Section Two of the Rome as a Pre or Post Cruise Stop
For the purpose of my series on Rome as a Pre or Post Cruise stop, I treat Rome as the actual port stop and include information about Civitavecchia in the entry entitled Transportation to and from the Port. My blog entries are divided into the following sections:
1. History (2 blog entries)
2. Transportation to and from the airport
3. Transportation to and from the port
4. Getting around the city
5. Places to see
6. Rome Markets
7. Hop on Hop off buses
8. Civitavecchia as a port stop for Rome
9. Fun Facts / Churches & Basilicas
As mentioned in my first blog posting about this city, cruise ships do not dock in Rome. Civitavecchia is the port servicing the city of Rome and it lies about 37 miles north of Rome.
In this blog posting, I cover transportation to and from Fiumicino International (Leonardo da Vinci) airport. For those of you who have read my first book Postcards to Alice, you will remember that I start the book with a story about getting stuck in the airport in Rome for over twelve hours due to a general transportation strike that delayed my connector flight to Athens. It also made leaving the airport for a quick trip into Rome a very, very difficult option. If it had not been for the fact that I had previously been to the airport a number of times, I would have had a very poor impression of this facility and general transportation options in Italy. However, that stop was just one of many over the years and for the most part I have a positive impression of the airport and the transportation options to and from the airport terminals.
When you arrive in Rome, especially after a long overnight trip from North America, you just want to get to your final destination as easily and quickly as possible. Fortunately, Rome has every possible transportation means available and all budgets covered. Located 32 km from Rome, Fiumicino airport is outside the city centre and some form of transportation is needed to get you from the airport to your accommodation or next destination. The terminals are joined together so it makes no difference which terminal you arrive at, you will be able to make your way to the various points associated with your preferred method of getting into the city (be it taxi, train, bus etc.).
Let’s start with the easiest. Pre booking transportation. I have done this many times and frankly it is the most enjoyable, hassle free option but also the most expensive. Having a driver wait for you at the arrivals area with a sign with your name on it, and at the ready to take you to wherever you want to go, is relatively easy. The downside is the price and any traffic problems (which happen quite frequently). Make sure you book your private transfer from a reputable firm and the price is agreed upon in advance. You can pay anything from $50 - $135CDN ($40.50 - $110 USD). Please note that if you are arriving and going directly to Civitavecchia, the cost of a private transfer is approximately $120 - $150CDN ($96 -$121USD).
The next option is to take a taxi from the taxi stand. There is a set fee of 48 euros from the airport to the city centre with a maximum four passengers set price. If you have more than four people, you can expect extra charges. I found two or three people each with a large suitcase and a carry-on bag is pretty much the maximum the average size cars can comfortably hold.
Several times I have also negotiated a discount return fee for the end of my trip with the taxi driver who drove me from the airport. The return trip would be considered an off-meter trip so if you do this and prepay, obtain a receipt from the driver and make sure it notes the taxi driver name and number. I have never had an issue with arranging (and prepaying) for an airport return but it is always best to be prepared by taking down the driver information and specifically the contact information.
Beware of people who may approach you in the terminal to ask if you need a taxi as they are not associated with the official taxis and accepting a ride with them will cost you more. Even if they quote the rate of 48 euro, they usually add supplemental charges for things such as bags, more than two passengers or other sundry items. One of the people staying at our hotel told me he “negotiated” a rate of 50€ which included tip. When they got in the cab, the driver handed them each a bottle of water which they took. They later found out that the two bottles of water represented an extra cost of 14€ but the most expensive part of their taxi ride was still to come. The driver asked them if they wanted him to take them past the Colosseum on the way to their hotel. He told them that it was not out of their way and close to their hotel. He then told them to get their cameras ready and he would slow down for photos. That supposed sight seeing jaunt cost an extra 20€. In actual fact, the Colosseum was on the way to their hotel and they would have passed it anyway. Their 50€ ride turned into an 84€ drive. In short, my advice is to go to the official taxi stand - ALWAYS
Booking a shared transportation option gives you the opportunity of having a private vehicle and driver meet you and take you to your destination for about $25 - $40CDN per person. I have done this twice. The first time it worked great and I met an American couple who shared the transfer with me. Their hotel was within spitting distance of mine. The shared transfer was seamless, far less expensive than a private transfer and I met some great people. The second time, I tried this, there were problems, significant delays and by the time we were headed into the city, I found myself in a very crowded van. It was not a fun experience. To make matters worse, I was the last party to be dropped off, adding to the arrival time between the airport and my hotel. I therefore suggest you check with the transfer company to establish what their transfer policies are regarding delayed flights of other transfer parties, limits to the number of passengers and baggage in the vehicle etc.
Much like the Heathrow express in London, the Leonardo Express Airport train takes you to and from the airport in a short, 30-minute time frame. It is modern, clean, comfortable and departs every half hour. Overall, it is a quick, efficient means of getting from the airport into the city to the termini station and you do not have to not worry about any street traffic jams arising. The cost is 15€ ($22CDN, $18USD). Children under 12 ride free.
There is also a local train and at 8€, it is half the cost of the Express. The F1 departs every 15 minutes and takes 55 minutes to get to its final destination. It will take you from the airport with stops at Traslevere, Ostiense and Tiburtina stations. However, if want to get to the Termini, you should change at the Ostiense station and catch the FL5. This train can be crowded and dirty. Beware of pickpockets on the train and at the termini.
Taking a shuttle bus from the airport to the termini is easy and there are a number of companies operating shuttle bus services. Each company offers similar pricing and discounts (such as children under 4 or 5 ride free, senior discount etc.). The bus area is located outside of Terminal three (3) and finding the bus stops is easy as the airport is well signed. The cost is about 6€ ($9CDN or $7.25USD). The buses can be busy and as noted with other vehicles taking the road, can fall victim to traffic snarls. The drive time averages 40 to 60 minutes but as mentioned, can take longer depending on time of day and traffic conditions.
You can catch a local bus for a very reasonable price of 3.60€ ($5.32CDN, $4.27USD). It will take you to the Termini Station (specifically Piazza dei Cinquecento). It also connects to the underground lines of A at the Cornelia Station and B at the Magliana Station. Look for the blue and white buses at the Regional Bus Stop signs outside of Terminal two (2) arrivals area. It will take about an hour depending on traffic but represents the most economical means of getting into the city centre.
Yes, Uber is available to take you to and from the airport. There is a fixed rate of 60€ ($88CDN, $71.19USD), and your driver will pick you up at arrivals or drop you off at the departures area depending on your choice.
You can arrange transportation from the airport through your cruise line. The prices and options vary according to your destination (port or hotel), and the specific cruise line you are using. Check with your cruise line directly or your travel agent to discuss options and associated prices.
As with all my blog postings, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them here in the comments section or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org