Monthly Archives: October 2015

DAY 16 ~ Saturday 31st October

With today being a sea day, i.e. lots of hard work, plus training this morning, I’ve not got masses of intresting things to write about as I was finished just p before midnight last night. Plus this week’s passengers seem VERY tame if yesterday is anything to go by, so I thought to do a recap of my first couple of weeks in numbers:-

1’120 Crew

2’340 Passengers (per week)

2 Countries visited (Boston x 3, Bermuda x 2)

400 Chickens consumed daily (total not just by me!)

15 Tonnes of rubbish recycled on board every week.

3’418’972 Stairs climbed

65 Different crew nationalities

17 Blogs posted

5 Loads of washing done

692 Cigarettes smoked onboard daily

29 Hot showers

5 Cold showers

$749 Tips received

3 Cabin mates

311 minutes of Internet usage

0 DVDs watched (I think I was a bit ambitious bringing all 8 series of House plus a few other box sets)

0.5 Books read (Most of that was on the flight)

132 Laps of the jogging track completed

22 Miles rowed (on the machine in the gym!)

12 Safety briefings

114’890’425 Times got lost

6 Pregnant crew onboard

2 Lifeboat drills

91 Hours of sleep

14 Decks

3 Room inspections

11 hours lost/gained in time zone changes

38 cms between my bed and the ceiling

3 Cabin parties

24 Casino dealers

4 Fashion faux pas

560 metres on one lap of the promenade deck

0.00 On the breathalyser

38 Numbers on an American roulette wheel

1 Captain’s meeting

19 Channels on our cabin TV

0 Times seasick

0 Times homesick

7 Sneaky China Pandas stalking me

0 Fancy dress costumes

237 days left living the dream…

Don’t forget to tune into tomorrow for pictures of our Halloween dress up!!!


DAY 15 ~ Friday 30th October

Boston – It turned out that I hadn’t adjusted my watch yesterday, so when I awoke at 5:45am, I had more than a few hours to spare before my shift started at 8:40am. Instead of going to the gym I lay in bed reading over some of these accounts. To be honest, I’m delighted I’ve written them, as I couldn’t even remember doing half the stuff, so full is my brain of new information.

With an early start to day in the casino, I was left to stare at the slot machines as most of the candidates for a game of blackjack were still in bed at that hour. I get mesmerised by the slots so quickly without a game to distract me. They jangle away, vieing for my attention, making increasingly louder sounds, trying to drown each other out. And the lights blink and flash away until you become hypnotised by their spell. From BJ1 (Blackjack table), I can see my favourite ‘Cougarlicious’ machine replete with predatorial ladies, lipsticks and hot young thing icons!

My next favourite is the ‘Fabulous Las Vegas Slots’ (a seat on Three Card Poker 2 affords you a good view of the round carousel where they live), an addictive coin pusher type affair, like those found on the seafront at Great Yarmouth. What happens when a big wave comes, I’ve yet to find out, but my guess is all the guests on one side will get a big payout!


Pay pay pay!!

In the far corner, a bit out of sight for my liking, is a claw grabber machine, where the aim of the game is to grab one of the many wads of cash and deposit it in the large corner hole, so that you can take it out and spend it!

That would be higher up my list, only for its poorly placed location and the fact that nothing will live up to this machine I found in Palm Beach, Florida.


Come to Papa!

Yes, that’s right, this contraption involved you selecting, capturing, and attempting to drop a live lobster down a hole! If successful the bar cooked it for you for free!!! It was way harder than it looked as the weight of the creature in the water was significantly different to that of it once the claw had retracted to its full height to swing over the gaping hole. More times than not, the poor animal just went plunging back into the tank.


I'm gonna get you!!!

Sometimes it wasn’t even possible to grab a lobster at all, as they shuffled off hurriedly when they saw the jaws descending towards them. I never did win one myself, despite investing enough dollars to open my own lobster petting zoo, but I saw an experienced gentleman who won quite a few. I was very jealous of him at first, but than began wondering, not about the ethics of the whole affair, but how long they’d been in the tank and what did they eat? Did the bartenders take them out after last orders?  Did they keep track of individual creatures? “Oh look Thomas got fried today, but Jeremy’s still standing after 17 weeks!” Maybe it was for the best that I didn’t manage to lasso one for my supper.

