Do you love a bargain? Check out the Royal Caribbean Cruises that cost just $50 per day. Keep in mind that this is before taxes and fees and the dreaded fuel surcharge. But, what other vacation could you do that included all meals, accommodations and entertainment for this rate? We especially recommend the 3 and 4 day cruises on the Monarch of the Seas, which we
recently enjoyed. A review of that ship and itinerary will follow the NCL Star review. In the meantime, feel free to contact us with questions. (To make a long story short, we really enjoyed our Monarch of the Sea cruise.)
The casino provides a bit of diversion and they have mastered the easiest way to to get you to part with your cash as quickly as possible. Located on Deck 6, the casino offered a buy $10, get $20 in slot machine credit, so we both fell for that promotion. From the start, we had problems. We each got our promo cards and found machines, followed the instructions for using the credits and got a message saying that the available credit on our cards was $0. After several trips to the cashier, we finally got cards that showed our $20 credit. We found two penny machines, big spenders that we are, and I quickly spent the $5 that I had downloaded into the machine. The plan was to do $5 per casino visit. Bugsy on the other hand, played his machine for hours, eventually earning $60, all from that initial $5.
The next day we returned again and inserted our cards. I first went to a machine that wouldn’t accept the card. Certain machines do not take promo credit. Maybe this should have been a hint that perhaps these machines pay better. There was nothing different about them from other machines. I eventually found a suitable machine, but Robert went to one that said that his remaining credit was $0. Since he had only spent $5 the night before, this was obviously a mistake. He went to the cashier and explained the situation, never realizing what an event this would become. The “records” showed that he had used his card in a 25 cent machine after 9:30 pm the previous night. Since we were still on EST, we had gone to bed at 9:30 pm the night before so were definitely not in the casino. We also had not played the machine that the computer print-out indicated. The casino woman implied that perhaps Robert was so inebriated that previous night that he had forgotten which machines he had played. The other implication was that he had given his card to somebody else. At this point, we started to get annoyed and also became curious about exactly how much control there is over these machines. We talked to the casino manager and suggested that they look at the video tapes to see that we were NOT in the casino at 9:30pm on that night. We suggested that perhaps somebody hacked into a machine as there are keypads on the slots. The manager said that would be impossible.
On one hand, we understand that anybody could spend their credit and claim that they weren’t at the casino or they could have given their card to a cruise companion. Originally, we thought about just letting the missing credit slide. After all, Robert had made more than that, but then when we considered all the trouble we had getting the cards to show the proper credit in the first place, we felt it worth pursuing, not knowing that it would be implied that we were liars of questionable ilk. The manager told us to wait and bought us a drink while he waited to hear back from security who would view the tapes. After an inordinate amount of time, we said that we would simply return later.
Many hours later, the manager had still heard nothing from security. We played another penny machine and I quickly lost. Now paranoid that they simply tightened the machine when they saw my Casino At Sea card in the slot, I just didn’t bother putting the card in.
That reminds me that since until this time, we always put our Casino at Sea cards in, we had also asked the manager to see if our Casino at Sea card was used in the machine where we allegedly spent the last $15 of the promo card. The manager said that we could have just used the promo card without the Casino at Sea card, since it was not used at 9:30 that night.
I was waiting for Columbo to show up or maybe the Candid Camera crew to come on the scene and tell us what the trick was, but that didn’t happen. We went back to the casino another time and the manager told us that the tapes only show the back of heads and he didn’t want to examine the back of either of our heads to match them to the tape. So what’s the point of tapes if you can only see the back of a head? Don’t they monitor movement in the casino? Couldn’t they see who originally sat down? How did somebody else gain access to our credit? These are questions that will never be answered. It appeared to us that after viewing the tapes, the manager seemed more inclined to believe our story and gave Robert a card with his remaining $15 credit. It isn’t as if they would tell us that they discovered a problem or that some other irregularity was discovered. We never won another dime in the casino after that point and speculated that whenever they saw us at a machine, they set it on extra tight.
We did mention this problem to the hotel manager and explained that although eventually, the casino manager satisfactorily resolved the problem, that treating us like criminals was entirely unwarranted. The casino should accept responsibility for problems created by them.
We had been in the casino to learn to play some of the table games. We tried 3-card poker, regular poker and Texas-Hold’em, which I didn’t understand at all. It looked like a losing proposition all around (not that anything in the casino is a winning proposition). Although that game and many others have a $5 minimum, it was necessary to put down two chips to be part of the game. No wonder there were so many Texas Hold’em tournaments. It must be very profitable for the ship.
Maybe one of these days, we will try to lose some money at the table games. Shouldn’t be too hard.