunity and ran to the train station for the first available train who got there shortly after we did by taking the train that made no regional stops and that we had guaranteed seats on going and coming back. I never said it was the only alternative, I said it was convenient and it was comforting to know that as long as I was at the train station at the prescribed time I would ride back to the port in comfort with no worries of making the ship in time.

 

There are many ways to get to Rome from Civi, for my party this was an excellent option and others will probably enjoy it as well. I never tried to say it was the only option and if my post somehow came across that way it was certainly unintentional.

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And my point was there were those who dashed off the ship at the first opportunity and ran to the train station for the first available train who got there shortly after we did by taking the train that made no regional stops and that we had guaranteed seats on going and coming back. I never said it was the only alternative, I said it was convenient and it was comforting to know that as long as I was at the train station at the prescribed time I would ride back to the port in comfort with no worries of making the ship in time.

 

There are many ways to get to Rome from Civi, for my party this was an excellent option and others will probably enjoy it as well. I never tried to say it was the only option and if my post somehow came across that way it was certainly unintentional.

 

Sorry, didn't mean to hit a nerve. Either I'm not understanding you or you are not understanding me. :o

 

If one's ship docks at 7:00 am at Civitavecchia, as most do, there is a regional train leaving at 8:42 am that should be a reasonable option for anyone who is ready and gets off the ship promptly after it's cleared.

 

That train arrives at San Pietro for the Vatican (the same train station as the fast train) at 9:24 am; at Ostiense for the Colosseum/Forum (via metro) at 9:36; and at Termini at 9:48.

 

One can ride that train for less $$ (12 euro roundtrip with the BIRG) and be in Rome sooner. There are also plenty of trains going back to Civitavecchia at the end of the day.

 

As you say, one has choices. I'd rather pay less and have extra time in Rome. Others would rather have a reserved seat. I get that.

 

I just didn't want people to think that the fast train was going to get you to Rome before an earlier regular train, when it doesn't depart until 9:30...

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Sorry, didn't mean to hit a nerve. Either I'm not understanding you or you are not understanding me. :o

 

If one's ship docks at 7:00 am at Civitavecchia, as most do, there is a regional train leaving at 8:42 am that should be a reasonable option for anyone who is ready and gets off the ship promptly after it's cleared.

 

That train arrives at San Pietro for the Vatican (the same train station as the fast train) at 9:24 am; at Ostiense for the Colosseum/Forum (via metro) at 9:36; and at Termini at 9:48.

 

One can ride that train for less $$ (12 euro roundtrip with the BIRG) and be in Rome sooner. There are also plenty of trains going back to Civitavecchia at the end of the day.

 

As you say, one has choices. I'd rather pay less and have extra time in Rome. Others would rather have a reserved seat. I get that.

 

I just didn't want people to think that the fast train was going to get you to Rome before an earlier regular train, when it doesn't depart until 9:30...

 

The only nerve you are striking is the fact that you seem to keep trying to tell me I did not experience what I did, indeed, experience.

 

Yes, others were dashing off the ship to get to the train station earlier than us (I stated that) and yes, we arrived within minutes of each other (I believe I stated that as well). Again, all I am saying is that there is an option of taking a train that makes no stops, without having hurry off the ship and to dash to the station, and getting to Rome in less on the train time. And it was not expensive; however, I can't make a direct comparison as I bought a combination ticket that included entrance to the Colosseum.

 

So, to summarize - we left almost 45 minutes later, had guaranteed seats there and back and arrived shortly before the regional train.

 

With that being said, perhaps we should agree to disagree ;)

Edited by BaseballMomof4

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The only nerve you are striking is the fact that you seem to keep trying to tell me I did not experience what I did, indeed, experience.

 

Yes, others were dashing off the ship to get to the train station earlier than us (I stated that) and yes, we arrived within minutes of each other (I believe I stated that as well). Again, all I am saying is that there is an option of taking a train that makes no stops, without having hurry off the ship and to dash to the station, and getting to Rome in less on the train time. And it was not expensive; however, I can't make a direct comparison as I bought a combination ticket that included entrance to the Colosseum.

