Marseille swings to growth with 1.7m cruisers forecast in 2018

Koningsdam - one of several new ships booked to visit Marseille this year Koningsdam - one of several new ships booked to visit Marseille this year

If 2017, with 1,487,313 passengers, showed a dip (7%) compared to 2016, significant growth (13.3%) is projected to resume this year for France’s leading cruise port, Jean-François Suhas, president of the Club de la Croisière Marseille Provence, said during the recent 18th edition of the trade event Top Cruise.

Some 88 ships, representing 31 cruise lnies, will make a total of 513 calls, up from 444 in 2017. Transit passengers should number 1,320,000, and 430,000 people are projected to use MedCruise member port Marseille to embark or disembark their cruise.

Costa and MSC most frequent callers

The main lines will be Costa and MSC Cruises, for a total of 315 departures operated by 10 ships for each company.

Seven new ships will be welcomed in Marseille: Symphony of the Seas (Royal Caribbean), Koningsdam (Holland America), Carnival Horizon, Seabourn Ovation, MSC Seaview, Le Champlain and Le Lapérouse (Ponant). The cruise market is also reinforced with calls from Disney, Viking, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises, Seabourn, Windstar and Azamara Club Cruises. German companies TUI Cruises and AIDA Cruises will position their ships on a regular basis, too.

In 2017, the region offered 150 shore excursions or pre-/post-cruise stays. Most prized were Marseille, Cassis, Alpilles and Lubéron, Saint-Rémy de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Les Baux de Provence, Avignon, Le Castelet and Bandol.

No. 4 among Mediterranean cruise ports

According to MedCruise 2017 traffic statistics, Marseille gained one position in the cruise ports ranking and is fourth behind Barcelona (2.7m passengers), Civitavecchia (2.2m) and the Balearic Islands (2.1m).

The French port targets 2m cruisers by 2020.

Posted 01 April 2018

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Michèle Valandina

Michèle Valandina French correspodent