Take Advantage of Those Casino Comps!

22 March 2018

It was the middle of August and I received an email from The Golden Nugget offering a free cruise for 2.  The letter stated I just needed to come to the Golden Nugget the last weekend in October to receive my cruise.  I live in Ohio and was skeptical of the deal. So, I called the number listed in the email.

The customer service person was extremely patient with all my questions.  Am I in a drawing for this cruise? Do I have to pay for a room at the Nugget? Is there a catch to this offer? She assured me that there were no catches. She even upgraded my room for the weekend.  I booked my room and reserved my flight with my airline miles.

I picked up my Norwegian cruise certificate.  The Norwegian associates explained I had until the end of December to book a cruise and a year to sail.  There would be an extra charge to upgrade the cabin and add a third passenger. I promised to take my son since I missed his last football game of the season.

My family booked a cruise on the Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda in June.  The countdown was on. The Dawn left from port in Boston. On the first night, the ship”s casino held a meet and greet.  In one area was a tournament sign up table for a slot tournament, a blackjack tournament, and a Texas hold’em tournament.  I knew I wanted to play hold’em, so I signed up not even looking at what the prize was for winning.

Tournament play began the next morning with 14 players.  At the first break, I finally asked about the prize pool.  We were playing for a 7 day Caribbean cruise for 2 and a $1100 seat to the Casino at Seas Main Event on December.  I got down to heads up with a gentleman from Ohio that admitted he could not cruise in December. We made a deal and I took the first place prize.  The second day at sea I played the next tournament. This tournament was a cash prize pool. I had a great tournament. I was finally heads up with a gentleman from Boston area.  He doubled me up a few times and we were about even in chips. We chopped the tournament for $1000 each. I enjoyed a few bingo sessions and loved the shows. When you play bingo and go to the shows, you get raffle tickets for a 7 day Caribbean cruise to be drawn the last day of the cruise.

Bermuda was beautiful.  We were docked where we could watch the America’s Cup sailing races.  We enjoyed the friendly tour guides and warm sunshine.

The Bermuda cruise was a wonderful time.  On the sea days back to Boston, i enjoyed more shows and time in the casino.   My lucky stars must have been aligned. It did not matter what table game I played, I was a winner.   

Finally, it was time for the raffle ticket to be drawn.  I had about 7 raffle tickets. The theater was filled with about 400 passengers.  All hoping to have their number called for the cruise. The emcee had everyone in the theater stand. Each raffle ticket had a 6 digit number. You were to sit down when you did not have the number called.  After the first 4 numbers, I was still standing. Excitement was building. Next number and I am still standing!  One number to go. I look around and there are only two if us left. Me and the gentleman I chopped the Texas hold’em tournament.  The last number is announced and it is my ticket! I won a second seven-day Caribbean cruise for two!

Word spread fast that I had won two cruises on this ship.  Many passengers congratulated me and wanted to rub elbows.  Several told me to go buy lottery tickets as, soon as I got off the ship.

My husband and I enjoyed our December cruise to Nassau, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman.  There were 372 entries in the Main event. I enjoyed playing day 1 with Lonnie Harwood at my table and bagged chips for day 2.  Michael Mizrachi and Joe Cada were also playing in the tournament I played my best and made it more than halfway through the field.  First place was over $103,000! On the last day of the cruise, I played the Ladies tournament. I chopped that tournament.

I am looking forward to my next Caribbean cruise adventure.   I am taking a girlfriend on her first cruise. Maybe I will win a seat to this year’s main event!  

Author, Jana VonDach, Board Member

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