You could nearly hear the distant roar while standing on the decks of Crystal Serenity as we pulled into Monte Carlo’s harbour. The sweet sound of pistons churning out hundreds of horsepower at thousands of rpms.
I had to remind myself that this wasn’t a car show or exotic showroom – these were real cars being driven by real people on real roads. It wasn’t the grand Prix. It was just a normal day in Monte Carlo: home to the finest cars, largest yachts and fattest bank accounts anywhere.
Now, our ship was already pretty posh as it was: with more than 300 world cruisers, many of whom had been on at least ten world cruises. Surely our guests were wealthy (and, in fact, some of them did have yachts and could easily afford property in Monte Carlo). But our 68,000 gross tonne ship almost felt dwarfed in relative scale by the superyachts moored nearby. The Lady Moura, for example (one of the largest yachts in the world), has its own crew of 60. 60 people to look after a private Saudi family… versus our 460 crew to look after 1,080 guests.
Ya, rich people indeed. There’s another world out there called wealth – and it’s a stark contrast to the life most of us know.
The first stop to visit in Monte Carlo was definitely the Grand Casino… probably the most famous attraction of all next to the annual Grand Prix and the cars and yachts. We were able to go inside to see the lobby and poke our head in the gaming room. All very luxe (the toilets in the lobby had mechanical seats that disinfected themselves. Cool!) We couldn’t afford the minimum buy-in for any of the game tables, so we went to the mainstream/cheaper casino next door and played a quick game.
For myself, though, the highlight was less the casino and more the toys parked outside. Interestingly, the main streets of Monaco are also the Grand Prix course. You see, this nation is even smaller than you’d imagine – you can literally see its full extent from any point within its borders. So, there’d be nowhere to fit a race track.
I can understand why the people who live in Monte Carlo would want to drive supercars. There’s not much else to do on this tiny stretch of the Mediterranean. It’s fun for tourists to go and check out the lifestyle of the rich (or spot celebrities when the Grand Prix is in town). But to actually live there, I think it would get boring. That’s why you drive your supercar into France, and why you get a superyacht, a helicopter, a private jet and several homes around the world to occupy your time.
You know, if you have the money.
And if I had the money, I would have bought that Porche Carrera GT – I took a bunch of photos of it. Pardon the drool.