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Saint Greg's Mardi Gras - LIVE - August 28th-September 4th 2021


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 Here are all of my old trips. For those of you who skipped out on my land trips, this would be a good time to get caught up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/breezy-like-sunday-morning/

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/seven-days-of-freedom/

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/i-will-triumph/

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/leaving-the-elation/

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/r1-my-intro-to-cruising/

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For those of you who followed my Panorama trip, you may remember I had a traumatic experience near the end of the cruise.

 

The day was March 5, 2020. I was in the comedy club enjoying a very pleasant evening. All of the sudden this urchin on the other side of the aisle did something that would change me in a deep and profound way from that day on…He sneezed on me. I screamed out “I’M HIT!”

 

Over the past 18 months my account of the events of that night has come into question. Let’s go through it step by step.

I was seated in the back on the left side of the aisle.

 

Graphic1.jpg

 

 

The perpetrator was seated on the right side of the aisle.

 

Graphic2.jpg

 

 

First, I was struck on the right side of the neck.

 

Illustration1.jpg

It bounced off my neck and struck me again between my 3rd and 4th ribs.

 

Illustration2.jpg

It then ricocheted off my ribs and hit me in my right wrist causing me to drop my beer can.

 

Illustration3.jpg

 

 

It then paused in midair, took a right turn, and landed on my right thigh. That is some magic mucus.

 

Illustration4.jpg

The other controversial part is what happened to my head on the first hit. When I was hit in the neck my head went back and to the left.

 

Illustration5-6-7.jpg

 

Back and to the left

 

Illustration5-6-7.jpg

 

Back and to the left

 

Illustration5-6-7.jpg

 

Back and to the left

 

Illustration5-6-7.jpg

 

If the sneeze had come from across the aisle it would’ve caused my head to pitch to the left.

 

Illustration8.jpg

That means the sneeze must have come from the front and right.

 

There must have been a second sneezer!

 

From the chairs in front of the glassy pole.

 

Graphic3.jpg

 

But that’s not what “they” would like you to believe.

 

The sad thing is we may never know the real truth.

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Mardi Gras: Planning

 

I can’t believe it’s been almost 18 months since my last cruise planning post. The next one was supposed to be Carnival Magic’s Southern Caribbean itinerary out of Miami 12 months ago. After having bookings canceled for August, November, December, January, February and April, my travel agent advised me not to book one for May. At that point I decided I wouldn’t book another prior to my already booked Mardi Gras cruise.

 

Booking

It’s crazy how things work out. I have had this booking number for three years. It was originally a 2019 Carnival Dream cruise. After sailing on the Dream twice in 2018, I decided I wanted to book some new ships. I changed my two 2019 Dream cruises to a 2020 Panorama cruise and a 2021 Mardi Gras cruise. That Panorama cruise, which had an additional day do to a COVID-19 scare, was the ship’s next to last cruise before Carnival’s pause in operations.

Originally I was to be on about the 53rd sailing of Mardi Gras. Now I’m on her 5th cruise. After enduring seven cancellations and switching to all-inclusive resorts for my vacations, something finally worked out in my favor.

Since I booked this cruise in 2019, I probably didn’t pay the inaugural season price. In June someone told me there was a price drop. I checked my room category and the “drop” was still 30% more than I paid.

After the shutdown the 10% discounted cards I buy from Allstate went to a 12% discount. I bought some and paid this cruise off at a 12% discount. At the time I didn’t realize I would have many cruises canceled and end up with a Future Cruise Credit with $600 onboard credit from each of them. Since this cruise was fully paid for, I was unable to apply any of those credits to it. But I did get the 12% off and I would take advantage of other pandemic sales for this cruise.

 

Covid-19 Testing

Less than a month before my cruise Carnival announced they would begin requiring a negative COVID-19 test result for all guests. For unvaccinated it needs to be a PCR test which is the more expensive but also the more accurate test. Vaccinated guests can provide an antigen test which is cheaper and can be done rapidly. The test must be completed within three days prior to the cruise. Being on a Saturday cruise, mine needs to be done Wednesday or later.

I have been through three antigen tests in Mexico already. They don’t bother me at all. But the testing was always done at the resort/hotel. The way Carnival is doing this is adding a great deal of stress to those cruising with them. Guests have to make sure they have a place to take the test, that it’s the right test, and that it’s within the right timeframe. I know there are people on my cruise who have plans to be in Cocoa Beach three days prior and the testing locations in that area are overwhelmed.

I will be traveling on Friday so I can take my test Wednesday or Thursday. The most popular testing locations are CVS/Walgreens. I finally found a difference between CVS/Walgreens. One of them schedules COVID tests two weeks out while the other only schedules them two days out. I wanted to get mine scheduled sooner so I scheduled mine through Walmart which takes appointments months in advance. I also opted to take the PCR test three days before my cruise. This decreases the likelihood me receiving a false positive and having to scramble to retest at the last minute. I got the first time slot Wednesday morning 9am at a Walmart neighborhood market just down the street from where I live. They say their PCR results are typically back the next day. Just to be safe I scheduled a second test through CVS a lunchtime on Wednesday.

