Although a quick pace and substantial amount of walking is required, your day will be extremely rewarding. Your tour starts with an orientation drive through the Eternal City, passing through Piazza Venezia, the Roman Forum, the Arch of Constantine and the famed Colosseum. Only if time permits, some free time will be permitted so that you can explore the area on your own. After lunch, visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, boasting Michelangelo's magnificent ceiling. You'll gaze in awe at Piazza San Pietro, one of the world's most beautiful squares that faces the largest church in the world, St. Peter's. Some of its fabulous treasures will be shown to you by your guide during a brief visit. You'll then rejoin your motorcoach for the return to Civitavecchia.
Note: Guests who are planning to visit religious sites during free time or on tour, please dress appropriately. No bare shoulders or shorts are allowed. Your guide will join you in Rome, however you'll have an escort with you throughout the day. Order of sights may vary. The Vatican will be closed on May 1st, 2012, August 5th, 2012, August 15th, 2012, and September 16th, 2012; this tour is not available for the Norwegian Epic August 12th, 2012 sailing, nor for the Norwegian Spirit April 28th, 2012, August 2nd, 2012, or September 7th, 2012 sailings. AVAILABLE FOR ALL NORWEGIAN SPIRIT SAILINGS AND ON BARCELONA TO BARCELONA NORWEGIAN EPIC SAILINGS ONLY.
(9 Reviews) 9
Rating Snapshot(9 reviews)
8 of 9(89%)customers would recommend this to a friend.
This excursion may seem expensive, but you have to take into consideration all that you will be getting for the price. The drive from Civitavecchia to Rome is approximately one and a half hours. That means the round trip is 3 hours and if you were able to find a cab driver willing to drive you that far you'd be paying a pretty penny. Sure you could take a train for a lot less, but will you be guaranteed to make it back to the ship in time? Can't put a price on piece of mind, especially when you take a much needed nap on the ride back to the ship. On the bus with you is a very knowledgable tour guide and their driver. We had the team of Corina as our guide and Emiliano as our bus driver. Emiliano was more than capable of maneuvering the tour bus through the crowded and tiny streets of Rome ensuring we got to see as much as we could including a twenty minute stop at the Colosseum. It's not enough time to purchase tickets and go inside, but more than enough time to take great photos or just admire it from the outside. Corina was very nice and easy to understand in English.
After reading the reviews it seems not all tours are conducted in the same order. Our excursion met on the ship at 7:30 am and were on the bus and heading out of the port at approximately 8 am. We were entering Rome during morning rush hour and did all of the Rome highlights up front and stopped for lunch at 11:45 am at Opera Restaurant, just over the river from the Vatican - you can see the top of St. Peter's Basilica from it's entrance. Lunch was about one hour and consisted of wine and bread on the table to start with, followed by lasagna and then chicken francese with roasted potatoes. Dessert was tiramisu and espresso. Overall lunch was very good and while it took away an hour of the tour, it was paced just right for a traditional Italian meal, something that shouldn't be missed when in Rome.
From the restaurant we took the short drive to the Vatican museum entrance where we met our second tour guide, Silvia. We were given portable radios and headphones so that we could hear Silvia's narration as we explored the Vatican. Corina (our tour guide through Rome) remained with us for the tour to keep the herd together from the back, but Silvia led the tour through the Vatican and there wasn't one moment of silence. Silvia probably could've talked for days about the Vatican and Michelangelo. It just came naturally, not like a memorized and rehearsed script. She didn't rush through the tour either. She frequently made stops to point out certain pieces that were worth explaining a little more in depth. Prior to entering the Sistine Chapel, she gathered the tour and explained everything you could possibly learn about it. She did this outside, because you're not allow to speak or take photos while inside the Sistine Chapel.
Words cannot explain the beauty of the Sistine Chapel. To see natural art like untouched scenery in a remote destination like Alaska is one thing, but to see man made art like this is incredible. We were given a total of about 20 minutes to admire it before meeting up with our guide by the exit.
From the chapel we walked out and around to the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica where Silvia again talked us through everything we were seeing. It is the largest Basilica in the world and even though we were a group of almost 40 people, it felt like a private tour. Silvia walked us through section by section and explained everything she could, giving us plenty of time to look up in awe and take plenty of pictures.
