Frequently Asked Questions
Where will I go on a Rome cruise?
This depends on your itinerary. Most cruises departing from Rome visit popular destinations in the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as seaside ports in Greece. Depending on your itinerary, you may stop at the Mediterranean cities of Nice, Barcelona, Naples, Florence, Venice, Dubrovnik, Istanbul or Athens. On a Greek Islands cruise, the island ports of Mykonos, Rhodes and Corfu are often visited.
How long does it take to get there?
Rome is accessible via an eight-hour flight from New York City.
When is the best time to take a Rome cruise?
The high season stretches from April to October, but cruises are available here year-round. Visitors can avoid summer's sizzling temperatures and surging tourist crowds by traveling during the "shoulder seasons" in spring (April and May) or fall (September and October). Temperatures are still comfortable during these months -- the high in Rome is warmed to 65 degrees or so -- and there's less competition for the beaches and top historic sites. And visitors who don't mind a bit of a chill might enjoy a winter cruise, as temperatures in the Mediterranean rarely drop below freezing.
How long do Rome cruises last?
These trips typically last seven to 21 nights, but some sailings are longer.
Will I need a passport or visa?
Passports are required for all international visitors. Visa rules vary by country.
Is English spoken?
It is spoken and understood at most resorts, shops and restaurants connected to the tourist trade. However, visitors might learn a few basic phrases before setting sail.
What is the time difference?
Rome is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
What is the local currency? Where can I exchange currency?
Currencies vary depending on your port of call, but the euro is accepted in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece. Currency exchange stations are available at most local hotels and airports, though many tourist destinations accept credit cards.
Is tipping a common practice?
Tipping is customary almost everywhere, but be sure to review all bills before handing out gratuities. Many restaurants in Rome tack a wait-service charge onto their meal and bar tabs, making tips redundant.
What should I wear?
Casual resort wear, including shorts and T-shirts, is the standard daytime attire for most cruises. Bring a variety of footwear, including low-heeled or rubber-soled shoes for walking on deck, sandals for beach excursions, sturdy walking shoes for guided tours and a pair of dressier shoes for formal dining. You can check your ship's dress codes for options suitable for nighttime, but most restaurants encourage slacks and nice dresses during evening meals. Many churches and cathedrals in Europe require some degree of modest attire for visitors, and Rome is no exception. You may not be permitted to enter if wearing "too short" shorts, and women may be asked to cover bare shoulders (it's a good idea to tuck a lightweight scarf into your purse or tote).
What should I pack?
Most of the excursions in Rome are sightseeing tours with varying degrees of physical activity, and there’s a good chance you may have to wait in a few lines, so good walking shoes is a must. Think about the kinds of tours you want to take -- a walking tour of Rome’s city center or a leisurely drive to the Bracciano Lake area for cheese tasting – and pack accordingly. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and swimsuits if traveling in summer, protective hats and windbreakers are advisable no matter when you travel. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescriptions or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.
Is the water safe to drink?
Most resorts and restaurants filter their tap water, though bottled water is available almost everywhere.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't usually necessary for visitors from North America, but it never hurts to check with your health care provider and discuss the countries you'll be visiting.
What types of electrical outlets are used?
U.S. cruise companies use the standard 110-volt outlets. International guests will likely need converters and adapters; these same devices come in handy for U.S. citizens who plan to overnight in hotels at some point during their vacation, as much of Europe and Asia uses the 220-volt outlet.
How do I make a telephone call from Rome?
Resort hotels and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available for sale in tourist-friendly markets. U.S.-based cell phones might not work everywhere.
Are hotel rooms outfitted with air conditioners?
In Rome, not all hotels are air-conditioned, although most Deluxe and First-Class hotels usually include this convenience. If recycled air is important to you, make sure to consult your travel counselor before booking a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy? Can I haggle over prices?
Rome is a fashion capital and is known for good buys in leather and silk. Italian art, antiques, ceramics, costume jewelry and straw goods are sought after gifts and souvenirs as well. The main shopping area is between the Spanish Steps and Via del Corso, but overall shopping in Rome is limited. Haggling over prices in markets and for large purchases is not uncommon.
How do I get around?
Rome is a tourist mecca where organized tours abound. Opt to tour the city on foot (most sites are clustered together), or by bicycle, scooter or bus. Rome’s Metro system is the quickest way to get around, or opt to travel around town by bus or tram. Shore excursions purchased through your cruise line highlight top attractions and include transportation and a guide.
Can I rent a car?
Rental rules vary, but most companies require renters to be at least 21 years old. However, the proliferation of public buses, trains and Rome’s Metro system make car rentals largely unnecessary in this city.
What can I do there?
Rome is a delight for tourists seeking history, culture, art and architecture, and there are so many attractions that most tourists need more than one day to explore. Spend time touring the city’s churches and cathedrals, museums and ruins. Highlights include the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum, just to name a few.
Do you have any photography tips for Rome travelers?
There's plenty of historic beauty to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter. Make sure photography is permitted before shooting in museums, churches and cathedrals; in some cases, you'll just be asked to turn off your flash.