Since Walmart allows you to schedule tests months in advance, I went ahead and got on the schedule three days prior to my October Panorama cruise and my December Vista cruise as well.

 

Flights

As you may know I prefer to fly Spirit. My Magic cruise last august was out of Miami. Spirit doesn’t fly out of Miami so I booked American for that cruise. I still had my American Airlines credit from that trip so I used it on this flight to Orlando.

On my last couple of cruises I’ve arrived so late I really only had time to eat dinner and go to bed. I wanted to get in a little earlier this time so I booked one that arrived at 1:30. That flight has since been pushed back to a 2:40 arrival.

My return flight is still a 1:45 departure as originally scheduled. That should allow me plenty of time to have a relaxed debarkation and still get to the airport in plenty of time. Both flights are direct as I prefer.

 

Hotel

I wanted to choose a hotel that was close to the port. Radisson’s Resort at the Port definitely seemed to be the most popular location among people on my cruise.

I wanted a hotel with a bar and a place to eat dinner and breakfast. There are several restaurants in the area and the hotel has a nice looking Tiki Bar by the pool. There’s also a Florida Beer Company brewery a couple blocks away I wouldn’t mind checking out.

As a bonus, Resort at the Port offers a shuttle to the port for $6 per person. There’s a lot of conflicting information on the shuttle. I know people who say they have already booked the shuttle. I know people who say they were told to sign up at check-in. I called and was told to sign up at check-in. Uber is $10 so I’m just going to take a wait and see approach.

There is another grouping of about five hotels across the street from the brewery. In the end I think Resort at the Port was the best deal so I ended up booking with them for $127 after taxes and fees.

 

Onboard purchases

Early on in the shutdown Carnival offered specials on the Cheers beverage package and on cruise cash. I believe it was 20% off of each. I had three cruises booked at the time and was able to purchase $100 cruise cash for each of them for $80. I also bought the 20% off Cheers package for all of them. I used the 12% discounted gift cards so I actually got 32% off of the beverage package and the $100 in cruise cash for $68. I purchased the premium Wifi package as well with a 12% discount bring it down to around $90 for the cruise.

 

Specialty Dining

My goal is to try all of the food outlets that don’t exist on other ships. When they announced Chibang! would be included on it’s first cruises, I booked two nights there before it filled up. Chibang! is half Asian and half Mexican so two bookings will allow me to try both sides of the menu.

I planned to book Rudi’s Sea Grill and the Steakhouse on the ship with my onboard credit but I recently noticed that Rudi’s is selling out. The earliest available time to book online was 8pm on elegant night. I went ahead and booked 9pm on the second sea day. I could try to move it to an earlier time on the ship otherwise the late dining time will allow me to try another venue that afternoon.

I went ahead and locked in my preferred early dining time at the Steakhouse as well for the last sea day. I had to put Rudi’s and the Steakhouse on my credit card to make the reservations but I heard you can have that refunded and put them on onboard credit once on the ship.

 

Ports

This cruise was originally supposed to be San Juan, Amber Cove, and Grand Turk. Due to COVID-19, Grand Turk was changed to Nassau.

San Juan

San Juan is the only port I haven’t been to. I definitely want to get off of the ship and explore the city. I’m not booking any excursions. I’m just going to go out on my own.

Amber Cove

When I was in Amber Cove I was supposed to do the 27 waterfalls but the water level was so low they could only do 12. I canceled the excursion and toured Puerto Plata instead. The waterfalls are still on my list but now they aren’t doing all 27 due to COVID. They have a nice Amber Cove Cruise Port area but being on a new ship like Mardi Gras, I will probably just stay on the ship and enjoy my drink package this time.

Nassau

While this was not a popular change among cruisers, it didn’t bother me at all. I’ve been to both ports and I don’t think there’s anything left for me to see in Grand Turk. I’ve been to Nassau twice and feel like I have already seen everything there as well. I would like to return to John Watling’s Distillery and spend some time in the Red Turtle Tavern. Since my tour in 2018, I’ve been saying the pina colada sample they gave me was the best pina colada I’ve had. I’ve had many since then and would like to see if I still feel the same way. I also wanted to stop at a beach bar my first time I was in Nassau and I didn’t have time for it. Maybe I’ll make this stop into my own little barhop excursion.

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Really looking forward to hearing about your cruise, I've followed you along on others and excited to see what you think of MG.

 

Just a note as far as Cocoa Beach being overwhelmed with COVID testing, that's a true issue right now.  My SIL was exposed at work and had to test before she could return - there was absolutely nothing available for a week (and she was willing to drive to other areas as well). PCR was required and it's been days with no results.  (There was no availability for antigen either.) So... others that are reading and think you may get tested close to the port, don't count on it in the short term.  Things may clear up but right now it's not easy.

