The development of the cruise industry in Marseille echoes the new image of the town. In 20 years, the number of passengers increased from 30 000 to 1,5 million in 2015. The piers of la Joliette host 68 vessels with 27 different companies including Costa MSC.
Welcoming 450 stopovers and 68 vessels of 27 different companies, Marseille is the top cruise port in France and the 5th Mediterranean port.
Marseille will host, thanks to its significant infrastructure et its ship repair sector, the Royal Caribbean International in 2017, the largest ocean liner in the world, built in Saint Nazaire by STX France. The north of the harbor is being enlarged as the entrance is dangerous in rough seas (+ 50 m / works to be finished by 2017). More secure maneuvering and stopovers will encourage the owners to come back on a regular basis. The Digue du Large is actually being extended in order to protect the ships from the sea when the Mistral wind blows (30 m X 23 m enormous concrete caissons laid out in a solid rockfill).
Cruisers are the best ambassadors of Marseille as they export the image of the city in France, in Europe and in the world. Leisure activities in Marseille and its region are very varied (visiting the town and the surroundings, shopping, coach excursions, visits of the calanques, diving, mountain bike tours, nature and cultural activities, waterfront activities, restaurants…). The economic spin-off is enormous, they are estimated at 80M€ per year.
To the climatological and natural wealth, you can add the cultural distractions, the historical curiosities and the ease of transportation (TGV, highways, underground, tramway, bikes) ;
The new strategy is to attract wealthy clients (american, chinese, inhabitants of the United Arab Emigrates), developing the airlines.
The J4 hosts the smaller cruise ships. It is the most accessible, very close to the Vieux Port, the cruisers can walk to it. Even closer are the restored historical monuments (la Major cathedral, its esplanade on the Vaults, the Fort Saint Jean, « le Panier ») and the new buildings ( “Terrasses du Port” and the MuCEM…).
Les méga paquebots sont réceptionnés à la porte 4, au Môle Léon Gourmet, sur le chemin du Littoral- 13015/ sortie n°5 sur l’A55. Ce Terminal, du nom de MPCT (Marseille Provence Cruise Terminal), répond parfaitement aux attentes des croisiéristes mais aussi des armateurs, car le parking payant et surveillé est aménagé devant le terminal d’embarquement (les premières 40’ sont gratuites / + 2€ de l’h. / 13€/J).
For a few months, « floating cities » have followed each other on the piers of the GPMM. After the Allure of the seas of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (5.400 passengers), next year the Harmony of the Seas of the same company (6.300 passengers), then the Carnival Vista, the new ship of the Carnival Cruise Line (4.000 passengers), and finally the Norwegian Epic of the Norwegian Cruise will come back (4.200 passengers).