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BeeeJay's Diff'rent Sort of Adventure: A vegas-free, but not gambling-free Trip

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by BeeeJay, Oct 14, 2010.

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  1. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    My Trip Report

    Ok,

    So I've just rolled off what has got to be one of my worst vegas trips yet, but in some ways the best yet. I lost and lost and lost, but I did maintain incredible bankroll discipline for me anyway.

    So perhaps something was learned, a skill that can improve my vegas experience going forward.

    Despite all that, the reason I was forced to be a little more controlled and savvy was an upcoming non-vegas trip, which will likely have many of the elements that make my vegas trips so fun. Let me lay the groundwork.

    The various cruise lines have been partnering with certain casino players clubs, and thanks to my diamond status at Harrah's I received a mailer a few months ago that tempted me into seeking more information. In the end I was suddenly reserved on a 20% Total Rewards offer on the NCL Epic in one of their innovative Studio Suites.

    The overall trip has shaped up nicely as a final retreat fromthe cold chicago winter at a time when Vegas is slipping into non-pool friendly weather.

    November 4th with see me embarking from OHare on a recently upgraded first class ticket via 767-300 aircraft which should prove quite comfortable for the 3 hour jaunt. Upon arrival that Thurs, I'll take 2 days in South Beach to relax at the highly acclaim Palmer HOuse South Beach. Getting my liver their water legs I guess you could call it. Shortly the 6th will come and I'll head out by my lonesome self with w big bags to join the Norweigian Cruise Lines bohemoth Epic liner for a 7 day trip through various eastern caribbean ports. My plans include proper sunning, a wee nip from the blarney stone, and perhaps a twirl or two in the casino. I've set 3 shore excursions of the semi-touristy type for St. Marteen, St. Thomas, and Naussaa.

    I look forward to making new friends and partying vegas style with the masses in slightly tighter quarters. I think it will be good clean fun!

    Upon return Nov 13th I've scheduled an additional 2 days with my friends on South Beach as kind of a decompression before returning to the cold hard climes of chicago. I am really excited about trying out something new, and especiallhy as a solo travel the prospect of having some peace and quiet to myself or perhaps making some cherished new friends like I have in Vegas.

    Either way, I trust if all goes well another Vegas trip will be soon to follow.

    I may post upcoming pre-trip thought, possibliy some during trip points, although more likely a post-trip summary on the Harrah's cruising program and its pluses and minuses. :drunk:
     
  2. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    Have a fun time BeeeJay........no matter where you travel , your reports are always fun and entertaining (aka the trip to the Mall of America with the family) You are fortunate to expeience such a deal and we thank you in advance for sharing your opionions and events on the trip. :kiss: Enjoy that sun and surf :beer:
     
  3. bighead1970

    bighead1970 High-Roller

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    I would be very interested in hearing about your cruise and gambling. Thinking about doing something like this next year.
     
  4. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    Well i've got a little under 2 weeks before I leave on this next adventure and have done some research.

    The bad news is it sounds like they really have a captive audience for drinks on these ships and its easy to end up with a large tab at the end of a week of cruising.

    The good news is that on NCL guests of the casino, ie people on the Harrah's discount programs (20% for Diamond, I think 10% for Plat/5% gold) get a "drink card" which provides free drinks in the casino.

    The other bad news is the gaming conditions and comps are supposedly pretty substandard.

    The other good news is the table minimums are pretty low.

    Given the information I've obtained I am leaning towards spending enough time at the $5 craps table to get a few drinks and that is probably about it.

    I am also planning to have 1 bottle of goose in the room for $106, which for a liter is about $5 a drink, still better for "preparatory" cocktails then what I would pay on the decks. I may not have enough room for a rocks glass in my cabin however so it may be drinking out of the sink for me!:evillaugh

    I'll probably end up doing a $100 internet plan for I believe 240 minutes so i can check in at home and do some live updates. That always helps keep me out of trouble on solo trips.

