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SonoranDevil's Mardi Gras Pre-Inaugural Sailing Full Review with Pictures! -7/31/21


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32 minutes ago, SonoranDevil said:

We had kicked around the idea of not getting off the ship the entire week.  After all, there was plenty on board that we still hadn’t had an opportunity to try out.  But as happy as I am sitting around doing nothing and letting people bring me pina coladas, Shani is more of a let’s get out there and do something personality.  For most of the week, we figured we would just get off the ship and wander around the shopping district near the port and then head back onboard early.  We probably would have ended up doing this if it weren't for two factors: We didn’t want to make Mom walk any more than necessary and it was HOT!

 

 

I also feel very strongly that as tourists we have some degree of responsibility towards the people who live in the areas we visit.  By staying onboard we are not helping them reccover from this pandemic.  The excursion we chose may not have been one we would do again but the money we spent on the stops we made went back into the community.  

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On 8/22/2021 at 8:02 PM, ShaniBell said:

 

I also feel very strongly that as tourists we have some degree of responsibility towards the people who live in the areas we visit.  By staying onboard we are not helping them reccover from this pandemic.  The excursion we chose may not have been one we would do again but the money we spent on the stops we made went back into the community.  

 

Well put.  At a minimum getting off and visiting the Dufry shop and the vendors in the port village and dropping a few bucks on some interesting merch adds up to supporting jobs and restoring normalcy.  Also, if they ask you to wear masks in port, it's a sign of respect and good behavior to simply do so without complaint, even if it's hot, you're vaccinated, you're on vacation and you don't like it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/22/2021 at 7:28 PM, SonoranDevil said:

Life is a continuous learning experience.  It’s never mastered.  For as happy and satisfied of a human being as I am, I have yet to figure out a way to truly enjoy the last day of vacation.  Or most Sunday evenings for that matter.  This especially applies to the last day of a cruise.  I don’t want to pack up the cabin the night before to leave early the next morning.  I don’t like it one bit.   

 

Our last full day on the Mardi Gras would see us visiting Nassau.  The last time I was in Nassau, the night was capped off by a Matchbox 20 concert on the Carnival Imagination.  I looked, they weren’t on this sailing.  I tried, I really did.  But I struggled getting excited about Nassau.  I’m just not a big fan.  

 

We had kicked around the idea of not getting off the ship the entire week.  After all, there was plenty on board that we still hadn’t had an opportunity to try out.  But as happy as I am sitting around doing nothing and letting people bring me pina coladas, Shani is more of a let’s get out there and do something personality.  For most of the week, we figured we would just get off the ship and wander around the shopping district near the port and then head back onboard early.  We probably would have ended up doing this if it weren't for two factors: We didn’t want to make Mom walk any more than necessary and it was HOT!

 

So, the day before, we found a simple Carnival excursion, on an air conditioned bus, that would take us around to see the top sights Nassau had to offer.  We would do a repeat of our morning routine from Amber Cove, getting ready and having breakfast at Guy’s Pig & Anchor before heading off the ship for our excursion.  Again, there were just a handful of other cruisers having breakfast with us.  I’m not sure many people realized that everything that could be found up on Lido was also available at Guy’s each morning.

 

After breakfast, we made our way off the ship and out to meet up with our excursion.  There was no traffic jam to get off the boat today, no lines to disembark on Deck 3 midship.  We made it to our bus and I will note that everyone that greeted us at the port were genuinely excited to see tourists.  This would be another small tour, about 10 people total.  We began driving around Paradise Island, past Atlantis and through some absolutely lovely neighborhoods.  We would cross back to Nassau proper, through the docks and up past Fort Fincastle and the Queen’s Staircase.  I can confirm that the teenager dozed off during this portion of the excursion.  Shani may have also and I came dangerously close to dozing off.  Halfway through the excursion, we decided that we should have just skipped the tour.  

 

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Parliament Square, Nassau.

 

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Queen Victoria's statue in Parliament Square, Nassau.

 

It’s not a reflection on the excursion operator or to the fine residents of Nassau.  We’ve just been there before.  We were all probably feeling the last day of vacation blues.  We just weren’t feeling it.  We did eventually make a stop at John Watling’s Distillery, makers of rum.  The distillery sits on the grounds of a former plantation and is picturesque.  We were given samples of a pina colada made with one of their rums and given a brief tour of their facility, before ending up in their gift shop and tasting room.  Shani and I bought pina coladas and ordered a sampling of four of their rums.  

 

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The grounds at John Watling's Distillery, Nassau.

 

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John Watling's Distillery ages their rum in old oak barrels previously used to age bourbon.

 

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The rum sampling at John Watling's Distillery.

 

The pina coladas helped make the rest of the tour a little more pleasurable.  After 30 minutes at the distillery, we were off around the corner to Graycliff village.  Here there was a small chocolate shop, cigar shop, Nassau’s only winery and a small museum.  We would have about 30 minutes here as well.  We bought a little chocolate, sampled some wine (the grapes are Italian varietals and shipped to Nassau to be vinted).  We stopped by the museum, but we wouldn’t have had enough time to view the exhibits even if we wanted to pay the admission fee.  

 

After visiting Graycliff, we were back on the bus and out to drive by Fort Charlotte before being brought back to the port.  If you have never visited Nassau and aren’t prone to mid-morning naps, you might enjoy this excursion.  We did a little window shopping near the port before heading back on board to grab some lunch.  They are doing quite a bit of construction at the port and I can say that after seeing the artist renderings of the completed project, it is going to be a very nice port.  

 

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The turquoise waters of Nassau provide a picturesque foreground for the Mardi Gras.

 

Up next: Piazza Panini, Mardi Gras Casino III - Revenge of Carnival, Cucina del Capitano and Packing.
 

I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of your cruise.

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