Crystal Cruises announces new luxury liners in partnership with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri

Crystal Cruises has announced an exciting partnership with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri that will see the construction and delivery of two new and exceptional cruise ships by 2028.  

A memorandum of agreement was signed between the companies on 27th June, giving the green light to a project that hopes to set “a new standard in cruising”.  

For Florida-based Crystal, which was bought out by premium travel agency Abercrombie & Kent in 2022, this latest development exhibits the company’s desire to expand further into the high-end luxury sector and provide top-shelf travel experiences for discerning patrons seeking the finest the luxury cruise liner industry can offer.  

Prominent architectural firms Studio Ibsen and Studio Gem, which is headed by Naval Architect Giacomo Mortola and Naval Engineer Lorenzo Mortola, have been contracted to lead the design efforts, along with an additional international design firm that is yet to be announced. 

“This order is another milestone in the 40 years of productive collaboration between Fincantieri and my family that started with Sitmar Cruises, continued with Silversea and now is flourishing again with Crystal,” says Monaco resident Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Executive Chairman of Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group.  

See more: Abercrombie & Kent celebrates 60 years of pioneering travel

When the ships are delivered in 2028, passengers – up to 690 of them on each – can expect interiors made from Italian fabrics, marble and natural materials that will ooze sophistication and be more reminiscent of luxe villas rather than a seaborne vessel.  

Outdoor space will be optimised with a promenade running the ship’s perimeter, much like those featured on Crystal’s other ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, with fine dining choices including Umi Uma, Beefbar and the first-ever Nobu at sea.  

An on-board casino, operated in partnership with Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, will provide excitement while a top-of-the-line spa will offer a fitness centre and relaxing treatments. There will even be a place for the youngest travellers, who will have their own play areas made just for them.  

Guests can expect suites with private verandas, a high crew to passenger ratio and Crystal’s trademark attention to detail.  

“Our aim is to continue setting a new standard in cruising, offering our guests an unmatched level of service and sophistication. These new ships will receive the same level of attention I reserve for my own house,” says Cristina Levis, CEO of Abercrombie & Kent.  

The company has also indicated that a third ship will be delivered by 2032, adding another jewel to the Crystal Cruises fleet. 

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“A new typology of living”: Introducing Ulyssia, the 320m residential superyacht


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Photo credit: Crystal Cruises

Les Sandays pop-up beach party brings a retro vibe to the French Riviera

les sandays

With a vow to bring back the Golden Age of beach parties to the French Riviera, Thomas Peeters of CLS events and Sunset, the Monaco Grand Prix party festival, has launched a new concept called Les Sandays on the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat peninsular. 

Located at the picturesque Plage de Passable, Les Sandays offers a unique blend of retro vibes, live music and refined cuisine between midday and sunset.  

The concept is akin to that of La Voile Rouge in Saint Tropez, the much-loved venue that drew the jet-set crowd every summer until it closed in 2012, and aims to recreate the nostalgic atmosphere of the iconic beach parties that were held in the region during the 1970s and 80s. 

Now at the other end of the French Riviera, the location on Saint Jean Cap Ferrat offers patrons stunning views of Villefranche-sur-Mer across the bay from a natural and well-preserved setting that is accessible by boat shuttle and valet parking.  

The menu takes its inspiration from these quintessentially Mediterranean surroundings, featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients produced locally.  

“The idea of Les Sandays came naturally from the need of some friends, telling me that there is no beach party around Monaco,” Peeters, an experienced entrepreneur in the event planning, music and consulting sector, tells Monaco Life. “You would need to go to Saint Tropez or Cannes to find this kind of atmosphere, so I decided, ‘Why not bring it closer to Monaco?’”  

See more: Good vibes only at this weekend’s Sunset Festival

The season’s line-up includes eight events featuring various artists and performances, with themes spanning funky house, groove, disco and Afro-house. The opening, which was held on 30th June, hosted artists including Odrik and Dorn. 

The following beach parties will occur every Sunday and showcase acts such as Paul Barbier, Samantha Flores and La Luna.  

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Maona Monte-Carlo: the Intersection of vintage glamour and modern Monaco


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Photo courtesy of Les Sandays

1980s icons Duran Duran to perform in Monaco at the end of July

duran duran monaco

Pop legends Duran Duran are coming to the Principality of Monaco as part of the Monte-Carlo Summer Festival. The band will be performing their latest offering, the Halloween-themed Dance Macabre, at the Salle des Étoiles at the end of July.

