Civitavecchia the Port for Rome

General – Civitavecchia is a seaside city and major port serving the city of Rome. The city is served by frequent train service from Rome along with service to other Italian destinations. The Cruise port is only a short five or six block walk along the waterfront on Via Aurelia. Once at the port there are usually free shuttles to the cruise ships. How the shuttles run seems to change often.

The main entry to the port is marked on the map with a red 1 but the more likely location to catch the shuttle is marked with a red 2.

Where the Ships Dock – Civitavecchia is both a cruise ship embarkation port as well as a popular port of call and for that reason it can have a large number of ships in port from time to time. On one day we counted seven cruise ships tied up. Because of the size of the port it usually requires a shuttle to get out of the port.

Transportation – The best way to get into Rome is to take a train. From Civitavecchia a typical trip to S. Pietro (40 mins), Trastevere (50 mins), Ostiense (55 mins) and finally Termini (70 mins). Fare starts at €5 one way but can cost up to €25 round trip depending on ticket class. There is a manned ticket booth at the station along with vending machines.

Taxis are available but are famous for overcharging with the short ride from the port to the train station quoted as high as €10 or €15.

Civitavecchia Pedestrian Mall

Taking a taxi into Rome or to the airport can be an expensive trip with fares running from €150 to €300.

There are also shuttle services to the airport with an average price starting at €25 per person. It is recommended that reservations be made as schedules can vary a lot.

Visiting Civitavecchia – We have stayed in Civitavecchia a number of times. It is a nice city with a number of nice hotels and restaurants within walking distance of the port. The main business district is next to the port and there are a number of nice shops in the area as well as a pedestrian mall.


The Port of Lerwick, Shetlands

Located in the North Sea one hundred fifty miles north of Scotland, Lerwick, the major town in the archipelago is the major Shetland port.

Getting Ashore -Cruise ships will normally anchor out and use tenders to reach shore. The tenders will dock right in the center of this picturesque town with its narrow streets and historic buildings.

Transportation – While there is a good public bus network ( with its hub at Lerwick that reaches most points on the main island, and using ferries to other islands. The Lerwick bus depot is conveniently located near the center of town. Unfortunately schedules aren’t good for day tours from Lerwick.

Shetland has really good roads and renting a car is pretty easy. Rates average about £40 a day. Companies include Bolts Car Hire and Star Rent-a-Car located near the bus station.

Money – Scotland has now reverted to the English Pound. US Dollars and Euros are not generally accepted.

Local Attractions:

The Broch of Clickimin is a large, well-preserved but restored broch (a broch is an Iron Age stone hollow-walled structure unique to Scotland) dating to the late Bronze Age and is located just a mile north of town.


Fort Charlotte in the centre of Lerwick, Shetland, is a five-sided artillery fort, with bastions on each corner. The grounds and exterior battlements are open to the public and it offers good views of the towns harbor area. Today Fort Charlotte is managed by Historic Scotland, and is the base for Shetland’s Territorial Army. Visitors must call to get the keys to visit.

The Shetland Islands Puffins. These islands are home to a large population of puffins, making them a good place for puffin-watching as well as other bird watching. Within the Shetland Islands there are a number of places to see puffins, with some requiring only a short hike.


Piraeus the Port for Athens

General –  Piraeus is the seaport serving the city of Athens. This city is a major metropolis in its own right and the commercial area southeast of the port and near sea has a number of excellent restaurants and attractions. While most passengers visiting this port for the first time will head out toward Athens and the Acropolis, if you have visited before consider spending some time discovering this area.

Where You Dock – Most cruise ships will dock along the northwest side of the port. There is a good walking sidewalk around the port and if you walk north and than continue around the port off to the east you will reach the central district in less than half a mile.

Transportation – There are a number of ways to go from Piraeus to Athens. If you want to head out on your own the best bet is the metro but you can also take a bus or taxi. Rental cars are also available.

The metro can be used to travel from Piraeus to central Athens. A trip to Athens using the metro costs <€1. Also a free bus usually operates in the port taking passengers from the ships to the metro station.

