Cruise ports of call: The Mediterranean for couples
Flowers and perfume in Nice
The largest city on the French Riviera is often overlooked as a launching pad to Monte Carlo and small villages of Provence. But Nice itself offers the romance of the French Riviera with a city ambience.
Follow your nose to the Cours Saleya Flower Market where the scent of fresh flower reminds you of the region’s perfumed roots. There are several fragrance shops nearby, including Molinard, which has been selling scents from nearby Grasse, the birthplace of perfume, since 1849. Check out the plant and flower stalls before heading to one of the many outdoor cafes along the pedestrian street adjacent to the market. After lunch, walk one block south to the Promenade des Anglais, the city’s main seaside promenade, where you can stroll along the Mediterranean and enjoy the best of Cote d'Azur people watching. Since many cruise lines stay late in this region, you can return to the Cours Saleya at night when the stalls make way for chairs and tables from the bistros that flank the market, transforming the spot into a row of al fresco restaurants.
Cruises dock at Nice’s Port Nice Quai, about 6k to the Promenade. The port operates a free shuttle to the city centre during high season. From there, the flower market and Promenade are within walking distance.
Many ships spend two days in Israel, allowing passengers to soak up as much of its millenniums of history as possible. If you are looking for a romantic reprieve, it is worth spending one of those days in Tel Aviv’s old section, Jaffa. Now an artist’s quarter, wander the winding alleyways of Old Jaffa visiting the galleries and museums built into its sandstone walls, and sit on a bench to enjoy open squares with breezy views of the Mediterranean. Jaffa is a perfect place to select a piece of jewelry hand-made by a local artist like Alnoam Gebriela. For a romantic lunch or dinner, visit Bistro Noa, set in an alley just outside the walls of Old Jaffa, where the low-lit, unique interior design, inspired by the local flea market, exudes intimacy.
Cruise ships generally dock in Ashdod, about 30 minutes south of Tel Aviv. A taxi from there to Jaffa will cost about 190 NIS each way. Cruises arrive in Israel from Athens, Istanbul, Civitavecchia and Venice.