Duran Duran, the supergroup of the 1980s that charmed the world with their breezy attitudes, bouncy lyrics and oh-so-great hair, will be hitting the stage at the famous Monaco venue on Thursday 25th July for a one-night-only gig.  

The band, which boasts a string of major hits, including Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf and Girls on Film, has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, earning two Grammy Awards, two Ivor Novellos and two Brit Awards. Its members were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022. 

Fast forward to 2024 and the band is still drawing huge crowds – and acclaim – following the 2023 release of Dance Macabre. The title is a play on the 16th century representations of dancing skeletons made famous by Hans Holbein. It features three new tracks alongside reimagined versions of Duran Duran classics.  

Doors to the exclusive show will open at 8pm, with the concert starting at 10.30pm.  

Ticket prices begin at €400 for dinner and the show, excluding drinks. Prestige package tickets, which will guarantee the best seats and a bottle of Champagne to share, cost €680 per person.

For more information, click here

Read related:

Monte-Carlo Summer Festival unveils its spectacular line-up


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Photo via Monte-Carlo SBM

France: Political parties scramble to form alliances and block the far-right from power

far-right france

The far-right National Rally, headed by Jordan Bardella but still under the influence of Marine Le Pen, has emerged as the winner of the first of round of the elections in France, leading to calls for the nation’s left and centrist parties to form an alliance to keep the party from securing a majority next Sunday.  

Following French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to dissolve the National Assembly in June, a shock move that came after an embarrassing defeat for his coalition in the EU election, snap elections have been called in France. 

In the first round, which took place over the weekend, the National Rally claimed 33% of the votes, followed by the New Popular Front, a blend of left-wing parties including La France Insoumise, the Socialist Party, Les Écologistes (Greens) and the French Communist Party, who took almost 28% of the vote. In third was Macron’s centist alliance of the Renaissance party, Democratic Movement, Horizons, En commun and the Progressive Federation, with 20%. Far behind these was the right-wing Les Républicains, led by Eric Ciotti, with just 10% of the vote.

In the south of France, the far-right National Rally dominated, coming first in every district in the Alpes-Maritimes and the neighbouring Var department.  

How will the second round work? 

Typically, the top two candidates in a constituency qualify for the second round of voting, unless a candidate took 50% of the vote in the first round, meaning they have already won their seat as long as their portion of the votes was equivalent to 25% or more of the registered local electorate.  

This is the case for Alexandra Masson in the Alpes-Maritimes’ fourth district, which includes the French towns that surround the Principality of Monaco. 

Le Pen was also elected outright in her constituency of Hénin-Beaumont in the Pas-de-Calais department of Northern France.  

A two-horse race is what French voters are accustomed to in the second round, but given the intensely split opinions felt across the country this time around, there will be many constituencies facing three or possibly four choices on Sunday.

Potential alliances 

If the National Rally win a majority, it will be the first time since the Nazi occupation of France during WWII that the country has been under a far-right government.

Another likely outcome is that there will be no majority.

To achieve an absolute majority, the far-right party will need to secure 289 of the 577 seats. 

To reduce the chances of this happening, the left-wing coalition has pledged to withdraw candidates from districts where they achieved third place or lower in the first round. Macron’s alliance has also vowed that some of its candidates in similar positions will withdraw from the race. These actions would encourage voters who are against the nationalist, ‘eurosceptic’ and anti-immigration policies of the National Rally to support en masse other candidates who are opposed to the far-right.  

The next prime minister of France will come from the party – or potentially the coalition – that wins the most seats. This type of situation is known as cohabitation in France, and could weaken Macron’s ability to lead as the government could put in place policies that diverge from his plan. The President has, however, affirmed that he will not be stepping down from his role until the end of his mandate in 2027.  

There appears to be some friction within the far-right, despite its success so far, with Bardella and Le Pen showing a difference of option regarding the potential outcome of the second round.  

Bardella, the 28-year-old leader of the party, has said, “I will be a cohabitation prime minister, respectful of the constitution and of the office of President of the Republic, but uncompromising about the policies we will implement.” 

