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Post Cruise trip to Amalfi Coast


georgiaguy
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After a year of being in our house, two cancelled cruises, and too many days dreaming of a real vacation, we are finally planning our next cruise…for next summer. The good news is that the 10 Night Italy Croatia & Montenegro on Celebrity Reflection is basically paid for because of FCC from cancelled cruises. We have adopted a little one since our last cruise and have started the process to adopted a second one. So this will be our first no baby and maybe last vacation before the kids equal us in number. That in mind, we want to make this special, but not break the bank. So how does this sound? 

 

We are thinking about that the cruise is very port heavy with lots to see and do (we want to do cause we aren’t sure when we will be in back in Europe). The cruise starts and ends in Civitavecchia so I am thinking we fly into FCO the day before and stay in Civitavecchia. Then post cruise is the bit of self made adventure. I am thinking we get an international driving permit and rent a car (possibly at FCO since it looks like they might have some cheaper options) to drive down to the Amalfi Coast and spend two romantic nights just relaxing on the coast (making the trip a full two weeks). I figure we would then fly out of Naples on the way back. 

 

Oh and we did Rome, Venice, and Florence for our honeymoon so Amalfi Coast would be another new place. So thoughts? Any suggestions of not budget breaking places? Any tips for those who have gone on such an adventure?

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A good plan, though just two nights is quite limiting (only one full day on that coast), especially since there are multiple other sights (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, etc).

 

I doubt renting from the airport would save any money (travel to airport, premium location fee, etc) & it would undoubtedly cost time. And more important is the cost of any one-way fee.

The route to Naples is simple and fast, but that all changes once you hit Naples' outskirts, and the last 30 miles are attractive but slow and tortuous.

 

Despite the easy initial drive, I'd recommend renting as small a vehicle as will carry you & your luggage - you'll thank me for that when you drive the narrow crowded switch-back roads of the Amalfi peninsula and look for parking spaces.

BTW, unless specified, rental cars are stick-shift - if you need auto transmission you need to specify.

 

My personal favourite location is Ravello - it's away from the worst of the crowds & very peaceful in the evenings, yet only a short drive or bus down to the town of Amalfi. Truly glorious elevated views along the Amalfi coast.

 

There's a much poorer choice of international flights from Naples than from Rome. So figure the best flights home from Naples, then search the same airlines or air alliances for flights from home to Rome, so that you can book "open jaw" (aka "city to city") return tickets rather than two expensive one-way tickets. 

 

JB 🙂

 

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Some good advice. I should have mentioned that the cruise is stopping in Naples so I was figuring we could do the Pompeii and Sorrento that day and leave the post trip just for relaxing in a beautiful place. And I hear ya on the only two nights but with travel days that is already putting us at two weeks away and we can only lean on the inlaws for so long childcare. 

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9 minutes ago, georgiaguy said:

Some good advice. I should have mentioned that the cruise is stopping in Naples so I was figuring we could do the Pompeii and Sorrento that day and leave the post trip just for relaxing in a beautiful place. And I hear ya on the only two nights but with travel days that is already putting us at two weeks away and we can only lean on the inlaws for so long childcare. 

 

Even if you are only going to relax, I would try to press for one more day. Otherwise it seems a fair amount of driving/travel time for only two nights. But if you (like some others) consider driving part of the fun and experience, then go for it. I don't enjoy driving under even the best of circumstances and would not want to drive in that area given limitations on where you can park and the horrendous traffic along the entire Amalfi coast and Sorrentine peninsula during the summer months!

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Posted (edited)

May I suggest a romantic two or three days in Tuscany.  It’s a much easier drive.  And you can stay in a former castle,  eat the most amazing food and explore great vineyards and picturesque towns.    The long drive and horrendous traffic to Amalfi will IMO cancel out the pluses.   We’ve done both and keep returning to Tuscany.  
You can still visit the Amalfi coast from the ship. 
 

You  can easily rent a Car in Civitavecchia post cruise and drop it off at the Rome airport.   

