With as much coastline as Italy has, it’s not surprising that it’s a major destinations for Mediterranean cruise ships. Not every popular tourist city has its own cruise port, however, and some aren’t even located on the sea. Therefore it’s important to look into the ports of call that are included on your Italian cruise before you get off the ship. That way, you can make better decisions about how to spend your time and money.
There are a dozen good-sized cruise ports in Italy, but here we’ll focus on the major ones. If the cruise port you’ll be visiting isn’t listed below, here are the things you should find out about it before you get there.
- Where is the cruise port in relation to nearby attractions?
- What transportation options are available from the cruise port?
- What are transportation times to/from nearby attractions? (Will you have time for more than one in a day?)
Want to wrap up your tour planning before you leave home? Browse our shore excursions now.
“Roma Cruise Terminal” in Civitavecchia – Rome Cruise Port
The so-called “Rome Cruise Port” is actually not close to Rome at all. Rome lies inland, so its cruise port is in the city of Civitavecchia, some 50 miles away. You can get into Rome via train or bus from Civitavecchia, or book a tour that includes transportation. Trains take roughly one hour (one-way) to/from Rome, and there are shuttles at the docks to get you to the city center close to the train station; otherwise it’s about a 15-minute walk.
“Stazione Marittima” in Venice – Venice Cruise Port
Venice’s cruise port is actually on the islands – it’s a short walk to the train station, and since the entire city is walkable from there it’s quite easy to make the most of a day in Venice from a cruise. Visitors with limited time often head directly for St. Mark’s Square. You can walk there and back, but to avoid the lines you might want to hop on a vaporetto (water bus) to get there and plan to meander slowly back.
“Molo Angioino” in Naples – Naples Cruise Port
Naples is a city right on the water, so the location of the cruise port makes getting in and out of the historic city center easy. If, instead, your plans call for a day trip to Pompeii or Sorrento, public transportation is easily accessed from the cruise port. You can walk to the Molo Beverello to catch a boat to Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, or the nearby islands, or you can get a taxi for a short ride (with a fixed fare) to the train station to get to Pompeii. You can also book a tour that includes transportation.
“Porto di Livorno” in Livorno – Florence/Pisa Cruise Port
Like the cruise port serving Rome, the cruise port serving Florence and Pisa isn’t actually near either of those cities. It’s in the coastal city of Livorno, which is about 55 miles from Florence and 15 miles from Pisa. Find out if your cruise ship provides a shuttle into Livorno – from there, you can get to the train station more easily. You can visit Florence, Pisa or a number of other Tuscan towns from a stop in Livorno, just make sure you know transportation times (or book a tour that takes care of the transportation for you).
“Porto di Milazzo” in Messina – Messina Cruise Port
Messina’s port is extremely busy with passenger ferries sailing between Sicily and Italy’s mainland, but it’s also a stop for cruise ships highlighting shore excursions to nearby Taormina and Mt. Etna. The cruise port is extremely close to the town center in Messina, so you can easily take a train to Taormina (about 32 miles away) to see some of Sicily’s famously well-preserved Greek ruins. You can also book a tour to climb up Mt. Etna, Europe’s tallest active volcano.
“Stazione Marittima di Genova” in Genoa – Genoa Cruise Port
Although Genoa’s port is big in terms of freight, it is a popular starting or ending point for many Mediterranean cruises. This is another city right on the water, so access to/from the historic center is easy. You can walk or take the metro two stops into the city. You can also head straight for popular nearby destinations like Portofino (approximately 25 miles away), though trains can take more than 1.5 hours, so you may want to book a tour if that’s your goal.
Check out shore excursions from the Genoa port