ALWAYS fly the day before anything that is important enough that you don't want to miss it (like getting on the ship!!)
I work for an airline, and it never ceases to amaze me the number of people who travel the day of their cruise (or weddings or other important functions). Too many things can go wrong... including things that are totally out of the airlines control including weather(both in origin/destination and the airline hubs) medical emergencies resulting in diversions, etc.
Definately fly in at least one day early in case of delays or lost luggage and to rest a little. We did 3 days in Rome before and one day after our 12 day Grand Med and wished we had done 4 up front and 3 after. The additional cost of hotels and meals for the 3 extra days is nothing compared to paying another airfare to return. We hope to go back to Italy in a year or so and skip the cruise so we can see more.
If you are only staying one day up front, try to fly in early. There is a Hilton right next door to Rome FCO airport (we walked to the airport our last morning). They offer a free shuttle into Rome and back. You can arrange transfer from their (or any hotel) to the port the morning of your cruise departure. I highly reccommend Stefano of Rome Cabs for this. Have fun. Wish I was going with you.
Been there - done that:
2005 Holiday, Sensation, Conquest,
2006 Conquest, Celebration, Holiday,
2007 Freedom Grand Med, Holiday
2008 Fantasy & Sensation,
2009 Fantasy, Holiday & Dream Grand Med
2010 Fantasy and B2B Elation
2011 Monarch of the Seas
2012 Booked - Breeze from Barcelona 12 days
Coming from someone who watched their ship pull away from the dock, YESSSSSSSSSSS!
OMG!!!!! I cannot BELIEVE how you must have felt!
Mariner of the Seas 3/30/08
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."