Behind the Mic

BLOG #437

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Covid Cruising
After 17 months of waiting, my wife and I were able to take a vacation that did not include staying home and cutting grass. Along with our daughter and granddaughter (my son-in-law still had to work), we booked a Royal Caribbean cruise. That was the good news – the bad news was that it was out of Florida on the brand new Odyssey of the Seas.

Florida was and is experiencing the worst Covid case numbers in the country and, unlike the other ports in the US, the state would not allow Royal to limit their passengers to “vaccinated only”. So the ship would have both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers.

The four of us met three times prior to the cruise to decide if we should go or not. Finally, with all of us vaccinated, we decided to take the trip. We were notified about one week before that we all had to be tested for Covid within 48 hours of boarding the ship. Here is how the “week” progressed:

Friday – I went on the internet in the morning, only to discover that the Bahamas had made a rule that ships with unvaccinated passengers would not be allowed to dock in their ports. The highlight of our trip was going to be a day at Coco Cay, RC’s private island which happens to be in the Bahamas. That was not news we wanted to hear, but the four of us went to LVHN to get tested for the virus anyway. Within a half hour, we were notified we were all negative and given an affidavit to prove it. We could get on the ship.

Saturday – Once again, the internet updated cruising information. It turned out that the “Bahamas rule” would not go into effect until September 4, one week after our return. The packing continued with a bit more pep in our step.

Sunday – We boarded an Allegiant flight to Miami a half hour late due to a mechanical problem with our plane. Allegiant switched us to another plane. The plane was full; everyone was masked up; and the trip was uneventful. We arrived at Ft. Lauderdale and took an Uber to the port. Check-in was a breeze with all documents being checked – affidavit, vaccination documentation, and passports. Vaccinated passengers were given a green bracelet to designate their status. We discovered that the ship only had 1400+ passengers, about 38% of capacity. We sailed @ 6. The rules were very simple – masks indoors; no masks necessary outdoors.

Monday – We spent the day at seas, relaxing and learning that unvaccinated passengers were not allowed in our dining room, in the lower level of the theater, nor were they allowed in the casino. Our bracelets were checked in all of these places to allow admittance.

Tuesday – Our first port was Cozumel, Mexico. Again, unvaccinated passengers could only leave the ship as a group and must be part of a tour group controlled by the cruise line. It was becoming obvious that the company was making it somewhat unpleasant for the unvaccinated. Cozumel was always one of our favorite spots, but the virus and a hurricane had changed the dynamic. The town was virtually empty with tourists and the shop owners desperate for your business. We did not stay off the ship for long. We did manage to buy some tee-shirts and vanilla.

Wednesday – Our next stop was Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico. We had never been there before and found it to be quite nice. There was a shopping area that you could walk to, off the ship, with quality shops, nice, but not pushy attendants, a swimming pool, bar, restaurant, and a dolphin show. It was a great experience.

Thursday – We spent a day at seas, relaxing by the pool. Trust me, that’s not a bad vacation day.

Friday – This was the highlight of the cruise. We docked at Coco Cay, RC’s private Island, which is like an island Disney World. There is a waterpark, a hot air balloon ride, three beaches, 3 dining areas, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, 5 bars, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, and shopping. We opted to not do any of those, but instead chose to pay a bit extra to spend the day at the Coco Beach Club. We were on a private beach, with an infinity pool, and a very exclusive restaurant. The down side was that we were only there for eight hours – we all felt we could stay there for days. Again, unvaccinated people could only go on a tour by themselves.

Saturday – We were back to reality as we made our way off the ship, with memories of great entertainment every night, exceptional meals, plenty of relaxation, and a week away from the everyday.

I know cruising is not for everyone – I just do not know why.

Do you know the name – Matt Minister? I didn’t either. He is pro golfer’s Patrick Cantlay’s caddie. Patrick Cantlay is the golfer who just won the FedEx Cup. The previous week Cantlay won the BMW Championship. Cantlay won $1.7 million for his BMW win and $15 million for the FedEx title. If Minister received the normal “cut” that a caddie makes he got 10% of those winnings or $1.67 million. Minister wanted to be a pro golfer, but eventually switched to being a caddie. The 47-year-ol seems to have made the right decision.

You know the adage – “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” I watched Tom Brady lead the Bucs to a final possession field goal to win the game against the Cowboys on Thursday night. It was typical Brady – less than a minute to go; down by a point; no timeouts. Brady and the Bucs win 22-20 with last second field goal. Ho-Hum…

The Eagles certainly played well against Atlanta. They were extremely efficient in all aspects of the game – the total opposite of the way the Atlanta Falcons played. I’m sure the fan base is pleased for now.

The Phillies are fading very fast. With less than 20 games to go, they are 4 ½ games out of first. They have been unbelievably inconsistent this year. Every time they would get the fans’ hopes up they would go into a tailspin. It happened again this past week.

Our Lafayette football coverage begins this Saturday at 12:30 when the Leopards take on the University of New Hampshire. The independent schedule is a very tough one. The Leopards looked good in the first two weeks, but still lost the games. Join us for the game.

Gary’s Guesses

NFL Picks – (LAST WEEK – 5-11; OVERALL- 5-10)

New England
San Francisco
New Orleans
Tampa Bay
Kansas City
Green Bay