Cruise to rome, train? Tickets?

Hi, We are going to Rome in October with a cruise. So in Rick Steve book, we can take the train by buying the BIRG ticket right there which is also good for buses and metro in Rome, is that right? Is it a roundtrip ticket so we can come back to the port the same day, Cittavechia? How much is the ticket? Also, I want to see the Sistine Chapel and My husband wants to see the colloseum, will it be possible to do both since we will be arriving at the port at 7 am and need to be back at 7 pm? Where can we buy the tickets to get in so we dont wait in line? Anybody has a good place to eat in between those that is local? Thanks for all your advice,
Elaine/Rick

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

Don't worry about eating, you will not have time - just grab an apple from breakfast. You can do both but it will be a full trip. See roninrome.com for greater detail between Civit and Rome You can buy the ticket at the tobacco shop in the back of the station. Two years ago it was 9E so it is probably 11E by now. It is an all day ticket. Validate (time stamp) in the yellow box on the track side of the station wall before getting on the train. Even with a 7am arrival you will get to the station between 8 and 9. You have to take a Regionale train so it will be an hour and fifteen to Termini but I would get off at Roma S Pietro that is nearer the Vatican and do the Sistine Chapel. I would make that reservation for 11 to give slack in the schedule. If early, you can hit the Vatican from the front. I would schedule the Colosseum for two. Your can do the chapel in an hour and walk across Rome to the Colosseum. From the Colosseum take the metro to Termini and catch the train back to Civit between 4 and 4:30. There are three to four trains an hour. Again, another hour, fifteen and you should be back by 6pm. When the ship says it is leaving at seven, they do not expect you to be walking on a 6:55. As you can see that is a very tight schedule will little time to enjoy anything in Rome. Personally I would do one or the other. The last time we were off a ship in Rome we hit the Vatican first and then wondered past the fountain, the steps, had a nice lunch, on the way to Termini and simply enjoyed Rome. You can see the train schedule at www.civitavecchia.net/travellers-trains.html Good luck

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
308 posts

Having been to both of the sites you are looking at and having been on cruises before, I would recommend booking the underground tour at the Colloseum over the Sistine Chapel. The chapel was soooo crowded while the underground tour was only about 20 people and more relaxed. Coming off a cruise ship packed with people, I think you would enjoy the more relaxed option. Also, strolling accross Rome with the rest of your time would be a good option over squeezing in the other site. Have fun!!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8758 posts

Bear in mind that in order to see the Sistine Chapel you have to go through the entire Vatican Museums. It is a fair walk around the walls to the entrance, then a security check (and associated lines for the check and to either purchase or redeem tickets) then a long way through a very interesting series of museums in very dense (usually) crowds, including stairs, before you get to the very busy Sistine Chapel. It is then a long walk back to the front, Rick Steves calls it The Long Walk, and then back around the walls again. It can be done, I have done it, but that was when I was staying in Rome, in the Prati, not when I had to rush back somewhere. Sounds to me like you and your husband will have to find a compromise. It sounds like a lot to do in one day to do both big attractions. And you must have more stamina than me.

Posted by Elaine/Rick
Naples, Fl
19 posts

Thanks for all your advices. Gives me a real good idea of what to look forward too. Guess we will decide considering all of our options. Thanks again,
Elaine

Posted by Elaine/Rick
Naples, Fl
19 posts

Another question here. We are leaving from barcelona and dedcided to spend a few days there before the cruise. We just book directly a hotel and the credit card charge us a 25.00 dollar fee for foreign currency that was on top of the exchange rate. Now do all credit card will charge a fee everytime we used them? Whats the best way to go about money over there? Thanks,
Elaine :)

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

I can see you need to do a little more preparation. Most, not all, credit and debits cards tack on a currency conversion fee - 3% is common for many credit cards. However, credit cards like Capital One, some of the ff cards, do not charge any fees. You need to talk with your card issuer to see what fees are charged. A debit card at a local, bank owner ATM is the cheapest and most convenient way to obtain local currency. Again, checks the fees. For debit cards it can range from 0 to 4% and could include an access fee of $1 to $5 just to use the ATM. Debit cards from Credit Union generally have the best rates from 0 to 1%. ALL fees are determined by the card issuer not by the European ATM. Exchanging US dollars at an exchange bureau is VERY expensive and, of course, traveler checks are a dead issue. Have you advised your card issuers that you will be in Europe? Also the $25 seems high unless the hotel was over $800. PS - Do not allow your credit credit to charged in US dollars. Called dynamic conversion. That is a classic ripoff.

Posted by Elaine/Rick
Naples, Fl
19 posts

Thanks Frank, I still have a month before we go so all the advices are welcome. I always call my credit card company before i go out of the country. We usually book our hotel through a travel place like travelocity, expedia and so forth but this time we booked it directly to the hotel.. We are going to spend 4 nights in BCN so after the conversion from euro to us, it did came up more than 800.00. I will check with our other credit cards to see if they charge a fee for conversion and atm...etc... Obviously us airway credit card will charge a 3% fee. Would you go to Monte carlo, nice, or ville franche de mer? We actually will be at Canne s port? Thanks,
Elaine

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

Since you're going on a Mediterranean Cruise, you should immediately buy Rick Steves Mediterranean Cruise Ports. This will not only answer your questions, but will give you lots of information about things you didn't even know to ask about. Ricks' money advice is on this page. Read all the links, and you'll be an expert: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/money-travel-tips.htm As for what to see from Cannes, there's lots of choices, and everyone will have their own "must see" and "must avoid." So, take a look at Rick's book, as well as some others, and decide what interests you. He also has a video on the Riviera, here on Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/watch/90679. Note that while I found his logistical help for this area immensely helpful (which buses to take, etc.), I don't agree with his opinions of the individual places. I liked Monaco more than he does, and some other places less. I also didn't find that Cannes only had glitz (the glitzy section is very small, and the rest of the town is more "normal").

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

I agree mostly with Harold's comments although I am not a big fan of Monaco. I personally would not make the effort to go to Monaco. Of the three choices, I would focus on Nice and, if convenient time wise, take a bus to the hill towns above Nice. Although Nice could easily consume a day.

Posted by Jan
Spokane, WA, USA
123 posts

We are taking a similar cruise next summer that starts and ends in Barcelona. The last port of call before the end is Naples (Salerno) followed by an at-sea day. We have decided to disembark in Salerno, take a train to Rome and stay a few days before continuing our vacation. My husband and I have been to Rome before, but are taking our daughter and son-in-law who have not. We just think that a single day in Rome is not nearly enough, and will gladly trade a day of fighting for a lounge chair by the pool for added time in Rome! Now when we have our Roman port day, we will spend the day doing a leisurely walk through town, with no pressure to get here or there, no tour buses or lines, knowing we will be back for some more in-depth activities. You have to notify the cruiseline at least a week before the start that you will be jumping ship early. Really, give this idea some thought! Maybe it will work for you too. Jan B

Posted by Jan
Spokane, WA, USA
123 posts

Re: Credit card, we absolutely LOVE our Chase Sapphire card, which has $0 foreign transaction fees, and you get double points for all travel -- air, hotel and restaurants! The reward plan is easy to use.

Posted by Elaine/Rick
Naples, Fl
19 posts

Hi jan, Didnt think about getting off the boat early but now is a little bit late since i already have my plane ticket for barcelona. Plus i have never been in any of those part of europe before so will see what we like and what we might want to go back too. I am sure after spending 5 days in barcelona we wont probably want to go back there. Thanks for the idea, i will keep it in mind for next time.
Elaine:)