Fantastic Italy: Combine Venice, Florence, Rome with a Mediterranean cruise
Have you ever wanted to book an Italy cruise package vacation including Venice, Florence, Rome and cruise all in one trip?
The great combination of Venice, Florence, Rome in an Italy cruise package is easier to book than you may think. You’ll start your journey in Venice, where you can explore the city’s famous canals and stunning architecture. Then it’s off to Florence by train, where you can admire Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s David or experience the Tuscan countryside. Finally, you’ll end your trip in ancient Rome, taking in all the iconic sights like the Colosseum and the Vatican.
So why wait? We offer detailed travel tips, expert advice and cruise information for your Italy cruise package so you can book and enjoy an unforgettable Italian holiday including Venice, Florence, Rome and a cruise to the Mediterranean or Greek Isles!
Easy to book yourself for complete control over your Italy cruise package
Our Italy cruise package suggestion for a sightseeing tour of Italy in Venice, Florence and Rome is completely customizable. You can even reverse the package if you want to see Rome, Florence and then Venice before cruising from Venice.
Start booking your Italy cruise package with finding first your dream cruise, then a flight to fit your travel dates. Book directly with the airline and the cruise line of your choice for complete control over your booking.
We have travelled extensively in all 3 cities in Italy and cruised the Mediterrenean with various cruise lines. Our offer expert advise and detailed itineraries give suggestions on what to see and do in each city, how to get there, where to stay and what to think of before you plan your cruise vacation.
Land package: 2 days in Venice, 2 days in Florence and 4 days in Rome
If you are visiting Italy for the first time, or even a returning customer, we recommend at least 2 days in each destination, and ideally 4 days in Rome if time and budget allow. This means that you will have at least 2 days and evenings to really explore and experience the best each of these exciting cities have to offer. You’ll have time for a walking tour, or if you prefer some small group tours to world famous sights, or even optional excursions to see the surrounding countryside.
If you love history and want indepth tours of famous monuments then we recommend local guides. Or for the lowest price you can do things by yourself at your own pace. For examples using local buses where you hop aboard to visit must-see sights. Buy yourself a great guide book before you travel so you don’t miss anything.
Start your Italy cruise package in Venice
For your outbound flight, book a flight from your nearest international airport into Venice, Italy. For your inbound flight (your journey home again) book a flight from the final destination city of your cruise back to your nearest international airport.
If you are doing a closed-loop cruise (departing from and returning to the same port) then your departure airport for your inbound flight will be Rome for this package.
For example, if you are flying from New York then you would book a flight as follows:
Outbound: New York to Venice VCE
Inbound: Rome ROM to New York (flight home)
If you are travelling from London, you would book:
Outbound: London LON to Venice VCE
Inbound: Rome ROM to London LON (flight home)
And so on. Check the date of your chosen cruise then work out which date you want to fly out, and which date you will fly home after your cruise. Leave plenty of time to get to the airport at the end of your cruise. We recommend a minimum of 5 hours from the time your ship docks to the time your flight home departs.
This type of ticket is called an open jaw ticket. So your international flight will be into Venice and home from Rome. The name of the international airport in Venice is Venice Marco Polo Airport (Venezia Airport VCE). It is located on the mainland about 16 km from Venice Island.
The name of the international airport in Rome is Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Fiumicino (L’aeroporto di Roma-Fiumicino FCO) located 35km southwest of Rome.
Transport from Marco Polo Airport in Venice
From Marco Polo Airport in Venice there are many transport options available to get to Venice Island. The main transport hub on Venice Island is called Piazzale Roma. From Piazzale Roma you can walk or transfer onto a vaporetto (waterbus) to get to your hotel.
We recommend that your take cash in euros with you, as not all buses and taxis accept credit cards (even though they should!)
Buses are located outside the arrival terminals. You can buy bus tickets from machines located in the luggage collection area, or from the ticket office in the arrivals lounge. The fare is around 2 euros per person and it takes about 35-40 minutes. Note that any “express” bus will be more expensive but will get you there quicker with less stops along the way.
There are plenty of taxis outside the arrival terminals at the airport. The offical taxi company at the airport is Cooperativa Artigiana Radiotaxi. Confirm the price with your driver before you start. It is a fixed fare and costs around 40 euros for a one-way journey from the airport to Venice Island. The journey time is around 25-30 minutes. If you arrive late in the evening the taxi fare may be a bit higher.
