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Possible to do both Vatican AND Colosseum in one port day?

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Celebrity Constellation is in port on Saturday Nov. 2 from 7am to 7pm.  Do you think it is possible to do both the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel first thing and then head over to do a Colosseum tour and what else we can fit in before returning via train back to the ship?  2 friends in good shape with no mobility issues and we are good with public transit. 

 

Is this possible?

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Probably, with pre-purchased tickets for both sites.

 

If you are using public transit, and if you are really lucky, you might make the 7:44 train from Civitavecchia (arrives Rome S. Pietro at 8:25).   I don't think you can count on that, however, so I would plan on the next train (departs 7:58, arrives 8:54).  It takes most people nearly a half hour to walk from the train station to the entrance of the museums (one and a quarter miles), so 9:30 is probably the earliest ticket you can go for.  You probably can't get a guided tour in English because the times are at 9 AM or 10:30, the first is too early and the next one is too late.  You're going to have to do it on your own, with the audioguide if you wish.

 

So, if you depart the Vatican Museums around noon and head right over to the Colosseum, allowing for "issues" and crowds you could book tickets for 2 PM.  That would give you up to two hours to see the Colosseum before heading to Ostiense to get the train back to Civitavecchia.  There is a regional train at 4:23 PM (arrives 5:13) or the Civitavecchia Express at 4:30, arriving at 5:20.

 

It's a rushed day, but it works.

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As Euro points out, it is possible but not easy.  Also hope that there are no snags in the transportation system.  Last time we had a long delay on the train from Civitavecchia to Rome, so had to adjust our plans on the fly.  I usually recommend doing either the Vatican or Ancient Rome if you only have one day but know people fear they may never have the chance to return.

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Thank you Euro and Wheezedr, both with great info and insight. I probably should not kill myself trying to do both and soak in a little more of one place or the other. I know I will be back, so no worry there. I probably will stick to ancient Rome and the Colosseum and leave the Vatican for my next visit.   I also do not want to stress myself out with returning to the ship and give myself plenty of time in case of hiccups.

 

Thanks again. I really should not try to conquer all of Rome in a day 

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Posted (edited)

This can be done more easily than you think. We recently returned from a port stop in Rome May 21st 7:00am - 7:00pm and booked a private group tour with some from our rollcall with italytours.eu...just an amazing full day...This is a much recommended private tour company by many on these boards and after having toured with them I can't agree more. We saw and did more on this tour than we thought possible and they handled everything.

 

Page down this board and you'll be able to read all the great experiences with this company.

Edited by Ashland

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We did both in a day in Rome, but we had pre-purchased our Vatican Museum tickets beforehand. So glad we did as the queue was about half a mile long. For the Colisseum we hadn’t pre-purchased but bought a tour from a tout outside which worked wonderfully well, but I’d recommend buying tickets ahead.

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9 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

We did both in a day in Rome, but we had pre-purchased our Vatican Museum tickets beforehand. So glad we did as the queue was about half a mile long. For the Colisseum we hadn’t pre-purchased but bought a tour from a tout outside which worked wonderfully well, but I’d recommend buying tickets ahead.

 Good to hear. I was going to pre-purchase tickets.  Were you able to visit other sites and have time to eat lunch too? Luckily we are there in November. 

 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, True Romance said:

 Good to hear. I was going to pre-purchase tickets.  Were you able to visit other sites and have time to eat lunch too? Luckily we are there in November. 

 

My post #5...the tour company we used arranged for the pre-purchase of tickets for the Colisseum and also the Vatican with a private guide (amazing). We saw many other top points of interest and had time for lunch just before our tour time meet up with our Vatican guide. We were returned to the ship in plenty of time....no worries....this is the job of private tour companies and they have their time frames down...their reputation depends on it. 

 https://italytours.eu/info-for-cruisers-in-italy/med-riviera-excursion/

 

Edited by Ashland

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You absolutely must get your Vatican tickets in advance, it is wall-to-wall crowded every day of the year, there is no "down" season for the museums.

 

The Colosseum is similarly crowded throughout the year, although less so in the winter months.  I would still buy these tickets in advance as well, from the approved site:  https://www.coopculture.it/colosseo-e-shop.cfm

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No need to take a private tour. You can do the Vatican and Colosseum in one day if you are well organized and good walkers.