There are a few machines that I don’t like. The first one I spotted on my second day in the casino. It’s the ‘Sirens’ slot. The three girls, or ‘Sirens’ are very badly drawn in my opinion. The blue one looks like a bad effigy of Christ, and I call it the creepy Jesus machine and I resent having to look at that one for too long.

The one I really detest though is the ‘China Shores Panda’ model. This game has different optional screens, and selection icons roll round on a continuous loop when the machine is vacant; Raging Bull, Aztec Warrior, Firebreathing Dragon, Inca Tail, Striped Tiger and then the damn sneaky Panda. I can feel their beady eyes watching me at all times, silently judging me. From BJ5, there can be up to seven pious Pandas watching you at any one time. Seven! That’s 14 individual dark black eyes burning holes in my head as the stare at me unblinking, following my every move.


Your cute exterior doesn't fool me. I'm on to you, you vindictive beast.

Upon reading that back for spelling mistakes, I was a bit disturbed, as it kind of sounds like I’ve lost the plot. I’m not crazy, I just don’t do well when left with nothing to do for more than about 36 seconds. My mind starts to wander to some very strange places.

As soon as I got my 2 hour break I went straight out for a long run up on the top deck. The fresh air and exercise helped to exorcise the demon cartoon wildlife from my under stimulated brain. A few laps walking on the promenade deck, and I was fit to start the evening part of my shift.

I was a little less happy as I landed on the miss a turn square in Boston this morning. Instead of being granted shore leave, my duties were sanitising the casino as soon as the guests disembarked, and then I was placed on embarkation directional with guest concierge, escorting the VIPs to their cabins and helping with passenger orientation.

This was quite challenging for both me and the guests, as unless they wanted to stay in the cabin next door to mine and spend the week eating in the crew mess, they were likely to be disappointed, as I still don’t know my way round the upper reaches of the ship.

In fact before today, I’d only been to decks 2 (gym/uniform store), 3 (home), 4 (I95 corridor), 5 (crew mess), 6 (casino), 7 (home of my life raft and life jacket) and 13 (jogging track). All of the people I had to escort had cabins located on decks 8 – 12, so it was a bit of an adventure as I tried to deposit then in the right spot. I was given a map, but needed a compass and a GPS to go with it. It turned out that 90% of my flock had been on the Dawn at least once before, so they were able to help show me around!


You gotta know your ports from your starboards on this bad boy.

I was also excited to be able to speak French again and tried to orientate some lost guests that had joined the elevator alongside my disciples. I babbled away asking them which floor they wanted and where they were heading but they just kept looking more and more confused. I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I spoke French, but I can’t have got that bad surely?


Le Tour Eiffel

It turns out that the petrified citizens were actually Spanish, so had no clue what I was going on about. Espanol! D’accord. “Holà, como estas?” And all that.

We do have quite a few real French speaking guests in our midst from Canada. I helped two different sets of groups get to where they needed to go. It turns out that apart from the Hotel Director Alain, who’s actually French, plus a smattering of Mauritian crew, no one else speaks French on the ship. I told my new found friends to call me or come to the casino if they needed anything. I doubt I’ll actually be able to help them, but at least I can find someone who can help and then translate for them. I also met some Australians who had flown 19 hours to be here with us. Hardcore guys!!

I ended up having a lot of fun (I think my colleagues hate me because I enjoy working so much), swiping on and off the ship numerous times and walking up and down the gangway grinning like a loon, bestowing welcoming greetings at the queueing masses. The excitement of the holidaymakers is infectious and I wasn’t fussed about not being able to head into Boston itself, but for the fact I still don’t have a costume for tomorrow night’s Halloween dress up, which is looming large. I might have to see if I can befriend someone in the show and borrow some attire for the night otherwise at this rate I’ll be forced to go as Lady Godiva.

DAY 14 ~ Thursday 29th October

At Sea – There were hardly any guests about when I went for my morning run around the jogging track, on deck 13, at 7:45 am. This was probably due to the fact that it was a) early, b) very wind and a bit rough and c) they’re on vacation.

The strong breeze and the swaying of the ship certainly made my requisite 12 laps a little more challenging than usual. In fact, down the port side, the wind was so fierce that I closely resembled Phoebe in that episode of Friends where Rachel is too embarrassed to run with her, as she flails her arms and legs around manically.

