Civitavecchia, the location of Rome’s cruise port is around 100 Kms from Rome. Civitavecchia is a popular stop and starting point for many Mediterranean cruises to Greece and Spain.
Trains to Rome’s cruise port are cheap and reliable
My suggestion is to take the commuter train from Rome to the cruise port. A trip by train costs only 5 euros and gets you reliably in 80 minutes from Termini in the heart of the historic centre of Rome, to Civitavecchia. This is a tried and tested transportation from Rome to the cruise port so you will surely be able to board your cruise in a relaxed state of mind.
Regular commuter trains from Termini to Rome cruise port at Civitavecchia are available every 25 minutes or so and you will always find a seat. Express trains are a faster option, taking only 45 minutes to Civitavecchia station. But they run less frequently and are more expensive, almost double the price of a regular train.
Taxis and bus transfers are expensive
Buses and taxis from Rome to the cruise port are not a practical option in my view. Besides a high chance of hours spent in the unpredictable traffic of Rome, taxis are also very expensive and cost about 150 euros.
Some cruise lines offer bus transfers from Rome to the cruise port. But again, these are expensive and you cannot predict the traffic. Road journeys take about the same time as trains, on paper, about 75 minutes from Rome Termini to Civitavecchia.
Buy your train tickets in advance
Train tickets can be purchased in advance at the Trenitalia website or at Termini station. But the train station can get very crowded at peak times. So instead of waiting in line at the manned window or learning how to use the ticket machine, just buy the tickets in advance, online at the Trenitalia website.
You can even board the train at Vatican!
Taking the train is super convenient even if you plan to be at the Vatican before heading to Civitavecchia. You don’t need to go all the way to Termini because the the commuter train from Rome to the cruise port stops at St. Peter’s station at the Vatican. It is only a 10 minutes walk from the Vatican Museums or St. Peter’s Square to St. Peter’s commuter train station.
Just be careful that it is the regular train station you are looking for and not the metro station - they are in opposite directions from St. Peter’s square and too many people have made the mistake of going to the wrong station to board their train to the Rome cruise port.
Based on my experience, boarding the train at Vatican is a good idea only if you have luggage that you can manage easily. The train does not originate at St. Peter’s station so there may be a few anxious minutes trying to time your arrival and finding the right platform.
An extra walk may be involved at the port
As you make your plans, please note that whether you take the road or train option, there is a 10 minute walk involved from the train station to Civitavecchia Rome cruise port terminal. The only way to avoid this walk is to fork out another 15 euros for a short 5 minute taxi ride.
The cruise port itself has many piers and the walk can end up being as long as 30 minutes depending on where your ship is docked; so do consider the taxi option to go from the train station to your pier, even if it appears expensive.
What about Luggage?
The train from Rome to the cruise port can accommodate small carry on luggage. There is enough space for 2 bags per person. In case you prefer to walk around Rome without luggage in tow, there is a convenient left luggage option at Termini station. It is open from 6am to 11pm every day and charges 6 euros for a first block of 5 hours. If you are thinking of boarding at the Vatican, there are cloakrooms for left luggage at the Vatican Museums and at St. Peter’s Basilica.
But if you are travelling with heavy luggage from Rome to the cruise port, then consider the option of a bus transfer arranged by your cruise liner. Or simply take a taxi if there are 4 of you or more. It will be well worth the peace of mind and flexibility, even if it is an expensive ride from Rome to Civitavecchia.
Civitavecchia is connected to Rome via the regional train, on the website , it is possible to see the timetables of the trains (Civitavecchia - Rome terms and vice versa), the route takes about an hour. You still need to get from the cruise terminal at the port to the Civitavecchia train station; which can be done by a short taxi ride (about €10) or you could walk it is about 20 minutes by foot.