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2 minutes ago, balcony bound said:

Really looking forward to hearing about your cruise, I've followed you along on others and excited to see what you think of MG.

 

Just a note as far as Cocoa Beach being overwhelmed with COVID testing, that's a true issue right now.  My SIL was exposed at work and had to test before she could return - there was absolutely nothing available for a week (and she was willing to drive to other areas as well). PCR was required and it's been days with no results.  (There was no availability for antigen either.) So... others that are reading and think you may get tested close to the port, don't count on it in the short term.  Things may clear up but right now it's not easy.

 

That's kind of the story that I've heard from people who are booked there the week before the cruise. They were told no antigen and no guarantees on PCR in less than a week.

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5 minutes ago, Saint Greg said:

 

Thanks. Weren't you originally supposed to be on this week?


Yes, but I ended up rescheduling for April.  I am reading Whaletail's posts and imagining that I was there!  I am hoping things will be less restrictive by the time I cruise, but I am excited to read about the current cruises.  The Mardi Gras looks amazing.

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1 minute ago, TNcruising02 said:


Yes, but I ended up rescheduling for April.  I am reading Whaletail's posts and imagining that I was there!  I am hoping things will be less restrictive by the time I cruise, but I am excited to read about the current cruises.  The Mardi Gras looks amazing.

 

I hope so.

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5 minutes ago, CruisinMama2003 said:

Ooooh we get a triple dose (You, Whaletail AND Twangster!) of LIVE reviews this week for MG! Always love your reviews, land or sea, all great! 

 

Cheers 🍹🍺

 

Mine actually starts next weekend.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, FTLCruiseGal said:

Would it be too much to ask for a pic of the drink menu at fortune teller bar?


Not at all. I'll get bigger ones on the ship but this is what I'm working with now.

 

 

F349C942-9D78-4CE8-B4C2-2C3A43F6272E.webp

3AD6FF02-4DD1-4F92-9DF4-986CE5784DDD.webp

7E069079-4EAF-4D5B-989A-4FCCD72DA1C3.webp

26D77DBB-E370-4162-A4B1-879767A8009D.webp

E69579F4-D072-4109-8C5B-14F2A9FD88C7.webp

51966C27-C2D4-4C90-B044-5E5CB9E6CE8F.webp

A9F2EAD9-C3F9-48F9-8A93-467BDBAB5D36.webp

540D79F0-87E4-4179-8BDE-53C11F3A88B9.webp

25212AB9-7591-4F85-8A2D-C9F7D8780217.webp

6504CA1D-217F-4A92-B220-3BB05BB58C62.webp

1A1D5349-47F1-4D18-AABB-58AC94CE00BA.webp

67310989-8613-4271-A4F1-C02E8E160CA1.webp

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574EBA93-A34D-45C0-9D8C-5EBB1085CACB.webp

420CD290-F79A-4E59-8A22-1AAF406A6A7F.webp

Edited by Saint Greg
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3 hours ago, Saint Greg said:

For those of you who followed my Panorama trip, you may remember I had a traumatic experience near the end of the cruise.

 

The day was March 5, 2020. I was in the comedy club enjoying a very pleasant evening. All of the sudden this urchin on the other side of the aisle did something that would change me in a deep and profound way from that day on…He sneezed on me. I screamed out “I’M HIT!”

 

Over the past 18 months my account of the events of that night has come into question. Let’s go through it step by step.

I was seated in the back on the left side of the aisle.

 

Graphic1.jpg

 

 

The perpetrator was seated on the right side of the aisle.

 

Graphic2.jpg

 

 

First, I was struck on the right side of the neck.

 

Illustration1.jpg

It bounced off my neck and struck me again between my 3rd and 4th ribs.

 

Illustration2.jpg

It then ricocheted off my ribs and hit me in my right wrist causing me to drop my beer can.

 

Illustration3.jpg

 

 

It then paused in midair, took a right turn, and landed on my right thigh. That is some magic mucus.

 

Illustration4.jpg

The other controversial part is what happened to my head on the first hit. When I was hit in the neck my head went back and to the left.

 

Illustration5-6-7.jpg

 

Back and to the left

 

Illustration5-6-7.jpg

 

Back and to the left

 

Illustration5-6-7.jpg

 

Back and to the left

 

Illustration5-6-7.jpg

 

If the sneeze had come from across the aisle it would’ve caused my head to pitch to the left.

 

Illustration8.jpg

That means the sneeze must have come from the front and right.

 

There must have been a second sneezer!

 

From the chairs in front of the glassy pole.

 

Graphic3.jpg

 

But that’s not what “they” would like you to believe.

 

The sad thing is we may never know the real truth.

Was it Keith Hernandez?

 

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