Marseilles is France’s largest and busiest port, welcoming over 1.5 million cruise passengers to its shores each year. As the gateway to Provence and the south of France, Marseilles is a popular stop on Europe cruise itineraries, and offers ferry connections to Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria, and Tunisia.
Day tour destinations from Marseilles include the Provencal towns of Arles (56 miles or 90 kilometers northwest), Les Baux de Provence (50 miles or 80 kilometers northwest), and Aix-en-Provence (22 miles or 35 kilometers north). Highlights of these towns include wine tasting, lavender fields, and sites made famous by artists such as Van Gogh and Cézanne. Heading east along the Cote d’Azur toward the French Riviera, the Mediterranean resort town of Cassis (19 miles or 30 kilometers southwest) can be visited on a half-day tour, many of which include a boat cruise around Calanques National Park. Alternatively, there is plenty to see and do in Marseilles itself. Must-see attractions include the Old Port (Vieux Port), the historic Chateau d’If, and the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Shore excursions typically include port pickup and drop-off.
- Small-group and private tours are often covered by a worry-free policy, offering guaranteed on-time return to your ship.
- Marseilles cruise terminals are spread out over a large area, so be sure that you know which terminal your ship arrives and departs from.
How to Get to Marseilles from the Port of Marseilles
Most cruise ships dock roughly five miles (eight kilometers) north of the Vieux Port, the main center of Marseilles. Some smaller ships dock at Joliette Terminal, which is much closer and accessible by tram and metro. Free shuttle buses run every 30 minutes between all cruise ship terminals and Joliette Station.
The currency used in Marseilles and all of France is the euro; US dollars are rarely accepted. French is the official language here, but English is also fairly common. You’ll find free Wi-Fi at the Marseille cruise terminal, as well as ATMs, currency exchange, and a tourist office.