Chances are, your cruise ship or ferry with a destination of Rome (Roma) docks at the Port of Civitavecchia, the modern port of Rome located west of the Eternal City. From there you may need to get to the airport or into Rome (or the reverse if you need to get to your cruise ship). Here's how to do it:
Civitavecchia into Central Rome by Train
There is a train station in the town of Civitavecchia with several trains per hour going to Rome.
Local trains take you to Rome's central station (Roma Termini) in about an hour and 20 minutes. Faster trains can make it in under an hour. The station is close to the entrance of the port, but quite a distance from where passengers usually disembark. Buy your train ticket in advance on Rail Europe.
Civitavecchia to Rome Airport Fiumicino by Train
The Rome international airport, Fiumicino, is approximately 50 km from the Port, along the highway. Inexpensive regional trains leaving from Civitavecchia station go to Roma Trastevere station, where you'll have to change for Fiumicino. Fast (and more expensive) frecce trains go from Civitavecchia to Termini, Rome's central train station, and from there you can take the Leonardo Express train to the airport. Buy your train ticket in advance on Rail Europe.
Passengers of cruise ships trying to avoid the cost of a cruise shuttle to the airport often wish they had paid the price.
While the train connection is inexpensive, the changes make it quite inconvenient for passengers with luggage.
How To Get Out of the Ship Docking Area at the Port
To get to the train station, you'll first have to get out of the port area. A port mobility bus takes cruise passengers to an enclosed area several kilometers to the north.
From there it's a 20 - 30 minute walk to the station or you can take a city bus (about a 15 minute ride to the station, buses every 20 minutes or so). Buses may be crowded and if you're traveling with luggage, this is not a good option.
Thanks for Mary Jane Cryan for the updated information about the arrival area. You can read more about the area around Civitavecchia on her blog, 50 Years in Italy.
Shuttle and Transfer Services
Several shuttle services to Rome and its airports are available. If you're in the US and want to arrange your transportation before you go, you can book your shuttle/private transfer through Viator.
Where to Stay in Civitavecchia
If you're leaving from or arriving in Civitavecchia on a cruise ship or ferry it may be more convenient to spend the night in Civitavecchia than traveling back and forth to Rome with your luggage. Here are top-rated Civitavecchia hotels.
What to do with a day in Port
If you're looking for a smaller, more personalized tour than the cruise ship offers, Viator offers a range of full-day tours with pick-up and drop-off at your ship and an English-speaking private guide.
If you want to travel to Rome independently, see our suggested 4-hour independent walking tour of Rome, or if you want to go somewhere else on your own you can take the train or bus to the nearby town of Tarquinia to see the Etruscan tombs and museum.
Or if you have a lot of time, you can explore other places in the northern part of Lazio, the region around Rome.
Important: If you're going out on your own be sure to allow plenty of time to get back to the ship! Taking a taxi back to the port is probably the best option so you can be sure not to be late.
If you don't want to worry about rushing to get back to your ship on time, you can spend the morning at the market and wandering through the old town, then enjoy a nice seafood lunch in a restaurant, or spend the day at a nearby beach.
See also Linda Garrison's Rome and Civitavecchia - Mediterranean Ports of Call for more on what to do with a day in the port.