We exited the same way we entered, which led us to St. Peter's Square, which is much bigger in person than you would think from pictures you may have seen. Even the pictures we took don't do it justice. In fact non of our pictures do justice for anything we saw on this tour. We walked towards our bus' meeting point at which point we saw the Swiss Guards and were able to take pictures of them (not with them, of course). And a quick tip for any one looking to purchase rosary bead specifically from The Vatican, whether for yourself or as a gift for someone back home... as you exit St. Peter's Basilica (looking out to St. Peter's Square) and head down the steps to the right, they'll be a small doorway leading to a book store. Walk in and turn to your right and at the cash register they have rosary bead necklaces and bracelets, complete with a carrying case bearing the Pope's crest printed on it. While everyone was taking pictures I had plenty of time to run in and grab a couple, I believe they were 3 Euros each.
Outside the meeting point there were more shops but as the other reviews say, they were a bit expensive and you won't find rosary beads there. We said good bye (and thank you!) to Silvia and got back on the bus for our long drive back to the ship. Take advantage of the quiet bus ride and give your feet, your eyes and your camera's battery a much needed rest.
157 of 157 people found this review helpful.
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Review 2 for Rome & The Vatican
I traveled with:Family
Cruise Date Month:May
Cruise Date Year:2013
Favorite port:Barcelona, Spain - as a debark (Gem)
I want to go here next:Europe
Date:May 14, 2013
Recommend or not to
I am on the fence on whether to recommend this one or not. Conceptually, it can be a great tour. That is if managed correctly. If not, it can be a nightmare.
I don't expect this first observation to be the rule but if it happened to us, it can happen to others. Upon the bus departing from the port to begin the tour, it was discovered that the bus suffered from two faults. No working PA and AC. Mechanics can fail but there is no excuse for not checking the functionality of important items such as these BEFORE the bus arrives at the ship terminal.
They managed to get the PA going about midway through the drive but the AC never came on and there was not even any air flow through the overhead vents. Needless to say the bus became rather uncomfortable.
Not enough time was allowed at the Collusion to see and photograph it on foot. Less time driving around and more time parked allowing those of us who want to at least see it from more than just one side would be an improvement.
The crowds at the Vatican are going to be huge. That's a given. One guide per group is not enough. The guide will walk ahead and leave the back of the group lost in the crowd. Likewise, even before the walking tour started, the bus guide and the walking guide spent a lot of time in back and forth discussions (over what, who knows, as they spoke in Italian) and thus we stood around waiting and killing time before going anywhere. It gave the appearance of a disorganized effort.
They need to inform group members that backpacks may be targeted for forced checking meaning you may have to leave important items (water bottles, camera lenses and whatever) at the check centre. Of course it would have done us no good to know that as due to the AC problem we were going to have to switch buses at this point and would not be able to leave anything aboard the original bus. The guide appeared to know little if anything about the bag check process and thus after leaving the Sistine Chapel those of us who had lost our backpacks due to the check had to find our way to the check out (somewhere back by the entrance) to retrieve them. Thus for some of us, no opportunity to visit St. Peter's.
To sum it up, though potentially a nice tour, if it's severely disorganized, all of the pleasure of the experience is lost. Should you choose this tour? Your choice. As for my wife and I, we wish we had taken on of the other shore excursion options.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Review 3 for Rome & The Vatican
I traveled with:Family
Cruise Date Month:July
Favorite port:Barcelona, Spain - as a debark (Gem)
My second time to Rome so I was able to enjoy it in a much different way. We did not go into the Colosseum but spent about 30 min outside. To tour that place, you need half a day. Then we had an early lunch at Taverna restaurant. GREAT lunch! Then off to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. It's a very rushed tour due to all you get to see, but it's really good. Time at the gift shop and bathroom too before leaving. The bus ride there and back from the ship is about 1.5 hours, each way, you'll appreciate it on the way back :) Highly recommend it!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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Review 4 for Rome & The Vatican
I traveled with:Family
Cruise Date Month:May
Favorite port:Naples, Italy
I want to go here next:Alaska
Date:July 11, 2012
Too much in too little time
We were in Rome on a Saturday in May, so many locals on top of all the tourists. Lunch took more time than expected, so we felt rushed in the afternoon. the morning statrs off with an 1.5 hour drive from the port to Rome. We got off at the Coliseum and had time for pics. We didn't get to see the Trevi fountain for lack of time and the fact that the bus is too wide for the narrow streets. After lunch we headed to the Vatican museum, chapel and basilica. There were a lot of people and we were constatly getting separated from the group. This is the way to go for those who don't fell confident enough to explore on their own. There were others on the ship who took the train in from the port and went to the vatican right before lunch, the best time less people. They had pre-purchased their tickets and their excusrion cost a fraction of ours.
