If you walk to the western side of the harbor, there is an elevator that will take you up to Monaco-Ville and deposit you near the Musee Oceanographie (Oceanographic Museum). This is a must see if you have the time. Explorer Jacques Cousteau was the director of the museum for over 30 years, and it has a wonderful aquarium with both tropical and Mediterranean species of marine life. The museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, and and admission is 60 French francs (F).
As you continue walking along the Avenue Saint-Martin, you will walk alongside some beautiful cliff-side gardens and come to the Monaco Cathedral. This cathedral was built in the late 19th century, and was where Princess Grace and Prince Ranier married. It is also where Grace and many of the other Grimaldis are buried. Her tomb was quite touching, and she was much beloved by the Monegasques.
The Palais du Prince (Prince's Palace) is located in old Monaco-Ville and is also a must see. The Grimaldi family has ruled from the palace since 1297. If the flag is flying over the palace, you know the Prince is in residence. The Grimaldi children each have their own separate homes in Monaco. The changing of the guard takes place daily at 11:55 am, so you might want to time your visit for then. There are guided tours of the palace each day from 9:30 to 12:30 and 2:00 to 6:30. Admission is 32F.
While you are on the hill near the palace, be sure to take time to walk over and look at the harbors on either side. The view is marvelous!
If you leave the harbor and walk to the east, you'll be headed towards the famous Casino De Paris (Grand Casino). It's only a short walk, elevator, and escalator ride away. If you plan on visiting the Grand Casino, you'll need your passport to enter. Monegasques are not allowed to gamble in their own casinos, and passports are checked to enforce this law. There are very strict dress codes in the Grand Casino. Men need to wear coat and tie, and tennis shoes are verboten. The Casino was designed by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opera House. Even if you're not a gambler, you should go in to see the beautiful frescoes and bas reliefs. Many can be seen from the lobby of the casino without having to pay the entrance fee. There is a fee ranging from 50 to 100F, depending on which room you enter. The gaming rooms are spectacular, with stained glass, paintings, and sculptures everywhere. Makes the slot machines look a little out of place! There are two other more Americanized casinos in Monte Carlo. Neither of these has an admission fee, and the dress code is more casual.
If you take time to check out the prices of the hotels and restaurants in Monaco, you'll be glad you are on a cruise ship. The Hotel de Paris, near the Grand Casino, has a couple of elegant restaurants. You might even run into some of the "rich and famous" if you choose to dine in the Louis XV Restaurant or Le Grill de L'Hotel de Paris there. If you feel the urge to mingle, the Cafe de Paris is a good place to stop and sip a late night aperitif. You can watch the action and the people going in and out of the Casino.
Shopping in Monte Carlo is not as different and special as it was years ago. Many of the designers now have shops in the United States, even in Atlanta where I live. There is a concentration of top names in fashion in Monaco, as you would expect, given the expensive life style. From the Avenue des Beaux-Arts between the Place du Casino and the Square Beaumarchais is one area. Another is under the Hotel Metropole. Most people will enjoy wandering the area and window shopping, even if you don't buy anything. The normal shopping hours are from 9:00 to noon and 3:00 to 7:00 pm.
After you've explored Monaco, the countryside surrounding Monte Carlo on the Cote d'Azur is gorgeous. If you can tear yourself away from the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo, take time to see the Cote d'Azur!