The metro station is about one mile away from the cruise terminal, or a 15-20 minute walk around the harbor. After that, you have a 20-minute ride on the metro to Athens. If the shuttle isn’t running you can take bus (number 843) from the cruise port to the metro station. The ride should take no more than 5 mins. The cost of the ticket is 1€.

To get from Piraeus to the Acropolis by metro, take the metro from Piraeus to Thissio (15 mins). At the metro station follow the pedestrian avenue towards the Acropolis. The walk is another 10 minutes to reach the Acropolis.

Traveling from Piraeus to Athens on a bus will cost roughly €0.80. Due to the usual heavy traffic, you should avoid the bus if you don’t have a lot of time.

Taxis offer more flexibility. To get to Athens one would spend about €15. This will get one to the centre of the city. If you plan to travel to the airport, the price price could be about €40.

Money – Greece uses the Euro and US Dollars are not readily accepted.

Nearby Attractions:

Acropolis -First and foremost there is ancient Athens and the Acropolis and if you haven’t visited before this is not o be missed.

In Piraeus take time to visit the Greek Nautical Museum and the Piraeus Archeology Museum with both walking distance from the port.



Livorno, Italy Cruise Port

General – Livorno is a popular cruise port of call mostly because it is a gateway to Pisa and Florence. Cruise ships offer a wide range of tours focused primarily on those two cities. But Livorno is also the center of the Etruscan Coast with its beautiful beaches and medieval villages.

Where You’re Docked – While the ships dock in this city, they tie-up at an industrial port that normally doesn’t allow walking out. Most ships offer shuttles that will take you to the city center, near Piazza della Repubblica for free or a small charge.

Livorno Centrale

Transportation – Usually taxis are sparse at the pier but cruise lines provide a shuttle into the city. If you intend to go to either Pisa or Florence a number of outlets (tobacco shops, tourist stands, convenience stores) sell a combination ticket that includes round trip train fare and round trip bus service to the train station (Centrale). A taxi to the Centrale will usually run about €5.

Trains run frequently throughout the day, often every 30 minutes and are actually the fastest way to get to both cities. In Pisa it is about a half hour walk to the cathedral and leaning tower.

As of this writing train fare is:

Livorno Station (Centrale) to Pisa Centrale from €7.90

Livorno Centrale to Florence Centrale from €12.10

For the more adventurous a rental car is a good investment for a day trip down the Etruscan Coast. There is also good train service with a trip from Livorno to Castagneto Carducci-Donoratico starting at €12. Be sure an check the return schedules.

Nearby Trips – The main attractions are a visit to either Pisa or Florence and they are an easy round trip train ride. While Pisa can occupy a few hours Florence needs a full day just to begin to appreciate this city. So get started early and allow plenty of time for the return trip.

If you have the opportunity visit the inland medieval towns to the south of Livorno like Bolgheri, Castagneto Carducci and Suvereto which can be reached by train.

Often overlooked by cruise ship passengers is the stretch of coastline from Livorno to Piombino known as the Etruscan Coast and stretches for about 60 miles. It is an area with incredible natural settings characterized by fantastic beaches, medieval villages, and often wild and rocky cliffs along the sea. The Etruscan Coast is worth a visit for its history, art, good food and wine.

Rome’s Cruise Port

Getting from Rome to the Cruise Port

A couple of times we have stayed in Rome to do some sightseeing before taking a cruise. We stayed at the Augusta Lucilla Palace Hotel just a few blocks from the Termini. Within an easy walk there are a few nice local restaurants and wine bars that offered good snacks and light fare. The hotel staff was friendly and helpful, the rooms clean and comfortable and the included breakfast was great.

There are trains leaving the Termini (Rome Central Station) for Civitavecchia about twice an hour throughout the day. In the main terminal hall are manned windows for ticketing but, be careful, and don’t just walk up to them. You need to get a number and watch the board for it to be called and to identify which window to use. Also, while most situations in Rome and Italy allow you to get by very well speaking only English, train ticket offices are often an exception (especially the smaller stations). Be prepared with written information about where you’re going.

