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Sailing Through History IV- Monte Carlo, Nice & Cannes

The Delights of the French Rivera

The trip to the Italian cruise ship port of Civitavecchia took about an hour. Rome is not actually on the Mediterranean Sea. It is located on the Tiber River, and the Tiber is too small for cruise ships to sail on, so cruise passengers are transferred to this port to board their ship. It was a nice sunny afternoon when we arrived at the berth of the Emerald Princess and it surprisingly took only about 30 minutes to get our cruise cards and board the ship.

The Emerald Princess was brand new and it showed. This was only the second sailing of the luxury liner and I had booked two adjoining mini-suite accommodations for the four of us. The Emerald Princess Atrium and Piazza is the center of activity on the ship and as we entered this area on deck 5, I found the stunning brass, marble and glass decor a delight.

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Our mini suites had king and two twin beds with a separate seating area, two television sets and large bathroom with a tub. We would be more than comfortable for the next 12 days on the ship.

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After depositing our carryon luggage in our cabins, the next order of business was lunch in the Horizon Court buffet on deck 15 where we could look out through the wall to wall windows at the port.

Satisfied from a great meal for lunch, I explored the ship and then headed down to our suite for some rest and relaxation before sail away and dinner. The rest of the evening flew by and we turned in for bed excited about arriving at our first port of call, Monte Carlo, Monaco, the next morning.

In what seemed to be to me, the middle of the night, I woke up and looked at the clock. It was already 6:30 am and Reginald was getting ready to hit the gym. We had an early morning tour scheduled for that day so I got dressed and headed up to the Horizon Court for breakfast. As I got off the elevator and walked through the doors of the buffet area, my jaw literally dropped. There, laid out before me was the gorgeous port of Monte Carlo, looking just like a picture post card. We had docked in the center of Monte Carlo and Monaco.

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Monaco is located between the South of France and Italy, right on the Mediterranean Ocean. Monaco is country of monarchy with Prince Albert II as head of state. The country is only about two squared kilometers in area, but still boasts a population of over 30,000 people, making it the most populated country in the world. Monaco is made up of several areas; Monte Carlo, Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Fontvielle and Larvotto Beach. Monaco is well known for its tax haven status, and has a great deal to do with its exclusivity and appeal. It is also well known for tourism as a playground for the rich and famous, with its renowned Monte Carlo Casino. The Grand Prix is another major part of Monaco too, but it does boast many other exciting sports and activities.

I quickly finished my breakfast and hurried down to my cabin to get ready for the day. Reginald, Mom, Yolonda and I met our tour group on the dock and set off for a tour of the French Riviera. Our driver took us through the streets and sights of Monte Carlo while the tour guide described life among the rich and famous inhabiting the country. I was not surprised to learn that crime was extremely low in Monaco (because almost everyone has money there). We left Monaco and headed into France and drove along the beautiful coast to the city of Nice, France. Here we stopped to stretch our legs and wander around to see the sights.

The capital of the Riviera and fifth largest city in France, NICE lives off a glittering reputation. First popularized by English aristocrats in the eighteenth century, Nice has all the advantages of a major city: superb culture, wonderful street life and excellent shopping, eating and drinking, all set against a backdrop of blue skies, sparkling sea and beautiful flowers and greenery. We walked down the narrow streets, looking at the lovely buildings and enticing shops. I was dying for some more coffee since it was still fairly early, so we stepped inside a small coffee shop where I used the few French words that I remembered from my college language courses to order an expresso.

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After we had walked a while and purchased a few gifts to take home, we started back toward the group meeting spot. On a side street I found the most wonderful thing, a small wine shop that was having a sale! Totally excited to death about my find, I bought several bottles of French wine to take back to the ship for enjoyment later on. Leaving Nice, we drove further along the coastline to the famous city of Cannes where we stopped for lunch. Cannes (French pronunciation: [Kan] is one of the best-known cities of the French Riviera, a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival. The city is also famous for its various luxury shops, restaurants, and hotels. The restaurant chosen for our group lunch was right on the waterfront, near the marina loaded with large boats and more than a few yachts. We were served a delicious lunch including wine, and then were given more free time to see the city on foot. I climbed a long set of stairs to a lookout point and took several photos of the marina and the surrounding area. It was all just too beautiful and once again, I could not believe that I was on the French Rivera, in Cannes, enjoying wonderful food, wine and French hospitality.

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As our lovely day in Monaco and France came to an end, I looked out at the stunning scenery on the drive back to the ship and I marveled that I had spend time in a place that I had only dreamed about ever seeing. It's a long way from Alabama, USA to the French Rivera, and it was definitely worth every mile!

Coming next, a walking tour of Florence and Pisa, Italy. To be continued.....

Posted by Gerriv 10:22

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Comments

I'm going to have a girlie moment: SQUEEEEEE! Gerri, this is so good! The Emerald Princess is amazing! How new is the ship?

LOL about the wine! French! YAAY! How good is(was) it?

You look like you are having a fabulous time! Everything's so beautiful and your details put me right there with you. *sigh* One day...

Keep writing!

by Amaya Radjani

Hey Amaya! I am SO GLAD you like my blog! I am having a great time writing it and reliving my trips at the same time! The Emerald Princess was launched in 2007. Reggie and I sailed on her again back in April and she still looks brand new.

The French wine was wonderful! We drank a glass or two at every sail away during the trip. I did manage to bring 1 bottle home, it was so inexpensive that I wish I had brought home more.

I am working on the next chapter on Florence and Pisa. I took about 500 photos and trying to select just a few is hard!

Yes, one day you will take your dream trip to Europe too. You just have to keep dreaming and start planning, and it will happen!

by Gerriv

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