Villefranche-sur-Mer (Port de la Sante) is the cruise port for Nice (France) which by passenger traffic is ranked the busiest on the French Riviera. The town is part of France's Alpes-Maritimes department and has total area approx 5 km2 (2 ml2) and population around 6,000. Other French Riviera (Cote d'Azur) ports include Antibes, Bandol, Cannes, Cassis, Marseille, Sanary-sur-Mer, St Raphael, St Tropez, Toulon, Monte Carlo (Monaco).
Town's limits extend to the surrounding the bay hills reaching up to 520 m (1750 ft) above sea level (at Mont-Leuze). The 3 main roads that link Nice to Italy pass through Villefranche. Town's main (largest) beach is Plage des Marinieres (at bay's northern coast) stretching for 1 km along the railway linking Nice to Italy. Plage de la Darse (pebble beach) is behind La Darse harbour's main jetty.
Local economy is heavily based on tourism and leisure industries, with numerous hotels and restaurants that employ most of the inhabitants. Most popular tourist activities are sailing and deep-sea diving. The port is located on one of Mediterranean's deepest natural harbours. It serves ferries and cruise liners. A large marina serves mega-yachts and pleasure boats). Big-sized vessels anchor in the bay and ferry their passengers to the piers via tenders.
Villefranche-Nice cruise port is popular mainly as port of call on Western Mediterranean itineraries. It is often included in the summer schedules of major cruise lines like Pullmantur (Spain), Marella (UK), P&O UK, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, also the all-inclusive luxury brands Silversea, Azamara, Crystal. Windstar, Ponant, SeaDream.
Villefranche-sur-Mer cruise terminal
Port Villefranche-Nice handles over 0,5 million cruise ship tourists annually and is member ot MedCruise - industry association grouping the largest Mediterranean cruise ports. Villefranche-Nice has two passenger terminals serving separately smaller and bigger vessels.
Small-size ships (with LOA length under 180 m / 590 ft) dock in Nice at Bassin Lympia in Old Town (Vieux Nice Port). It is located right in downtown Nice (at Place de l'Ile-de-Beaute). Large cruise liners dock at Nice's second cruise terminal in Villefranche-sur-Mer. The distance to Nice is just 5 km (3 ml) by bus or train.
Nice Airport is located at just 20-min drive from the cruise port. Tourists can use shuttle bus service or taxis. The cruise terminal provides passengers with free information at its Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Nearest train station is above the beach and accessed via stairway. Regularly scheduled trains connect to Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo. Rent-a-car offices near the cruise terminals are also available.
Villefranche-sur-Mer tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Old Nice: sparkling area of narrow streets, lively facades in Sardinian architectural style. You can see the famous Palais de la Préfecture, Palais Lascaris (dating from the 17th century), Palais Communal Masséna and the Hall of Justice.
- Colourful markets: located in the Old Nice and one of the busiest areas of the city. You can visit the Cours Saleya Flower Market every day of the week except the Mondays. From June to September, there is crafts and arts market.
- Promenade des Anglais: beautiful boulevard at the seafront lined with palm trees. It is also known as the ”walkway of the English’.” It was named like that because the path was founded by an English guy in the early 1820s.
- Saint Nicolas’ Cathedral: the cathedral has the reputation of the ”most splendid Russian Orthodox church.”
- Monaco: you should not miss to visit the breathtaking Monte Carlo.
- Cannes: the iconic home of the most famous film festival in the world.
After July 14th terrorist attack in Nice France, cruise lines called either port calls or shore excursions to Nice (port Villefranche-sur-Mer arrivals). The list of lines included P&O, MSC, Royal Caribbean, NCL Norwegian, Regent and Oceania. Also cancelled were all shore tous from nearby French Riviera ports, such as Cannes and Monaco, scheduled in the next few days. On July 14, 2016, a truck driver accelerated into crowds of revelers celebrating the Bastille Day, killing 84 people.
Port Villefranche-sur-Mer cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Villefranche-sur-Mer, Nice, France Riviera. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
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