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Old 02-16-2013, 10:15 AM   #1
Donna3271
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Civitavecchia dock transfer

Hi All,

Has anyone done the private Civitavecchia dock transfer to Rome? Can you let me know how it was? I would only consider this because A) I've been to Rome several times (even though my 3 children haven't), and I am fluent in Italian (most everyone speaks English in Rome regardless).

I am trying to decide if it is worth dragging my 3 children around Rome. I would purchase Vatican museum Tickets, etc... in advance.

Thanks in Advance for any insight
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:57 AM   #2
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I know absolutely no Italian, had never been to Rome, and new nothing of the system. We were in the Med on DCL with our daughters, ages 12 and 10, in 2010. We went to Rome and had a blast. Furthermore, we took the train in. I think it was about $25 per person round trip, as opposed to $99 per person round trip on a bus with DCL this coming summer.

The train is a short walk from the dock and drops you in the heart of Rome. It also stops right at St. Peter's.

You should definitely go into Rome. If you are doing it on your own, like we did, I say save a couple hundred dollars and take the train, which is just as fast as a car or bus.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:01 AM   #3
Donna3271
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Four Swampers View Post
I know absolutely no Italian, had never been to Rome, and new nothing of the system. We were in the Med on DCL with our daughters, ages 12 and 10, in 2010. We went to Rome and had a blast. Furthermore, we took the train in. I think it was about $25 per person round trip, as opposed to $99 per person round trip on a bus with DCL this coming summer.

The train is a short walk from the dock and drops you in the heart of Rome. It also stops right at St. Peter's.

You should definitely go into Rome. If you are doing it on your own, like we did, I say save a couple hundred dollars and take the train, which is just as fast as a car or bus.
OMG!! That is AWESOME!!! Than you so so much for the info!!!

Regards,
Donna
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:04 AM   #4
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I think there might be an express train now vs. the local one? I have done the local one with no worries.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:37 PM   #5
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Correct--there is an express train for a slightly higher fare.
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Four Swampers
I know absolutely no Italian, had never been to Rome, and new nothing of the system. We were in the Med on DCL with our daughters, ages 12 and 10, in 2010. We went to Rome and had a blast. Furthermore, we took the train in. I think it was about $25 per person round trip, as opposed to $99 per person round trip on a bus with DCL this coming summer.

The train is a short walk from the dock and drops you in the heart of Rome. It also stops right at St. Peter's.

You should definitely go into Rome. If you are doing it on your own, like we did, I say save a couple hundred dollars and take the train, which is just as fast as a car or bus.

I would gladly take the train, but the Italians insist on having a train strike almost every time I've ridden it. Only once have I ridden without incident. Guess I'll just play it safe and take a DCL excursion.
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Four Swampers View Post
I know absolutely no Italian, had never been to Rome, and new nothing of the system. We were in the Med on DCL with our daughters, ages 12 and 10, in 2010. We went to Rome and had a blast. Furthermore, we took the train in. I think it was about $25 per person round trip, as opposed to $99 per person round trip on a bus with DCL this coming summer.

The train is a short walk from the dock and drops you in the heart of Rome. It also stops right at St. Peter's.

You should definitely go into Rome. If you are doing it on your own, like we did, I say save a couple hundred dollars and take the train, which is just as fast as a car or bus.
Train is so much easier. We also purchased the BIRG pass. It gets you on the train. Then, you can also use it on the bus. It's a great deal. Just study the map ahead of time. Metro A takes you from St. Pietro Station to the front of the line. If you purchase your tickets ahead of time "skip the line", you skip the long line on the left.

Bathrooms are in the front. Please use them before you enter, because there is no facilities otherwise until you get to the snack/cafe below.