    I've got some fun stuff planned. I was able to upgrade my flight out on American to 1st for miles and $75, but would have had to pay for 2 checked bags anyway so its effectively even cheaper. I believe it is a 767 class with a pretty nice recline should I decide I need to sleep on the 3 hr mid-day flight. Ha. The only thing I'll be tipping back are those free drinks!

    During the cruise I am doing general tour excursions on all the ports---St. Maarteen, St. Thomas, and Nassau.

    I have reserved 2 nights in Miami on south beach before the trip, 2 nights after, with a Miami Heat game on the Saturday night I return from the cruise and a Miami Dolphins game on Sunday. Flying home Monday. Apparantly Miami isn't as big a sports fan city as Chicago as I was able to buy both from the box office and got some decent single seats without any big stubhub-esque markup.

    Now that I've got the nice flight out, free drinks, and games on the back end, plus the ever-cooling weather in Chitown---I am getting pretty excited about this little project!:beer:
     
  5. macker69

    macker69 Canadian Ambassador for Sully's Bar

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    Wish I was coming!
     
  6. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    That's what your girlfriend said!:poke:
     
  7. NannyD

    NannyD Tourist

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    I'm sure you will have a fabulous time. I find cruising one of the

    best trips ever. I am embarking on another 7 day cruise in early January

    and that will bring me upto 50 days total for cruising. It's a blast.

    Diane


    :beer:
     
  8. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

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    We've been on a few cruises and always had a blast. The bar bill can sneak up on you though :eek:

    And one of our favourite places after Vegas is South Beach. We love the vibe and the Art Deco buildings are beautiful.

    Have a great trip. I'm looking forward to reading your reports.
     
  9. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    I am looking forward to South Beach. I got a pretty good deal pre-paying with no cancel on this recently rehabed Art Deco:

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g34439-d1699819-Reviews-Palmer_House_South_Beach-Miami_Beach_Florida.html
     
  10. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Looks like a gorgeous hotel!

    Have received a 'free cruise' offer if I went to Vegas during a specified promo time both of the last 2 years. Still have to pay taxes, flight etc., so always figured it would just cost me more money. Haven't ever taken them up on it.

    Are they giving 20% off rack rates or off standard what you would find on the internet rates for the cruise?

    Yeah....watch that bar bill. One of my co-workers & spouse ran up I believe close to a grand on their cruise.
     
  11. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    It is 20% off a room at the same price I found online. They didn't jack it up, but in reality it covered maybe 5% more than the taxes. I am doing a 7 day eastern caribbean on NCL Epic. They have a special area of the ship designed for solo travelers with "studio cabins" that are very small and have a common living room and bar area accessible only to this group. The advantage is you aren't paying double occupancy.

    To get real specific, which I always appreciate people doing, here is what the trip is costing me:

    $1,016.30 The quoted rate for the cruise was $1,099 less 20% plus taxes.
    $ 723.20 4 nights prepaid at Palmer House South Beach with taxes, fees
    $ 384.40 AA roundtrip to Miami from ORD including 1st class upgrade out
    $ 177.00 3 Shore Excursions during the cruise
    $ 222.07 1 40 yd line, lower deck, row 17 aisle ticket to Dolphins-Titans
    $ 122.75 1 pretty low corner seat to Heat-Raptors

    $2,645.72 Total

    Plus I expect to have to spend at least $340 on cabs. The casino invitation gets me some free drinks on the ship. I have budgeted another $2,000 for whatever comes up on the trip, eating in Miami, entertainment, gambling, the cabs, hot dog at games, but I'm taking $3K in trav checks just in case.

    It's not cheap, but for 12 days with all those activities I think its a reasonable cost. It should be a lot of fun. And should it happen to snow in Chicago while I'm gone, the perceived value shall increase!:evillaugh
     
  12. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    Sounds fun! We are doing a 7 day Mexican Riviera between Christmas / New Year's. Will be the first time have not been in LV for New Year's in about 8-9 years. Time for a change. Next week will be my 12th Vegas trip this year, with another 2 planned before Christmas, so it was definitely time for something different.

