Sometimes Life Throws You A Cruise

Many years ago I took my best friend on a cruise with me. It was strange how it came together. This was back in the mid 90s and I was madly in love with this girl. We had been together for two years. We both worked shift work and being young without any kids we took fancy trips together. One day I was told “we needed to talk” and the relationship soon ended. But, we had one outstanding issue. We had booked a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Caribbean together. This was going to be my first Royal Caribbean cruise ever. It would be aboard their newest ship Grandeur of the Seas.

The girl, gave her blessings to do a name change on the cruise documents and our relationship officially ended with it. It was a very painful time for me, she was my first true love and I didn’t expect this to happen. She even told me that her friends said, she should have gone with me. This all happened only a few weeks before our cruise sailed. I asked my friend if he could come in her place and he did. I was very thankful.

We ended up booking bus transportation from Bradenton, Florida to Miami. We waited at the McDonald’s and before long the Cruise Connection bus pulled up. The bus made several more stops as it made its way south on I-75 on its way to Miami. It was nice to see new places like Venice and Naples, FL. I was still pretty young and at this time in my life, I hadn’t really explored Florida much yet. The bus ride made it easy to get too busy Port Miami for novice cruisers like ourselves. Before long we arrived and gazed up at the marvelous Grandeur of the Seas. At the time she was one of the newest and largest cruise ships in the entire world.

As the cruise progressed we kinda got bored. So we began looking around the Casino onboard. This was long before the days of online betting. However, We dived in headfirst and played the quarter slot machines. You still had to put real change or dollars into the machines. Before long we began doing well. I remember these Asian women rubbing on our heads because they felt we were good luck. This was my first real exposure to gambling. I had never played casino games before. As it’s been said by many others, we had some nice payouts and then we went back and lost our winnings playing more throughout the cruise. I had stopped myself before I spent more than my winnings.

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I recommend you always treat casino games as entertainment and set a budget on money you don’t need. So we often will set a $50 limit and then see what happens. If we win, we may walk away or play until we lose the winnings and our initial $50. We heard that cruise ships were not the best payout casinos but, we have never noticed any difference.

The cruise and casino games were a nice escape from the heartbreak of that moment in my life. As they say when one door closes another opens. I was so impressed with the Grandeur of the Seas and Royal Caribbean. I’m currently have Diamond status in their repeat cruisers club. I was also married my wife  and true love April, aboard the Mariner of the Seas in 2005.  Sometimes you have to go through tough times to know when you have it good. I’m happy to say, I’m a very blessed today with a wonderful wife and three children.

Happy Cruising!

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John Shallo
John Shallo
John Shallo is the founder and editor of Cruise Addicts. Since 1999 it has been a leading destination for cruise travelers and self professed Cruise Addicts looking for the latest news, ship reviews and travel tips.

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