Water taxis are available from the airport to Venice Island. After luggage collection, look for the signs to “Water Transport”. On the first floor of the terminal you will find a moving walkway. Take this straight to the dockside.
Purchase tickets at the ticket machines at airport baggage collection or onboard the water taxi. Have some cash in euros with you if you want to pay onboard.
The price for a one-way journey with a water taxi is from the airport is around 100-120 euros and the journey time is around 70 minutes. If you are travelling in a group, share the cost to make it cheaper per person. Tell the driver of the water taxi which hotel you are staying at so he can get you to the closest stop.
A City Pass for convenience
A convenient way to travel in Venice is by prepaying your public transport. Do this by purchasing a Venezia Unica City Pass. You can use this pass for your transfers, bus and water- bus transport and even save money on entrance fees for museums, guided tours, palaces and churches. You will find the tranport cost much less per person using the city pass. Purchase your pass before you leave home .
Alternatively you can of course book private airport transfers and have a driver waiting for you in arrivals if you do not want to be bothered or are unsure about finding your own way at the airport.
Where to stay in Venice
We recommend staying on Venice Island. It’s the best option if you want to discover the beauty of Venice when you only have a couple of days there.
The alternative is to stay in an area called Venice Mestre on the mainland but you will need to take a local bus each time you want to get to Venice Island as it’s too far to walk. It’s just more convenient and much more charming to stay on Venice Island itself.
Here are some of our favorite hotel options. We have included top-rated hotels as well as those that are more affordable so there is something for everyone.
Our recommendation is that you stay in a hotel that is at least 4-star standard. This way you will get a good standard of room, convenient amenities and good service. The concierge can advise on local transport and provide city maps.
Hotels in the Santa Croce district
The district of Santa Croce is close to the transport hub Piazzale Roma on Venice island. This is located at the entrance to the island and very popular with travellers booking cruises from Venice as the hotels are easy to get to, and the logistics to get to your ship are simpler.
From Santa Croce, St. Mark’s Square is a 25 minute walk through the winding streets or you can hop on a vaporetto water bus outside of the hotel.
- BW Premier Collection CHC Continental
- Carlton on the Grand Canal
- Santa Chiara Hotel
- Hotel Canal Grande
Hotels close to St Mark’s Square
If you want to be close to the historic heart of Venice Island then stay close to St Mark’s Square at one of these recommended hotels:
- Hotel Cavalletto & Doge Orseolo
- Hotel Casanova
- Baglioni Hotel Luna
To get to these hotels from Piazzale Roma, take a vaporetti to Saint Mark’s Square (the stop is San Marco/Vallaresso).
Alternatively a water taxi from the airport can take you to the hotel’s private landing. And from this very same private landing your hotel can book your Gondola ride.
More hotel gems for cruise customers
More good hotels that our cruise customers have also enjoyed are these:
- Hotel le Isole
- Star Hotels Splendid
- Hotel Bonvecchiati
- Carnival Palace Hotel
The best way to spend two days in Venice, Italy
Use the links below to see suggestions for 2 days sightseeing in Venice, to pack as much in as possible during your time there.
Day 1: The best of Venice island
Getting from Venice to Florence
Next stop Florence (Firenze), the beautiful renaissance captial of the region of Tuscany. From Venice, the easiest and quicket way to travel to Florence is by train.
Travel from the train station on Venice island, called Venezia Santa Lucia (Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia), located in the Santa Croce district close to Piazzale Roma.
Book tickets through the Trenitalia ticket office at the station, or via their website before you leave home. Trenitalia is the main train operator in Italy. Choose Venezia S. Lucia to Firenze S. M. Novella which is the main station in Florence and your preferred date of travel.
The journey time is around 2.5 hours. There are serveral different routes so look for the shortest journey time. Choose the option “Le Frecce” (and not “regional train”). Le Fercce is the high speed train giving you a direct, non-stop route. Economy tickets start at around 40 euros per person with discounts for seniors. There are food and drinks available for purchase on the train. Be sure to choose English language on their booking site so you can read and understand all the conditions of purchase before you pay.