Remember to cover your knees and shoulders. They are strict and did not let a little boy with shorts into the Vatican.
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ldo View Post
I think there might be an express train now vs. the local one? I have done the local one with no worries.
My comment was confusing so I've deleted it =P sorry!
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:04 PM   #9
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I should add: most of the time in Italy when you buy a train ticket, it is not for a specific train / time / nor seat. With the exception of the high speed trains where you are assigned a train, time, and seat, you can buy a ticket and use it now, or tomorrow, or whenever. To keep people from using the tickets repeatedly, you have to time and date stamp the ticket as you enter the boarding area. Insert your ticket in a little nondescript yellow box that looks like a postbox but it isn't. It will stamp your ticket. Then, if the conductor stops by on the train to check your ticket you will be fine. If s/he checks and your ticket is not stamped: immediate 50 euro fine, per person. Ignorance is no excuse for these guys.

Time and date stamp your train ticket! Easy to do, as long as you know to do it.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:08 PM   #10
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Here is some Med cruising info that I have posted elsewhere.

Traveling to Europe: Before You Go:


Passports, valid for 6 months after entering Europe.
Make multiple copies of your passports. Take one or two copies on the trip, leave a copy at work, and leave another copy with relatives and/or friends.

Euros. Purchase ahead of time at www.wellsfargo .com. Free shipping on orders of $1000 USD or more.
You will use more than $1000 worth of Euros.

Rick Steves Guides to Naples, Rome, Florence, Barcelona. Rome is the most important guide. Read it now.
Download Rick Steves Audio Guides for iPods.

Purchase tickets to the Vatican Museums at http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html
Google search will yield third party vendors and the official Vatican site. Use the official site.
Purchase tickets for 4:00. Gives you time to see other sites and then tour Vatican.
You can show up early for your tour, but not late. We were admitted 2.5 hours before the start of our tour.

Arrive in Barcelona two or three days before your cruise.
1. Barcelona is a fantastic city. Stephanie and the girls spent a total of 5 days touring Barcelona, and there are still a couple of things we would like to see there.
2. You will be over your jet lag when you board the ship.
3. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you can still reach Barcelona before the ship sails.

Pickpockets!
Pickpockets are rampant in Europe, especially Barcelona and Italy. Take nothing of extreme sentimental value. Watch all belongings at all times. Consider decoy wallets. I strongly suggest you wear travel socks that have a pocket or that you wear an ankle wallet.

Consider a Capital One credit card. This card does not charge an additional foreign exchange fee and is well worth having.

Free refills do not exist in Europe. Soda costs a lot, and each one costs separately.

Water fountains flow constantly throughout Rome. They provide safe drinkable water. Walk up, fill your water bottle, then cover the spout to force water out the top hole and take a drink.

The Disney Magic is an American ship. Yes, it was built in Italy and it is registered in the Bahamas, but it is ours. Why is that important? It uses standard American electric outlets! Take all the electric gadgets you want.

Consider walkie-talkies, especially if not everyone has a cell phone that works in Europe. They can also be useful onboard.

A GPS with preloaded map of Italy might be useful, but city maps of Naples, Rome, Pisa, and Florence should do the trick. We had none of these, but maps were easy to grab at the tourist offices near every train station.

Barcelona, Spain:
Sites galore! Consider a bicycle tour your first day there. It is a great introduction to the city, and the exercise will help you adjust to the time difference. My wife and the girls used Fat Tire Tours.

The subway system is easy to use. Take the subway everywhere, including to the beach for swimming and people watching.

Las Ramblas is the action street. When night arrives, the street performers, caricature painters, portrait makers, trinket sellers, and other vendors all flock to Las Ramblas, followed by the pickpockets.

The book 1000 Places to See Before You Die lists three spots in Barcelona:
Catalan National Art Museum. Housed in Palau Nacional, it has entire portions of churches moved to this museum to display the Romanesque and Gothic paintings.

La Sagrada Familia. We only viewed the outside, as the crowds are insane.

Museu Picasso. Intimate and nice. Try to visit the galleries in chronological order of his life.

Tapas is not indigenous to the area, but several tapas places exist and offer good food. Paella is a good option. Irish pubs abound, especially between the subway and the beach.

