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Cassis, France

Updated: Apr 21

Day 6: Western Mediterranean Cruise with France

Royal Caribbean | Wonder of the Seas

Today we explored the quaint French town called Cassis. We booked a shore excursion with Royal Caribbean called, “Cassis Discovery and Beach Break. We met at the Royal Theatre at 9am. Once everyone was gathered, we walked off the ship and onto charter buses. We left the port around 9:30am for our journey to Cassis. It was a little less than an hour by bus to a small rest stop area outside Cassis. We then transferred from the bus to the “Petite Train” which was a tram that looked like a train. The tram navigated the provincial roads and we stopped up the road from the marina. It was then a short walk down to a beautiful marina with the backdrop of the French Riviera. A meeting stop was established and we were told about the different attractions in town. Our group of around fifty dispersed.

Amaris and her husband
"Train" to Cassis

We opted for the boat tour that included swimming. We lined up to buy tickets and there were four main tours listed on the signs. Each tour was a different length of time and a relatively large boat. After our guide had told us of the different options, I approached her and asked questions. This is when we learned about the boat tour with swimming. This tour was not listed on the signs. The lady at the ticket counter spoke English and told me the cost was 30 Euro per person regardless of age. I thought this was a little strange since every tour listed had a kid’s price. I asked again to clarify pointing to my young son and she repeated with a less than pleasant tone of I already told you this. She did indeed mean what she said. I guess never question a French. We purchased tickets for the 12:30pm tour and were told to meet at Dock 1 at this time.

Boat pricing
Cassis, France

We had about 90 minutes until our tour so we decided on snacks and beach time. The streets were lined with little shops, restaurants, and bakeries. We stopped at the bakery for a small snack to hold us over past lunch time. I told my son he could pick one item and he choose a giant cookie covered in chocolate. I had the strawberry tart. My strawberry tart was really good, but not as good as I thought it was going to be for an authentic French pastry. My son’s cookie was a lot better. We walked through a tiny park as we ate our snacks and then made our way to the beach. The beach was poised with the classical turquoise blue of the French Riviera and was absolutely gorgeous. My son exclaimed as we arrived, “This isn’t a beach! There’s no sand!” In typical Southern France fashion, the beach was composed of small rocks. I walked down into the water with my son. Brr it was freezing! How it can be 90 degrees out and the water is freezing cold with no glaciers anywhere nearby is baffling. We learned later that it had something to do with high winds. Brian joined us in the water and then I opted to lay out on my towel on the rocks. The walk to the water without shoes wasn’t too bad, but it was tortuous walking back. Lesson learned. Wear sandals when walking on hot pointy rocks.

Snacks in Cassis
Cassis, France

We approached Dock 1 at 12:15pm and I realized we didn’t have any water with us. I walked across the street to buy some and when I returned we were boarding the boat. It was a much smaller boat than the large tour boats and it held 12 passengers and the captain. We move slowly out of the marina and into the Mediterranean Sea. As we get out there, the captain starts talking about the area in French. We all look at him and smile not knowing anything he just said. I don’t even know how we knew, but the last thing he said in French was, “Did everyone understand me? Does everyone understand French?” Brian and I say no in unison and this slight look of terror comes over him. He then opens up a folder and shuffles through papers. He pulls out two sheets of paper and hands one to each of us. He then points to a paragraph written in English that explains what he just said. We were the only ones on the boat that didn’t speak English. I guess not that many English speaking visitors buy this tour! The boat then stops in a nice inlet and he says something in French. One of the other passengers translates for us and tells us that this is the swimming area. Almost everyone is pretty quick to jump off the boat! Tanner and Brian jump off and I bring my younger son to the side of the boat and hand him to Brain. I stay on the boat because I’m not sure how easily Brian can tread water and hold my son who does not have any sort of flotation device on him. The answer is not easily at all. It is really hard to hold a child and tread water! The waves are big enough we don’t want him swimming alone. He’s been doing really well with swim lessons and swimming in the pool, but this another level of swimming. I pull my son out of the water and we take turns staying with him on the boat while others swim. If I had known, I would have brought his puddle jumper or borrowed a lifejacket from the ship. After awhile, we all get back into the boat and continue our tour. We move along the coast turning into the different coves. It’s a very active area with kayakers, paddle boarders, cliff jumpers, and other boats. It was a really awesome experience and worth the long commute from the port! Our tour ends at 2pm which gives us 90 minutes left before our meetup time.

Amaris swimming in France
Swimming in Cassis

We ended our time in Cassis by eating lunch on the marina. Many of the menus here have English written as well, but not everything. I used my phone to translate the things I didn’t understand. Our waiter spoke English so that was nice.

Pizza and fish
Lunch in Cassis

Royal Caribbean offers three main room dining options: early, late or my time. My time means you can change your time throughout the week, but you still need a reservation. I like the flexibility of this, but families with food allergies are advised to choose a dining time instead. We chose the early time because the late dining interferes with my son’s normal bedtime. The nice thing about a set dining time is that you’re at the same table each night with the same waiters.

We arrived back at the boat at 5pm so our 6pm dinner time didn’t give us a lot of time to get cleaned up and out the door. We make it work and when we arrive, the waiters bring one giant bowl of fruit for my son. The staff is outstanding here. There was constantly someone near my son giving him attention so we could enjoy our meal. They also cut-up his steak for him! It was really nice to actually eat my meal when it came out versus helping my son eat his first before eating mine.

Tonight’s dinner was French onion soup, beef short ribs, and creme brûlée! I figured I had to pick the most French items from the menu! Everything was delicious, but I didn’t finish most of it. Our lunch was so late that I wasn’t that hungry come dinner time.

Fruit salad, creme brulee
Dinner on Wonder of the Seas

I notice that there are a lot of families wearing white tonight. I think wow that is one big family coordinating outfits! Well it turns out it was wear white night according to the cruise compass. Oops, I guess I should read the Cruise Compass more often!

After dinner we spend time enjoying the ship. We went to the Promenade for some family photos and then my son wanted to ride the Carousel. We enter the Boardwalk and Brian’s face lights up. “I had no idea this was here!” My son enjoys riding the Cheetah while we watch. I also popped into the candy store to check it out. So. Much. Sugar! I notice that the Playmakers sign also says “Arcade” and I wonder if there is actually an arcade inside. There is! I completely missed this the other night. There is a Mario Kart racing games which has a cost and several old-school games that are free. There is also free ping pong and foose ball. We play in here for awhile then my son wants to go to the playground. We walk past the other arcade on our way so my son plays some more. We do finally make it to the playground, but it’s almost ten now and it’s closed. Off to bed we go!

Cheetah Carousel and Mario Kart
Playing on Wonder of the Seas

About the Author

Amaris is the owner of the Ohio-based travel agency, Adventures by Amaris. Her love for travel began at a young age when she traveled to her parents' home countries of England and Mexico. She continued traveling in High School by participating in a People to People program to Italy, France and Monaco. In college, she spent six weeks in Europe studying abroad and traveling. She visited Spain, Portugal, England, Wales, Ireland, Vatican City, and Italy in a whirlwind summer. Through her adult life she continues to make traveling a priority with her family. Her young son is autistic so navigating the world of traveling with an autistic child brings on new adventures. Her travel resume includes Mexico, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica, Colombia, and Cayman Islands. She is an expert in planning family vacations across the world from Disney World to Europe to worldwide cruises.

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