Trains to Civitavecchia originate at the main Termini in Rome with most stopping at Tuscolana, Ostiense, Trastevere, and San Pietro. Many are double-deck regional commuters with room to set luggage but make sure you keep an eye on it. Fares are about €6 per person one way. There are a few faster InterCity trains between Roma Termini and Civitavecchia costing under €10 each.

Train schedules that are easy to understand are posted throughout the stations. Make note of the track number and follow the signs to the platform. Note that tickets for many trains are not for reserved seats. You can use them any time within the next several months, but the ticket MUST be validated for use.  Before boarding the train, punch the ticket in one of the little green and white machines around the platform area. There can be serious fines for not validating a ticket.

If the Termini is not convenient you can also catch many of the trains to Civitavecchia at Tuscolana, Ostiense, Trastevere, and San Pietro stations.

Once you get to the station in Civitavecchia the entrance to the port is a pleasant walk of a dozen or so blocks. (Out the train station and go right.) When you get to the McDonalds the entrance to the port is across the street to the left. The cruise ships provide buses out to the ships but  the bus locations and pick up spots change so you will need to figure that out when you get there.

A couple of times we have stayed in Civitavecchia and have stayed at the Hotel Porta di Roma. The accommodations were fine, the staff friendly and breakfast adequate. It was near a local pizza restaurant that was excellent and only a few blocks from the shopping promenade, the port and the waterfront.

Link to Rome Train Map

The Port of Cobh, Ireland

Central Cohb and the dock area

Port Location & Facilities – Cruise ships will normally dock right in town only steps from shops and restaurants and immediately next to the rail station. There is no cruise ship terminal for Cobh so ships have to make use of boarding ramps. For people with walking issues and wheelchairs it can be difficult.

Cohb waterfront

City Character – Cobh is a picturesque city centered on its waterfront. It features a beautiful Cathedral, nice shops, restaurants and pubs and The Titanic Museum.

Frequent train service to Cork

Nearby Trips – Cobh is the port servicing the City of Cork which is only a half hour away by train.

Cobh is also the nearest port to the town Blarney and its famous castle.  Blarney is only a short additional distance on the same train line from Cohb to Cork.

Docking in Cobh you can easily catch a train right at the main station next to pier. Depending on time of day trains run every hour or half hour (usually every half hour if a cruise ship is docked). At this writing a one-way ticket to Cork from Cohb costs about $6. A day trip to Blarney Castle can easily be arranged at a cost of less than $35 per person (plus admission at the castle).

The Port of Dublin

Port Location & Facilities – Large cruise ships currently are docking in an industrial port. It is about a mile and a half walk to get out of the port and to the edge of the city proper (3Arena). There is currently no cruise ship terminal, so ships will have to use boarding ramps. For people with walking issues and wheelchairs it can be difficult. Most cruise ships will have arranged for shuttle buses into the city center (About $15 round trip on average). Taxis are also available but can be spotty after the morning rush. City bus service is not convenient  to the ships.

Note: On our recent stop the ship did an overnight. We walked from the ship into the Temple Bar neighborhood and measured the trip at just under 4 miles total.

City Character – Dublin is a modern city centered on the river Liffey. It is a very walkable city that features a large number of historical sights along with popular attractions. Dublin also has a reputation for good restaurants, pubs and nightlife.

Sightseeing – The city has a number of sightseeing bus services that allow for hop-on, hop-off and currently average $20 per person per day and up. There are also a number of good walking tours. Check with a Tourist Information site (i).


Public Transportation – There is a Visitor Leap Card that allows you to ride all busses and light rail (called LUAS) at 1 day (24 hours) – €10.00 and 3 days (72 hours) – €19.50 and can be purchased at a number of locations around the city. There is also an automated bike rental system called Just Eat Dublinbikes that can also take the Leap Card.

Taxis – Taxi service is reasonably priced in Dublin. When cruise ships come in or are boarding/Disembarking there is likely to be a wait to get a cab. A recent ride from the port to a hotel in the CBD was €15 and from that hotel to the airport was €22.

Nearby Trips –While Dublin is the center attraction there are a number of day trips that can be arranged with a number of good tour companies like PaddyWagons.