It was very humid under the partly cloudy sky. I’m not sure if that was the main cause of my profuse sweating, or it was the fear of going crashing into the railings, as the track narrows into two ‘S’ bends as you round the aft end of the course. I had to put my hands out and grab the rail a number of times to save myself from ending up back at the medical centre.


Oh blue sky and still water, where have you gone?

I dashed back downstairs (10 flights in all), and as Daisy was still asleep because she had a late start, I had to shower and change in the dark. It was quite a feat as the ship rolled and lurched from side to side, sending me flying into the bathroom wall and then nearly out through the shower curtain.

I scrambled up to deck 5 and was seated in the lecture room for 8:55am prompt. Yesterday’s security awareness briefing and exam was three hours long. Two thirds of the way through, just when I thought it was impossible to remember any new acronyms (SOLAS, MARSEC, SEMS, ISPS, DOS etc etc), security Tom (Security Officer/Norway), who was hosting the talk, received a call to alert him to an incident that need his immediate attention. As it was more pressing than teaching a bunch of rookie seafarers, jargon, he swiftly headed off, dismissing us in the process. Whoopie!


Safety first.

I’m very interested in learning all about the fascinating inner workings of ship life, but after 2 hours and not much sleep, I was flagging badly. We all left the lecture and headed back down the main I95 to our respective cabins and workplaces. We looked like a bunch of well choreographed dancers as we all stumbled and side stepped in time with each other, to the beat of the sea.

The casino was very quiet all day. I really hate just sitting at an empty game, so I put on my winning smile and was doing my best to entice potential players to my blackjack table. Georgi (Dealer/Macedonia), who must be our leading tip earner, as he’s very charismatic, and I had a competition to see who could get a customer first as we were both sitting starring at empty seats. He got a break before either of us could convince anyone to part with their money, but as I got a game shortly after he left, I’m counting myself as the moral winner.

The sea was really quite choppy all day, which might’ve contributed to our lack of crowd. More than a few of the dealers had to dash off to visit the ‘rest rooms’ as they say in the States. Thankfully I felt fine, which was a huge relief, as all I had for breakfast/lunch (11am) was 2 bowls of bright green flavoured jelly, a glass of mango juice water and a hot chocolate. I really wouldn’t have fancied revisiting that luminous green concoction, especially if I couldn’t make it to the facility in time!

This evening was Norwegian’s ‘White Hot Party’ where all the guests are encouraged to wear something white and have a jolly good time. There’s some hardy folks amongst the passengers, still knocking back the liquor despite the rough seas. I don’t envy them being drunk or waking up with a hangover on rough seas.

My favorite outfits of the night went to an octogenarian couple. The guy had a white tuxedo jacket on, black shirt and white fedora hat. He looked fabulous. His lady friend had a white and black daisy headband on, teemed with a very flattering black and white dress. Congratulating then on their immaculate style, the gentleman told me that they’d just got re-married, Captain Holmqvist having officiated the ceremony. How awesome! They were such a cool couple. I so wish I could’ve got a photo of the two of them.

Everyday we have a safety thought of the day. It’s usual posted on notice boards around the ship. The other day for instance was “Look sharp, don’t get cut.” I couldn’t find yesterday’s phrase displayed anywhere, so decided to make up my own “Don’t wear a skirt and heels for the first time on a rough sea day.” Yes, you guessed it, in a bid to look smarter (and earn more tips of course) I donned a more lady like version of my uniform, and teetered precariously around the place trying not to walk like a transvestite in heels. Another clothes related failure!


Stairs, big waves and heels are not a good combination.

I’m currently lying in bed a bit confused as to the actual time this morning, as we gained another hour again last night, and I can’t remember if I adjusted my watch before bed or not. Oh well, at least I’ll be an hour early for work if it’s not the right time…

DAY 13 ~ Wednesday 28th October

At Sea – The lifeboat drill was conducted in blazing sunshine yesterday, and as they were launching and testing all the survival craft, we had to stand outside on deck 7, in our life jackets, for what seemed like an eternity, with my pale skin going slowly crispy. As Vianney (dealer) pointed out, I’ll soon blend in with him and his colleagues from Saint Lucia!