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Edited by bennybear
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I agree with JB that two nights is probably a bit short for such a journey.  When we stay on the Amalfi Coast we prefer at least 3-4 nights (or more) which gives us enough time to really enjoy the regions.  If you are on a budget you might look into the small village of Praiano which is about 5 miles on the Amalfi side of Positano right along the Amalfi Drive.  There are a few reasonable (not cheap) motels in that town and some offer free parking.  Using that as a base you can use the local Orange buses to go to Positano (and avoid the parking hassles).  It is a pretty good location for day tripping to Amalfi, Ravello and just about anywhere else around the coast.  The hilltop town of Ravello also has some places that will not break the bank (look for smaller Inns/B&Bs and it is a very nice town for a few days.

 

If you have enough days you can even take a boat (from Positano) over to Capri for the day.  The last time we stayed in Praiano we were able to get a deal that included a small boat from a pier in Praiano that took us the short distance to Positano where we transferred to the larger fast boat that made the trek out to Capri.

 

As to rental cars from Civitavecchia, you should look into renting right in Civitavecchia.  There are quite a few major rental car agencies (Hertz, Europcar, etc).  If you are renting for at least 3 days you should check with Autoeurope.com and Kemwel.com (sister companies based in the US who are consolidators (discounters) that normally handle Hertz, Europcar and others.  They may be able to get you a car you would pick up in Civitavecchia and drop in Naples (if that is your wish) without one-way drop fees.  We have done well using those companies over more then 25 years.  By the way, there are some rental car offices within walking distance to where the port shuttle bus drops you in town,  If you are a couple, you leave one person at the bus place with the luggage and the other can walk to the rental car office, get the car, and later return...or you can just both do the walk (depending on where you actually pick up your car).   Be aware that the best deals for rental cars are generally manual (stick shift) and you will usually pay a premium for an automatic.

 

Hank

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4 hours ago, georgiaguy said:

And I hear ya on the only two nights but with travel days that is already putting us at two weeks away and we can only lean on the inlaws for so long childcare. 

Stay one (best two) extra night and bring the in-laws a really nice present from the Amalfi coast.  You will regret not spending the extra night if you don't do it, but they will forgive you (eventually) if you do stay the extra night.  

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37 minutes ago, marazul said:

Stay one (best two) extra night and bring the in-laws a really nice present from the Amalfi coast.  You will regret not spending the extra night if you don't do it, but they will forgive you (eventually) if you do stay the extra night.  

 

I was thinking the same.😉

Limoncello, a lemon-based liqueur, is the speciality of the Amalfi peninsula. A couple of bottles should do the trick for an extra 24 hours of baby-sitting  🥃

 

But if an extra night isn't possible, I suggest you drive a big chunk of the spectacular Amalfi coast road on your arrival day, and on your full day take the ferry to the romantic island of Capri, from Maiori or Minori or Amalfi or Postano. The view from sea-level contrasts with the high coast road. Or there's a bigger ferry from Sorrento.

 https://www.ravello.com/ferry-schedule/amalfi/capri/

Give yourselves a big big window to get to the airport on your departure day, the roads are slow & traffic can be horrendous.

 

JB 🙂

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I should have said this from the beginning, but car rental was just on a quick search of car rentals and the Civitavecchia was about three times as much as FCO and part of that is certainly because I never learned to drive a manual, so we will have to have an automatic unfortunately. But I will keep an eye on prices and 

On the positive side of things, we live in the DC area and so we have three major airports to find flights and just a basic search for next May (cause that is as far out as you can book right now) and prices are roughly the same to do Round trip or open jaw. 

 

And do I appreciate everyone saying we should take a little more time. Honestly even before writing the post I was going back and forth about squeezing in at least one more night. So maybe we will. 

 

Here is the full itinerary for this curious:

day 1 Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy --- 5:00 PM

day 2 At Sea

day 3 Dubrovnik, Croatia 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

day 4 Kotor, Montenegro 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

day 5 Corfu (Kerkyra), Greece 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

day 6 Katakolon (Olympia), Greece 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM

day 7 At Sea

day 8 Messina, Sicily, Italy 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

day 9 Naples, Italy 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

day 10 La Spezia (Cinque Terre), Italy 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

day 11 Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 5:00 AM

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8 hours ago, georgiaguy said:

I should have said this from the beginning, but car rental was just on a quick search of car rentals and the Civitavecchia was about three times as much as FCO and part of that is certainly because I never learned to drive a manual, so we will have to have an automatic unfortunately. But I will keep an eye on prices and 

On the positive side of things, we live in the DC area and so we have three major airports to find flights and just a basic search for next May (cause that is as far out as you can book right now) and prices are roughly the same to do Round trip or open jaw. 

