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Cruises to Toulon

Toulon (Photo:David Herraez Calzada/Shutterstock)
Toulon (Photo:David Herraez Calzada/Shutterstock)

About Toulon

If St. Tropez, Cannes and Nice are your idea of the Cote d'Azur, Toulon might come as a surprise. Depending on your tastes, it'll either be a very pleasant discovery, or a bit of a shock. Toulon is devoid of glitz and glamour; more akin to its huge neighbor to the west, Marseille, than the showy towns further east along the coast.

Toulon is a naval town first and foremost, home to around 60 percent of France's fleet (the rest being in Brittany) and wears that association with pride. The naval military complex encompasses a vast part of town, a city within a city really, stretching some eight miles west along the harborfront. You can visit the grounds on a guided tour aboard the city's 'petit train' or take a boat around the harbor where a guide will point out all the naval hardware.

Toulon's other big claim to fame is rugby; in fact the first thing you'll spot as your ship docks is the Mayol rugby stadium, home to RC Toulonnais, or Toulon for short. The rugby team is a major player and has won Europe's top-club rugby union competition, the Heineken Cup, a record three times.

There is also a large fishing fleet, which you can spot from where your ship is moored, and seafood appears on most of the restaurant menus, especially those along the harborfront.

Toulon was first put on the map in Roman times when the area's tiny sea snails (known locally as murex) were used to extract a purple dye to color imperial robes.

Today, Toulon is a bustling, vibrant, multicultural town, with a large population hailing from the former colonies. Although you might well be tempted to take a tour into Provence, it's well worth spending a day here, walking the streets, stopping for a cafe au lait in one of the many squares and stocking up on lovely local produce such as pate, sausage and wonderful perfumed soap, before getting back onboard.

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DAY 1: Barcelona

7 Night
Cruise to Toulon

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

9 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Zadar, Kotor ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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DAY 1: Rome

15 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
La Spezia, Toulon ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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DAY 1: Barcelona

10 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Toulon, Florence ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Toulon ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Malta
Visiting:
Trapani, Golfo Arranci ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Taormina, Santorini ...
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Cruise Line:
Disney Cruise Line
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26 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Lesbos, Istanbul ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
La Spezia, Toulon ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
La Spezia, Toulon ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Toulon, La Spezia ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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6 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Saint-Tropez, Monaco ...
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Cruise Line:
Azamara
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11 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Dubrovnik, Athens ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Monaco
Visiting:
Toulon, Barcelona ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Zadar, Kotor ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Koper, Dubrovnik ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Florence, Monaco ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Tuscany, Portofino ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Golfo Arranci, Corsica ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Samos, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Naples, Rome ...
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Cruise Line:
Disney Cruise Line
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22 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Marseille, Florence ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

10 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Monaco
Visiting:
Toulon, Barcelona ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Minorca, Bandol ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Toulon

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Lesbos, Istanbul ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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Why go to Toulon?

Pros:

Toulon's cable-car system offers a breathtaking view of the city from Mont Faron

Cons:

Some visitors might feel underwhelmed with the lack of famous historic sites

Bottom Line:

The tastes and scents of Provence are prevalent in this modest seaside town

Toulon Cruise Port Facilities?

The cruise terminal itself has little in the way of facilities and no shops, though it does have a surprisingly good market which springs up when ships come in, selling authentic local goods like scented soaps, glassware and ornaments.

A tourist hop-on, hop-off sightseeing service, the 'petit train touristique', operates from the quayside and offers a city tour or a visit to the naval base (the only way you're going to get to see it on land). It's an excellent option for those who have restricted mobility or if you have a strong interest in military history. It's also a good option for visitors looking to visit the beaches east of the city. (February 14 to November 18, 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.)

Good to Know?

Toulon is a busy city, and people should look out for traffic on the congested roads. A lot of the older parts of the city have pedestrianized zones, allowing visitors to explore in safety, but some of the thoroughfares around the port can get quite jammed.

Getting Around?

On Foot: The city lies about five minutes' walk from the cruise terminal, and while Toulon is a large city with a bustling port, the city center is compact, with attractions like the opera hall, stadium, naval museum and art galleries, all accessible without needing public transport. The streets are easily navigable and if you're willing to step off the main drag, you'll be rewarded with small squares and plazas only accessible on foot.

By Bus: Toulon is well served by bus routes and visitors can use them to get around the city and to travel further afield. The bus station, La Gare Routiere (+33 4 94 24 60 00), is a few minutes' walk from the town's main square, Place de la Liberte. A number of bus services run out of this depot with regular routes to destinations including Saint Maximin, Brignoles and Aix-en-Provence.

By Taxi: There is a taxi rank right by the port and others are dotted throughout the city. Companies include Taxis Region Toulonnaise (+33 4 94 93 51 51), which operates a service within the city and also offers sightseeing services, Access Central Taxi (same number) and Chavry Charles Taxi (+33 6 12 11 53 26).

By Car: Toulon can suffer from heavy traffic and driving in the city can be difficult. If you're only in the city for a brief period, it's not worth it to rent a car. If you have longer to spend in the area and particularly if you're planning to visit other towns and cities in the region, renting a car is a good option. Sixt Rent a Car (+33 4 94 166 165), Avis (+33 4 94 00 84 40), Europcar (+33 4 98 01 00 00) and Hertz (+33 4 94 00 84 48) all operate within the city, and have offices at the train station.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The euro. Most cruise ships will have an onboard bureau de change but there are plenty of banks in the city center; the nearest ATMs are in Place Louis Blanc, the large square which marks the start of the open-air market and home to the town's tourist office, a few minutes' stroll from where you're docked. Most shops and restaurants accept credit cards, though not American Express.

Language?

French, although many people -- especially in the city's museums, restaurants and shops -- will speak English, but this should not be relied upon. It's worth learning a few French words and phrases to make your stay more enjoyable.

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships dock at the Quai Fournel, just a short walk to the center.


Toulon Cruise Reviews

Disney Magic
firstsailor
Sail Date: Jun 2019
Segway tour of Toulon. It was very fun. My husband and son were done learning the history since this was our last day but we had a great time on the segways!... Read More
Sapphire Princess
MGBark
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Cute little French town, but a ripoff because Princess does not port in Toulon, but across the bay. The ship charges $25 to go to Toulon. We used public ferry, $4. Shops close around 1pm so get an early start.... Read More
Celebrity Edge
IICAPN
Sail Date: Nov 2019
To access Toulon, you had to board a tender from the cruise dock across the bay. It turned out to be a lot more expensive than expected. I don't recall exactly but seems it was about 30 to 40 dollars each for the... Read More
Celebrity Infinity
greygypsy
Sail Date: Jun 2019
In the past we have taken excursions to Aix en Provence, Marseille and other stops in the Rhone Valley. This time we explored Toulon itself, and it has many pretty parks, good shopping and great eating.... Read More
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