December 8, 2011
As an added bonus, British cruisers have the option of taking the high-speed Eurostar and TGV trains to Marseille, a journey of seven hours with one easy change at Lille, effectively turning a week on Epic into a no-fly cruise.
Multiple embarkation points in the Mediterranean is standard practice now for MSC Cruises, which also operates seven-night voyages out of Barcelona, boarding further passengers at ports including Genoa, Civitavecchia and even Messina in Sicily. Costa Cruises does the same. With several ships carrying 3,000 or more passengers all departing Barcelona simultaneously on busy days in summer, spreading the load makes sense, as it takes pressure off flights. But it does bust the traditional rhythm of a seven-night cruise, as there's no longer a common "first night" or "last night," a concept more traditionally-minded cruisers may find unsettling. --by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor