Today we were in Monte Carlo, Monaco, a very exciting city full of people with lots and lots of money.
We moored with the starboard side facing the city, and with our cabin on the port side, we had a nice ocean view but would have preferred a city view today. As I reflect back on our cruise, I would say more often than not, the starboard side usually had the preferred views when moored in any particular port. There were only a few ports where the view would be worth thinking about, but if all other things were equal, I would choose a starboard side cabin if I had a choice next time.
We were cleared to go ashore by 7 am, but we didn’t plan to get off until noonish as our plans were rather modest: Walk to the Grand Casino, then back toward the Palace and finally return to the ship.
As we were leaving the ship we noticed a basket full of umbrellas next to the security podium. One of the nice things about this cruise – and maybe every cruise – is that they will provide umbrellas at the gangway if there is any threat of rain. Theres also a bigger, much nicer umbrella that came with our cabin, but fortunately there was only one port where we needed an umbrella ashore: Bali, Indonesia and then for only an hour or two.
We learned later that there was a brief rain shower earlier in the day, but by the time we were leaving the skies had cleared and there wasn’t any rain for the rest of the day.
Once off the ship we passed thru the cruise terminal where there was a tourist information counter with helpful staff and I suggest you discuss your walking route with them in advance as there are certain ways to various spots where you can take elevators to avoid climbing stairs or even walking uphill as much as you might otherwise think was necessary.
Our route to the Casino would follow the Harbor all the way around and ended up being about 1 mile or so. There was a ferry boat that cut across the harbor, but we didn’t investigate its price or frequency of operations.
As we were walking along the waterfront, we discovered that there were grandstands and fencing all along the various streets, as they were setting up for the two Grand Prix races in May – there is the Historic Grand Prix May 13-15 and the regular Grand Prix toward the end of May.
We also learned that as the race course was being set up, many of the cross streets would be barricaded, which made is possible for anyone interested to drive on the course at normal speeds. We saw more than one Ferrari and Lamborghini darting around the course, screaming with high RPMs but not going very fast as they would accelerate quickly and then almost immediately brake or downshift for a turn. I am not sure what the rules are, but there was a steady stream of cars of all descriptions driving around all day.
One surprise as we left the cruise terminal and walked around the city was the complete lack of Taxis. We only saw 2 or 3 all day. We even looked at some hotel entrances, usually a hangout for taxis – but none there either. Once we arrived at the Grand Casino, we thought we would see people arriving via taxi – but no – didn’t see a single one in the 15 minutes we were in the area.
There is a pretty good bus system but we were walking today so didn’t investigate that option, but we spoke with a few people who did and found it inexpensive and easy to use. I would check out the details of how it works at the tourist information counter before you head out, even if you don’t plan on using it, because sometimes your energy level drains more quickly than you thought and it’s nice to understand how the bus system works before you are standing on the steps with a line of people waiting to get on behind you.
The last quarter mile to the Casino was all uphill but we were rewarded with nice views of the harbor with all the amazing yachts on full display. The Amsterdam was by far the largest “yacht” in the area and she looked splendid moored along the pier on the other side of the harbor.
We didn’t go into The Grand Casino as we were pressed for time and you had to check your bags and pay 10 Euros per person. We have been inside a couple times before, but I still always enjoy looking around, but today we didn’t have the time and I didn’t want to pay 10 euros pp for a 5 minute walk thru.
Our next objective was the Starbucks near the Palace. Judy collects the Starbucks mugs with the various city names and we wanted to see if the Monaco Starbucks had a special cup. It was a little over a mile to the Starbucks. We walked thru some of the back streets and now we were going downhill most of the way. The MAPS.ME app proved useful once again in helping determine the best walking route and it was fully aware of all pedestrian only paths and stairs when it developed the optimum routing.
We are never sure if the Starbucks will have a specific country cup, so we were pleased when we arrived and saw that they did have Monaco cups for sale. We paused in the Starbucks to snack on a muffin before we headed back to the ship in time for the all aboard at 3:30.
There was a nice crowd at the sail away – the weather was nice and the view of Monaco as we sailed away was spectacular. The snacks today were a crispy roll stuffed with a semi-spicy pepper and beef. I found it very tasty and had several, but others thought they were a little too spicy.
We had a Lobster Cobb salad last night and tonight we had a delicious Lobster Pot Pie. The pot pies on the Amsterdam are fabulous and always a special treat when they are on the menu.
Rita Rudner did her second show tonight. I wasn’t a big fan when the show started, but she held my interest and the time flew by and she was very funny. One of her better lines – “My husband is good in bed – he lies still and doesn’t snore” That one did crack me up.
There was a theme dinner in the Pinnacle Grill tonight
We are looking forward to the sea day tomorrow.
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