Known to locals as le Midi (or midday), the south of France is one of the most popular destinations in Europe during the summer. Stretching from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and bordering both Spain and Italy, it’s home to many top spots such as the French Riviera and Provence.
This part of the world is known for its fragrant lavender fields, medieval towns, sun-drenched beaches, adventures and fresh seafood and produce-based cuisine—a result of the optimal mix of sun and sea. Fortunately, you can enjoy a taste of the south of France both on land and at sea—and much more—when you take a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Set your sights on a world of flavors, from fresh sushi to authentic Italian favorites, wines from around the world and thrills like surfing and rock climbing. Name your vacation must-haves and you’ll find there’s a cruise for you on board ships like Wonder and Odyssey of the Seas, to name a few.
If you like the south of France, here are the things to see, do and savor with Royal Caribbean that’ll give you a taste of the area’s beauty, food, wine and more.
Get Your Thrills
There are many ways to get your heart racing in the south of France, whether it’s taking in the intoxicating scent of Provence’s vibrant lavender fields on a walk, cliff diving in La Roque-sur-Ceze or climbing the Pyrenees. Like in the south of France, there’s plenty of excitement in store for you and the whole family on Wonder and Odyssey.
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The epic views provided by cliff diving or hiking, you’ll love the simulated skydiving adventure and rock climbing walls.
If plunging from great heights is your thing, brave 10 stories of twists and turns by going down The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea. Or get that rush on Odyssey’s RipCord by iFly, the skydiving simulator where you’ll float inside a wind tunnel.
For a front-row seat to ocean views, hit the rock climbing walls on Odyssey and Wonder—once you reach the top, take it all in. Odyssey even features the North Star—an all-glass observation capsule that offers panoramic views from 300 feet above the ocean. Kids can get their very own thrills and stunning vistas at Wonder Playscape, an outdoor, underwater-themed play area on Wonder with multistory slides, climbing walls and activities to explore.
Pro tip: Like in La Roque-sur-Ceze, a village in the south of France known for cliff diving, the AquaTheater on Wonder is where high divers—along with slackliners, aerialists, acrobats and more—perform daring feats from as high as 55 feet.
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Surfing in Biarritz, you’ll love hanging ten on the FlowRider.
On land, the swell comes and goes, and you never know what the waves will do—if there are any. On Wonder and Odyssey’s FlowRiders, surfing conditions are always ideal. Grab a boogie board and ride the rushing water on your belly or try shredding while standing up—the FlowRider is for pros and beginners alike.
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The famous lavender fields of Provence, you’ll love Central Park.
In Central Park—a lush, open-air neighborhood in the middle of Wonder—you can wander down walking paths surrounded by more than 20,000 real plants while birdsong plays overhead. And if you’re craving a bite, take a break at restaurants like 150 Central Park, Chops Grille or Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar.
Pro tip: Central Park is one of eight distinct neighborhoods. Each one has a variety of experiences for all ages, such as food and drink options like The Mason Jar Southern Restaurant & Bar as well as thrills like a 10-story-high zip line and high-speed waterslides.
The south of France is brimming with incredible food and wine, like freshly caught fish paired with a crisp glass of rose. In fact, vineyards thrive in southern France, where long days and balmy temps create ideal grape-growing conditions practically all year. Wonder and Odyssey have you covered with several of France’s best varietals—and many more—as well as a range of dining options that will make the whole family happy.
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Delicious dishes, you’ll have many to choose from thanks to a variety of restaurants, bars and lounges.
Many memories are made at the dinner table, and there are plenty of places and ways to make them on board. Whatever you’re feeling, whether you want to grab a slice of pizza at Sorrento’s, tacos at El Loco Fresh, steak at Chops Grille, pasta at Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar or wings at Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Royal Caribbean has something to satisfy every craving.
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Fresh seafood, you’ll love our sushi, sashimi, oysters and lobster—and there’s more where those came from.
If seafood is what you’re after, on Wonder, hit up Hooked Seafood for New England-inspired dishes like freshly shucked oysters and the Messy Fish Sandwich, or get the lobster and crawfish gumbo as well as the crab beignets at The Mason Jar Southern Restaurant & Bar. On Odyssey, enjoy sushi and sashimi at Izumi, grilled lobster at Teppanyaki—and the list goes on.
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Wine tasting, you’ll love the ample selection at Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar.
While comprehensive wine lists can be found at restaurants and bars throughout every ship, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar on Wonder and Odyssey, Royal Caribbean’s twist on the Italian trattoria, has an extensive menu of red, white, rose and sparkling wine from around the world, 50 of which can even be served by the glass.
If you want to expand beyond wine, take your pick from a lineup of cocktails inspired by the destinations we visit, like the Bahamian Goombay Smash and the Jamaican Planter’s Punch.
Pro tip: Are zero-proof cocktails your preference? Find them anywhere on board. Some favorites are the Blueberry Nojito and the Watermelon Mint Lemonade. Even teens have a selection of shakes and beverages they can enjoy at their own “bar” while kicking back at the teens-only Social100: The Patio.
Relaxing to the Max
From the glamorous shores of the French Riviera to the white sand, clearwater coves surrounded by high limestone cliffs in Calanques National Park near Marseille, the south of France offers truly luxurious havens to unwind. Odyssey and Wonder, too, have no shortage of places to kick back in style.
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Lounging in luxury like those visiting Cannes, you’ll love Wonder’s Suite Neighborhood and the jaw-dropping suites on Odyssey.
Wonder’s eighth neighborhood, the Suite Neighborhood, invites Royal Suite Class guests to enjoy a private Suite Sun Deck. There, you can look forward to a stunning plunge pool, loungers, a bar and iconic ocean views. Plus, find your very own private restaurant, Coastal Kitchen, and the Suite Lounge just a few steps away.
While there are all sorts of suites with a variety of amenities on board Odyssey, indulge in the Royal Loft Suite. The two-story home away from home offers panoramic views, a private balcony and whirlpool, and even a Royal Genie—your personal cruise expert that will make your vacation dreams a reality.
Pro tip: On vacation with the whole family? Feast your eyes on Wonder’s 1,346-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite. Located in the Suite Neighborhood, it accommodates up to 10 and features two stories of fun for everyone, from an in-suite slide to a cinema room and karaoke area.
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Coasting on the French Riviera’s finest beaches, you’ll love the pool decks on board.
The pool decks have everything you could need for a sun-soaked vacation with your loved ones, like resort-style pools, shady casitas and whirlpools, ocean views for miles in any direction, as well as Splashaway Bay, a kids’ aqua park; and The Perfect Storm, a trio of high-speed waterslides. Whether it’s day or night, there’s also live music at The Lime & Coconut, where you can grab the signature cocktail, which is a blend of coconut rum, guava syrup, coconut milk and lime juice. And when it’s time to recharge, several places where you can eat are nearby, including grab-and-go Mexican street fare spot El Loco Fresh and Solarium Bistro.
Want a vacation that combines the best of the south of France with an escape from the everyday? Find your ideal Royal Caribbean cruise here.