Discover Cruise Ports in Italy
Cruise the Mediterranean Sea and discover the best cruise ports in Italy.
Italy Cruise will never make you feel less. Learn Italy’s most important destinations which are easily accessible from the cruise ports.
Italy has numerous historic places, archaeological heritage and cultural treasures. You can visit them while you cruise the Mediterranean Sea.
Rome (Civitavecchia) and Venice are well known as one of the most important ports of calls in Mediterranean Cruise. However, what Italy can offer is not only Rome and Venice.
The breathtaking Amalfi Coast and the spectacular hilltop cities of Cinque Terre are both accessible from the cruise ports. Florence, Pisa and Genoa can also be close to the port in La Spezia.
In this article, you will find real hidden gems of Italy which we did not expect to discover its beauty before we set sail. Italy Cruise is a real adventure and new discovery anyone should try once in a lifetime. Sailing Italy means that you are having the best cruises to the Mediterranean.
You can save money and time by planning a trip in advance and explore one of the greatest places in the world! Discover the beautiful cruise ports in Italy. Make your vacation something truly unforgettable and special.
Why Italy Cruise?
Italy is the most important country in cruising the Mediterranean. This is because Italy has Europe’s two major cruise ports, Civitavecchia and Venice. Other than that, what makes Italy cruise special are:
- Italy’s cruise ports can be easily accessible to the country’s major cities as we will show you little later in this article. You will also find spectacular hilltop residential houses, Cinque Terre Region.
- Italy’s port cities themselves are already national treasures with a lot of cultural heritage and antiquities.
- Cruising the Mediterranean is often referred to as either Western or Eastern. When the west and east are divided into two sides, Italy is situated at the centre.
- Civitavecchia is the major transfer port to Rome. The port is indispensable for Western Mediterranean cruise. Venice is one of the major ports of call in Eastern Mediterranean Cruise. Without Italy, cruising the Mediterranean Sea does not make sense.
‘Cruising around Italy only‘ means you can include Italy’s two most popular ports, Rome and Venice, on one cruise.
Mediterranean Popular Cruise Ports Map
Cruising in Italy
Cruising is deeply rooted as a part of Italian Culture. If you cruise the Mediterranean during the summer, you will find a lot of European cruisers. Italian family cruisers are certainly dominant. The Italian families always stick together wherever they go and whatever they do on the ship.
American, Australian and Canadian cruisers could be a minority among the European passengers during the summer, but then this is why you are cruising Europe.
Experience something new and different from every day lives. Discover Italy and find out a different part of yourself by cruising Italy.
Why Italy Cruise is one of the best for your next vacation?
Italians love cruising, especially with their families. They have been cruising since they were little kids. They know exactly how to maximise their cruise vacation.
In fact, the world’s only privately-owned cruise company is the Italy based cruise line, MSC Cruises, and its head office is situated in Geneva, Switzerland.
Italians are certainly experts in cruising!
Why Italy Cruise is Special?
The World Tourism Organisation reported that Italy is ranked as the top 5 most visited countries in the world (source). What makes Italy so attractive to international travellers?
Multiple World Heritage Sites
Italy offers its archaeological heritage and cultural treasure and that makes the country stand out as unique and profoundly special. In fact, Italy holds more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world.
Visiting the best of Italy in one cruise
The greatness of Italy Cruise is that you can visit all the beauty, world heritage sites and architecture Italy can offer within ONE CRUISE.
You do not need to do all the transfers, carrying a heavy suitcase and packing/unpacking wherever you change a location. This is a truly wonderful thing in cruising, and that is what traditional land travel cannot offer.
Italian cuisine and wine
Do you like Italian food? I wonder who can dislike Italian food. It is impossible to ignore Italian food during a cruise.
Cruising around Italy only
In Italy Cruise, you start sailing from Genoa and visiting the famous Amalfi coast from La Spezia port. Then visiting Genoa comes second. Next day from Civitavecchia, you can visit Rome and the Vatican. The other day, you enjoy the gondolas of Venice before heading to Palermo in Sicily.
Whenever you wake up in the morning, you arrive at a different port and enjoy totally different landscapes, feels and colours of Italy.
Best Ports on Italy Cruise
The best ports of Italy cruise are highlighted as Genoa, La Spezia, Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo. Do not forget about Venice too!
Mapping Best Cruise Ports of Italy
Departure Ports for Italy Cruise
Find out your departure port transfer information and port accommodation guide. Save money and time by planning your trip in advance.