Valletta, Malta:

The Disney Magic docks right by the capital city, Valletta ; it is about a half mile walk to the center of town.

Even closer is a hop-on, hop-off tour bus that visits the Tarxien Temples, the Blue Grotto, and Hagar Qim.
I suggest skipping the Tarxien Temples. They were quite a walk from the bus stop and the two temple complexes at Hagar Qim are more impressive. Also, this will permit you to get back to Valletta in time to see the Cathedral, which closes at 4:00.

Take the hop-on, hop-off tour bus, visit the Blue Grotto and Hagar Qim, then walk around Valletta.

Naples, Italy:

Choices include Herculaneum, Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, and the island of Capri. How can you not choose to visit Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii? We took the Disney excursion to Vesuvius and Pompeii. We had a blast, and our pizza lunch was great.

Remember, Naples is the birthplace of pizza.

Rome, Italy:

Today is the day. Get your game on. Eat breakfast early, get off the ship, run to the train, and try to stay calm as you take the 60 minute ride to Rome.

After you purchase your train ticket, you MUST TIME AND DATE STAMP it in one of the nondescript little yellow machines. A train ticket in Italy is like a subway ticket, you can purchase it now and use it whenever. To prevent people from using the same ticket over and over, you are required to time and date stamp it before you board the train. If they check your ticket on the train and you have not stamped it, you will be fined $50 per person. Ignorance of the rule will not save you.

TIME AND DATE STAMP YOUR TICKET! See above.

Review your Rick Steves guide to Rome as you ride the train. You should have this almost memorized by now, but read it again anyway.

Make sure you have your tickets to the Vatican. You are one sad puppy if you left those on the ship.

Tour the Forum and the Coliseum. Start at the Forum, where lines are short. The ticket for the Forum is also your ticket to the Coliseum, so you will avoid an hour or two line to purchase tickets at the Coliseum. Only fools go straight to the Coliseum and line up for tickets. Enjoy listening to your iPods Rick Steves guide to the forum.

Now tour the Coliseum.

Walk to the Pantheon, which is amazing, beautiful, and free. Signs to the Pantheon are poor, but signs to McDonalds Pantheon will guide you well enough. Dont forget to walk all around the outside of the Pantheon. Find the obelisk elephant just behind and off to the side of the Pantheon. Note the plaques on the church wall behind the elephant: these mark the high water level of past floods.

Have lunch at McDonalds Pantheon or walk on to Trevi Fountain, then to Spanish Steps and have lunch at McDonalds Spanish Steps. Marvel at the leather couches and chairs in McDonalds Spanish Steps.
Seriously, have lunch at McDonalds. You have a LOT to see today. Sitting at ANY table service restaurant will eat an hour and a half to two hours of your precious time. Even though McDonalds will be overflowing with people and huge lines, you can get your food, eat, and be out in 45 minutes.

Get to the Vatican.

Start your day at the Vatican at the Museum. You will see a huge line of people. The line will stretch over a city block. Walk confidently past the line to the very entrance to the museum. Find the tiny line for well-informed people like you. Walk up to the guard, show your tickets, and enter the museum.

At the Sistine Chapel, try cutting down the door in back that goes to St. Peters Basilica. As noted in Rick Steves Guide, this will save you hours of time and avoid another security checkpoint. Well worth doing.

After touring St. Peters, leave via the front entrance. If you duck over towards the right of the entrance, right as you face the cathedral, you might be able to find the little alley/outside hallway that leads to a ticket booth to go up into the dome. An elevator ride takes you to the roof of St. Peters. Enter the dome, and walk around the inside balcony. As you step out of the dome, notice the door to your right. Enter that door and climb the stairs. Keep climbing. Climb some more, even though the walls are leaning. Climb until you find yourself outside the Basilica on the very top of the dome. What a view of Rome! Make your way back down to the piazza in front of St. Peters. In the piazza, you will walk right by the Vatican post office. Stop in and purchase a post card and a stamp and mail yourself a souvenir.

