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Cruise Days 1 & 2 - All Aboard & Monaco

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Day 60 Sunday 14 November - “Cruise Day 1 – All Aboard”

Just a bit overcast as we leave the Barcelona House Hotel and make our way to the waterfront where we boarded a shuttle bus to the cruise terminal. Check-in was quick and efficient and we were aboard within 30 minutes.

The Jade is different to the Star in many ways, the food service in the Buffet area is much easier to access, the shopping is confined to the stern and less space is wasted on a three-story atrium.

The formal dining room has fairly liberal dress rules but there is a minimum. As with the Star there are many speciality restaurants but at least 4 free dining options. Had an excellent dinner in the main dining room.

The Jade is decked out in a Hawaiian theme with hibiscus blooms dominating the decor. Seems a bit strange here on the Mediterranean but a theme is just that, the ship looks good and most comfortable, our cabin is bigger than a number of the hotel rooms we've stayed in.

After dinner we enjoyed a very entertaining show in the Stardust Lounge. The Cruise Director is excellent, he has a voice that doesn't grate on you and he is definitely multi-lingual. He rattles off announcements in English, Spanish and German like a native. He gave the introduction in two or three other languages as well. The main act was a magician who managed to pull numerous doves, a white rabbit and even a white fluffy cat out off unbelievable places. For good measure he turned his 'wife' into a large white python. As well as being very clever he was quite the comedian as well.

Day 61 Monday 15 November - “Cruise Day 2 – Monaco”

Dull grey overcast morning greets us, doesn't look too promising. Up to the Garden Cáfe for breakfast and shortly afterwards we came within sight of the coast. We docked amongst all the playboy toys in Port Hercule. It was quite warm and didn't appear to be raining so we got off the ship without raincoats. The raincoats are not lined and I for one tend to sweat and my arms stick to the sleeves.

Not a very smart thing to do, the minute we stepped outside the rain became serious and we scurried back on board to correct our attire. By now we're caught up with the tour groups so we sat down for the crowds to clear. We'd received a tourist info package on our first attempt which included a postcard. So Jenny wrote and addressed the card and I looked at the map to find a Post Office. Looks easy enough, just on the other side of the harbour.

There's a little ferry that takes you across, for 3,00 € you also get an 'all day' pass on the local buses. We set off again, find the ferry, pay the fare and the rain buckets down. Not great but there are awnings so we're sheltered from most of it. Can't see any sign of the Post Office so ask the lady in the florist. Up to level 6 on the elevator. Good one !! Which elevator ??

I notice a symbol on the map for 'Public Elevator' and sure enough there's one almost next to the florist. In we go and there's a lift, we press the up button and wait, the number counts down from 5 to 0 and stops a while, finally it arrives – we're at -1. Up we go to level 6 (the top) and arrive in a public garden, find an information kiosk and are directed up the hill. This is some steep place !!

After one or two additional directions we find the Post Office and take a number. There are three service windows but only two are active and one of them is spending a long time with her customer. We're OK, we're on holidays but I notice one lady directing dark scowls in the direction of the staff, it didn't appear to influence them at all.

I decided I needed a lightweight, lined (but not padded), waterproof jacket. My other gear is all just too heavy and hot. Some of the local clothing stores have jackets, one price I saw was just under 300,00 € - way too rich for my blood.

Decided to use our bus ticket and hopped on one until he reached the terminus. While waiting there, I noticed an area on the map marked “Centre Commercial de Fontvielle” and asked the driver if he went past there. He said to catch the bus behind his, we did and asked this driver the same thing, he told us when to get off.

We'd arrived at a shopping complex around a major supermarket, it even had a McDonald’s. This was more my territory. Looked in a number of menswear shops but there was only heavyweight stuff, after all winter is approaching and we're off to the slopes. We're about to give up in despair when Jenny notices a large store with ski clothes on display. She'd found a sports wear superstore !! They had racks of clothing for different sports and activities and the prices were certainly reasonable. Two or three false starts and we finally found the type of jacket I was looking for, waterproof, lined but not padded and with a hood – bonus!!

Used the bus again to get us within a reasonable distance of the ship. We were back aboard in time to get some lunch from the Garden Cáfe before it closed. It got quite dark, quite early but I felt I needed to take some final pictures of Monaco and all the fancy boats in the harbour.

An early dinner in the Grand Pacific Dining Room, excellent menu, exceptional food. Even a humble bowl of soup was a delight. The Show in the Starlight lounge was a pretend talent quest and showcased the singers and dancers, the cruise director who acted as the host and enjoyed himself way too much and also the six or eight piece orchestra that provided the music. The show lasted about an hour and was very well presented.

I'll try to post this tonight and assure you all that we are having a great time.

Posted by greynomadm 12:07 Archived in Monaco

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Great to hear it's going well so far guys!

Love from all of us

by DrTard

What's this!!!! More rain?????. Glad you managed to get that jacket but hope you won't need it too often.What an awesome trip you have put together.
Love Maria

by mbessems

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