Rome, Italy (for transfer to Civitavecchia)
Best Ports on Italy Cruise
The highlights at ports in Italy Cruise
Genoa – Genoa old town and close to Portofino
La Spezia – close to Cinque Terre, Florence, Piza and Genoa
Civitavecchia – close to Rome and the Vatican
Naples – the Amalfi Coast, Pompei, the islands of Capri and many more
Palermo – a spectacular coastline of Sicilia, plenty of important ancient and religious architecture
Venice – St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark’s Square, Canale Grande and Ponte di Rialto
Genoa is known as one of Europe’s important ports as well as the historic centre. It is also one of the important economic centres in Italy. The city situates Piazzas, magnificent architecture and gothic churches. Genoa stands out as one of the most important visiting ports in Italy.
Aside from the historic district of central Genoa, its hill city is constituted by a number of tiny streets and alleys called Caruggi. When you walk through it, you feel as if time is brought back to the old age. The residential houses stand just next to the Genoa Golf and are beautifully coloured individually.
Located in the Northwestern region of Italy, Genoa was Europe’s leading Naval city in the 14th and 15th century.
Genoa is the city where the birthplace of Christoper Colombus, a 15th-century Italian explorer. Colombus crossed the Atlantic Ocean and achieved the world’s first European expeditions to the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Colombus was the pioneer who discovered the sailing routes to America from Europe. Here we have a connection between Amerca and Europe.
What to do and see in Genoa
- Piazza De Ferrari – Genoa’s landmark, located in the old town. You will find a decorative and beautiful fountain.
- Porta Soprana – the picturesque gatehouse and towers
- Palazzo Bianco – the art collection by Grimaldi family
- San Lorenzo Cathedral
- Stroll the old city and explore the medieval architecture, one of the most beautiful districts in Genoa!
- If you travel with kids, visit Aquarium of Genoa, currently the largest aquarium in Europe. They will love the aquarium. Have a spectacular overview of the Port of Genoa from its terrace.
- Extend your day out to Portofino, a fisher village residing beautiful hilltop, located in the south part of Genoa.
La Spezia is an important port and is a military hub of Italy. A majority of the Italian Navy is based in La Spezia.
The port attracts visitors internationally as the main cruise port for the Cinque Terre Region. It is also not far from Pisa, Genoa and Florence.
Cinque Terre is a National Park, including towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Cinque Terra means five towns in Italian.
How can you go to Cinque Terre?
It takes about 20 minutes to go to Cinque Terre by train from La Spezia. Gorgeous cliff-top villages stand out along the Italian Riviera. No doubt these spectacular landscapes attract visitors around the world. The train goes to all the five beautiful towns of Cinque Terre every day.
What to do and see in La Spezia
- Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta
- San Giorgio Castle – the 13th-century castle, one of the major landmarks of La Spezia
- Lerici – a beautiful town and harbour just 8km away from La Spezia
- Corso Cavour and Via Prione shopping centres
Civitavecchia is the gateway port to Rome and is known as “Port of Rome”. It takes about 1 and a half or a maximum of 2 hours by train or car.
Rome is certainly one of the most celebrated travel destinations in the world. Its archaeological treasures and Renaissance arts attract international visitors. A number of Italy’s historic places have been registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
How to go to Rome from Civitavecchia
It is a great idea to rent a car and visit Rome from Civitavecchia. Civitavecchia is located about 88 km (via A12/E80 route) northwest from the Rome city centre. By car, reach the A12, which is connecting Rome to Genova, and exit at Civitavecchia. Follow the signs for Civitavecchia centro / Sardegna on S.S. 1 Aurelia for about three kilometres.
What to do and see in Rome
- Make a day for Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
- A walk through the Historic Centre of Rome
- Climbing the Spanish Steps
- Visit Piazza Navona
- Visit the Colosseum
- Throw a coin into the Trevi fountain
- Stadio Olimpico
- Borghese Gallery
I have also visited Rome on many occasions from London, UK. You may find particularly useful information at my articles on Rome public transport and airport transfer as well as the best hotels in Rome’s best areas at the Rome city guide.
Civitavecchia is filled with pleasant air with a seafront promenade, archaeological treasures and fine Italian open cafés. My first Mediterranean Cruise was from Civitavecchia. The port connects central Italy, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Tunis and Barcelona.
Getting from Rome to Civitavecchia is, in fact, a little hassle. Find an easy and fast way to transfer from Rome to Civitavecchia at Civitavecchia Port Guide.
What to do and see in Civitavecchia
- National Archeological Museum
- Find Michelangelo stronghold Terme Taurine – built by the Roman Emperor Trajan
- Ficoncella Thermal Bath – explore Roman archaeological heritage
- La Cattedrale – located in between the historical centre of the city and Viale Garibaldi
- Santa Severa Castle – the courtyard is a pleasant place to stroll around
Naples is the third-largest city of Italy after Rome and Milan. Since Naples is one of the economic centres of Italy, you will find many important historic architectures, archaeological heritage and cultural treasure.