 

And do I appreciate everyone saying we should take a little more time. Honestly even before writing the post I was going back and forth about squeezing in at least one more night. So maybe we will. 

 

Here is the full itinerary for this curious:

day 1 Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy --- 5:00 PM

day 2 At Sea

day 3 Dubrovnik, Croatia 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

day 4 Kotor, Montenegro 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

day 5 Corfu (Kerkyra), Greece 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

day 6 Katakolon (Olympia), Greece 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM

day 7 At Sea

day 8 Messina, Sicily, Italy 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

day 9 Naples, Italy 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

day 10 La Spezia (Cinque Terre), Italy 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

day 11 Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 5:00 AM

 

Comparing a few car rentals - random providers & categories & dates but like-for-like comparisons - I found Civi pick-up the same as or lower than FCO, which is what I would expect. So I suggest you try a few websites.

 

Yes, the open-jaw airfare should be mid-point between the return fares for the two airports.

 

Since we've all been bludgeoning you to extend your post-cruise foray, I won't ask about time in Rome pre-cruise. 😜

 

In case you're unaware, a few notes on your cruise ports.

Dubrovnik. 10-minute drive by bus or taxi or (payable) ship's shuttle from port to the walled city (Pile Gate) . Or taxi to the top of Mt Srd (10 - 15 mins from cruise port)  for panoramic view of the walled city, then cablecar down to just outside the walled city. Walking the walls (from near the Pile Gate, pay by card or in Kuna but not other currencies) is almost  shadeless but well worthwhile & you can duck out halfway round. Inside the walled city is pretty damned busy and expensive compared to elsewhere in Croatia.

Kotor. Sorry, can't help.

Corfu. Cheap & frequent local buses from port to town in 10 minutes. Pleasant town but unexciting. Popular for shopping.  You can probably find more worthwhile alternatives.

Katakolon. Very small one-street port The only worthwhile trip that I've found is to Olympia, the reason why cruise ships visit. It's 35 to 40 minutes away by road, options are the local tour bus (Katakolon Express), ship's tour or renting a car (cheapest option for 4 or more). There's a train service, but it's been widely slammed for being unreliable.

Messina. Sorry. can't help, but the sail thro' the Straits is interesting.

Naples. Already discussed

La Spezia. Cinque Terre is the obvious draw, but the villages get very very very crowded. By train is quickest & simplest (one all-day ticket from La Spezia station), but not scenic because of so many tunnels. Well worth fixing up some of the travel between villages by boat for the views & relaxed ambiance.. Unsuitable for a rented car - many roads & most of the parking is restricted to  residents. 

 

JB 🙂

 

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A different option to explore ..... take the train from Rome to Salerno, then use the ferry to visit towns along the Amalfi Coast.  Take the train back to Rome for your flight.

 

Our cruise in Sept '19 stopped in Naples, and we had a private driver for the 4 of us to travel along the Amalfi coast . In Positano, we took the ferry to Amalfi, where we met up with the driver again, continued to Ravello, and then back to Naples.   While the drive was beautiful, I much preferred the views from the sea.  

And this would be far more relaxing for you than driving a car; there was a lot of traffic on the road, few places to pull over to admire the views, and you'd be able to enjoy the sights instead of concentrating on the drive.

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If this was my quandary (I know it's not!) I would be inclined to debark the ship in Naples and take the extra two days on the Amalfi Coast.  Hire a car in Naples and return it in Naples, and take the train to Rome for the homebound flight.

 

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Keep in mind that most flights back to the States are in the morning, and also remember that you need to be at the airport three hours prior to departure.  That means that unless you are willing to get up and on the road at 0 dark thirty on your departure day, Tuscany is not a reasonable choice for a flight home from Rome.  If you can find a flight from Pisa and stay in the northern part of the region, that might work.

