Trip log, day six. Villefranche, a tendering port of call.
7-Night Mediterranean Cruise
June 7, 2018
Up early to get a blog post uploaded. Emily ran on deck 4, but with our early arrival the forward track was closed off requiring you to run through the doors near the theatre entrance. She expected this & modified accordingly. Deck 4 is a great option to have when you can’t wait until the gym opens at 6am.
After breakfast, we headed to the Walt Disney theatre for our 8AM Port Adventure, Monaco, Monte Carlo & Eze (V04). Due to a tender not being available, we didn’t leave the theatre until 8:40AM to board the tender.
The tender trip was approximately 15 minutes. We passed by some yachts including a slate gray sinister yacht that looks perfect for a James Bond villain. I can’t make this stuff up; on the back was a 007 gun logo. Also, this is one of the shooting locations from the franchise, specifically ‘Never Say Never Again.’
Upon boarding the bus, we were given the same VOX tours headsets we used in Rome so that we could hear our tour guide when we were walking around. For an 8am excursion, we didn’t arrive at our first destination in Monaco until 10 due to the bumper-to-bumper-traffic. Getting behind one of the public busses stopping at each bus stop also didn’t help.
Arriving in Monaco, our bus parked in a bus parking garage under the marine aquarium. Yes, a parking garage full of busses.
It works out since the roads in the area are restricted to property owners and businesses in the area making it much easier to walk around the narrow streets.
Our first spot was the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, where former prince and princesses are entombed along with actress, Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly.
Once were were done with the church, our tour guide pointed out the adjacent high school and government buildings. We continued along to the Prince’s Palace complete with armed guards. At the top of the hour, there is a changing of the guard.
Once our guide distributed the tickets, we entered the queue. We were told that there would be a security check and photos were prohibited. Great; there goes the blogability of this portion down the drain. Honestly, this wasn’t all that interesting to me in the first place and I wanted to bail.
There are two lines; a general standby line and a group tour line a la Fastpass. When we arrived, the standby line was empty as the Palace was only permitting cruise passengers on group tours. However, some Trixie from the palace stopped our group line after half of our Port Adventure group entered. She was rather rude to our guide (Thankfully, Emily knows some French after 6 years of it) and it turns out they were stopping the group tour line to open up the individual standby line.
I was already looking for an excuse to ditch the tour and this was the spark I needed. We were planning to walk through the tour area of the palace then head over to a cafe for lunch. Eating locally was higher on our priority list than some palace that has so much extra space the Prince has his sisters living in apartments down the street.
We walked around the quaint streets looking at the various cafes before selecting one with a selection of savory crepes & local wine.
The food was delicious and the service was excellent.
We had some time before our 12:45 bus departure, so as we were making our way back to the bus, we stopped for macarons and espresso. Both were delicious.
We were told to meet back at the bus at 12:45PM. We managed to get back to the bus at 12:44PM, which was just in time. Sorry, not sorry.
Our next stop on this excursion was Monte Carlo. Our drive took us along parts of the Monaco Gran Prix track which crews were still out working to remove the guard rails install for the May race. We actually walked along the hair pin turn to and from the bus parking garage on this stop.
This portion of the excursion took us to the the casinos and hotels such as the Monte Carlo and Hotel de Paris. The Cafe de Paris is here as well.
We walked around the park and made up for being the last group back at the previous stop by returning to the bus ridiculously early. We didn’t find any of this area to be interesting and we were not here to shop in high end boutiques (not to mention most of these stores are at Mall at Millenia).
Our next stop was the spot we’ve been wanted to get to all day, Eze.
The bus dropped us off and we began our ascent to the medieval village of Eze. The terrain is moderate with uneven brick walkways, I was expecting them to be much tougher to navigate but it ended up being an easy traverse through the paths.
Between the shops and cafes, we could have spent an entire day hanging out eating all the delicious food that smelled so good. After the first 2/3s of this excursion, I was expecting to get off the bus and be told you have 30 minutes to explore. I was happy to hear we’d have nearly 90 minutes.
However after walking around and visiting the church, garden and shops there wouldn’t have been enough time to sit down at one of the cafes. Eze was Emily’s favorite spot.
On the drive back from Eze, our bus stopped allowing us to get out and take some pictures of the Disney Magic.
Another port day and another afternoon where we had just enough time to get back onboard and cleaned up before dinner. This evening’s dinner was in Lumiere’s with the Captain’s Gala menu, guests in Rapunzel’s had the Lantern Menu and Animators had the Animation Magic menu. Our server brought us a cheese plate once again.
After dinner, we went to O’Gills for 90’s music trivia with Tisa and picked up one of the better (in our opinion) drinks of the day, the Ooh La La. We like the Ooh La La because it is a refreshing drink of the day that is not sweet and there isn’t any fruit juice in it.
90s music trivia with Tisa https://t.co/fYen8nMMCs
— Scott Sanders 🎃 (@TheDCLBlog) June 7, 2018
Following trivia, we split up. Isabelle went to the Oceaneer Lab, while we went to grab a night cap. We went into Keys, but it was busy and loud so we quickly moved on to the Promenade Lounge. Emily was eyeing the Negroni they were infusing on the bar and I was looking to take advantage of the Sommelier bin which, at least on the Magic, increased $1 to $11 since March. They did not have any reds, but our amazing server, Carlos, without me asking, went to see what he could dig up for me from Keys and came back with a glass of Excelsus Banfi which is normally $20.75 a glass. I really fear the Sommelier Bin is going to disappear, I may just stop talking about it. In fact, I think it is time to make some rules… The first rule of the Sommelier Bin is: You do not talk about the Sommelier Bin. The second rule of the Sommelier Bin is: You DO NOT TALK ABOUT THE SOMMELIER BIN!
The Negroni is gin & Campari that goes through an infusion of coriander, peppercorns, almonds & oranges. It is finished off with Kombucha tea and garnished with a beet. Carlos told us this is not a ‘fast mover,’ but that once people have it, they return for it again. Emily really enjoyed the Negroni and really hopes these not so popular options stick around.
Now it is time to rest! Today, was our last port day as we will be spending tomorrow at sea on our way back to Barcelona.