Le Pen, meanwhile, has said that the National Rally will not form a government if the party fails to achieve a majority. 

“We wish to govern,” she told the press. “It is evident that we cannot accept to go to government if we cannot act.”  

Landmark voter participation 

More than 67% of French voters submitted a ballot during the first round, a level of voter participation not seen in France since 1997.  


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Photo via Emmanuel Macron, Facebook

Where to wash your car in Monaco once the skies have cleared

Recent Saharan sand-laced rains have left vehicles along the Côte d’Azur streaked with brown dust and dirty marks, a sight that many drivers are keen to change. Fortunately, the weather looks set to turn in the coming days, meaning that it will soon be safe to wash all the muck off without worrying about the same thing happening again in the near future.  

The fine, orange-brown sand that has accompanied the rain in recent days has formed a layer of dirt on cars, terraces and just about everything else.  

The good news is that the rains are meant to come to an end this week – let’s hope that summer is finally about to get going – and car owners will once again be safe to clean up their vehicles, free from the threat of another muddy downpour. 

For those living in and around Monaco, there are lots of car washing establishments to choose from, including X’Pert Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum. This conveniently located service is often overlooked, but is a great option for those in the centre of town. 

Country Car Wash in the Monte-Carlo Country Club’s parking lot is also a top choice, as is Pro-Tech Monte-Carlo, which has two locations in the Parking de La Costa and Les Moulins area, and Monaco Premium Car Wash in the Testimonio underground carpark.  

The Carsafe facility on Rue Suffren Reymond offers bespoke detailing as well as storage and maintenance, and the Pitstop station on Avenue Princesse Grace provides hand washes as well as an automatic wash, which is handy for those in a hurry.   

Additionally, there are numerous mobile car wash services in the region, such as MyWashMonaco. 

Read related:

The most beautiful driving routes on the French Riviera


Monaco Life is produced by real multi-media journalists writing original content. See more in our free newsletter, follow our Podcasts on Spotify, and check us out on Threads,  Facebook,  Instagram,  LinkedIn and Tik Tok.  


Photo source: Zulfahmi Khani, Unsplash  

A place of “growth and potential”: Monaco Economic Board spotlights Poland at business event

monaco poland

Ahead of a trade mission to Warsaw this autumn, the Monaco Economic Board has hosted a dedicated Business Destination event highlighting the strengths and potential of the Polish nation. 

On Friday 28th June, the Monaco Economic Board (MEB) invited its members and a selection of Monaco-based entrepreneurs and business leaders to attend an in-person and virtual conference spotlighting Poland at the MonacoTech headquarters in Fontvieille.  

The event was organised in partnership with the official Monegasque embassies in Poland, Germany and Austria as well as the Polish Chamber of Commerce, which will host the MEB delegation when it heads to the capital of Warsaw for a formal trade mission between Monday 30th September and Wednesday 2nd October.  

The goal of the event was to shine a light on the areas of trade and industry that could be of shared interest to Poland and the Principality. The speakers, which included Franck Julien, the chairman of Monaco’s National Council Finance Committee, the MEB’s Guillaume Rose, Alessandro Giuliani, the Honorary Consul of Poland in Monaco, and representatives for the Embassy of Monaco in Berlin, also sought to promote the “long-standing and essential links between the two countries”.  

From discussions on the yachting industry and luxury tourism to banking and insurance, the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sector, and technological development, the event covered a wide range of prospective fields for collaboration.   

Michal Krawczyk, the Vice-President of the Polish Chamber of Commerce, also made a point of mentioning the existence of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Polish and Monegasque Chambers, which was signed back in 2010.  

He expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming trip to Warsaw, saying he was “convinced that the meetings to be held in the autumn between entrepreneurs from the two countries will lead to new collaborations because there is a huge potential”.   

Following the event, a representative for the MEB affirmed, “There are plenty of opportunities, and some conference participants have already expressed an interest in the MEB trade mission to Warsaw. This bodes well for the trip’s success.” 

Read related:

Environmental and tech investments proposed at Sohn Monaco Conference


Monaco Life is produced by real multi-media journalists writing original content. See more in our free newsletter, follow our Podcasts on Spotify, and check us out on Threads,  Facebook,  Instagram,  LinkedIn and Tik Tok.  


Photo credit: MEB