thoughts on staying in Marseille for a first timer on Europe cruise

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Cannes, Corsica, Marseille, Nice, Sete, St. Tropez, Toulon, Villefranche. Includes Monaco (Monte Carlo)
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#1
Florida
711 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
Hey all- we are taking our first European cruise next April and am finding that this will be a VERY big and busy trip for us. We are well seasoned throughout most of the Caribbean but are finding out quick that Europe can be jammed packed with tons of things to see and do making the trip somewhat exhausting. (I'm not complaining- I'm going to EUROPE and super excited!)
Back to my question- I do see that there are tons of things to do and see away from Marseille that admittedly look wonderful- but since I will still be reeling from three very busy days in Italy, would you say that there is plenty to do/see in the port town that would be a fund day and we wouldn't feel like we regretted staying in the port town rather than venturing out? This could likely be a "once in a lifetime trip". I am not saying that we won't ever go back... but I don't expect it to be anytime soon.
Any suggestions on neat things that you have experienced/restaurants that are on your "don't miss" list or any other helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.
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#2
New Cumberland,PA, USA
28,156 Posts
Joined May 2000
This topic comes up on a regular basis here on CC so you could certainly scroll back (or search) and find a lot of posts. Yes, you could spend a day in Marselle and find enough to see and do. And yes, it is very possible you will have some regrets about not going deeper into Provence. As to the best choice for a port day, one could write a book . If you prefer to be in a larger city we would recommend nearby (about 40 min by car/bus) Aix en Provence, If you prefer to be away from larger cities then the options becomes more complicated as there are many places and many possible itineraries. Les Baux is high on most lists because its a very picturesque place and compact...which makes it a great tourist destination. For fans of Peter Mayle books (especially "A Year in Provence") one can take a tour to the Luberon and explore some of that fascinating region. DW and I have spent weeks in this region without ever being bored.

Hank
#3
Upstate NY
8,923 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
I see you're doing the Carnival Horizon RT Barcelona cruise. We sailed Vista's 10-day Athens-Barcelona cruise last year. Like your cruise, Marseille was the last port after five busy port days (Malta, Messina, Naples, Rome and Florence in our case). Our youngest son (then 16) would have happily stayed on the ship in Marseille. But no - we had booked a tour to Provence. I don't think he regretted it, and I loved our tour. I want to go back to Provence. I'm not sure that we're going to get back there.

Having said that, I totally understand where you're coming from. Messina was our "on your own" day, where we walked over to the main square, visited the cathedral, went to a trattoria for snacks, and went back to the ship early. From what I understand Marseille isn't quite as easy to walk, but there are posts here from people who toured the old port area and the cathedral on their own using a shuttle that was available.

BTW, keep Horizon in good shape for us. We're cruising on her out of NYC in July.
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Kathy

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#4
London, England
3,534 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
We spent three days in Marseille earlier this year and found plenty to do. Probably the best place to stay is in the Vieux Port area. Lots of lovely bars and restaurants. Very easy to walk around or take public transport.

You can take boat trips to Les Calanques or the bus to Aix en Provence. Do some research and you will find plenty to do.


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#5
Cambs. U.K
1,551 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Lots to do in Marseille- some beautiful things to buy too. Recommend trip over to the Chateau d'If. Go for it!
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#6
England
1,296 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Marseille has a fun little road train which departs from the old port area and takes you up to the basilica on the hill.

You will have to get the shuttle bus into the city. It is not a port where you can just walk off the ship into the city centre. So to a certain extent, it isn't much further to go to Aix, if that is a 40 minute drive.
#7
2,352 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
[quote=nybumpkin;54545670But no - we had booked a tour to Provence. I don't think he regretted it, and I loved our tour. I want to go back to Provence. I'm not sure that we're going to get back there.
[/quote]

You do know that Provence is the entire region stretching from Italy to the Rhone river and from the Mediterranean to the Alps. Marseille is the largest (and not the most interesting) city in the area. It would be helpful to the OP if you said where your tour took you in Provence.

And for the OP - if this is truly a "once in a lifetime" or nearly so, go to Les Baux or Aix or Avignon. You can rest when you get home.
#8
Upstate NY
8,923 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Originally posted by marazul
You do know that Provence is the entire region stretching from Italy to the Rhone river and from the Mediterranean to the Alps. Marseille is the largest (and not the most interesting) city in the area. It would be helpful to the OP if you said where your tour took you in Provence.

And for the OP - if this is truly a "once in a lifetime" or nearly so, go to Les Baux or Aix or Avignon. You can rest when you get home.
Sorry - I do know that but was trying to be brief since OP wanted to stay in Marseille anyway. Avignon, Arles, Les Baux, St. Remy.
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Kathy

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