Upon arrival at Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence, your city center hotel is walking distance. If you prefer not to carry your luggage then taxis are readily available outside the train station.
Two fantastic days in Florence, the heart of Tuscany, Italy
Florence is one of the most beautiful and well-known cities in the world, and it’s a popular tourist destination for good reason. The city is packed with historical sites and cultural attractions, including some of the most famous art museums in the world. There’s also plenty to do in the surrounding area in the picturesque region of Tuscany.
One of the best ways to get around Florence is by foot, so you will be able to see many of the sites during your visit. You can also use the city buses or take a taxi if need be.
Where to stay in Florence
There is a huge choice of accommodation available in the heart of the city. Everything from apartments and villas to hotels of all standards and all price ranges. We recommend the following hotels, all of which offer good front desk service, a great breakfast, and an excellent location.
- Hotel Brunelleschelli
- NH Collection Palazzo Gaddi
- Mercure Firenze Centro
- Morandi alla Crocetta
Day 1: The best of Florence
To fit in a grand tour of Florence in just a couple of days, start at the heart. And the heart of Florence is most certainly at Piazza del Duomo.
Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo is Florence’s main square in the center of town, right next to the famous Duomo (cathedral) itself. This is one of the most iconic buildings in all of Europe with it’s crowning glory, Brunelleschi’s noble dome, visable from afar. The Basilica – or Dumo – is also called the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower (Basilica Di Santa Maria Del Fiore). It is one of the major tourist draws due to its size, architecture and interesting history.
It’s also the location for many important events that take place in Florence throughout the year. On one side you will find the Baptistery, with its glittering Gates of Paradise and on the other Florence’s City Hall.
Whilst at Piazza del Duomo, there are two ways to get your first spectacular bird’s eye view over Florence.
First, you can choose to climb between the layers of the dome 186 steps to reach the top, your kids will love this too. Queues can be long to get inside – especially during peak summer season – so we recommend buying tickets ahead of time.
Or enjoy the view from Giotto’s Bell Tower. At 90 meters tall it stands just across from the Duomo. From here you will get an amazing 360 degree view.
From the Duomo, walk along Via de Martelli turning onto Via de Gori to reach the wonderful food market of Florence, Mercato Centrale.
At Mercato Centrale you will find Florence’s most famous food market, where all the locals go to buy their groceries. It opens daily from 10am until midnight. Stop here to visit the many food booths to sample Florence’s finest treats. On the next level , find the food court and sample Italien fresh food and its best.
Next we recommend that all art and history enthusiasts visit the Uffizi Gallery. Take your time walking there via Piazza della Signoria. Built in 1565 to celebrate the a Medici family wedding, this square is surrounded by great shopping and often hosts musical entertainment.
For a coffee and snack, try pastries or stuffed focaccia bread at Cantinetta del Verrazzano or if you prefer street-side eating or a sandwich on the go, there is a tiny traditional fiaschetteria called I Fratellini just a 2 minute walk away from Cantinetta del Verrazzano.
Galleria degli Uffizi is a fantastic gallery and museum located next to Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio. It is the most visited art gallery in all of Italy, and many cultural exhibitions are also held here. Here you will find a large collection of sculptures, paintings and artifacts from Florence’s past. Best known is Botticelli’s work, including Primavera and The Birth of Venus.
Our tip is to visit the ticket office outside of the Uffizi as soon as it opens in the morning. There will be a line, tickets cost around 12 euros each and you will have to book a time during the day to visit. Note! The museum is completely closed on Mondays! And if you want to visit on a public holiday or on a Saturday, you will need to purchase your tickets at least one day in advance. Use their website for buying tickets and get them sent by epost.
From the Uffizi Gallery it takes two minutes to walk to the start of Ponte Vecchio. Cross the bridge to get to Pitti Palace.
Ponte Vecchio is one of florence’s most famous landmarks, built in 1345 it has survived two major floods. Many tourists love to shop at the quaint little shops here, with jewelry being the most popular item on sale.
The former residence of the Medici famly, Pitti Palace is now Florence’s largest museum and home to some of the world’s best art collections. The gardens are gorgeous and a perfect place for the kids to run around.