As the gateway to Italy’s spectacular sites, you can access Pompeii, Herculaneum, Sorrento as well as the island of Capri from the cruise terminal, Stazione Maritima in Molo Beverello or join the cruise line’s shore excursions.
The Amalfi Coast is certainly one of the most important destinations from Naples. It is a coastline on the northern coast of the Salerno Gulf on the Tyrrhenian Sea in Salerno. The Amalfi Coast has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been attracting international visitors from every corner of the world.
What to do and see in Naples
There are a lot to see and explore in Naples:
- The Naples Archaeology Museum – the best museum of Western Civilization.
- Visit the Amalfi Coast
- Enjoy pizza, Margarita. It is originated from Naples.
- Go to the island of Capri by boat
- Visit the ancient Roman archaeological sites in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae.
- Palazzo Reale – the stunning Royal Palace, one of the important historical architecture in Naples
- Naples National Archaeological Museum
- Piazza del Plebiscito – the Royal Palace
- San Domenico Maggiore – an important historic site in the central Naples
- San Gennaro Catacombs
- The district of Santa Lucia – explore the real Napolitana ways of life
- Must try limoncello liqueur, a recommendation from a friend of mine from Palermo, Italy
Palermo is Sicily’s cultural, economic and tourism hub. It is currently one of the major tourist visiting places in Europe and Italy. Palermo is a beautiful harbourside city of Italy with plenty of surrounding natural landscapes, history and culture treasures. You can easily explore visiting places of the city from the cruise port on foot.
I never heard of Palermo and never had an opportunity to visit the city before. While I was on the ship, I become friends with Italian ship’s technical officers who were actually coming from Palermo.
It was not my expectation, but I discovered the hidden gem of Italy. Palermo has plenty of ancient and beautiful religious buildings. I certainly recommend anyone to explore Palermo when your ship docked.
The mixture of cultural influences is evident in Palermo and that makes the city feel very special. Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles are well blended in the architecture. The mixture of European, Islamic and Byzantine architecture can also be found.
What to do and see in Palermo?
- Capella Palatina – best preserved Byzantine architecture and arts
- Palermo Cathedral – the 12th-century architecture
- Palazzo dei Normanni – the royal palace for the king of Sicily, a museum with a beautiful courtyard
- La Martorana – the church of an ancient beautiful religious architecture
- Capuchin Abbey and Catacombs
- San Giovanni degli Eremiti – a beautiful combination of Arabic and Norman architectural styles
- Fontana Pretoria – beautiful Greek sculptures and a fountain
- The Teattro Massimo – featured in the Italian film, God Father
Venice is one of the most visited places in the world. If your ship docked at Venice, you are so lucky because the Venice Cruise Terminal is so close to major all the visiting places. I got on my ship at Civitavecchia, Italy, for Mediterranean Cruises, and my ship docked at Venice. It is so easy to get around and come back to the ship in Venice.
How to explore Venice
You can easily explore Venice from a cruise port. The most popular visiting places are Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace and the Rialto Bridge. You can easily explore Venice with a Vaporetto, a water bus. The motor vehicles are highly controlled and are not able to get into the Venitian Lagoon.
Vaporetto is slow and is making some noize. It is not romantic at all but is handy to explore the best of Venice. If you seek a romantic alternative, take Venice’s famous gondola.
Find out Venice’s transports in general and Vaporetto’s routes in the article. Or are you planning to stay in Venice? You can also find the best hotels in Venice at an article on Venice Cruise Port.
What to do and see in Venice
- St. Mark’s Basilica – supreme architecture built in the 11th century, with beautiful Byzantine arts
- St. Mark’s Square – Venice’s most important piazza, surrounded by important architecture, St Mark’s Campanile, St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Torre dell’Orologio
- Canale Grande
- Ponte di Rialto
- San Marco Campanile
- San Giorgio Maggiore
- Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta
- Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
- Gallerie dell’Accademia
Italy Cruise Tip
If you plan to visit Rome and Venice, my suggestion is to plan in advance.
First, book a shore excursion for Rome and Venice in advance if you are planning to join the cruise line’s shore excursion.
But then why?
- Since Rome and the Vatican are one of the most popular ports of call in Italy Cruise. The popular shore excursion options will be sold out quickly.
- Visiting the city takes hours from Civitavecchia. No one like to miss the ship on the way back from Rome.
- If you join the cruise line’s shore excursion and if the tour had to be late due to a problem on traffic, the ship can wait for you. However, if you organised a day out by yourself, the ship will leave you.
You can of course plan visiting Rome and the Vatican by yourself. It takes one and a half hour or a maximum of 2 hours to get Rome by train or car from Civitavecchia.
There are ports of call in Italy Cruise which you can go out and visit places by yourself.
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