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.
If you are driving why not see if you can return the car in Civitavecchia instead of going all the way back to Rome
So many good questions. If you plan to rent a car, than stay out of Rome and rent your car at the airport. Most of the rental car companies do not charge a one-way drop charge as long as you drop the car within Italy. The closest rental car office tothe ships in Civitavecchia is Hertz, which is only a 3 block walk from the port entrance where there are free shuttle buses to the ships. Now, the tough part. Driving to the Amalfi coast is a bit complicated (especially around Sorrento) so you would want to have a GPS to make life a lot easier (you can probably rent a GPS from Hertz). Another rental car company that works would be Europcar, but there office is a bit further from the port (a long 10 block walk or a taxi). Driving the Amalfi drive is fun (at least for me) but trying to park in or near Positano is not for amateurs. Many park along the upper Amalfi Drive but you can find yourself more than a mile from the town. There are a couple of pay parking garages down in Positano (there is only a single one-way road that winds through the town) but it can be very expensive to park. Public transit along the Amalfi coast is possible by using the SITA bus from Sorrento, but the buses can be crowded and not always convenient. There are some jet boats/hydrofoils that run from Sorrento to Positano and/or Amalfi, but the run infrequently and you need to plan carefully and work with the schedules. By the way, getting to Sorrento on the train is possible, but you must first take the train from Rome to Naples and than change to the private Circumvesuviania Train Line.
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