I and my partner shall be taking a Celebrity Med. cruise at the end of August 09. Civitavecchia will be the port of embarkation. We've toured Rome and the nearby vicinity before. So this time we're going to skip it and plan on doing a pre-cruise tour to the Amalfi Coast on our own (the only port of call close to the Amalfi Coast is Naples, and we plan to do Pompeii as an excursion touron that day). We shall arrive four days prior to embarkation.
My specific questions are:
(a) we shall be arriving Rome in the evening (after 9 pm). Is it better to check-in at an airport hotel nearby, and then rent a car to drive all the way to the Amalfi coast early in the following morning? Or should we first take the train to Rome Termini, and then change a bus to reach there?
(b) I learn from the tourist website of Amalfi coast that the area is served by local buses and ferries. Should we take advantage of that or we just drive at our own pace?
(c) after the tour,can we return the car in the city of Rome, and then head straight to the port of Civitavecchia, or we need to get back to the airport first for returning the car?
We have not driven in Italy before, so it is kinda adventurous to me at least. But my partner is keen to explore this option.
I know my questions above are kinda atypical for this forum, but your assistance and advice would be greatly appreciated.