In typical cruise fashion, we pulled into Marseille in the morning and left in the late afternoon. This gave us enough time to take a quick look at two cities in southern France: Marseille itself, a bustling port and tourist attraction, and Aix, a smaller city about 20 miles inland. Our plan here was to take a taxi from the dock to and from Aix, and then walk around some part of Marseille before boarding the ship. As the ship was departing at 5pm, we decided to target returning no later than 4pm. As it turned out, we needed to take a shuttle bus from the dock into Marseille to find a taxi. All in all, the transportation options worked out as planned.
Aix is a pleasant little city, with a large pedestrian avenue surrounded by quiet streets. The car traffic seems pretty light in this central district. There’s a fair amount of real shopping in addition to tourist shops and restaurants. I took advantage of this and bought a tie. After the previous night’s excitement over the ship dress code, I decided I didn’t need any more drama.
We found another taxi and headed back to Marseille, were we planned to visit the Old Port area and find some lunch. The Old Port, or Vieux-Port, is a major tourist area. It makes an enlongated U around the old port itself, with today is packed with small and not-so small pleasure crafts. There’s a giant Ferris Wheel.
We walked up and down the street for a while trying to find a restaurant that would meet our diverse needs, and then decided to give up and head back to the ship for lunch. We got to the appointed meeting place for the shuttle bus about 10 minutes early, and found a hefty line of other passengers. Fortunately, we got on the bus, but a few people didn’t fit. They had to either wait a half hour for the next bus or take a taxi.
Dinner this evening was stress-free as it was “informal”, which implies sport jackets and no ties. I wore my jacket, while Matteo and many other men in our restaurant didn’t. Go figure. I also should mention I had a nice talk with the Hotel Director Paulo in the afternoon, where we discussed the issues of lamps falling on people (1), the dress code and the dining reservation system. He took notes, but basically said he had no authority to change any of the company rules. He did say that if he got lots of complaints – and I was not the first to complain – it certainly would be reviewed at corporate.
After dinner, Sally and I spent a little bit listening to the jazz duo in one of the restaurants. They were very good.
(1) For the second time, this morning we noticed some water on the floor in our bathroom that was not caused by anything we did. When we showed it to our butler (aka cabin attendant), he said it was happening in other cabins as well. Go beta testing!