After your visit, head back across Ponte Vecchio. Walk towards Basilica of Santa Croce to see the burial place of Galileo Galilei, Machiavelli and Michelangelo. After having lunch at one of the many local eateries, walk via the Duomo, to Galleria dell’Accademia about 10 minutes away.
The Accademia Gallery of Florence (La Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze) features the original Michelangelo David statue, Florence’s most famous work of Art. For me, it is worth the visit just to see this.
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco is a lively square just a short walk from Galleria dell’Accademia that connects you to the rest of the city and beyond with local buses. It is one of the best places to meet if you are in a group and need a common meeting point during the day. From here, hop on a number 7 bus that takes you high up into the hills to visit Fiesole. Once there you can see Florence laid out in front of you in its full glory. The best view if from the grounds of the monestary of San Francesco.
Fiesole is also the location of Florence’s Maggio Musicale. This is a collection of outdoor concerts and if you are lucky enough to see one of these during your stay we can assure you it’s an unforgettable experience. Check out their website for concert dates and times.
In the evening, we recommend a local bus or taxi to Piazzale Michelangelo. Located high on a hill on the other side of the Arno river, this square is ideal for beautiful panoramic views of Florence. There are benches available so that you can sit back and relax to take in the city below. Choose a clear day and try and get there at sunset for a spectacular view.
You can walk from the city center but it’s a long climb. Take a taxi or bus there and walk back into town afterwards, it’s much easier walking down the hill and a great way to spend the evening, finishing with shopping in the town center.
Day 2: Choose Your Day Trip from Florence
It’s almost impossible to recommend one place over another when visiting Tuscany. With so much to see, only you can decide how you want to spend your second day. If you feel you have not seen enough of the center, then stay and do all the things you didn’t have time for on day one.
Otherwise book a small group tour with a local guide. Choose from our personal favorites below. All the transfers will be included in the price of your tour.
- The town of Siena, located nearly 80km south of Florence, is known for it’s 5-century old horse race, Palio di Siena, and gothic architecture. Palio di Siena is held in the historical center in July and August amid a festive atmosphere. Competing neighborhoods meet in the center, Il Campo, which is transformed into a race track.
- Cinque Terre – the 5 colorful seaside villages on the Italian riviera are located on the coast 175km northwest of Florence. Hiking trails are fantastic, or for the less energetic visit the villages for quaint shopping and stunning views.
- Chianti – famous for it’s vineyards, castles, market towns and monesteries, the region of Chianti located 50 km from Florence offers iconic views of the Tuscan landscape, straight out of a Renaissance painting. Chianti is possibly the main resason why visitors flock to Italy.
- The northwest Tuscany towns of Pisa and Lucca are quite doable in one day. Visit the famous leaning Tower of Pisa and the small elegant town of Lucca.
- The hilltown of San Gimignano is a picture-perfect medieval Tuscan town. After walking the center of town and stopping for Gelato, visit one of the vinyards here which offer wine and olive oil tasting, a truffle hunt or a Tuscan cooking class all with a spectacular view of the unique sky line of the town’s 14 stone towers.
It is possible to book a whole day tour to Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano, all in a day. We did this, and it was fantastic, memorable day. Be prepared for a long day, bring plenty of bottled water and good walking shoes.
Getting from Florence to Rome
Depart Florence by hi speed train and head to Rome. Buy tickets online via Trenitalias website or at the ticket office at Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station.
Using the high speed train Frecciarossa the journey time is 1 hour and 35 minutes and costs from around 40 euros per person. The journey finishes at Rome’s central station, Rome Termini.
How to get from Rome Termini (train station) to central Rome
The main train station of Rome, Rome Termini, is centrally located. But we would not recommend walking around the area at night. The best, safest and quickest way to get to your hotel is by using one of the official taxis outside of the train station. It will be a fixed charge. Do not accept a ride from anyone else offering a taxi if you are approached.
Where to stay in Rome
Here are our best recommendations for hotels in Rome for cruise guests:
- Hotel Savoy Roma
- Hotel Mancino 12
- Augustana House
- Hotel Forum Roma
- Hotel Accademia
- Bettoja Hotel Mediterraneo
- Pantheon Hotel
- Hotel Barocco
- Napoleon Hotel Roma
- Relais Fontana Di Trevi
4 ways to see the best of Rome before your cruise from Civitavecchia cruise port
Our daily itineraries cover 4 main areas of the city, each of which you can explore as much or as little as you have time for. And in any order you like. In this city from the Roman Empire with so much history and art, it’s a good idea to pack a pocket guide book so you don’t miss anything.
