Jul
30
At Sea on the Destination Oriented Cruise Ship

Well, last night really did turn out to be a late one! After the nightly entertainment was over yesterday, Ted and I wound up in the casino watching the 5 or 6 people there play Blackjack and Roulette until the tables closed at 1:30. As we walked out of the casino, we struck up a conversation with a couple from England who were playing one of those machines with a pile of coins inside where you have to drop your coin so that the sliding drawer eventually pushes money over the edge. (Know what it’s called? Please leave a comment or send me an email. ) The couple said they regularly play these kinds of machines and that the one on board paid off a lot better. One thing led to another, and before long I had $20 worth of quarter tokens and was dropping away.
After two malfunctions where the technician moved the money around inside, I saw that I had a good chance of getting the wrapped up $20 bill on top of the pile of tokens. It was slow going, but the machine kept paying off enough for me to keep playing without reaching into my bucket for more coins. By the end of the night, I had the original $20 back plus $50 more and a free bottle of champagne.
I came back from my winning streak at 0400 and remembered that it was really 0500 because we were setting the clocks ahead to prepare for Greece. We woke up at 10 for another room service breakfast and then lounged around the room until a little after noon. There weren’t a lot of activities today, and several were even cancelled due to lack of participation, so we mainly lounged around and went to meals when we could 🙂
Since there’s not much else to say, I’ll touch on one of the hotly debated points I’ve read about Orient Lines: the crew. Our ship’s crew was nearly 100% Filipino, including both the service staff and the actual sailors who rarely interact with the passengers. I’m not sure how a company is able to hire almost exclusively from one nationality, but I’m sure it’s related to the fact that they’re not subject to US laws. I’m not going to say one way is better than the other because our last cruise was multinational and equally enjoyable, especially our waiter Barisch (sp?). However, I did notice a uniformity among the Orient crew that was not present on our other cruise. All of the service staff from the stewards to the waiters to the reception desk clerks displayed a kind of practiced politeness. They weren’t just nice when you spoke to them, they went out of their way to greet you or talk to you and make sure you were having a good time. I call it practiced because I think you really need to work on not just walking through a corridor but instead happily greeting every single person you pass, and this crew does it well. In any event, the crewmembers I spoke with said it will all change soon. If they can’t get contracts from the Marco Polo and stay in the Orient Lines fold, they will most likely be required to move to other ships in the NCL fleet. So, whether or not you like the current crew, it will come to an end within a year.