Once the mandatory practice was completed, it was off to the theatre for the monthly Captain’s meeting. It started with a jazz band playing rousing music, to get us all in the mood for our winter home port of New Orleans. Next up Captain Holmqvist (Sweden) ran through some affairs, including hitting our targets, i.e. customer satisfaction etc. The Dawn is performing quite well, but of course there’s no room for complacency and we can always strive to do better.


The show band open up the monthly meeting with a bang!

Next up were the ‘Vacation Hero’ awards, honoured to those members of crew who have shown outstanding work during the last month. We were immensely proud of Casino dealer Sohan (India), as he was bestowed with his award and cheered even louder when he made the ‘Final Four’, the top honour avaliable. Go Sohan!

That was our last Bermuda for the year, and after Boston on Friday, we head south. The company takes crew enrichment very seriously. They have new bicycles for loan on port days and a whole host of entertainment planned for the coming weeks, during our repositioning cruise, including Crew Bingo and Caribbean food night, plus special shore excursions for staff. I am really really impressed with the level of commitment that NCL shows their employees. I for one am very satisfied with how well we are treated.

Next stop for me was the medical centre for my random drug and alcohol test. I’d never been inside before and marvelled at the size of the place. There’s an operating theatre, sick ward, intensive care room and everything. Hopefully I won’t be visiting again ever, but it’s comforting to know that I’ll be well looked after if I do end up there. Incidentally we also have a jail onboard. I’ve never been in there either, but I use it as one of my landmarks when the I95 is closed.

I queued up with about 59 other candidates, awaiting my turn to blow into the tube and pee in the cup. We were plied with water to drink in a bid to speed up the process, but it still took more than an hour before it was my turn. I blew 0.00 into the breathalyser and waited in the corridor to do the drugs test. When I got to the front of the queue I still didn’t feel like I had enough water inside me to produce a sample. I managed to trickle out a meagre amount, which thankfully was just enough to complete the testing.

I had 4 negatives come up straight away, but was then forced to wait nervously for the 5th test to show the requisite 2 blue lines. I don’t ever want to endure the experience of hoping for little lines to appear on paper strips soaked in urine again. Unless the words ‘Not pregnant’ are guaranteed to appear that is.


Thank goodness I didn't bring Colin with me, he'd've been thrown off the ship and left in Bermuda.

The final test was for PCP. I don’t even know what PCP is, and when the marks eventually appeared, to say that I hadn’t ingested any of whatever PCP constitutes of, I was mightily relieved. Shore leave was still not being granted for crew, so I had lunch and then tried to sleep for an hour before my shift started in the afternoon.

The copious amounts of water I’d consumed, in a bid to provide an adequate sample in the medical centre, now decided it was time to be released. Two trips up and down the ladder from my bunk to the bathroom, meant that I couldn’t really get any proper rest, so I got up, showered and fiddled around before work.

The casino was quiet until about 7pm, when the guests started flocking to the tables. I dealt myself three of a kind and a royal flush at three card poker, so I wasn’t all that popular with the punters! I did better on the high value blackjack table though, with one guy tipping me $2 every hand he won. He won a lot of hands and the tip box went from empty to half full in no time. The tips get split between all the dealers, so I was glad to be able to pull my weight in contributing.


Are you feeling lucky?

This morning I’ve a 3 hour security training lesson at 8:55am, which means I miss the first 3 hours of my casino shift. Then as it’s a sea day, I’ll be in the casino straight through until the early hours of tomorrow morning.

It was a shame not to have one more swim in the sea before leaving Bermuda for the winter, but my schedule is pretty much chock a block at present, plus there’ll be ample opportunity for refreshing dips in the ocean at the fantastic ports on offer in our next itinerary.


Thank you Bermuda, you were awesome. The next ports have a lot to live up too.

DAY 12 ~ Tuesday 27th October

Bermuda – Having left next door’s get together just before 4am, there was just enough time for Becky (Dealer/Zimbabwe) and I to dash to the staff mess for late night supper. I hadn’t even realised that there was hot food available between 3am and 4am, so was delighted to tuck into surprise chicken and rice, as I was famished.