 

Flights from Naples will require a change somewhere in Europe, even when there were direct flights to the States they didn't go to DC, just New York as I recall.

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3 hours ago, euro cruiser said:

Flights from Naples will require a change somewhere in Europe, even when there were direct flights to the States they didn't go to DC, just New York as I recall.

Oh yeah. We don’t get too many direct flights but it is all major airports, so no puddle jumping is all I meant. That and there are normally plenty of options to go just anywhere.

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6 hours ago, VMax1700 said:

If this was my quandary (I know it's not!) I would be inclined to debark the ship in Naples and take the extra two days on the Amalfi Coast.  Hire a car in Naples and return it in Naples, and take the train to Rome for the homebound flight.

 

I actually thought about it and if Naples had been the last day of the cruise it would have been no question but we don’t want to give up going to Cinque Terre. 

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Posted (edited)

If you're willing to give up the last night of the cruise, the short leg from Cinque Terre to Civitavecchia, you could disembark at La Spezia, check your luggage at the train station before heading up to Cinque Terre, then return to the station, collect your luggage and take the 18:16 (6:18 PM) train that gets you to Naples at 23:48 (11:48 PM), after a change of trains in Rome.  I know it's late but it buys you an entire day, you'd wake up in Naples the next morning rather than spend that day getting there from Civitavecchia.

 

There are of course earlier trains throughout the day if you're willing to shorten your time in Cinque Terre.  For example, there's one exactly two hours earlier (16:16 arriving at 21:48).

Edited by euro cruiser
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On 6/11/2021 at 9:05 PM, georgiaguy said:

I actually thought about it and if Naples had been the last day of the cruise it would have been no question but we don’t want to give up going to Cinque Terre. 

Ahhhh Cinque Terre used to be one of our "go to" areas when on driving trips in Italy.  But alas, once the Port of La Spezia was opened up to large cruise ships the villages of Cinque Terre were quickly overrun by hoards of cruisers.  On our last few visits it was almost sad and much of the charm (especially in Riomaggiore) was destroyed because of overtourism.  When the cute shops of Riomaggiore are replaced by tacky T-shirt shops and cheap pizza joints it is time to go elsewhere.  I imagine it is just a matter of time before we see a large neon sign flashing "Diamonds International" if all the villages.  The Italians have reacted by installing a movable barricade along the main access to road to the villages, but we have never been there when they did close off the road.  My own recommendation is check the port schedules (paying attention to La Spezia and to a lesser degree..Livorno) and try to visit on a day when there are few to no cruise ships.

 

Hank

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Agree that the Cinque Terre is over touristed and lost a lot of its charm, not to mention the damage done by the major landslide.  But I think they’re visiting on a cruise ship.  

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Another vote for Ravello, one of my favorite places on earth.  We've been to the Amalfi Coast several times.  On our first Italy land-based visit, we used Ravello for our base and did day trips from there.  We started in Venice, then Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast and finally Rome on this trip and did all of the longer travel between regions by train (we've done this on subsequent land-based visits as well). Trains are easy and economical ways to travel throughout Italy.  

 

We spent four days in Ravello and used a combination of a car service (they was wonderful) and pre-planned tours.  We still talk about the Amalfi Coast portion of this trip.  We did a day trip to Capri and it, too, was a highlight.  

 

Happy to share our details if you'd like as I save them.  Drop me an email and I'll send them to you:  atseaanne@gmail.com 

 

Good luck with your decisions.  You can't go wrong with ANYwhere in Italy.

 

P.S.  We enjoyed Herculaneum more than Pompeii simply because of the crowds (we did visits to these two amazing spots on different trips).

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Thought I would offer an update as I continue my research. 50 weeks to go!  

  • For those who were concerned about the length of our stay, you will be happy to hear we have decided to spend three night nights, probably in Maiori or Minori.
  • Looking at booking some kind of boat excursion from Amalfi for one of our days to travel along the coast and see some of the sights while also not having to sit in traffic.
  • Also I think I have found a slightly better way to get from the ship to the Amalfi coast. Train from Civitavecchia to Salerno takes about 4-4.5 hours with one transfer either in Rome or Naples. From Salerno we with either hire a transfer or just take the bus. Bus will take longer of course but be much cheaper. 

