Cruise from Naples, Italy – the essential guide

Experience Italy’s awe-inspiring sites of Pompei, Capri and the Amalfi Coast before you start your cruise from Naples to the Mediterranean and Greek Isles. 

Whilst Rome is the beating heart of historic Italy, the coast stretching from the Bay of Naples, and southwards offers some of the most scenic and breathtaking landscapes in the world.

And whilst, with careful planning, you can see a lot in a few days, it is a region you will want to return to time and again.

Naples, a culture-rich city surrounded by natural beauty

The gritty, culture-rich city of Naples is characterized by it’s backdrop of Mount Vesuvius. Located in the region of Campania, in southwest Italy, many who visit want a quick tour of the city and then get out to see Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri and the Amalfi Coast. That’s what is on our bucket list when we visit Napoli on our cruise vacation.

And in truth we often skip the city altogether but if you want to see the best of Naples then we recommend booking a tour with a guide through a trusted supplier such as Viator. The official Naples webiste here will also help you plan your day. The port, Porto Napoli, is located in the south of the city, just 10 minutes on a covered passenger walkway from the center.

In this article we concentrate of getting you out of the city and into a piece of paradise.

We offer a 4 day guide below for a memorable visit before you cruise from Naples. Most cruises depart from Port Naples . Check your cruise ticket to be sure and find more details of how to get to the port at the end of this article. 

We recommend that you fly into Naples and book transport ahead of time and stay in the city of Sorrento. It’s just a beautiful place to spend a few days before you start your cruise and a good place to base yourself while you explore.

Transport options from Naples Airport to your hotel in Sorrento

Naples International Airport, also called Capodichino Airport, is located 15km north of the city of Naples. You can find our expert tips on booking your flights here. Transfer time by car from Naples airport to Sorrento is one hour.

Here are the transport options you have to get from Naples airport to your hotel in Sorrento.

Private transfer with a visit to Pompei on the way to Sorrento

This is our favorite way to get from the airport to Sorrento. However it is also the most expensive option. But we do this it’s worth it. Here’s why.

The ancient ruins of Pompei is a must on every visitors itinerary. It is located between Naples airport and Sorrento. And that makes it an ideal place to visit on the way to your hotel. That’s assuming you arrive in the morning or early afternoon.

Book a private transfer with the option of a stop in Pompei on the way to Sorrento and your entrance tickets to Pompei will be included. You can choose to have a guide or not. If you opt to do a self guided tour, do take a good guide book with you or purchase the audio guide at the entrance, so you know what you are looking at and don’t miss anything.

Viator offer and excellent option with a tour of Pompei. And you vacation in southern Italy starts immediately, just a few hours after you land. What could be better?

Bus

When you exit the arrivals terminal you will find the bus stops for all the city buses and shuttle buses that can get you to the city center.

There are two types of buses at the airport:

Alibus Shuttle – this takes you to Naples city center station (Piazza Garibaldi) and also to the port (Stazione Marittima).

Curreri Viaggi Airport Shuttle – these buses are a great way of getting to Sorrento. The journey time to Sorrento is one hour and costs 10 euros per person. The bus makes 8 stops. Pompeii is the first stop, and Sorrento is the last stop. You can purchase tickets onboard the bus, or book tickets in advance. Read more detailed information on their website. You can even download a map of where the buses depart from at Naples Airport here.

Taxi

Taxi stands are the arrivals terminals. Check the price with your driver before you depart. The taxi should charge a flat rate.

A taxi journey from Naples airport to the city center is around 18 euros.

A taxi journey from Naples airport to Sorrento is around 110 euros.

Follow the taxi signs at the airport to get to the taxi rank. This way you will know you are getting into an approved licensed taxi.

Train from central Naples

There is no airport train at Naples airport. If you want to use the train you would first take a taxi or bus to the central station and then a train to Sorrento. This is our least favorite option for a transfer. It takes a long time and you have to navigate an unfamiliar (if it’s your first visit) city station and the train system.

There are no fast trains between Naples and Sorrento. You would use the regional train Circumvesuviana operated by EAV. The journey time is just over an hour, a distance of 25km.

Where to stay in Sorrento

These hotels are our favorites for cruise passengers and for ourselves when visiting the city. They are centrally located, have great service and offer an excellent breakfast. Rooms are comfortable and modern and the prices are fair for the city. These are ideal hotels to stay in before you cruise from Naples.

  • Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
  • Grand Hotel Ambasciatori
  • Hotel Central 
  • Hotel Michelangelo Sorrento
  • Hilton Sorrento Palace

How to spend 4 days before you cruise from Naples

Day 1- Airport transfer including a visit to Pompei

Exit the arrivals terminal at Naples International Airport and find your driver. Your luggage will be safely taken care of during your visit to Pompei. The journey time from Naples airport to Pompei is only 35 minutes.

If you haven’t pre-booked your visit with a tour guide, there are guides at the front entrance who will give you a tour for around 15 euros per person. The park is very large, remember to pick up a free map and the information point. A tour guide will really help you make the most of your time.

Learn about what life was like in Pompei before the eruption on Mount Vesuvius and see the most famous sites including the two theaters, the Large Theater and the Odean (visit both as they are located in the same area), the Forum, the Villa of the Mysteries and the House of Faun.

After your visit you will continue to Sorrento where is will be time to check in to your hotel. Enjoy a evening stroll around the town. If you’re hungry and love pasta, seafood and salad, we recommend eating at Trattoria Da Emilia right on the marina.

Day 2 – Sorrento

Start your day at the Sorrento Cathedral (Cathedral of Saints Philip and James). It’s also a good central landmark to meet up friends if you are travelling in a group and want to do different things during the day.

It’s worth going inside the cathedral, entrance is free and the marquetry and frescoes are stunning. From here walk a few minutes towards Piazza Tasso. Here you will find plenty of cafes and often a market. The main shopping street Via San Cesareo branches out from the square. Spend the morning enjoying Sorrento at your own pace.

In the afternoon we recommend you walk out along the coast to the Sorrento peninsular (Capo di Sorrento) for fantastic views across the Bay of Naples. Visit the Bagni Regina Giovanna, ruins of a Roman villa and the secluded beach. The entire area is stunning, so bring good walking shoes, swimwear and sunscreen and enjoy an afternoon walking the coast. Note it’s bit of a hike, you need to be fit and sure-footed but it is well worth it.

Day 3 – Capri

From Sorrento you are just a 30 minute hour ferry ride away from the island of Capri. We recommend that you spend a whole day visiting beautiful Capri – but don’t forget to check ferry times back from the island so you don’t miss the last boat!

Emperor Augustus’ once private paradise and now a modern day celebrity hideaway, Capri is a luxury holiday destination.

Capri – how to get there and what to do

For cruise guests visiting Naples as a port stop, shore excursions to Capri are amongst the most popular choice – but they come at a price. You can make your own way there quite easily Sorrento, and for a much less cost. There are at least 20 daily ferry crossings so you never have to miss the boat.

The hydrofoil is the fastest ferry which takes only 20 minutes. from nearby Molo Beverello takes under one hour to get to Capri. You will need to queue to get your tickets. We recommend being at the ferry terminal one hour before your departure in high season, it can be extremely busy.

The price of a one way ticket to Capri is around 20 euros per person (children 2-12 years are around half price) but be sure to buy a return ticket which will be for a specific departure time. Queueing for tickets on the island can take a very long and you do not want to miss getting back to the port in time to board your cruise ship or tender boat.

It can be a choppy ride over to Capri if the sea is rough, so if you get seasick easily you may want to take seasick tablets or put on a seaband before you start your day.

Where to get the ferry to go to Capri

From the Piazza Tasso, in the center of Sorrento, the ferry terminal is a short 10 minute walk away, close to the center of the town. You need to head to Marina Piccola. There is a ticket office where you can purchase a return ticket, booking the time of your return ferry too.

The towns of Marina Grande, Ana Capri and Capri

There are three towns on the island, Marina Grande where you will arrive onto the island, Anacapri and Capri. We recommend that you download a map of the island before you travel to orientate yourself.

When you arrive by ferry or hydrofoil, you are in the village of Marina Grande. This is the area of the marina and the port on Capri and where all transport to the island departs from.

You can get to Ana Capri and Capri from Marina Grande. Both towns are closed to traffic in the center, so once there, all exploring is done on foot. If you want to go further afield and explore the island’s coastline and nature, you can rent a scooter at Marina Grande.

