Monaco, the sovereign city-state on the coast of France, has a reputation as one of the most luxurious destinations in the world. But like any luxury option, be it a resort, a cruise or a train trip, luxury doesn’t necessarily mean expensive — it means excellence, said Guy Antognelli, deputy general manager for the Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority.
These luxury experiences embody that excellence through their service, amenities, dining and excursions.
Having a reputation as a luxury destination is a double-edged sword for Monaco, the sovereign city-state on the French Riviera.
When people think of Monaco, what comes to mind is its opulent casino and stylish patrons, yacht-filled harbor and high-end hotels, all straight out of a James Bond film. But that reputation can sometimes intimidate visitors, both individuals and groups, who think Monaco is out of their budget and, therefore, out of their reach. However, Monaco is comparable or even less expensive than cities like Paris, London and Barcelona, Antognelli said. Like those destinations, Monaco is a real city with real people and real life, he said.
“Everything on TV and cinema is good for our reputation, but we have to explain it’s not only for billionaires,” Antognelli said. “You can come and have a drink and have dinner.”
The Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco is an iconic, four-day event that draws about 200,000 visitors every year to watch racecars rip through city streets from the harbor, up to the Casino de Monte-Carlo and down to the tunnel.
The casino is arguably more iconic than the race, made famous in movies such as James Bond films “Never Say Never Again” and “GoldenEye” and the 2004 film “Ocean’s Twelve.” Guests can stay at four Monte-Carlo properties, including the legendary 1930s Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel or the sprawling seafront 334-room Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort.
Not every cruise comes with butler service, but with Silversea Cruises, every suite does. Some people even have to ask what a butler can help them with. The answer? Unpack your luggage when you arrive and pack it when you leave, make dinner reservations at one of the ship’s fine-dining restaurants — even draw a bath for you.
That level of service is the No. 1 reason Silversea Cruises sets the bar for luxury cruising. The staff-to-guest ratio is nearly 1-to-1, said Brad Ball, director of media relations for Silversea Cruises.
The company’s ships also exude luxury. Silversea’s largest ship holds only 596 passengers, and the smallest has a capacity of 100. Its five larger Classic ships cruise in the Mediterranean, the Greek Isles and the Caribbean; its four smaller Expedition ships go to more remote and exotic destinations, such as Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands.
The low passenger counts means spacious suites and larger public areas onboard, and guests don’t have to fight for a chair on the pool deck or wait in long lines at restaurants. There are places where guests can socialize and enjoy an open bar or relax in peace and quiet.
“You really get a sense that this is your own private yacht,” Ball said.
Silversea is also one of the most all-inclusive cruise lines that includes food, beverages, Wi-Fi, gratuities and transportation into the city. Shore excursions are personalized and intimate, and an onboard shore concierge can arrange for private cars, private tours and custom experiences.