 

Being that your visit is in November, the lines will be a bit shorter (both for transportation and for the sites) and the weather more pleasant for walking (assuming no rain!). I definitely agree that you should make your reservations for both sites in advance and be realistic regarding timings. 

 

Euro cruiser has provided a good estimate on your timings for the day and has left a small window between the two sites for some lunch. I would not count on a "sit-down" lunch; however. 

 

If you wanted to just do the Colosseum in the morning, you'd definitely have time to also do a walk that would take you past the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps before getting a train from Termini back to Civitavecchia. Catching the train in Termini means there is an increased likelihood of getting a seat since that is its starting point. On the minus side it is a long walk to the (auxiliary) tracks to get to the train itself.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, True Romance said:

 Good to hear. I was going to pre-purchase tickets.  Were you able to visit other sites and have time to eat lunch too? Luckily we are there in November. 

 

Our Colosseum tour included the Forum and we managed a quick look around the Victor Emmanuel monument (the wedding cake). We walked between that area and the Vatican, but it is a good walk & I’d probably recommend a taxi unless you are a strong walker. We grabbed a sandwich en route between the two.

Edited by Host Grandma Cruising

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

No need to take a private tour. You can do the Vatican and Colosseum in one day if you are well organized and good walkers.

 

Being that your visit is in November, the lines will be a bit shorter (both for transportation and for the sites) and the weather more pleasant for walking (assuming no rain!). I definitely agree that you should make your reservations for both sites in advance and be realistic regarding timings. 

 

Euro cruiser has provided a good estimate on your timings for the day and has left a small window between the two sites for some lunch. I would not count on a "sit-down" lunch; however. 

 

If you wanted to just do the Colosseum in the morning, you'd definitely have time to also do a walk that would take you past the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps before getting a train from Termini back to Civitavecchia. Catching the train in Termini means there is an increased likelihood of getting a seat since that is its starting point. On the minus side it is a long walk to the (auxiliary) tracks to get to the train itself.

 

I don't think the point here is "need" for a first time visit to Rome. You and other's that have posted are much more experienced with distance, navigation and timing than some.

 

Perhaps on future possible visit's the OP will feel more comfortable doing it themselves. But this time they would be well advised to be with a small group led by professional's and enjoy the sights & experiences without the stress....that you know can happen trying to see Rome during a port visit for some first timer's.

 

Let's hope they can see as much as possible and return to Rome at some later date...but at least they've had a great complete overview without being overwhelmed trying to do it.

Edited by Ashland

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7 minutes ago, Ashland said:

I don't think the point here is "need" for a first time visit to Rome. You and other's that have posted are much more experienced with distance, navigation and timing than some.

 

Perhaps on future possible visit's the OP will feel more comfortable doing it themselves. But this time they would be well advised to be with a small group led by professional's and enjoy the sights & experiences without the stress....that you know can happen trying to see Rome during a port visit for some first timer's.

 

Let's hope they can see as much as possible and return to Rome at some later date.

 

I think it has less to do with experience and more to do with desire, comfort level and touring style. 

 

My sister and BIL visited Rome on their own via train from Civi on their first visit and did just fine following the advice here and in books like Rick Steves' guides. (They did all of their other ports on their own as well...)  Conversely, there are many who proudly state that it is their third or fourth visit and they are still using the same guided tour service. 

 

The OP seems inclined to DIY, so why not leave it at that?

 

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2 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I think it has less to do with experience and more to do with desire, comfort level and touring style. 

 

My sister and BIL visited Rome on their own via train from Civi on their first visit and did just fine following the advice here and in books like Rick Steves' guides. (They did all of their other ports on their own as well...)  Conversely, there are many who proudly state that it is their third or fourth visit and they are still using the same guided tour service. 

 

The OP seems inclined to DIY, so why not leave it at that?

 

 

Thank you everyone for all of your insight and suggestions.  

 

Cruisemom, I agree with you. Comfort level and touring style plays a huge role in how one experiences destinations. I am quick, agile and love walking and  taking public transit around and seeing as much as I can in the time allowed.  I work in the travel industry, travel often and am comfortable in foreign counties. Besides, I need to walk off all the cruise food in ports :)

 

The travel style of DIY and cram in as much as possible is not for everyone. I wholeheartedly agree if this is someones first time in a city and they are not comfortable on their own, a guided tour is the way to go. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I think it has less to do with experience and more to do with desire, comfort level and touring style. 

