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Marseille Provence Cruise Club outlines port infrastructure, sustainability plans

Article-Marseille Provence Cruise Club outlines port infrastructure, sustainability plans

Marseille expects to receive between 110,000 and 120,000 river cruise passengers in 2022
Marseille Provence Cruise Club laid out plans for the provision of shore power and revealed the Port of Marseille Fos will facilitate LNG bunkering operations for MSC Cruises from November.

Shore and solar power

The Port of Marseille Fos has invested more than €50m in a plan to provide shore power to all berthed ships. To date, the Port of Marseille is the only Mediterranean port – and one of only 14 worldwide – to regularly offer high voltage shore-to-ship power on a regular basis. 

Work will also get underway to equip ferry berths at the new Cap Janet terminal with shore power, with delivery expected sometime between summer 2022 and spring 2023. The capacity of its internal electricity distribution network is already being increased from 30.5MW to 68MW. The upgrade, due to be completed by the end of the year, will allow power to be supplied to Cap Janet and provide for loops in anticipation of power point installation at cruise terminal berths. 

A new substation is being built to convert electricity from 50Hz to 60Hz for cruise ship connections and solar panels are being installed on the roofs of six of the port’s sheds, with a total power output of 9MW. In less than six years, Marseille will have increased its internal electricity supply’s capacity four-fold, from 18MW to 77MW, fulfilling its aim of providing shore power to all passenger ships. 

Extensive work is being undertaken for solar panel and charging point installation at cruise terminals; the terminals’ staff and passenger parking areas will also be fitted with charging points and charging points for coaches are being considered.


LNG-powered Costa Cruises’ Costa Toscana and AIDA Cruises’ AIDAcosma make their maiden calls at Marseille on March 6 and April 28, respectively.  

From spring 2023, the Port of Marseille Fos will also receive regular port calls by MSC Cruises’ first LNG vessel, MSC World Europa. The line has signed a partnership agreement with Total to supply fuel for the ship, with the first bunkering operation due to take place at the cruise terminal in November 2022 using a barge.

Carnival Corp. & plc and Shell carried out the first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering at the Port of Marseille Fos for Costa Smeralda in 2020.

Easing congestion

Marseille Provence Cruise Club will continue to improve passenger traffic; access to Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica is now limited to four coaches per company per half day. The restriction, taken in consideration of locals as well as cruise passengers, shortens the transit time of coaches bringing tourists from the city centre, reducing emissions and congestion. New regulations are due to come into force this year at other popular sites, such as Le Panier.

Since March 2, shore excursions carried out in compulsory ‘bubbles’ have been scrapped in Marseille. The cruise line making the port call can now choose whether or not to apply the waiver, depending on the regulations in force in the vessel’s flag country.

New Blue Charter

A new Blue Charter, which aims to improve air quality for Marseille inhabitants,will be drawn up covering air pollution and biodiversity for the entire Mediterranean. It will contain more rigorous points to adhere to than 2019’s Blue Charter, especially in regard to decarbonation. Currently being drafted by the government, local authorities, Marseille Provence Cruise Club and private operators, it will be released in November 2022 for implementation from January 1, 2023.

The 2nd edition of the Blue Maritime Summit takes place in Marseille on October 20.

2022 outlook

Marseille received 1.8m cruise passengers in 2019 and expects to exceed that figure in the year ahead, with 38 port calls already planned for the J4 dock. New to cruising in Marseille this year are: Azamara’s Azamara Onward (ex. Pacific Princess), Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s Evrima and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Beyond. The port anticipates the return of US passengers as well as a return to pre-pandemic levels.

Between 110,000 and 120,000 river cruise passengers are expected this year, owing to 820 port calls by 25 ships, as the association forecasts that river cruises will return to normal levels.


After cruises there resumed on July 4, 2021 Marseille received 160 port calls and over 350,000 cruise passengers – 130,000 on turnaround calls and 220,000 in transit – and hosted 18 cruise lines and 35 different ships. As for river cruises, which restarted on June 30, some 280 cruises (of which nearly 80 were from Provence ports) welcomed around 15,000 to 20,000 passengers who sailed on a combined 20 ships out of 25 that were in service.

Jean-François Suhas

Marseille Provence Cruise Club, which has 62 private and public-sector members, unanimously re-elected President Jean-François Suhas at the association’s board and annual general assembly on March 9. He has been at its helm since 2015.

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