 

So, to summarize - we left almost 45 minutes later, had guaranteed seats there and back and arrived shortly before the regional train.

 

With that being said, perhaps we should agree to disagree ;)

 

Okay. ;)

 

Never did I suggest you did not experience what you did. I just think perhaps that you may have experienced folks getting on one of the later regionales (for example, the one that leaves Civi at 8:59), as there are a fair number of them in the a.m.

 

I am pretty familiar with the train, and I was just trying to figure it out, as it didn't make sense. I tend to obsess over understanding details like that so I can use them to help & make recommendations to others...

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As a paralegal I too am quite adept at research and attention to detail, it's what I do. :)

 

Not all ships dock at the same time. Not all ships are cleared at the same time. Not all passengers will want to dash to the train station like OJ running through an airport :p

 

I am merely sharing my experience, not trying to influence the decisions of others. If people want to take the regional, they will. If people want to take the express, they will. Some may even choose Rome in Limo or a ships tour. There is no right answer, and that is the purpose of this site.

 

I am certain our discourse is getting quite tiresome for everyone else and we should probably move on. ;)

Edited by BaseballMomof4

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Well now I'm confused. As Cruisemom states, the 8:42 regionale train arrives at San Pietro at 9:24 AM, Six minutes BEFORE the 'fast train' leaves Civitavecchia. So I'm not sure how you are figuring that people who rushed to leave before you did arrived after you did. . .:confused:

 

There must be some confusion about what train these people were catching.

 

There are only a few brief stops between Civitavecchia and San Pietro and as stated above, I like having the option of getting off the train in various places depending on where my destination is. The trip on the regionale is only about 40 minutes +/- a few, to San Pietro, so I am not thinking that the fast train is MUCH faster than that. I generally try to get the 8:02, or did before the construction, and personally would not want to hang around waiting for the 9:30 'fast train'. I'm just too anxious to get to Rome and start my day

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We have taken multiple cruises in Europe and my best advice is to choose your cruise based on what ports you want to see as all of them are port intensive. We cruise on NCL but the other major lines are good as well. Do a lot of homework, the Rick Steves books are excellent as is a lot of the advice here on cruise critic. We have been to Europe quite a bit before we started cruising so we use a combination of self guided, private guide, and excursion...depends on what we want to see, how far it is from the port, timing, etc. We've had everything from a balcony to a suite and have enjoyed all of it. You will have a wonderful time. Spend a couple of days before the cruise at your embarkation port....gives you time to get used to the time change and explore that port leisurely.

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Some great questions. We would urge the OP to find someway to increase their time away from home to at least 10 days (14 is even better). The airfare to Europe is expensive, jetlag can make the first couple of days a bit difficult, etc.

 

As to ship motion, the most stable cabins are located on the lower decks amidships.

 

Regarding time of the year, we really like mid to late May. Mid to late September can also be fine. If you want to swim in the sea then Sept is much better then May when the sea temps are still chilly.

 

Hank

 

I would LOVE to extend our trip (and am not ruling it out) but want to start planning on the most likely scenario. You make a good point about airfare and jet lag. I think we have agreed to add an extra day before and after in the beginning and end port cities. So we're up to 9!

 

To lessen ship motion, I think we will look midship as you suggest.

 

Time of the year seems to be pointing toward June for us for now, but we might work out a late May or even September. I think we have ruled out July and August.

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We have taken multiple cruises in Europe and my best advice is to choose your cruise based on what ports you want to see as all of them are port intensive. Spend a couple of days before the cruise at your embarkation port....gives you time to get used to the time change and explore that port leisurely.

 

Excellent above comments and feed-back. We've done 22 different countries in Europe, including the below-noted Med cruise out of amazing Barcelona.

 

The good news . . . and challenge . . . would be that there are so many different options for seeing and enjoying the Med. Lots of different cruise ship potentials, costs, lengths, etc.

 

Cruising "strategies" are so different for Europe versus in the Caribbean. The "port intensive" factors make Europe choices so much more different and at times difficult. BUT, the rewards in Europe are great, interesting and fun.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Did a June 7-19, 2011, cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Dozens of nice visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc. We are now at 195,128 views for this live/blog re-cap, including much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

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