 

My sister and BIL visited Rome on their own via train from Civi on their first visit and did just fine following the advice here and in books like Rick Steves' guides. (They did all of their other ports on their own as well...)  Conversely, there are many who proudly state that it is their third or fourth visit and they are still using the same guided tour service. 

 

The OP seems inclined to DIY, so why not leave it at that?

 

The OP's key word in title was "possible". Sorry you disagree with me offering a possibility. 

I have no problem "leaving it at that".

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Either way you order your day, assuming you do try to see both, the closest train stations happen to be those used by the Civitavecchia Express.  It's no help in the morning but that may come in handy for the return.

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22 hours ago, Ashland said:

I don't think the point here is "need" for a first time visit to Rome. You and other's that have posted are much more experienced with distance, navigation and timing than some.

 

Perhaps on future possible visit's the OP will feel more comfortable doing it themselves. But this time they would be well advised to be with a small group led by professional's and enjoy the sights & experiences without the stress....that you know can happen trying to see Rome during a port visit for some first timer's.

 

Let's hope they can see as much as possible and return to Rome at some later date...but at least they've had a great complete overview without being overwhelmed trying to do it.

If, as the OP says they are comfortable  with DIY and have travelled elsewhere DIY, not sure why they would be "well advised" to join a private tour group.  I guess I am an odd duck.  I "did" Rome the first time, and subsequent times, on my own.  I was solo, and I did not feel the need to be on a private tour.  I had no idea if I'd ever be back, but I didn't feel the need to stuff as many things into the day as possible.  I don't like those tours, especially in Rome.  I am being dictated on on how much time I can spend at any site.  If I find something fascinating and want to explore more, I can't do it because the tour has to get back on those damn mini-vans and rush to the next spot, sometimes coming dangerously close to running someone down (personal experience)...  To each their own.  

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On ‎8‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 7:46 PM, True Romance said:

Celebrity Constellation is in port on Saturday Nov. 2 from 7am to 7pm.  Do you think it is possible to do both the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel first thing and then head over to do a Colosseum tour and what else we can fit in before returning via train back to the ship?  2 friends in good shape with no mobility issues and we are good with public transit. 

 

Is this possible?

Our experience is below. And this was our preference. Everyone has their own mode of travel and that's OK. Tour group, on your own, whatever, it's all good. Just sharing ours.

 

In 2015, we hired a driver for the day (through Rome in Limo I believe). Was costly ($500 Eu + tip I recall), but we did A LOT. We didn't mind feeling like we were on a ticking clock since we had a schedule and wanted to see multiple things. Prepay for all tickets in advance (regardless of how you do it) and you will walk right in like at the Colloseum and Vatican. We stopped at the Colloseum first-my Must Do. Did a self guided tour for about an hour and headed back to meet the driver. We also paid for the Vactican private tour guide (another $125 Eu). They will guide you through the most important things to see and provided a lot info in a short time. The driver stopped us at a nice restaurant to eat lunch on our own and waited for us. It was great and authentic. Local knowledge is key here. We also saw the Spanish steps, the Parthenon, Chariot Race grounds, and much more. Would have never gotten to all that on our own via a cruise stop. Never. Just my 2cents. I may never be back and wanted to see as much as possible, so it was well worth it. Enjoy.

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2 hours ago, m*u*g* said:

We also saw the Spanish steps, the Parthenon, Chariot Race grounds, and much more. Would have never gotten to all that on our own via a cruise stop. Never. Just my 2cents. 

 

Indeed, your driver must have been a wonder since the Parthenon is in Athens which is almost 800 miles from Rome...!  :classic_biggrin:

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4 hours ago, m*u*g* said:

Our experience is below. And this was our preference. Everyone has their own mode of travel and that's OK. Tour group, on your own, whatever, it's all good. Just sharing ours.

 

In 2015, we hired a driver for the day (through Rome in Limo I believe). Was costly ($500 Eu + tip I recall), but we did A LOT. We didn't mind feeling like we were on a ticking clock since we had a schedule and wanted to see multiple things. Prepay for all tickets in advance (regardless of how you do it) and you will walk right in like at the Colloseum and Vatican. We stopped at the Colloseum first-my Must Do. Did a self guided tour for about an hour and headed back to meet the driver. We also paid for the Vactican private tour guide (another $125 Eu). They will guide you through the most important things to see and provided a lot info in a short time. The driver stopped us at a nice restaurant to eat lunch on our own and waited for us. It was great and authentic. Local knowledge is key here. We also saw the Spanish steps, the Parthenon, Chariot Race grounds, and much more. Would have never gotten to all that on our own via a cruise stop. Never. Just my 2cents. I may never be back and wanted to see as much as possible, so it was well worth it. Enjoy.