So there you have it, my current thoughts. 

Edited by georgiaguy
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9 hours ago, georgiaguy said:

Thought I would offer an update as I continue my research. 50 weeks to go!  

  • For those who were concerned about the length of our stay, you will be happy to hear we have decided to spend three night nights, probably in Maiori or Minori.
  • Looking at booking some kind of boat excursion from Amalfi for one of our days to travel along the coast and see some of the sights while also not having to sit in traffic.
  • Also I think I have found a slightly better way to get from the ship to the Amalfi coast. Train from Civitavecchia to Salerno takes about 4-4.5 hours with one transfer either in Rome or Naples. From Salerno we with either hire a transfer or just take the bus. Bus will take longer of course but be much cheaper. 

So there you have it, my current thoughts. 

 

 

Good move to extend your time 🙂

 

Whilst I advocate Ravello over Maiori or Minori, it does add one extra bus to your transfers - which for Salerno to resort could in any case be a bit fraught with luggage. Just theorising, but early in the day buses from Salerno could be very busy early in the day & those back to Salerno busy late in the day. Any thoughts on that, Eurocruiser or anyone else? 

Maiori and Minori (and Amalfi) are also mainly on level ground at sea-level, easy switches between bus / taxi and ferry pier.

 

A boat trip along the Amalfi coast is a good idea - as well as a bus ride, in order to get the two perspectives.

But a ferry will do that for you, probably much more economically. 

Take the opportunity of visiting Positano by boat (excursion or ferry) rather than by bus. Buses don't leave the high coast road, so you have a long walk down to the village centre & harbour -  and what seems to be an even longer walk back up 🙁.

That ferry can also take you to the beautiful and magnificent island of Capri.

 

I don't know the Naples rail station well, but if your train change in Rome is at Termini station, its a very long (with luggage very very long) walk between the platform from Civitavecchia and the main part of the station.

 

All coming together nicely 🙂

 

JB 🙂

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4 hours ago, John Bull said:

I don't know the Naples rail station well, but if your train change in Rome is at Termini station, its a very long (with luggage very very long) walk between the platform from Civitavecchia and the main part of the station.

Good point JB about the transfer point.  It is indeed a three block walk from the tracks where Civitavecchia local trains arrive in Termini to the main track head, where trains to Salerno depart.

 

If you look at the schedule there is another connection that takes an hour longer (four hours, vs. three hours for the fastest connection) and gets you to Salerno almost two hours later, at 13:30.  This change is at Naples, which also requires a walk from the main tracks to the regional tracks, but it's no where near as long as the walk at Termini.

 

The other benefit of this connection is that it leaves a little later, from Civitavecchia at 9:24, and it's an IC train so you can have assigned seats and you won't be fighting for space with commuters or other cruisers heading into Rome.

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Posted (edited)

Even better news about this connection, I just checked the Quadri, the on line version of the big schedules you see on the wall at every train station, and both trains use the main track head at Naples.

 

The IC train from Civitavecchia is scheduled to arrive to track 12 and the regional train to Salerno is schedule to depart from track 20, a short walk in a straight line.

 

Also, if your first train is delayed there is another train to Salerno, leaving from the same main tracks, twenty minutes later and your ticket will be honored on that train.  

Edited by euro cruiser
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Just to add my two pence worth.

Having visited both the Amalfi coast and Naples several times, there is no way we would even think bout driving in either, as Naples in particular is manic and parking would be a nightmare.

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I agree about driving. Originally I was thinking it was just a more convenient way to get between the port and the coast but was also planning to booking a place that had parking even if you have to pay for it (which it seems most have it for an added fee) . 

And JB I should have said a day boat trip from Amalfi or Positano. Looks like Positano is a 45 min ferry ride from Maiori so we could see it by boat and ferry. Mostly leaning towards the day trip because we want something easy but also seeing a fair bit of the coast. A little recharge if you will at the end of a busy vacation. 

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