The ferry from Barcelona to Rome runs daily all year round. Prices vary by season and accommodation so do your research first.
Cruise Roma is the name of the Grimalidi Lines ferry which departs Barcelona in the late evening (around 10:30 PM) and arrives in Rome, Civitavecchia around 6:30 PM. Delays are common due to the slow process of loading vehicles and trucks and all the security involved at the port of Barcelona.
If you have booked your tickets online or are buying them as a walk-up you must first visit the Acciona Transmediterranea Line building at the port of Barcelona. Inside you will find a line of ticket windows where you can purchase or collect your boarding passes. Expect to arrive at the ticketing terminal about 1 ‘½ hours prior to the scheduled departure time.
Once you have your pass(es) make your way outside to the line forming against the port gate. Wait here for word that the free shuttle bus has arrived. Board the shuttle and stow your luggage in the open baggage compartments at the bottom of the bus.
The short ride to the pier lasts about 4 minutes. Once arrived everyone piles off and reclaims their luggage from the piles below. There is then a line up and a final ticket check before everyone climbs into the open ship at the rear to the left of the vehicle boarding gates. You will enter the ship through two up escalators and landing finally in the main lobby in front of the help desk. A number of crewmembers will show you to your quarters if you have booked a cabin or to the main sitting room if you have booked a Pullman chair.
Cabins on board are small and basic but clean with their own en-suite facilities. Two person cabins are more private than four but cost more. Pullman chairs are as they sound, a basic chair most of which are broken in some way or another and set within a large room. The chairs are set in rows of two or three and there are large luggage racks in the front and rear of the room. Many of the armrests have been broken off intentionally so that sleepy passengers can lay across the rows of three like a bed. There are absolutely zero frills in this class of service and you can expect to get curious and shocked glances from the higher-ups in private cabins as they peer into the large seating hall on their way around the ship.
There is no entertainment in the seating hall save for a single television at the front which works only when close to land and then only with local channels. Luggage is not monitored or secured in any way so keep your most important documents on your person or in a small bag at your seat and leave the rest locked and piled as best you can for the journey.
There is food available on board in a buffet-style restaurant and in the more formal a la carte sit-down restaurant. Both are overpriced with average food quality at best. Expect to spend around 16 euro per person for a three course dinner including a pasta, meat, vegetable and drink. Restaurants are only open for 2 to 3 hour stretches during the trip so pay attention to the announcements which are made in Spanish, Italian and English.
There is also a 24-hour snack bar on board as well as a workout center, gift shop and a shop for various sundry items. On the top deck you will find an outside bar with plastic looking snacks, a small swimming pool and a wading pool as well as deck chairs to sit and take the sun.
The boat makes a stop at Porto Torres in Sardinia after the overnight stretch where a few trucks and passengers will depart and/or board before moving on to Civitavecchia.
Grimaldi Line Ferries