We had attended the tame party in our pj’s (they do only live next door), so we then had to navigate our way to and from the dining room, at the opposite end of the ship, in our bedtime attire, as there wasn’t time to change. Coincidently, it was also the middle of the night. Being that we were still tethered to the dock in Bermuda, the gangways were open to let late night revellers on and off the ship, blocking our route to the hot offerings we were craving. This meant that to get to the food, we had to take a diversion from our normal direct route along the I95 (main crew corridor on deck 4) and instead run the gauntlet, passsing along the passenger areas, in pyjamas, slippers and name tags.

I’m amazed how many people in the public places recognise me as “That Blackjack dealer that *took/gave me (*delete as appropriate) all that money.” Thankfully we managed to make our way there and back without getting accosted by any happy/sad punters, which was a relief.

Having polished off our hard earned snack, I was finally able to clamber wearily into my bunk, collecting a few more bruises in the process. I was asleep in seconds. A few minutes later, or so it seemed, it was time to get up and trot along to safety training. Being that the ship is very much a 24 hour affair, with people busily working away at all hours of the night and day, the training timetables can’t suit everyone, as I definitely wouldn’t have picked an 8:55am start time.

Crowd management was the theme of talk and we learnt all about how to control people in the event of an incident, which is obviously very important. Did you know the best way to marshal drunk citizens in case of an emergency? Ask them politely to leave the bar to go to their assembly station. When that fails you cut off their alcohol source by closing the bar. If that doesn’t rouse them into some kind of action, you tell them there’s free drinks on deck 7, which also happens to be home of their muster station. Simple really.

Two and a half hours, and a few scary videos of ships sinking into the ocean later, and I was free to go as I’d missed the blackjack exam due to the time clash and safety training always taking priority. By the way, I know it’s important to be well prepared for these kind of eventualities, but there’s a reason Titanic isn’t among my onboard DVD collection. Same as I didn’t used to watch videos of people falling off horses before I rode out every morning.


I hope I don't go down with this ship!!

With most of the morning gone I thought I’d missed all the outings heading to shore that day, but my lovely (when she’s not doing her English accent) roommate Andreea, Midriros (Gaming supervisor/Philippines) and head cashier Ian (Philippines) were all kindly waiting for me to gather my things so that we could head out for the day.

The destination turned out to be ‘Andy’s House’, a beautiful blue building in the hills overlooking the ocean in Somerset. Andy is a Bermudan gentleman, who Midriros ran into a few contacts back, as she stood in the middle of the road, flagged his vehicle down and practically car jacked him into taking her and her friends back to the soon to be departing vessel.


The beautiful view from Andy's home.

Clearly that’s a good way to break the ice, as they’ve been friends ever since, and whenever we dock in Bermuda, Andy’s home becomes a sanctuary for the casino bods, all making full use of his generous hospitality and free WiFi!



We’d brought Iron Chef Ian with us and once again he didn’t disappoint in the culinary department, fixing up some lovely chicken, eggs, ribs and rice for lunch, while the rest of us tapped away feverishly on our phones. The chance to read, if not reply to, all my 179 emails was a welcome relief.


Food glorious food.

After lunch, gazing down on the electric blue water below us, there was just enough time to relax in the hot tub for thirty minutes, before Andy very kindly dropped us back at the ship. We did our best to convince him to take a holiday aboard the Dawn, as he’s good friends with nearly our entire department after many afternoons being ambushed by Internet hungry croupiers. I really hope we get him to take a vacation with us so that we can try and repay his gracious generosity.


This is the life!

Another fun shift at the gaming tables over, and I was more then ready to crash into my bed beneath the ceiling. I’d forgotten however to remove my laundry from the washing machine and was expecting to have to wait up whilst it dried. Imagine my utter joy when I located it neatly folded in a warm pile in my washing bag. I could’ve cried I was so happy. Thank you a million times to the amazing person that not only finished but also shop-standard folded my garments. I owe you one! I did the same for someone last week, but I doubt it was the same kindly soul who did mine and it certainly wasn’t as neatly arranged.

This morning I’m up in anticipation of our weekly life boat drill and waiting for the alarm to sound and signal me to my assembly point on deck 7. After this it’s the Captain’s meeting for all crew in the Stardust theatre. Don’t worry Sally Ann, I’ll be sure to raise my hand and find out the terms and conditions of my staff discount for you to come and stay.

