Monthly Archives: February 2016

DAY 137 ~ Monday 29th February

At Sea – I won money playing dice in the casino in New Orleans yesterday!!! After satisfying my phone and I’s craving for Internet, I called into Harrah’s casino on the way back to the ship. The idea was to have a look around, watch a bit of craps, and maybe buy a couple of stacks of chips to take back to the ship to practice with, and then cash them back in, in a couple of months time, before dry dock, to redeem my money.

Of course within seconds of entering the building, having bumped into a few guests from last week’s cruise (and explained that no I wasn’t handing in a job application form, but I was there to play), and I was at the ATM loading up with ammo to be able to ‘roll the bones’ or to use a more familiar phrase, shake the dice.

With a $15 minimum bet, my $200 wasn’t going to last long and joining in mid roll, my first bet of playing the numbers across cost $81 and lost on a ‘seven out’ the very next roll!

Burned from my experience, I only trusted $35 on the pass line, as the new shooter took his turn. The new chap turned out to be quite good, and after rolling a couple of 7s and 11s, I’d won $70 and had enough confidence to play the numbers across when the point was made, this time my bet costing me just $78.

After a few good rolls, I was back to being even, and had enough bravado to even press a couple of bets up using my winnings. At $100 profit, I should’ve probably walked there and then after being down best part off a hundred bucks after only twelve seconds, but the game is played at such a fast pace, and I was having so much fun, that I decided to let my bets stay.

By the time the point was rolled, I had $447 in chips, so decided to quit while I was ahead, taking $430 straight to the cashier and leaving the rest as a tip for my kind dealers.

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Winner alright, winner alright!!

$230 profit for 6 minutes of fun. Not bad, this game looks easy! That’s why I decided against taking the chips back to the ship with me and exchanged them for cash, so that I wouldn’t need to be tempted to head back into the casino in a few weeks time and squander my precious winnings.

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Come to momma!

So now it’s back to the other side of the table for me. Sea day today, so plenty of time to get practice in dealing all the casino games during my 14 hour shift. Oh joy!! ♤♡♢♧

DAY 136 ~ Sunday 28th February

New Orleans, Louisiana – All change please! This week and next, see massive turn around of staff in the casino. Len our lovely manager leaves today, along with one of the best and nicest supervisors, Joaquim. Next week we lose two more supervisors, but see the return of Keegan, who’s five week vacation seems to have flown past.

Replacing Leonard, who returns in two months time, is the Grace, who was the manager in charge when I first boarded the ship back in October. It’s such a crazy environnent and strange to think that nearly all the people who were onboard when I arrived are now on vacation, or scattered on other ships around the world.

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I wonder if any of my former sail mates have made it to Vatican City yet?

Last week was such a great cruise in the casino, that in going to miss the guests also. They were a really fun bunch and livened the place up each day. But this evening sees a whole new group of 2,645 odd strangers enter our unique universe.

I did more dice dealing last night, and actually got to be base dealer for an hour. It was very enjoyable, even though I didn’t have the darnedest clue what was going on most of the time. The players and craps crew were very patient with me, and if I can pick it up quickly now that I’m on the table more and more I can hopefully dispense with the dice school that’s been sapping my energy every day for the last five weeks.

Today is New Orleans. I’m going to head out and pilfer some free WiFi. Buy some chocolate and stockings and then be back onboard by 2pm to start the whole week over again. New cruise baby, new cruise!

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Next stop Cozumel!

DAY 135 ~ Saturday 27th February

At Sea – I found breakfast at lunchtime, finally!!! After dice school yesterday I went to the Garden Cafe on deck 12 as I was still wearing my uniform, and heaped my plate full of the lovely schezuan beef and spicy stir fried vegetables that they do every Friday. On my way to the back of the restaurant, to sit down and tuck into my meal, I passed to the other side of the buffet and noticed eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, bread, pancakes and even an omelette station!

Oh my goodness, BREAKFAST!!! I was left with such a dilemma, waste a plate full of hot food and start over with brunch, or eat my meal and miss out on a delicious breakfast. I chose the latter, as I really couldn’t bear the thought of wasting good food.