Use the links to read in detail where to go and what to see in the Eternal City.
Alternatively book at least one guided tour before you leave home. Scheduled amongst your free time, a guided tour is a great way to explore imperial Rome to see the best and most famous sights.
Getting from Rome city center to Port of Civitavecchia
The Port of Civitavecchia where most cruise ships depart from, is 78km northwest of Rome. It is quite a distance and takes time to get there, so plan accordingly. To get there from your hotel in Rome, you have these alternatives:
If you are more than 4 people then I recommend booking a private transfer for pick up at your hotel before you leave home. Tell them what time you want to check in at the cruise port and they will calculate your pickup time from your hotel to get you there in good time.
Ask your hotel about pre-booking a cab. Allow plenty of time to get to the Port. Traffic and queues are unpredictable, especially in high season. Taxis charge a flat rate and be sure to establish this with your driver before you start. The cost is high – around 120 euros from the city to the port.
Train from Termini Station
Trains will save you money. You can buy train tickets to board a local train from Rome’s Termini train station for around 5 euros to Civitavecchia train station. You can pay with a major credit card. There are both ticket windows (be prepared to queue) and automated machines at the train station.
Do remember that you must get your ticket stamped at a machine before boarding the train.
You risk a heavy fine if you forget to do this and show an invalid (unstamped) ticket on board.
There are shops and cafes in Termini station, a tourist office and even a shopping center located on the lower floor. The name of Italy’s train system is Trenitalia and if you want to you can book tickets online before you leave home. Choose “Rome Termini to Civitavecchia Porto“
Arriving at Rome Cruise Terminal, Port of Civitavecchia
Arrival by transfer/taxi
You need to get dropped off at the service center at the port, called Largo Della Pace. It is the main terminal for all shuttle buses that will take you to your cruise ship. The shuttle buses are all free of charge within the port.
Arrival by train
To get from Civitavecchia train station to the service center at the port, Largo Della Pace, you can take a local bus for about 2 euros. The journey takes about 10 minutes and buses leave every 20 minutes. Tickets can be bought from inside the train station.
Alternatively to save money you could walk from Civitavecchia train station to Largo Della Pace It is about 1.5km and takes about 15 minutes, but remember you have your luggage too. Taxis can be quite hard to find from the train station but if you succeed this is also an option.
Cruises from Rome – which cruise line suits you best?
There are fantastic itineraries and cruise ships being offered by all of the major cruise lines for Spring and Summer cruises.
For example Royal Caribbean have 4 cruise ships due to cruise out of Civitavecchia Port – Wonder of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas. Itineraries include Greek Isles; Italy and the Adriatic; Western Mediterranean and Holy Land Cruise.
Norwegian Cruise Line offer cruises from Rome to the Mediterranean (Italy, France & Spain); Greek Isles and Italy; and Italy, Greece & Croatia. Unfortunately we won’t see their latest ship Prima in Mediterranean waters yet, but these cruises are available on board Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Epic, and Norwegian Gem.
Celebrity Cruises have 7 and 8 night cruises in the Mediterranean (Italy, France & Spain) and Italy and the Greek Isles. And longer voyages including Florence, Portofino & Venice; Greek Isles and Malta; Italien Riviera & France; Greek Isles & Malta; Italy, Croatia & Montenegro; and an 11-night cruise including Italy, Turkey and the Greek Isles. Which one is on your bucket list? Celebrity have ships offering these cruises from Rome, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Constellation, and the fabulous newer ships Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Beyond.
MSC Cruises have put some of the best cruise ships on great itineraries leaving from Rome: MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia, which we would recommend that you choose over the older MSC Splendida. Cruises starting in Rome are to the Western Mediterranean with slight variations in ports of call depending on when you cruise and which cruise ship you choose.
Need more help? We’re here to help!
Still in the planning process and need help deciding on the best cruise for you and your family? The linked articles below will help you along the way. They packed full of good advice and travel tips to help you book the perfect cruise.