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Cruises to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Corsica (Ajaccio) (Photo:Gerardo Borbolla/Shutterstock)
Corsica (Ajaccio) (Photo:Gerardo Borbolla/Shutterstock)

About Corsica (Ajaccio)

No doubt about it: Ajaccio is our kind of cruise port -- easily explored on foot; crammed with good restaurants and well-stocked, unusual shops; and blessed with a harbor so pretty that local artists jostle with each other for a good painting spot from which to capture it.

On a sunny, Mediterranean morning, the harbor sparkles like sapphire-tinted cut glass. Even the poorest history scholar won't take long to work out who Ajaccio's favorite son was: Multiple streets are named after Napoleon Bonaparte, who was born here on August 15, 1769 -- just a few months after the island of Corsica was finally claimed by the French, after being ruled for more than four centuries by the Genovese.

You'll still find Italian influence here in some street names and in the local cuisine; though essentially French, it has a spicy undertone and features pork as a popular ingredient.

In terms of shops and restaurants, Ajaccio feels 100 percent French. Expect pretty patisseries, stylish fashion shops and pharmacy windows, packed with every beauty accessory known to woman -- but at prices so high they would make a Parisien gasp. This is an island, after all; everything has to be imported, and that's reflected in the price tags. So be warned: This is not the place to make major purchases.

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DAY 1: Barcelona

7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Corsica, Naples ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Barcelona

7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Toulon, Marina di Carrara ...
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Cruise Line:
Virgin Voyages
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DAY 1: Barcelona

7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Marseille ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Cannes

7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Cannes
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Monaco
Visiting:
Le Lavandou, Barcelona ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Malta
Visiting:
Trapani, Golfo Arranci ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Cannes, Corsica ...
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Cruise Line:
Disney Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Corsica, Rome ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Seville, Barcelona ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Naples, Florence ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Sete, Marseille ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Dubrovnik, Athens ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Corsica, Genoa ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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28 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Genoa
Visiting:
Rome, Corsica ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Monaco
Visiting:
Toulon, Barcelona ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Corsica ...
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Cruise Line:
Azamara
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10 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Tuscany, Portofino ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Gibraltar, Corsica ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Mykonos, Kusadasi ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barbados
Visiting:
Bonaire, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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20 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Corsica, Marseille ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Minorca ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

26 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Florence, Portofino ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Corsica, Barcelona ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Corsica (Ajaccio)

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Golfo Arranci, Corsica ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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Why go to Corsica (Ajaccio)?

Pros:

Outside the city, Corsica offers ample opportunities for adventure such as hiking and kayaking

Cons:

Those not keen on "getting lost" in the streets might be a bit underwhelmed

Bottom Line:

Despite its small size, Corsica is full of historic sites, trendy eateries, unique shops and beaches

Corsica (Ajaccio) Cruise Port Facilities?

Unless you have time to hire a car or take a ferry along the coast (not recommended on a short cruise ship call), you don't need to hang around the Gare Maritime. Instead, head left outside the tender pier and keep going straight along the road to get to the heart of Ajaccio's action: the pretty market square, the hotel de ville (town hall), the lovely Genovese old town and the best shops.

Realistically, it's hard to see much outside of Ajaccio with only a few hours to spend ashore, as the spectacularly craggy and densely forested Corsican interior is not easy to negotiate. If you do decide to venture further afield on your own, allow plenty of time to get back before your ship sails.

Good to Know?

Heavy traffic! The French will not be parted from their cars, and the Corsicans have obviously been infected by their passion. Given that Corsica is one of the most under-populated islands in the Mediterranean, the level of traffic in Ajaccio defies belief.

Getting Around?

By Taxi: Taxis are metered, but you can agree on a set price with the driver if you want to hire him or her for a certain length of time. The best way to do this is to walk to the tourist office (just a few minutes from the port) and have them call you a cab; they can make sure you get a fair price and help you communicate with the driver, who typically won't speak English.

By Bus: Ajaccio is walkable enough that most cruise passengers likely won't need to use the local bus service, but it does provide affordable transit to the beaches west of the city. Catch the no. 5 line from Place de Gaulle.

By Rental Car: The nearest rental agency to the cruise port is about a five-minute walk away at the Ajaccio Hotel Kalliste (51 Cours Napoleon; 33 4 95 51 61 81; open daily).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency in Corsica is the Euro, and credit cards are widely accepted. You can check currency conversion rates at www.oanda.com or www.xe.com.

You'll find plenty of banks in town. There are several on or around Place Foch, including Credit Agricole and LCL. Banks are typically only open on weekdays, but their ATMs are accessible 24 hours a day.

Language?

French is the official language of Corsica, but there is a local dialect -- called Corsu -- which sounds rather similar to Italian (hardly surprising, given the island's Genovese heritage). Locals will speak some English in Ajaccio but less in the more rustic, outlying villages.

Where You're Docked?

Smaller ships dock right next to the Gare Maritime, while others will anchor and tender passengers to a nearby location. This large building offers little reason to linger; aside from toilets, snack machines and the booking desks for local ferry companies, there's not much of interest. On weekend mornings, the small Forain Market sets up on the waterfront outside the port, offering bags, belts, clothing and other items.


Corsica (Ajaccio) Cruise Reviews

Marella Discovery 2
Malleykatt
Sail Date: Jul 2019
We love Corsica. Ajaccio is easy on the feet. We did the HoHo bus trip well worth doing. If you arrive in port on a Monday however the main draw of Napoleons birth place is closed.... Read More
MSC Grandiosa
kiwiatheart
Sail Date: Dec 2019
The ship berthed at a pier close to the town, so it was easy to walk around the town and the harbour. The lines to re-board the ship were very long and the process took over an hour. There was no MSC presence to... Read More
Emerald Princess
SeaJack59
Sail Date: Oct 2019
One of the highlights of our cruise. Corsica is a French island but was an Italian Island for much of its history. Corsica sill has much Italian influence and personality, so much so that even the oft times arrogant... Read More
Celebrity Constellation
SKYLAI
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Ajaccio is a port with a small town and few beaches. Best thing to do is swim at the beaches, otherwise you can walk about the town or take a bus tour to go around the town and look at the scenery from the second... Read More
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