Trip Log Pre-Cruise Day 1: 8-Night Silver Anniversary at Sea Greek Isles Cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy – Orlando to Rome

Trip log, day zero. Orlando to Rome.
8-Night Silver Anniversary at Sea Greek Isles Cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 
June 10-11, 2023

Welcome to the start of a trip which has been in the works since March 2019. I cannot recall what exactly happened to derail our 2020 plans, but it must have been something. Anyway, we are finally headed to Greece, the only difference is the ship with the Disney Dream taking over the European itineraries from the Disney Magic, as well as one less day then originally booked. Our first stop, Orlando International Airport (MCO).

MCO Terminal Carpet
MCO Terminal Carpet

For those of you flying out of MCO, check your terminal/gate assignment. Not all terminals/gate areas offer the same mix of culinary offerings. You may want to stop elsewhere for lunch or dinner if you have the time.

MCO Terminal B Vino Volo Salad
Lunch at Vino Volo at MCO

In the past, we’ve opted for the cheapest possible transatlantic flights even if it included 2 stops. However, we wanted to limit our potential risk of missing connecting flights. We found an AirCanada flight with 1 stop and decided to book since both legs were with AirCanada.

MCO AirCanada

The first leg was from MCO to Montreal (YUL) where we had about a 90-minute layover. That was barely enough time as we left Orlando 30 min late and then once we arrived in Montreal, we sat on the tarmac for about 50 minutes after landing due to an issue with the plane at our gate which was having some mechanical issues preventing it from backing up from the gate. Thankfully, there were 24 people on our flight scheduled on our connecting flight to Rome. AirCanada held the Rome flight to allow everyone on our flight to successfully connect.

AirCanada Flight Map MCO YUL
MCO to YUL Flight Map

Less than 5 minutes after we were seated, we left the gate to start our transatlantic flight to Rome (FCO).

AirCanada Flight Map YUL FCO
YUL to FCO Flight Map

We made it to Rome, and most importantly, so did our checked luggage! Almost time to relax, but first we need to get from Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO) to Civitavecchia. We built in a pre-cruise buffer of a day in the event there was any issues with our flights. I highly recommend arriving near your embarkation port at least 1 day ahead of your cruise. This also give you some additional time to adjust to the new time zone. Since we had the luxury of time, we opted to take the train from FCO to Civitavecchia instead of booking a private transfer to standing in line for a taxi.

There are numerous kiosks and booths to purchase train tickets. One airport representative told us to keep walking past the first ticketing area which had a long lines and we ended up passing 2 or 3 other locations before finding a mini-store of sorts where there was a gentlemen selling tickets just before the elevator up to the train platforms. The line was only a few groups deep, but the given this was our first time we opted to purchase the ticket from a human to ensure we had the proper tickets in hand.

FCO Train Tickets

Taking the train from the airport to the port requires some work, but it is CHEAP. I would not recommend this to families with younger children who are not able to help with your luggage or those with mobility limitations as there are points in the journey where you need to move quickly. The train will not wait for you to get on or off, they have a schedule to keep. In terms of a Port Adventure description, I’d say this is an active experience with a moderate to athletic activity level that involves various levels of accessible concerns.

There is no direct train from Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO) to Civitavecchia. We boarded the FL1 train at the airport (FCO) which we took 7 stops to the Roma Trastevere railway station.

The FL1 train took just under 30 minutes to go from the airport to Roma Trastevere. We did not have any problems getting a seat with enough space for our luggage.

Once at Roma Trastevere railway station, we proceeded down stairs and back up stairs to a neighboring platform (we repeated this process again after realizing we were on the wrong side. There is a high chance we would have missed the connecting train if we hadn’t been in a conversation with two others headed to the port – we later discovered they were members of the onboard DVC team) where we waited to board the FL5 train which then takes you to Civitavecchia which is the 5th stop.

Rome Train Roma Trastevere Station

I am not sure if our experience with the FL5 train was typical or an anomaly based on the time of year and time of day. When the train arrived at Roma Trastevere, the train was packed. I am not joking. The doors opened and the entryway was already packed with luggage and not discernible path onboard. When in Rome, GET ON THE TRAIN – the door will close on you. We squeezed into the entryway and stacked the luggage up in what could be construed as a real life game of Tetris. This is part of the adventurous portion of the train experience. The 5 stops on this leg of the train took about 45 minutes, all of which had us squeezed into the same entryway. Hey, for just under 5 EURO per person to go from the airport to the port, I cannot complain.

We’ve arrived, almost. We exited the train in Civitavecchia and had one last decision to make: hop in a taxi for a 4-minute drive, or walk under a mile to our hotel. Although we were running on fumes from what already seemed like a full day of travel, we walked. Hindsight, this was just a warmup for our port days.

Civitavecchia Train Station Hotel Traghetto Map Walking Directions 20230611

We’ve arrived, our final destination for the day, the historic Hotel Traghetto which is essentially one of the closest hotels to the port, and is the absolute closest lodging to the cruise terminal shuttle bus transfer area.

The hotel has a total of 39 rooms, small in comparison to a lot of hotels near popular cruise ports. The room we booked featured 3 twin sized beds, full bath, TV, a small refrigerator with free water, and excellent WiFi.

From our room we could look out and see the traffic circle and a glimpse of the port area.

Civitavecchia Hotel Traghetto View

The roundabout seen from our room is the same shown in the image below. The hotel says HOTEL and the white tent you can see on across the street is the cruise shuttle bus area.

Civitavecchia Hotel Traghetto Exterior Cruise Shuttle

The complementary shuttle bus area is a very very short walk from the hotel.

Check out this incredible key chain for the hotel room key. This was made of solid brass components and was actually kinda awesome.

Civitavecchia Hotel Traghetto Room Key

No sleep for the weary time, we are sticking to our new time zone. Shortly after settling in to our hotel room, we headed back out to explore the streets of Civitavecchia. Along the way we passed a poster for a Peter Pan show at the Hotel San Giogio on February 11th.

Civitavecchia Peter Pan Poster

It’s always fun to walk through local grocery stores when traveling. There are two grocery stores in close proximity to our hotel and the port shuttle. We stopped in PAM Panorama along Piazza Vittorio Emanuele less than 10 minutes from the hotel.

We stopped a nearby pastry shop, Danilo Coffee Bistrot, for a quick snack and a half bottle of wine.

We continued to walk around and checked out a few more shops along the street until the pizza shop, Maestro Titta, near the hotel re-opened for dinner. I was not to sure what to expect by the corner pizzeria that was located between the hotel and the cruise shuttle bus area. On paper, this is prime real estate and often places like this are overpriced and poor quality given the huge traffic they receive from cruise passengers. However, I am happy to report this was not the case. The moment we walked in and saw the food on display along with a telltale sign of quality: a local women picking up some takeout for dinner. The pizza was delicious and the wine was refreshing.

There were a number of interesting items, and pictures inside the pizzeria, but this old topographical map of Civitavecchia by engraved by Achille Parboni circa 1844 stuck out as the most interesting as the port has evolved over the centuries to its current state.

Mastro Titta Pizzeria Civitavecchia

As well as a La Tribuna newspaper supplement from June 21, 1896 with an illustration of the Pope’s (Pope Leo XIII) Mass for the crews of the English fleet anchored in the port of Civitavecchia.

Mastro Titta Pizzeria Civitavecchia 1896 Newspaper

After dinner, we walked back towards the port area walkway, the fort is on the map just above the compass direction. From there we could see Fort Michelangelo, an imposing fortress, built in the 16th century.

Along the walkway we stopped at FondoPanna for Isabelle to get some coffee gelato.

FondoPanna also makes an incredible Aperol Spritz which can be enjoyed in a lovely courtyard overlooking the port. Although, my back was turned to the port since the sun was aimed right at us. This spot would be a great place to enjoy the sunset.

After 24hrs of trains, planes, and automobiles, it was time to get some much needed rest so we can be fresh for embarkation day.

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4 Replies to “Trip Log Pre-Cruise Day 1: 8-Night Silver Anniversary at Sea Greek Isles Cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy – Orlando to Rome”

  1. Brett B.

    An excellent trip to be sure! My wife and have our dream (not the ship) cruise as a Greek Isles/Mediterranean cruise and that will happen after I retire next year, what better way to sail it on Disney… soon.

  2. Jorge Mompo

    Hi Scott, I’ve been on the Disney Dream also on your dates, June 12th thru 20th, Italy & Greek Isles..!

  3. Tammi

    We were supposed to go to Greece on DCL in 2021, but it was cancelled and we still haven’t gotten to go. I am excited to read your trip report to live vicariously through your experience.

    When we flew to Barcelona in June 2018 we flew Air Canada, but it stopped in Toronto and Montreal. We had thunder storms in Toronto so left late for Montreal. By the time we got to Montreal all flights to Europe had already left for the night. Air Canada put us up in a hotel and rescheduled us on flights for the next evening. We got an unexpected day to explore Montreal (which was pretty amazing), but we lost a day in Barcelona (we were supposed to have 2, but only got 1). At least we still made our cruise.


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