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8th October, 2014

Monte Carlo Monaco

Today we are in the pretty city of Monte Carlo, on the island of Monaco.  We approached the harbour mouth and the plan was to go straight in, Bow in as we call it. I had ordered a tug as the wind had been blowing hard and Monte Carlo is not a place you try and enter with any wind as there is not much room to manoeuvre and there are a lot of shiny expensive “Toys” in the harbour. I certainly didn’t want to use them as a fender.

However as we approached the sun was rising, the wind had eased but our tug was delayed as it had broken down. So I made the decision to head in, so I held the ship about 2 feet off the corner of the breakwater and slid the ship in slowly. All went according to plan and we were bow to bow with HMS Echo. This is the RN ship that had been involved in looking for the Malaysian Airline in the Indian Ocean. I also thought it would not be a good career move if I scratched the paint on one of Her Majesty's Ships so I edged in very easily.

We were all fast just before 8:00am, with the first of our tours departing shortly after. Fortunately we had clear blue skies once again, with temperatures of around 22 degrees, much to everyone’s delight, especially with the poor weather you’ve been experiencing at home.

Monaco, home to the Grimadi family, is quite a magnet for the rich and famous. This is really a city that lives up to its glitzy reputation with its winding streets, marvellous views and famous Monaco Grand Prix Circuit.

Today our guests had an option of three different tours including ‘’Scenic French Riviera’’, a lovely panoramic coastal drive along the winding roads of the coast and mountains. Guests on this tour were taken to a vantage point where they were able to experience exceptional views of the coast stretching from Italy to Cap Martin and Monaco. 

‘’Highlights of Monaco’’ was a tour that gave passengers an opportunity to take in such sights as the Royal Palace, Casino and Cathedral. This walking tour was for the more abled bodied taking you through the Old Quarter before enjoying a spot of free time.  Our other tour on offer today was ‘’Riviera Helicopter’’. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity where our guests were able to enjoy a helicopter ride over the Riviera, giving them amazing views that stretched for miles. This was definitely one tour sure to make any friend envious.

For those who wanted to stroll ashore at their own leisure, and take in the sights for themselves, there was still plenty to do independently, for example visiting the tomb of Princess Grace Kelly.

We slipped away just before 1300 and set course for Barcelona, leaving the beautiful landscape of Monaco behind us.

Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting some familiar faces at The Britannia Club Cocktail Party, with over 400 guests this cruise having done over 35 nights. I must say it’s always a pleasure seeing familiar faces many of whom have become great friends over the years. The only disadvantage for me is I’m slowly running out of stories to tell!, and everyone has heard all my jokes!!

It is also quite poignant, as I said to the passengers, as tomorrow on the 9th October, 17 years ago, I walked down the Eastern Dock Jetty to join Saga Rose, and I have never looked back since…

After another delightful meal, most proceeded onto main show time where we were treated to the wonderful music from the talented Kenny Martyn, a multi-instrumentalist who delivers everything from Jazz to Ragtime.

For those night owls, we had yet more entertainment following on from main show time this evening up in the Drawing Room. Tonight’s spotlight cabaret was with our female vocalists from the Explosive Production Cast. Presenting ‘’Ladies Night’’ they sang songs from both the 60’s and 70’s.

So, once again, another successful day here on board Saga Sapphire.

Captain Alistair Mclundie

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.