    Have done this Mexico itinerary before, so we will also just spend a lot of time on the ship drinking and relaxing!

    Have fun on your adventure!
     
  13. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    I'm all about the relaxing. It will be weird to be in a tighter captive audience situation as a solo I think, especialy doing partying things. I'll prob just hang at the pool and buffet a lot. I haven't reserved for any shows, but I might add them later.

    I did sign up for some excursions, but basically just tours of places I've never been. No underwater diving or anything too exotic, and no plans to hit clubs or anything.

    i'm looking more to relax than party this trip.
     
  14. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    Looking forward to some good seafood in Florida, bet then the seafood in L.A., that is fo' sho':

    <embed width="600" height="361" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullscreen="true" allowNetworking="all" wmode="transparent" src="http://static.photobucket.com/player.swf" flashvars="file=http%3A%2F%2Fvid781.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fyy93%2FBeeeeJay%2F014-1.mp4">

    It'll be nice to get out of this heave traffic as well:

    [​IMG]

    <embed width="600" height="361" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullscreen="true" allowNetworking="all" wmode="transparent" src="http://static.photobucket.com/player.swf" flashvars="file=http%3A%2F%2Fvid781.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fyy93%2FBeeeeJay%2FVIDEO0051.mp4">
     
  15. Mycatspot

    Mycatspot Tourist

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    Ahhh...a solo cruise. My dream!

    Since I live in south FL I cruise often and have found a cheesy, redneck, rule-breaking alternative to paying quite so much for having a cocktail in my cabin. http://www.rumrunnerflasks.com/browseproducts/Rum-Runner-Cruise-Kit--8482;-Pat.-Pend..HTML These work, do NOT leak, are not detected if you stuff them in shoes, under toiletries, and roll in clothing in your suitcase. AND the company has the fastest shipping on the planet. You will have them in 2-3 days from order. Use the code REPEAT for a discount. They are also good for sporting events and Las Vegas jaunts.

    Haters, please don't hate. Just sharing a website.
     
  16. joyglen

    joyglen MIA

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    Have a great time, sounds refreshing.

    I will be following soon to South Florida.

    Will be in South Florida 2nd week of December escaping the cold from Eastern Montana. My daughter is getting married! She is 13 years with Seminole and a corporate executive there in Hollywood at their main Casino.

    I will catch some non Vegas fun there as well.
     
  17. JNCVH

    JNCVH Tourist

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    Wow that is almost the same bottle I use to pee in when flying cross country, private no commercial, but commercially that would help as well :eek:
     
  18. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    Tricks, Treats, and Tan lines baby......the epic non-vegas party and trip report is about to begin.

    I predict ridiculousness, dangerous behavior. and perhaps....a spanking!:evillaugh
     
  19. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    tough to find a whole lotta coverage on the internet from a live perspective for cruises, likely due to the cost of internet. I am going to try to focus my reports into Word docs with pics ready and post in an efficient manner to at least get some bi-daily coverage. will be taking that camera every where and will be drinking at a level that should cause some unexpected results.

    T-60 hours until a rare 12 day-11 nights of insanity. looking forward to making a hwole new group of friends, perhaps in a prison in panama. "Locked Up Abroad"....hopefully more like "locked up WITH a broad!!!"
     
  20. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    Beeejay,

    I think part of the reason for lack of live reports on cruises is that the internet reception is very spotty at sea, even with the internet cafes on the ship. Works better when you are docked, but then you are usually going off ship on an excursion or sightseeing, so difficult to get a lot of time for internet use then also.

    Also, I think most of the cruises are older skewed with seniors, and I cannot see them doing "live" trip reports, lol!
     
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