Our first trip to Rome we also did a private tour (just the two of us with a driver) using RomeInLimo...a great company and very popular on these boards.

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5 hours ago, m*u*g* said:

Would have never gotten to all that on our own via a cruise stop. 

 

The great news about this is that you know yourself, what works for you, and you have the ability to pay for it.    It sounds like it was a perfect fit for you,  just as striking out on my own is a perfect fit for me.  A little self knowledge can go a long way toward happiness!

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On 8/20/2019 at 1:46 PM, m*u*g* said:

Our experience is below. And this was our preference. Everyone has their own mode of travel and that's OK. Tour group, on your own, whatever, it's all good. Just sharing ours.

 

In 2015, we hired a driver for the day (through Rome in Limo I believe). Was costly ($500 Eu + tip I recall), but we did A LOT. We didn't mind feeling like we were on a ticking clock since we had a schedule and wanted to see multiple things. Prepay for all tickets in advance (regardless of how you do it) and you will walk right in like at the Colloseum and Vatican. We stopped at the Colloseum first-my Must Do. Did a self guided tour for about an hour and headed back to meet the driver. We also paid for the Vactican private tour guide (another $125 Eu). They will guide you through the most important things to see and provided a lot info in a short time. The driver stopped us at a nice restaurant to eat lunch on our own and waited for us. It was great and authentic. Local knowledge is key here. We also saw the Spanish steps, the Parthenon, Chariot Race grounds, and much more. Would have never gotten to all that on our own via a cruise stop. Never. Just my 2cents. I may never be back and wanted to see as much as possible, so it was well worth it. Enjoy.

Four questions for you:  did you or the Vatican guide decide what were the most important things to see?  Were you asked about your preferences for the Museums (Etruscan, Matisse, tapestries, the Map Room, the Raphael Rooms, sculptures)?  

The restaurant: how did you know it was authentic?  what was on the menu (vegetarian/gluten-free available?)?   I don't eat a guide-recommended restaurant, so I want to know.  

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51 minutes ago, slidergirl said:

Four questions for you:  did you or the Vatican guide decide what were the most important things to see?  Were you asked about your preferences for the Museums (Etruscan, Matisse, tapestries, the Map Room, the Raphael Rooms, sculptures)?  

The restaurant: how did you know it was authentic?  what was on the menu (vegetarian/gluten-free available?)?   I don't eat a guide-recommended restaurant, so I want to know.  

If you don't mind I'll just offer our experience as far as the restaurant situation with our private group tour this past May.

About an hour prior to us meeting with the private guide for our Vatican tour we stopped in an area near Trevi Fountain and several restaurants were pointed out to us... We had the choice of what to do... shop, explore or eat.

Menu's were posted out front and we could easily see the choices and prices...this was great to have this option and not be herded into a specific one...definitely a plus. We had time to visit the fountain and still have a quick pizza at a restaurant right across from what seemed to be a Catholic seminary as we saw many young men leaving and some even came into where we were eating...so we must have chosen a good one.

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4 minutes ago, Ashland said:

If you don't mind I'll just offer our experience as far as the restaurant situation with our private group tour this past May.

About an hour prior to us meeting with the private guide for our Vatican tour we stopped in an area near Trevi Fountain and several restaurants were pointed out to us... We had the choice of what to do... shop, explore or eat.

Menu's were posted out front and we could easily see the choices and prices...this was great to have this option and not be herded into a specific one...definitely a plus. We had time to visit the fountain and still have a quick pizza at a restaurant right across from what seemed to be a Catholic seminary as we saw many young men leaving and some even came into where we were eating...so we must have chosen a good one.

You can't swing a dead cat in Rome without hitting a young seminarian  🤣

At least you got your choice of a couple of tourist restaurants around Trevi - I hear of people being herded into just one restaurant where they get an "authentic" lunch of spaghetti and chianti...if it's Thursday, it had better be gnocchi...

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