TRAVEL THERE: LUXURY ON STEROIDS
Princess Grace of Monaco, Prince Rainer, Yachting, Wealth, Grandeur, Bond James Bond, the Casino, the French Rivera…we all know what Monte Carlo stands for. Where else in the world would the list of shore excursions include top of the line Ferrari with race car driver – for a few thousand dollars?
What I Wanted
Monte Carlo is a pretty small place. I envisioned stepping off the boat and strolling around the city with the help of some map. In my dreams I would often change companions. One time Bill and I would stroll the street hand in hand. Another time I would envision Deb and I gleefully remarking on the excessive wealth – and not without a tinge of jealousy. In my dreams, I never saw all six of us stomping around trying to figure out what we were seeing.
We would be at the port from early until late and it would be the morning after our vow renewal, so I could imagine Bill and I sleeping late, then visiting the city in the afternoon. I hoped we’d scoot back to the boat and get all gussied up for an actual visit to the casino – not just the tourist part – but inside, just like James Bond. Maybe we’d be that couple who showed up in the last few minutes before the anchor was lifted. The anxious crew would be searching the horizon for our silhouettes and when they realized we were coming they’d be angry that we’d waited so long – but only for a few moments, because when they identified us as the 25th Anniversary couple and saw the love we had for one another, there would be smiles all around.
What I Booked
Because the cash register just kept ringing, I thought Monaco might be the right place to see without an official guided tour. After all, most everything was withing in a one mile radius. Mr. Bill, on the other hand, wanted a guide. That seemed to suit everyone, so we booked a bus tour of the French Rivera.
I still had hopes of coming back to the boat afterwards and dressing to the nines for a visit to the casino, but shortly before cruising, a new opportunity presented itself. The CEO of Celebrity Cruise Lines was coming on our cruise on The Edge. She’d arranged for a wine tasting at the Monte Carlo Yacht Club (Yes, THE Monte Carlo Yacht Club, I didn’t stutter) and an after-hours, special access tour of the Prince’s Palace.
I’d never been all that excited about the bus tour. The town of Eze seemed to be the best part of it, but we’d only have 45 minutes there. The Yacht Club was just too much to resist – regardless of the outrageous price for four hours of entertainment. And there was still a chance I’d get that peek at the Casino. Perfect!
We cancelled the bus tour and booked the Yacht Club. For me, the palace was laginappe. I was just imagining all the ways I could slip “the Monte Carlo Yacht Club” into my sentences after I got home. Did I get to the Casino? You’ll find out. For now, come back next week and we’ll plan towards Cannes.