I hurriedly ate my plate full of Asian delights and greedily ran back to the serving counter, to get some eggs, despite already being brim full. But alas, the rope was up and they were already clearing away the gorgeous offerings. Still hopefully it means if I’m organised next week, I should be in time to finally satisfy my breakfast craving.

I keep hoping that dice school will soon be over, but after a couple of sessions on the table last night on real live games, I realised that the only thing I know, is how much I don’t know. I think the only way training will be over for me is if I get banned from dealing the game forever.

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I have no idea what happens next.

There’s so much to do and learn, the speed at which the games takes place is phenomenal and it seems like I get everything wrong. I mean I’ve only got two hands, so the chance of me using the correct one should be about fifty percent. Seemingly I’m able to defy the odds and get it wrong 99.97% of the time. At the same time as getting yelled at for using the wrong hand, I have to try and steer the kamikaze see-through cubes from their landing position, back to the centre of the table. I’m also supposed to be yelling out my stick calls at this point too. The trouble is, when I do that, I pause with the dice as I run through the many lines in my head, trying to select the appropriate ones for the number that’s been rolled.

Then I have to remember to switch hands as the dice reach the centre of the table, all the while enticing players to place new wagers by yelling out inviting spiel, take the centre action down or call out to my team which bets need paying and who needs change, before sending the dice out to the correct shooter, making sure the dice aren’t showing 2, 3, 7 or 12. I mean seriously, people should just be grateful when the 2 dice arrive safely at their destination without causing any damage or destruction on the way, not worry about the sum total of their face up sides.

Sometimes I’ve had to prevent myself screaming at everyone to stop and let me think for a minute. The players chuck chips at me and mumble gibberish that I’m supposed to decipher, place and instruct my base dealer how much change to give. Factor in background noise of the music, the constant announcements inviting people to do the lotto or play poker and then there are the dreaded slots.

The slots jingle and jangle in a out of time, off key choir, that only knows cheesy tunes kind of way. There’s one right next to the craps table, featuring penguins, that sings “Ice, Ice Baby!” every time the bonus is reached. Really conducive to mental amounts of mental arithmetic.

And yes of course there all seeing all judging Pandas have a prime view of proceedings. Four of them are directly facing the table, black beady eyes burning holes into my hot over worked brain. I swear one of them actually laughed at me today. Their giant black and white faces, with smirking grins, mocking me all the while. “Wrong hand, wrong hand!” They mercilessly taunt me.

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Evil creatures.

My God, maybe I’ve finally lost it. It’s a sea day today, which means far too much time at work and not enough time sleeping. But tomorrow is New Orleans, I’m going out and I’m going to try and find some Panda poison or a big trap…

DAY 134 ~ Friday 26th February

Costa Maya, Mexico – The barbecue yesterday in Belize was awesome. Both messes were closed, but you could smell the delicious aromas wafting from the mooring deck nearby, as the fresh food was being prepared. It was like an outdoor banquet, with everything imaginable on offer, including the mandatory rice, plus a ginormous wok filled with pasta, muscles and shrimp.

I enjoyed some fantastic steak and spicy chicken, with a delicious salad and some bread, plus some rainbow coloured jelly for afters. I vote we eat outside every day!

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It was like Bermuda only on a much grander scale.

The atmosphere was great and I think that everyone appreciated all the effort that the chefs and crew enrichment went to, to put on such a splendid feast for us.

We do get very well looked after onboard, which is nice because lots of people are many miles from their homelands and friends and families for up to 9 months at a time, plus we all work pretty hard too. It’s nice to see a smile and receive a positive comment from a guest, but it’s equally rewarding to get a well done from the management and a treat like yesterday’s.

For crew we have an Internet cafe, a pool table and a large wide screen TV in the day room. Books, board games and DVDs for loan. In the crew mess we also have chess plus a selection of video games and consoles. There’s the crew bar, gym and pool, plus access to guest areas before 2am. We can loan bicycles and get access to the spa late at night, usually once a month.

