Cruise Lines Avoid Marseilles

October 6, 2005

As a result of a pretty vitriolic labor strike in Marseilles, some cruise lines with ships sailing Western Mediterranean itineraries are cancelling calls there. So far, Silversea's Silver Shadow replaced Marseille with a stop at Sete; Oceania's Regatta, Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas and Costa's CostaFortuna went to Toulon; and MSC's MSC Lirica and MSC Sinfonia anchored off of Saint-Tropez.

Other cruise lines with ships slated to call there include Celebrity, Princess, and Holland America; so far we haven't heard back from them regarding itinerary rescheduling.

The strike, now in its second week, is the result of worker protests against government plans to privatize SNCM, a state-owned ferry. The strike has gotten so violent that protesters actually hijacked one of the ferries (it was empty of passengers).

For the most part, despite the reroutings, ports are clustered so intimately along this part of the French Riviera that Silversea, for instance, reports that shore excursions remain unaffected.

The port of Bonifacio, on the island of Corsica, is also potentially impacted but few cruise lines, aside from Star Clipper's Royal Clipper and Oceania, call there. At this point, a Star Clipper spokesperson reports there's been no change to the planned call there on Saturday. Oceania's next call is slated for October 14; no changes have been made at this point.