In Monaco on the last full day of the Mediterranean cruise aboard Crystal Serenity, there was definitely excitement in the air as it was race day for the Monaco Grand Prix.
We enjoyed breakfast on the back of the ship overlooking Monaco and the various ships and yachts anchored off of the coast. By looking at the ships, we could see that the sea was a little rougher than yesterday but thought nothing of it as the anticipation of going to the race occupied our conversation.
Other cruise ships had arrived in Monaco. Below you can see Silversea Muse and two Azamara ships (with the blue bottoms).
The ship below is a Seabourne ship that is anchored at the dock in Monaco.
We had made plans to meet with the Monaco Tourism person who we had run into the previous day at the Tender Boat exit of the ship at 11 am. By the time we arrived at the gangway, there was already a line of people waiting to get off of the ship to go to the race.
It was at this time that we heard an announcement on the ship that the waters in the Mediterranean Sea were too rough to attach the Tender Boat to the ship and that they were waiting for the waters to calm before allowing passengers to disembark as there were safety concerns. People had been able to get off of the ship earlier in the day to go into Monaco, but no one else would be allowed to depart unless the waters calmed.
We waited for quite a while, and then when they made another attempt to tether the Tender Boat to the ship, it was very apparent that the sea was too rough. The captain came down to assess the situation and determined that for the safety of the passengers and crew, there would be no tenders to Monaco any more today.
Obviously, this was extremely disappointing news, especially for those who had specifically taken this cruise to attend the Monaco Grand Prix. Many passengers were upset, but thankfully all were understanding that this was a safety issues and completely out of the hands of the crew.
There was an announcement throughout the ship that no Tender Boats would be taking people into Monaco. With some passengers having purchased expensive tickets, and even hotel suites to view the race, they would be receiving a letter from Crystal for use against insurance claims outlining the situation. Some passengers, however, had not purchased travel insurance and would not be compensated. Those who purchased the shore excursions through Crystal Cruises would receive a refund.
You can see the Tender Boat in the photo below. The picture does not truly capture the roughness of the sea, but it was extremely choppy and the captains’ decision was very understandable. His concern now was focused on getting the passengers that had left the ship earlier in the day, back on board before it got too late.
The Tender Boat was never successful in tethering to the ship and need to turn around to the pier in Monaco to wait out the rough seas and hopefully bring the passengers ashore back to the ship.
Since we were not able to attend the race, we went for lunch with the Monaco Tourism representative instead.
From our vantage point during lunch, we could see the other cruise ships anchored in the Mediterranean make attempts at getting their passengers into Monaco. It appeared to us that since their Tender Boats seemed to tether lower on the ships than Crystal Cruise, that they were successful in ferrying passengers back and forth. This is complete speculation on our part in regard to the tethering of Tender Boats, as we are not experts in this by any means but we later confirmed with Silversea that they were indeed successful. We have not confirmed this with other cruise lines.
At the end of the day, we respect the decision made by the captain and no race would be worth the risk to life and safety of passengers and crew.
We were able to hear the sounds of the race on the ship, which only proved to make missing the race a little more painful.
Here again, is a photo and video from the pre-qualifying races on Saturday.
Crystal did set up the Stardust Room for people to watch the race together.
Of course, the race was also available on the television in our cabin.
With the unexpected day on the ship, we went to Palm Court to see the view and were able to take some pictures of the afternoon tea service. As we had consistently been ashore when afternoon tea was happening, we did not have a chance to experience it for ourselves. And, having had a large lunch previously, we did not join it this time as well. Guests we spoke to did mention that they enjoyed it.
Once again, in the late afternoon, our butler delivered our afternoon appetizer.
On our last night on Crystal Serenity, we decided to take advantage of the service that is available for guests in the Penthouse and above cabins. We ordered food from the two specialty restaurants aboard the ship, Silk Road (Japanese cuisine) and Prego (Italian cuisine).
During a cruise (per segment) guests can only visit these restaurants once each due to the seating limitations in the restaurants. However, you are able to order the food and have it delivered to your cabin as often as you like (again for Penthouse categories and above).
We also learned from more seasoned guests who had cruised aboard Crystal ships 10 times, that there is a wonderful desert that you can order (a day in advance), that is not on any of the menus. They were actually kind enough to surprise us by ordering it for us when they placed their order for theirs. It was a wonderful Salzburger Nockerl!
It was spectacular!
We chose to top it with strawberry sauce.
Later that evening, we heard fro the contact from the Monaco tourism board that we had met aboard the ship that she was able to make it into Monaco. To add pain to our misery, she sent us photos of the passes that we were going to receive for the race.
The next day we arrived at the final port of the cruise, Marseille.
It is here that we would be disembarking and ending our journey aboard the Crystal Serenity.
Monaco Shore Excursions
Obviously, the big excursion for the day was the Monaco Grand Prix. For those that were lucky enough to depart the ship prior to approximately 11 am, before the sea got too rough, it was a fantastic day. For those not attending the Grand Prix, there were plenty of other excursions to participate in and those who had purchased excursion and could not depart the ship on a Tender Boat, they were provided refunds from Crystal Cruise. Again, anyone who had made their own arrangements, separate from Crystal Cruise excursions, would have needed to contact their travel insurance provider.
Prices are per person, applicable only to this sailing, and in USD:
- Monaco Grand Prix Exclusive Grandstand Experience $1,299
- Flavors of Nice $129
- Nice & Eze $99
- Cannes, Grasse Perfumery & St-Paul-de-Vence $199
- Eze & Cap Ferrat (afternoon departure) $99
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