This trip was expensive. But, the tour made it possible for us to see the Vatican. The excursion maximized what we were able to see in Rome and we made a few friends along the way. The tour guide was charming and did a wonderful job.
Well, I don't even know where to begin. This tour was worth more than the price charged. Honestly, there is no way we would have been able to see the things we saw if it weren't for this tour. Unless you were to hire a guide and have them purchase all your tickets in advance (which was the case for this tour) you will probably spend a good portion of your day just waiting in lines. Being able to see the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel was simply breathtaking. Actually, all the sights we saw on this tour left me mesmerized. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone and after speaking with many others on this excursion; it seemed everyone was impressed with this tour.
I have to mention this, because I feel it is extremely important. Traffic getting to Rome from the port was horrific. It was so bad that our guide had to change the order of our tour. If it weren't for her insight, we would not have been able to see everything that was promised on this tour. Kudos to them for being able to improvise based on conditions!
I was very impressed with the lunch that was included. It was a full three course meal consisting of a pasta dish, salad, meat and dessert and also included wine, coffee and water. The food was served promptly and arrived hot and fresh. I was extremely grateful for both the speed of service and the quality of the food. This meal alone could easily run $20 per person and to have it included was just another highlight. After lunch we went straight to the Vatican Museum, followed by the Sistine Chapel. We then proceeded on to the other sights listed. Overall, this was a very full day which maximized the time spent in port.
One thing I really thought was useful on this tour was their usage of headphones so the guide could talk to the group without having to stop each time she wanted to say something. This is something that would be useful on every excursion that involves a lot of walking and history.
Another thing I would like to mention, on this tour we met a lot of wonderful people. As a matter of fact, one of the couples on this tour was on the "Wonders of Lucca and Pisa" tour we had taken the previous day. As luck would have it, this one couple was part of the group who had gotten lost. They also shared with us their dissatisfaction with the previous day's tour. At the end of the "Rome and The Vatican" tour, I asked them for their thoughts. They couldn't stop gushing about how much of a difference there was between how these tours were handled. And the best part, they didn't get lost!
We chose this tour because seeing the Sistine Chapel was my number one priority, but the entire tour was informative, fast-paced, and memorable.
We started the tour, like all port tours in Italy, with a long bus ride. Our guide gave us a historical overview along the way. As we drove through Rome, she pointed out sites of interest from the bus. We drove by the Palatine and around to the Colliseum, where we stopped for about 15 minutes to take pictures. This was time enough to get some nice snapshots, but not time enough to go inside (which we didn't expect). The crowds in mid-June are unbelieveable. I cannot imagine trying to negotiate the streets of Rome without a guide!
We then drove to lunch, pasta, thinly sliced beef, tiramasu, and wine. Though the lunch was good, I really would have rather chosen my own menu and avoided the mass-feeding nature of the lunch and enjoyed it with my own party rather than being forced to lunch with others. Nevertheless, since it was all taken care of, it lessened the stress.
After lunch we went to the Vatican museum which is absolutely without equal. We walked through football field sized corrdiors of treasures from the ancient world--statues, frescos, tapestries, paintings--it seemed to never end. But, eventually we found our way into the Sistine Chapel for an awestruck pause.
After that, we continued into the Basilica of St. Peter, where thousands of tourists, pilgrims, and worshipers thronged the corridors. Staying with the guide is essential, and sometimes difficult due to the large number of people, but the experience is well worth the discomfort of the crowd.
After viewing the Basilica, we went into the courtyard where we were given some time to explore, take pictures, and grab a gelato or drink. The bus return to the port was uneventful as nearly everyone fell asleep.
This is an excellent way to see Rome if you wish to concentrate on the Vatican City. It is a very complete tour of that and also allows a quick glimpse of other sites in Rome (enticing us to return!). There is a great deal of walking and the old roads and buildings are not made to accomodate disabilities. Wear comfortable shoes and be ready for an amazing day!.