Walk to the nearby train station and grab a train back to Civitavecchia, your port city.

TIME AND DATE STAMP YOUR TICKET.

Of note, you can choose to not go back to the ship. WHAAAAT?
When you reach La Spezia, you can hike the coastal trail between the Cinque Terre or take the train to Pisa and/or Florence. The train to Pisa is a one and a half hour ride; Florence is another half hour on the same train.

Taking the train from the Disney Magic from La Spezia to Pisa or Florence will create a very late start to your day. You can instead choose to take a train from Rome to Florence, spend the night in a hotel, and then start your tour day early.

You must let Disney know that you are doing this prior to leaving the ship. They will NOT be pleased with you if you fail to return to the ship without telling them your plans. They are quite happy to let you do it if they are warned.

Note: the above was true for cruises going from Rome to Florence. Obviously, you can reverse this.


La Spezia, Italy. Gateway to Cinque Terre, Pisa, and Florence.
As mentioned above, today is a long train ride to Pisa or Florence, or you can choose to take a much shorter ride to the Cinque Terre. We visited Pisa. A few weeks later, my wife and I had the opportunity to tour Florence and the Cinque Terre. If I were to choose again for the Disney Cruise, I would again choose Pisa. It was manageable in a day and the kids loved it. Florence has a lot of art, but I think perhaps overwhelming a day or two after Rome.

Cinque Terre:
The Cinque Terre, or Five lands, are five picturesque seaside villages joined by train and by hiking trail. The hike from the northernmost town to the next town is very strenuous and sometimes tenuous. I do not suggest it for kids under 8, although I am sure it has been done by hardy toddlers. Each town is beautiful. Kids would likely be bored. Also, the authorities shut down the hiking trails on rainy days and for a couple days after rain, for fear of landslides.

Pisa:


Disparaged by many, but not by me. All of the important things to see are in the Piazza Miracoli, or Square of Miracles. The Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, and the Baptistery are all here. When you reach Pisas train station, walk or get a cab to the Piazza Miracoli. If you need to find a restaurant for lunch, go right ahead. As the family sits down, send dad to the Piazza to purchase tickets. Dad, stand with your back to the Leaning Tower and the back of the Cathedral immediately to your left. You are staring at a long wall of a one story brick building with several doors. One of these doors is the ticket office. Go over and buy tickets for three attractions: The Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, and Baptistery. Your ticket for the tower will be valid for a precise time, which you can choose. Probably the first choice is an hour or two from now. Choose a Leaning Tower entry two hours from now, and then rejoin your family for lunch.

NOTE: you can buy tickets online in advance. then you will be set for a certain time to climb the tower.


This is Italy, so lunch just took you one and a half hours. Hustle everyone to the Leaning Tower and wind your way to the top. Then back down. Visit the cathedral and the baptistery.

Florence:
So much to see and do here, it would be very hard to do it justice on a day that was bookended by two hour train rides. Still, you can visit the Uffizi Museum, which houses Boticellis Birth of Venus and thousands of other paintings, and the Galleria dell Accademia, which houses Michelangelos David. The architecture is amazing, the food is marvelous. Grab a taxi and go across the river to Olio et Convivium for lunch. Walk back across the Arno river via the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge and marvel at the jewelry shops on the bridge.

Villefranche, France

The train is right here, and it is your easy gateway to Monte Carlo in Monaco and Nice and Cannes in France. We spent the morning walking around Monte Carlo and the afternoon in Nice. Consider taking your swimsuits to jump in the water at the beach in Nice. The Cote dAzur truly is more blue than you can imagine!
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:11 PM   #11
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By the way, everyone on disboards thinks I am silly for getting my euros from wells fargo. I have compared their rates to my local bank and to AAA, and wells has always won. My credit cards have never treated it as a cash advance, but some people's cards have.

ATM's in Europe also give a very good exchange rate, but I just can't figure out how to use the darn ATM's in Europe.
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