And then to finish my morning I’m off for a random drug and alcohol test in the medical centre at 11:30am. I got a call on the cabin phone about an hour ago from my manager Grace informing me of my call up. Seeing as I don’t drink (or do drugs obviously) the most worrying part of the whole affair was trying to replace the phone receiver, whilst dangling precariously off the side of my bunk in the dark!

DAY 11 ~ Monday 26th October

Bermuda – After heading back into the sea for another swim yesterday afternoon at Snorkel Park, as Andreea (Cashdesk/Romania) refused to go in on her own. I was a little chilly upon getting out under the late afternoon sky, so decided to join in with the people dancing to the band. In my towel. Because that’s the kind of person I am. Andreea and Anton looked on, horrified, but I didn’t care, as I soon dried off and was nice and warm again.


Andreea insisted on getting photographic proof of what a nutter I am.

Returning to the ship with a few hours before the casino opened at 9pm, I went straight to the crew mess for a snack, because I was ravenous after all the splashing about and dance floor discoing. I got lucky and had two slices of different pieces of random flavoured cake and then hit the trifecta by unearthing some vibrant green jelly in the staff mess, when I went in to get some lemonade to wash all the cake down.

Being that yesterday’s original post got wiped I thought I’d try and summarise the best of it now.

Training seems to be the watch word of my week, with my schedule currently littered with it. It started with environmental training today, which was hosted by Rusty (Environment Officer/USA) and it was really interesting learning about all the different roles played onboard. All the rubbish produced is sorted and the Dawn sends off over 15 tonnes worth of recycling each week. The waste food gets ground up and released into the water to feed the sealife.

When asked by Rusty what the Americans do a lot of in the casino, I shouted out “EAT!”. He was actually looking for the word “Complain.”, but as the generous body sizes of some of our guests will attest to, I was also technically correct, so he gave me a pass on that one.

I’ve seen way more of their ample bodies than I ever really wanted to, as one of the guys mooned at the Texas hold ’em poker table last week, a woman dropped her trousers at the bar (classy) and last night a guy showed me both of his pierced nipples. Er thanks, but I’m good already without needing to be exposed to your nakedness.


I'd be happy if you'd keep your private parts private please people.

The rest of the content I can either now not remember, or it is no longer relevant.

If this journal goes it a bit haywire from now on, you can thank my roommate Andreea. When asked why I was always typing on my phone at all hours of the day and night, I idly let slip that I was writing an online account of my cruise ship adventure.

Since then, Andreea has been not only been reading passages from it aloud, but doing it in an excellent impersonation of my English accent, which I admit now sounds very British amongst all the Yanks. It makes me cringe to hear my words spoken out loud, so I might be terminating this blog if she keeps it up!


Andreea, if you're reading this, next time you take the piss out of me, I'll put up a picture of you sleeping, not coming out of the ocean looking like a greek godess!

Over the last while, as I’ve got to know everyone better, they’ve all had a poke at my accent, from the inspectors to the other dealers and even the customers take the mickey. “Would you like a caard?” they mimic. They’ve made me really self conscious and possibly found the only way of shutting me up!

Tonight was a first for me, I dealt Three Card Poker to a dog! Boomer (a small/medium short haired terrier type) is a service dog and he sat patiently on his owner’s lap, while he played cards. We look forward to seeing you both in the casino soon, and enjoy the rest of your stay!

I’ve a blackjack test in the morning, straight after safety training at 9am, but first there’s a cabin party next door to attend…

DAY 10 ~ Sunday 24th October

Bermuda – The day didn’t get off to a fantastic start, as after posting this blog, I realised that not only had it not posted successfully, it had also lost all of the hard written words that I had scribed in the early hours of the morning. Thanks for that world wide web.


Motherf**ker! This is not what you want to see.

We’ve been having problems with the Internet ever since Boston, when they changed the crew wifi logins to a new site. It keeps auto purchasing minutes that I haven’t authorised and then telling me my time is all used up. It’s very frustrating as I try to be really careful about conserving my usage just for uploading this account.

I then enjoyed a good workout however, this time venturing to the passenger gym for the first time with my roommate Becky (Dealer/Zimbabwe), as we were just coming into port in Bermuda and the guests were all on deck watching us dock, or in their staterooms getting their beach towels and sunglasses at the ready. Happy days, a gorgeous view and fancy equipment to sweeten the deal.

