Monaco: Prince of ports

Principaute de Monaco

It’s one of the most alluring of Mediterranean destinations, offering a glimpse of a fantasy life most can only dream about. Here’s how to make Monaco the real deal for your clients, writes Katherine Lawrey

A principality packed to the rafters with sleek yachts, designer boutiques and Michelin-starred restaurants. A playground for the rich and famous. Who wouldn’t be curious to drop in on such a glamorous lifestyle and experience it for a day?

Paying a visit to Monaco as part of a cruise itinerary is one way to do that. A chance to rub shoulders with the rich and famous, without breaking the bank.

Monaco has a thriving cruise business. Every year it sees about 200 calls, welcoming 200,000 passengers. Welcoming the likes of Viking Cruises, Holland America and Silversea, Monaco is a firm favourite with the premium market.

Old Town - Monaco
Old town of Monaco

Six per cent of cruise visitors will experience Michelin dining while on land, says Corinne Kiabski, press and communications director.

“We have five Michelin star restaurants within two square miles,” she adds. “We’re the gastronomic capital of Europe.”

Dinner admittedly can be eye-wateringly expensive, but lunch is the time to indulge. Her top tip is to look out for a ‘business lunch’ set menu. “You can spend about 20-30 euros and eat very well.” There are also food stalls in the marketplace.

Monaco is a mere 485 acres, and major sites are easily walkable. A city map, downloadable from monacocruise.com, has short cuts and lifts marked on it. For those who want to stay a bit longer, Nice airport is 14 miles away, and the Italian border not far either.

Unlike its French neighbour, reeling from last year’s terrorism attack, visitor arrivals haven’t dipped, claims Kiabski.

“Monaco is very secure – and it’s so small that we can shut the borders easily.”

It has just 36,000 inhabitants, but a staggering 123 nationalities so it’s a very international melting pot. And the population doubles every day when 50,000 workers come in by train from Italy and France.

Whatever the season, visitors will find plenty to do. Monaco isn’t a place that shuts up shop once high summer is over. But one of the busiest times of the year, and the top draw for many, is the Grand Prix every May. “Everyone should experience Grand Prix fever at least once,” says Kiabski. “It’s a crazy day with many people in the town.”

There is plenty of content on visitmonaco.com relating to cruise visits, including a schedule of cruise ship visits.

A revamped website is in the planning, which will take the cruise content even more in-depth, helping cruise agents set up the best experiences that Monaco can offer for their clients.

 

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