The town of Anacapri

Anacapri is the quieter side of the island and the highest point. It is great for nature lovers who want to visit Mount Solaro in seek of panoramic views. From Marina Grande the bus takes about 20 minutes to get to Anacapri. Once in the town there is a chair lift from Piazza Vittoria to Monte Solaro which takes approximately 10 minutes.

The town of Capri

Shoppers and foodies should spend some time in the exclusive boutiques and cafes in the town of Capri, the more busy, cosmopolitan side of the island.

From Marina Grande, take the cable car or bus to the main square, Piazza Umberto (the Piazzetta) in center of Capri town. There are small buses available that take approximately 20 people per bus. You can buy a ticket at the ticket booth in the arrivals harbor of Marina Grande. It is walkable within about 20 minutes, but the road is steep, narrow and winding and in the heat it feels a long way.

Alternatively you can choose to use the Capri Funicular (also referred to as the Capri cable car), it’s the red train that takes you to the Piazzetta in just a few minutes.

Visiting The Blue Grotto and Faraglioni, the trio of sea giants

There are also plenty of options to book a small boat to see the amazing illuminated caves of the Blue Grotto when you get to Marina Grande. This is without doubt the most famous attraction on Capri, together with sailing through the stunning towering rock formations of Faraglioni.

From Marina Grande, there is a private jetty where you buy tickets for a boat tour in a small wooden row boat. The entrance fee to the Blue Grotto is around 18 euros per person and it’s usual to tip your captain.

It’s an unforgettable experience!

Day 4 -Positano, hiking Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) and the Amalfi coast

The 5km hike following the Path of the Gods will give you astonishing views over the Amalfi coast. Today you need good walking shoes as well as beach gear for your visit to Positano.

You can reach Positano from Sorrento either by boat or by taking the local bus, which is a bargain at just 2 euros per person. The journey time is 30 minutes and the bus route is over the hills on a winding road through small villages. The ferry costs about 15 euros per person and takes 40 minutes and give you the added benefit of seeing this wondrous coastline from the water. Either one, it’s a good journey.

Once in Positano everything is done at your own pace. Wind you way down the cliffside following the roads, staircases and alleys to the beach from the central bus stop, enjoying shopping, cafes and of course the scenery as you go.

A walking route of about 4km will enable you to see the best of this small town, which is genuinely the people, the food and the delightful shopping. It’s just picture perfect. The beach is a black, course sand and beach chairs are available to rent if you like.

At the bus stop where Via Cristoforo Colombo joins Via G. Marconi, take the bus to the town of Amalfi and then onwards to Ravello. The journey is narrow and winding, a little hair-raising but the view is spectacular.

Hike the Path of the Gods

The hiking trail known as the Path of the Gods stretches between Bomerano and Nocelle and. It’s a distance of nearly 7km and will take you around 2 hours to complete. You’ll need good walking shoes and to be quite fit, as there is climbing and staircases involved.

We recommend that you start by taking a bus from the center of Amalfi to Bomerano. From here the hike is signposted. You will end back in Positano. It’s hard to describe just how beautiful this hike is. But choose a good-weather day, and you’ll want to see the views which can otherwise be obscured by misty drizzle.

How to get to Port Naples for your Cruise from Naples

Naples port if located in the area of the city called Molo Beverello. It is about a 10 minutes walk from the Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples city center.

As always, check and double check your cruise ticket for instructions about your departure point and your allocated boarding time.

Transport options from Sorrento to Port Naples;

Taxi: As you will have all your bags and packing for your cruise with you, we suggest a taxi from your hotel. Ask your concierge to arrange one for you on your morning of departure. It is the most convenient way to get to the cruise port from your cruise from Naples as you have door to door service. The journey time is about 40 minutes and costs

Ferry: Ferries and hydrofoils leave from Marina Piccola in Sorrento for the 40 minute journey across the Bay of Naples. The ferry takes you directly to Molo Beverello pier where cruise ships dock.

Train: Take the Circumvesuviana, the commuter train from Sorrento train (walking distance from the center) station to Naples central train station. Then take a taxi outside the train station to the cruise terminal.

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Meet the Author

Mattias has nearly 2 decades of travel industry expertise, working with cruise lines, tour operators, airlines, IT providers, hospitality suppliers and everything else in between that makes the travel industry tick. more..