After a quick shower, I surprised our cabin steward, who was changing the sheets, by coming out of the bathroom in just a small towel. Woops! I better make sure I tip him extra next week. I frantically dried my masses of wet hair so that I could arrive the requisite five minutes early for my casino customer service training, which I had to attend in full uniform.

While I sat there waiting for the lecturer to arrive, with half a dozen of my counterparts, pit boss Pavel had us all cracking up as he recounted tales of inebriated guests who had thrown up at the dice table and an unfortunate woman who puked all over a slot machine, losing her false teeth in the process! My stomach muscles got a better workout than they did in the gym, his thick Russian accent making the revolting stories all the more hilarious.

After about 10 minutes we got word that training had been cancelled due to Grace (Casino Manager/Philippines) ironically being sick herself. All dressed up and nowhere to go, I headed to the crew mess to have my breakfast/lunch/dinner. I have to make the most of finding food avaliable as earlier in the week I went 36 hours without eating anything but 2 bowls of dry rice crispies, as every time I went for a meal, service had finished and there were just a couple of miniature boxes of cereal left out. NCL do provide milk by the way, I just don’t like milk. The food on offer today was delicious as always. I had spicy rice noodle salad and chicken with jalapeños, with some kind of cake for desert. Yummy!

I’m very satisfied by the excellent choices we get. That might not be saying much coming from me, as I detest cooking and shopping, but I’ve never eaten so well and nutritiously in my life. I also found out late last night that as gaming staff, we get midnight snacks in La Cucina, the French restaurant, after it closes for guests. Large fresh slices of mouthwatering melon, gateau and cranberry juice, I never got that in any casino in England!

With training postponed, I took full advantage and changed into my bikini, with a trip to snorkel park beach in mind. My fellow top bunker Daisy (Dice dealer/Philippines) was in bed when I got back to our room but somehow I managed to convince her to leave the confines of our cabin for her first shore visit to Bermuda, despite this being her third time here in as many weeks.

After checking the weather for the fifteenth time (she was worried it was going to be cold), she was finally ready and we headed to the gangway to disembark. Swiping my card, I exchanged a friendly getting with the exit steward, and started towards land. I then heard the words “Leave denied.” from being me. Daisy’s passageway to freedom had been blocked! It turns out that she was red flagged due to being on In Port Manning (IPM) duty today.

In port manning, or on board duty, is a dreaded assignment that we all undertake on a rotational basis. Basically a quarter of the crew have to stay on the ship in case of emergency, and are needed to guide the passengers to safety. Each port day is one of four different colours. And if today’s your day, you’re going nowhere, unless you’ve pre arranged a swap. Back to bed it was for Daisy then.


Wish you were here Daisy!

I made the short trip to snorkel park alone and was soon cooling off in the glorious clear blue saltwater. I was stopped in my tracks however by the presence of an army of fish. I hate fish, unless they’re the kind served up raw in bite sized chunks on top of rice. Live ones scare the bejeezus out of me. As I looked down through the crystal waters, there were shoals of the creepy things swarming around me. I immediately retreated to the safety of the shore.

I really really wanted to swim though. I’d been fantasising about it all week, as I still haven’t located the crew pool, despite it being the one on view on the webcam that is usually showing on our cabin TV. If you ever go online and see me in the pool give me a cheer!

Finally I plucked up the courage to re-enter the water, my desire to swim out battling my phobia of the sneaky aquatic creatures lurking in the water. It was worth it, I adore swimming and what better place to do it than the warm sea.

So while everyone else paddling in the ocean, snorkeling along marvelling at the marine life, I resembled the Loch Ness monster, head and neck held high out of the water, eyes screwed tightly shut so that I couldn’t see my pale green nemeses.


I'll only swim with dolphins if they promise to eat all the nasty fish.

And so here I am, lying on the beach, listening to a live band playing rocking out Robin Thicke at the bar, rewriting today’s entry, with a breeze coming off the ocean, next to my roommate Andreea (Cashdesk/Romania) and Anton (Slot Manager/Bulgaria), who turned up and joined me after I’d got out of the sea. Not such a bad day after all!

Anton, star of today's update.