This week they’re offering another engine tour, plus there’s often a crew shore excursion taking place. As we work nights, we often miss the crew bar under the stars or some of the kareoke or theme nights in the bar or even in one of the guest areas, but then they also provide specific night shift parties which is very thoughtful.

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This is the life!

One of my favourite things is when we have movie night in the Stardust theatre 2 but this month I was closer so missed out sadly. There’s also wine and cheese nights, plus my personal favourite dessert and waffle night, mmm…! All in all it’s enough to keep you busy every day and sometimes I wonder how we find the time to go to work!

DAY 133 ~ Thursday 25th February

Belize City, Belize – It was sweltering in Roatan yesterday. Thankfully, as we had the Captain’s meeting straight afterwards, boat drill was over fairly promptly, as standing out on an open deck wearing a life jacket for an hour isn’t always the best way to start a day.

The Captain’s meeting started with a burst of energy though, with a copy of Pitbull’s “Feel Free” video playing on the big screen and blasting through the speakers. Pitbull is the Godfather of the newest ship in the fleet, the giant mega floating hotel, Norwegian Escape. I wonder if I’ll ever get sent there and have the chance to meet Pitbull, as he often makes appearances and plays gigs on the vessel.

Incidentally Samantha from Sex And The City is the Dawn’s Godmother. I haven’t seen her on the vessel yet, but hopefully I’ll get to deal blackjack to her one day. I was never a big Sex And The City watcher, but I do know that she’s the promiscuous one, though I don’t know what that says about our beautiful boat or all the good people who sail in her. I guess it’s Freestyle and anything goes.

We were then treated to a fantastic live performance from one of the ship’s bands, the hugely talented and immensely popular Southside, an all Filipino band, who were really excellent. After that, in the meeting proper, it was nice to see the Dawn performing very admirably in all departments and our fleetwide scores were excellent too.

After the meeting, for some unknown reason, I decided to go for a jog around deck 13. At midday. In the sweltering heat. Maybe the excitement of the meeting or more likely the air conditioning, had made me forget about the oppressive heat outside. After my 10 lap warm up, I went to play basketball on the deck above, level 14.

By the time I’d clambered up the last flight of steps to reach the top deck, I was over heating in a big way, I could barely lift my arms above my head to shoot the ball in the net, and after five minutes I admitted defeat and retreated indoors, not wishing to pass out on the basketball court and have to lay out, exposed in blazing midday sun, until some passerby found my panting corpse. Next time I think I’ll stick to an indoor workout…

I spent a bit of time in the gym once I’d drunk enough water to rehydrate my ailing body and then wandered a couple of laps around the promenade deck to cool down. Still feeling like my core temperature was somewhere near hot enough to fry my internal organs, I showered, changed, and made for the crew pool on deck 8.

It was heaven bobbing around in the inviting water like a giant rubber duck on vacation, looking out at the blue ocean and golden beaches all around. With the “pool” being too small to swim in, I had to make do with submerging myself on the bottom and inspecting the floor of the tub.

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I'm glad I'm not that rubber duck!

I found that floating face down simulated what I believe it must feel like to be in Space. My body felt totally weightless and free as it hung suspended in the cool liquid. I did realise, after resurfacing for the third time to gasp for air, that anyone watching from the bridge or any guests watching from deck 13 or indeed their stateroom TVs might think that I’d actually kicked the bucket. Or some concerned Internet stalker, who was tuned into the live feed on http://www.sea-scanner.com might try calling shoreside on Miami to alert them to the drowning crew member on the bow cam footage. Probably best to stay upright then…

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My tiny paradise.

Being in the water was completely transforming and I felt brand new after 25 minutes splashing about. After that I grabbed a delicious lunch in the garden cafe and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing peacefully before work.

Today crew enrichment have put on a barbecue for the staff, which I’m really looking forward to. Other than that it’s lots of Dice exercises on the agenda and studying for another blackjack test before another night shining in the Dawn Club Casino until the early hours of the morning. Adios amigos!

DAY 132 ~ Wednesday 24th February

Roatan, Honduras – Quite a few posts I wrote about my rash. The one on my leg that won’t go away. Now the rash was the result of my swimming into some fire coral in the ocean in Costa Maya, not some tropical disease or any night time adventuring in case that’s what you’re thinking.

