Who goes there: AIDA Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Princess Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Star Clippers, Swan Hellenic, TUI Cruises.
Cruisers like: This beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea has been a part of France since 1769. It is famous for its relaxed vibe and there are a number of cafes, restaurants and shops in Corsica’s capital, Ajaccio. Influenced by local produce, the cuisine in Corsica is unique. Expect to eat anything from wild boar to seafood and river fish. Ajaccio is rich in history and has fascinating sites such as the Monument to Napoleon I, The Grant Hotel, The Hotel de Ville and Napoleon Bonaparte’s House, which is now a national museum.
Best for: History buffs and couples.
Getting around: The cruise terminal is only a five-minute walk from the centre of Ajaccio. There are small tourists trains and a double-decker bus tour which goes around the city.
Who goes there: AIDA Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Star Clippers, Voyages of Antiquity, Windstar Cruises.
Cruisers like: Cannes is a resort town on the French Riviera and is famous for its film festival which attracts some of the world’s biggest movie stars. The coast is lined with sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques and palatial hotels. The iconic waterfront avenue, Promenade de la Croisette, is known for its restaurants, cafes and boutiques. There are also a number of museums including the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence and the Musée de la Castre, which houses artefacts from the Pacific Atolls, Peruvian relics and Mayan pottery.
Best for: Families.
Getting around: Cruisers who arrive at Cannes on bigger ships will be tendered to the town. The quays are very close to marketplaces, open air cafes and restaurants. The railway station is nearby and there are plenty of tourist buses.
Who goes there: Azamara Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Viking Ocean Cruises.
Cruisers like: Cherbourg was an important naval base during the Napoleonic wars. The city has a number of learned societies, such as the National Academic Society of Cherbourg, and several museums dedicated to its residents. One well worth a visit is the Muséum Emmanuel-Liais, a museum of natural history, archaeology and ethnography, in the former home of Emmanuel Liais, mayor of Cherbourg, astronomer and explorer. There are also lots of military and religions monuments to visit. For the foodies, you can’t go past the fresh seafood so look for lemon sole, red mullet, scallops and mussels when ordering.
Best for: Foodies and maritime history lovers.
Getting around: There are shuttle bus transfers from the cruise terminal which are sometimes free, but some cruise lines charge up to seven euro for the service. If you want to take in some of the sights, it takes only 10-15 minutes to walk from the cruise terminal to the city centre.
Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Crystal Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Silversea, Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Antiquity, Voyages of Discovery.
Cruisers like: Honfleur is located at the mouth of the Seine River and both ocean and river ships call at this beautiful town, which is held to be the birth place of the impressionist and romantic movements. Artists like Eugéne Boudin and Claude Monet painted this picturesque town and it remains a popular vacation spot. Saint-Catherine’s church is one of the most famous sites in Honfleur. It is believed it was constructed after the Hundred Years War. Other churches, built in the Gothic style, include the Église Saint-Étienne.
Best for: Art lovers and couples.
Getting around: There are three docks in Honfleur and taxis are generally available. There are also shuttle buses between the port and city centre.
Who goes there: Crystal Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Princess Cruises, Swan Hellenic, TUI Cruises, Windstar Cruises, Voyages to Antiquity.
Cruisers like: La Rochelle is a picturesque town which is great for outdoor lovers – it combines the best of the seaside with forests and chalk cliffs. It is the third most visited city in France. Attractions include its small botanic garden and big aquarium, home to 10,000 species of flora and fauna. One of France’s biggest music festivals, FrancoFolies takes place every summer in La Rochelle.
Best for: Nature lovers and couples.
Getting around: As there is no regular bus service from the port and few taxis, the tourist information office arranges a free shuttle to transport passengers between the port and a bus stop where you can catch a buses every 20 minutes straight to the main bus station in La Rochelle.
Who goes there: AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea, Voyages to Antiquity.
Cruisers like: Marseille is the second largest city in France after Paris. Fpunded more than 2,500 years ago, it is now a major centre for art and history with many museums and galleries. Those interested in history and architecture should visit Hotel de Ville, Marseille’s city hall, which was built in the 17th century, and the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure, built in the 4th century and enlarged in the 11th century. For the foodies, try the traditional Marseille bouillabaisse, a seafood tomato broth soup served with French crusty bread. And the locally made aioli, a sauce made from eggs, lemon juice, olive oil and lemon juice served with boiled fish.
Best for: Foodies and history buffs.
Getting around: Marseille is the main cruise port for France and while some cruise ships provide shuttles for its guests, the terminal is a distance away from the main town. If you want to make the most of your visit to the city, organise a tour beforehand.
Who goes there: AIDA Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, SeaDream Yacht Club, Seabourn, Silversea, Windstar Cruises, Voyages of Antiquity.
Cruisers like: Take a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, which follows a sweep of beach along the Mediterranean and is home to the Hotel Negresco, the city’s most famous palatial hotel, constructed in 1912. Place Masséna, the city’s main square is surrounded by lovely historic buildings where you’ll find perfume shops and designer boutiques. There are a number of other squares to visit, including Place Rossetti and Place Garibaldi which stand out for their architecture and history. While in Nice, try some local specialties such as the roasted vegetable dish Ratatouille or fried bread called Beignets. Nice has a huge range of cuisines including Nicoise, French, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish and Italian.
Best for: Families.
Getting around: There are three main cruise terminals in Nice – smaller ships dock at the Quai du Commerce and Limpia. Both are near facilities such as tourist information, taxis and currency exchange.
Who goes there: Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Fred. Olsen Cruises, Swan Hellenic, Seabourn.
Cruises like: Rouen is the capital of the region of Normandy and was one of the most prosperous cities in medieval Europe. It sits on the River Seine and can be reached by smaller ships (as well as river cruises). Rouen is known for its Notre Dame cathedral, which has an ominous Gothic facade and was the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet – some of which can be found in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The Jardin des Plantes de Roun is the city’s botanical gardens, which is a lovely place to visit. There are lots of museums as well.
Best for: History buffs and couples.
Getting around: There are two cruise terminals in Rouen, both quite close to the city centre. There are plenty of taxis available.
Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Star Clippers, Voyages of Discovery, Windstar.
Cruises like: Known for its relaxing resort lifestyle, St Tropez is great for windsurfing, sailing and canoeing. Many visitors flock to the city for its array of water sports including scuba diving. Visit the Citadel of St Tropez which is a well-known tourist attraction. One of the best places to stay in is the Hotel Byblos and Les Caves du Roy. The city is a holiday destination for the rich and famous – many of which, have sleek super yachts and sailing boats moored around the harbour.
Best for: Couples, fashionistas.
Getting around: Saint Tropez doesn’t have a cruise terminal so you will most likely be tendered to the Vieux (old) or to the Noveaux (new) port.