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Maybe I should use some of these to protect myself next time...?

The red raised lumps had remained on my leg for three weeks, at my last time of writing and continued to resided on my leg despite many different treatments thrown at them, all courtesy of Google of course. Well Goggle, I’ve news for you, non of them worked. Not the topical hydrocortisone ointment, nor the white vinegar or the anti histamine creme. Come rain or shine the rash shone brightly just above my knee.

That was until the other day, when a friend put some iodine on it. The red was instantly less noticeable, mostly because I now had a huge yellow blotch there instead, but come the next morning, it was virtually all gone, the skin was flat and the pretty patten was only faintly visible if you peered really hard. Hallelujah, I no longer look like I’ve been branded by some Mayan cult!!

Strangely, after a few days it’s started to reappear again, not as bad as before, but it’s definitely making a comeback. In going to seek out my witch doctor friend and hopefully a few more iodide treatments will see it vanish forever…

The ship was really rocky last night, which was unusual as mostly when we travel between the islands in the middle of the week, the waters are calm. It might mean that the weather is not going to be its normal +30°, but as I’m IPM and restricted to the boat, I’m less concerned. It certainly made standing in the windowless count room at 4:15am sifting through all the dollars an even more painful task than usual. And the lack of any water to speak of whatsoever when I returned to the cabin wanting a nice hot shower was also not well received. They’ve been cutting the water supply off at night times as they start on some maintenance before our big return in 2 months time.

It’s another early start on the morning, with boat drill, Captain’s meeting and casino meeting once again tomorrow, the weeks and months seem to fly by here. I can’t believe it will soon be time to start thinking about going home…

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I hope they remember to dust the chandeliers and polish the silverware before I get back!

DAY 131 ~ Tuesday 23rd February

Cozumel, Mexico – Cabin 3218 is on fire!!! One of the occupants has won each of the last three month’s Vacation Hero award, a run stretching back to December. I was the first winner, then the now departed Andreea next, and this month’s winner is my bottom bunk mate Cherylou.

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My comment card award presentation (front row, purple shirt).

Fingers crossed Gaynor or our new resident Natasha keep up the trend next month. High five ladies!! Hopefully it’s a result of our positive happy ambience that we try to keep at all times, even in the face of adversities such as a queue for the bathroom!

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Cabin 3218 are winning at life!

Considering there’s for of us sharing a fairly cosy space, that we all start and finish at different times of the day and night, and add in the fact were from 4 corners of the earth (UK, Zimbabwe, Philippines and South Africa), we manage to rub along together remarkably well. The bigger problem is for our neighbours who have to hear us sqwarking and giggling through the walls at all hours.

This week is turning into a really good cruise. Last night, when stationed to the furthest outpost in the Arctic circle, also known as the BJ 14, the least likely table to get a game due to its high dollar minimum bet, I resigned myself to sitting and shivering in silence, starring out at the rest of the casino busily working away for the best part of two hours.

Imagine my delight when some fabulous guests from the night before came over to chat to me! They’re really super people and recounted their day, including a classic story that I’m afraid will only be available in print to readers of the book version of this blog (hey, you’ve got to have a dream right?) and generally made my entire day. I’ve given them info on this blog, so hopefully they find it on the net. Yes you guys, I’m talking about you. Thanks so much for a super week. You were brilliant and I hope you had a great vacation. Please come back and see us soon, you guys were my Vacation heroes this week!!!

Today is more dice school. I’m getting less and less enthusiastic about getting out of bed to attend each morning, but hopefully the end is near and I’ll soon be on the table. I’m working on some sayings that is like to get into my stick calls, including “Scream if you want to go faster.” “Single and ready to mingle.” Plus a phrase that a guest mentioned, “Looks like a penis only smaller!” Ok, so I probably can’t get the last one into a stick call unless I want a trip to the office, do not pass go, do not collect  two hundred pounds, but I found it hilarious and wanted to include it in my blog.

Anyway that’s pretty much all that’s happening in my world right now,  so that’s all for today folks. Over and out.