Entertainment Review: Sun Cruz Casino’s Dumpy Ride at Sea

Let’s get one thing straight; Jim and I are not Gamblers. The few times we’ve found ourselves in Vegas, I would stand there gawking at the Gambling species, dumbfounded as I watched them willingly toss money away.

portcanavboat.jpgBut last week while waiting for the space shuttle to take off, our fun campground neighbors Carol and John invited us to join them on a “free” four-hour casino cruise. In Florida, where gambling is illegal, Sun Cruz Casinos will take passengers out to blow money at sea, three miles offshore in international waters. They had a free shuttle that would pick us up right at our campground. “You get all of the free food and booze you want!” my neighbor said excitedly.

Now that caught my attention. Whenever I hear “Free” and “Booze” in the same sentence, this cheapskate gets happy. All that, and we’d get a “free” cruise in Florida too. Ah, the things trip memories are made of! I grabbed Jim and said “let’s go!”

Later, neither one of us would realize that we were about to set foot on a third rate, smoky casino from hell, unable to escape!

Is that Dinner or Did Someone Take a Dump On My Plate?

Before the boat set sail, everyone headed for the buffet room. We got in line, and grabbed a plate. From out of nowhere, a surly waitress with giant leathery sunburned boobs jammed into a cheap casino outfit, grabbed our plastic plates right from our hands. “We serve you” she barked at us.

SunCruz03.jpgThen she presented us with a choice of two entrees; a “gumbo” or manicotti. Jim got the gumbo, I got the manicotti. When she slopped the gumbo onto Jim’s plate, it looked like someone had taken a watery dump on it. As we moved down the serving line, another grumpy server was dishing out our side dish, a bean salad, straight out of a Sysco food service can. Lovely.

The food was awful. Jim’s was so bad, he didn’t finish his plate; a first for him. We took off and went to the top deck to see the stars. About an hour later, we went back down to get a soda, and found that the free food had been put away, and not even the water was free ($2).

Sad Scenes and Karaoke Guitar

We walked the length of each of the three decks, and each one was dirtier and smokier than any second rate casino in the worst part of Reno. The slots were old, and of those there were only a few nickel and quarter slots. But all of them were being hogged by old ladies with cigarettes hanging out of their wrinkly mouths, each one tethered to their machines with a “VIP” card on a cord. I threw about $3 into quarter slots, and lost, of course.

SunCruz02.jpgThe “free booze” waitresses were non-existent over at the slots. Instead, they threw their big saggy boobs in front of the Asian tourists screaming and yelling over the card tables, boisterous frat boys and their muffin-top girlfriends, and sad looking gambling addicts flashing their VIP cards.

We found my RV neighbor. “This stinks!” she said. She hadn’t had any luck on the slots, and was just wandering around the same as we were, looking for any sign of fun. Jim and I went outside, sat in a corner, and waited for this nightmarish scene to end. A long haired rocker dude with an electric guitar (the promised “entertainment”), strummed classic rock songs played on a karaoke machine.

The night dragged on. Jim refused to spend his allotted $20 in gambling money, because if he lost it all, it wouldn’t have been worth losing it at that dump. At midnight, the boat returned, and we couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Another Sucker Takes a “Free” Ride

SunCruz01.jpgThrough the years, I’ve dragged Jim into some pretty stupid situations because I’m such a cheapskate, but this was the topper. I was the ultimate sucker, drawn into the gambling industries’ oldest trick in the book.

I have vowed to make this the last time I re-learn the lesson “there’s no such thing as a free ride.” Jim’s not holding his breath.

11 thoughts on “Entertainment Review: Sun Cruz Casino’s Dumpy Ride at Sea”

  1. I couldn’t believe the terrible review that this lady submitted. The Sun Cruz boat in Cape Canaveral was very clean, attendants were more then pleasant. I am looking forward to my next trip.

  2. I’ve always known nothing in life is free, but I paid for this evening of “entertainment” with a night spent on the toilet. The most entertaining part of the trip for me was the bright Geminid meteor I saw from the top deck. It was so big it left a trail, and I wasn’t even on any illicit substances whatsoever! Though that might have made the experience tolerable.

    A bit of advice for anyone who might try to prove us wrong about the whole casino cruise experience… The best place to be in a boat to minimize seasickness is in the center, near water level. I tried telling Rene this, but she preferred the fresh air and rocking boat up top over the smoky but less rocky dance floor deck below. Until she got too queasy that is.

  3. Thanks for your vote of confidence Susan. We have thought about doing something of the sort, since we both love to write. But right now we’re having too much fun to pursue anything serious like that! I’ll check out the Mathiesson book, it sounds interesting.

  4. haha – the pain one must endure in the name of adventure 🙂

    Great blog entry, however! I could almost smell the nico-covered silver statues at the nickel slots!!

    Adventure On –


  5. I’ve gotten hooked on reading travel writing and one of the top writers, it might have been Tim Cahill, observed something to the effect that a trip that goes smoothly doesn’t provide much material, but one when it all goes south, then you’ve got something.

    Great piece! Have you thought about travel writing as a way to stay on the road? Book Passages in Corta Madera offers a travel writing conference every year in August. I’m considering it since I’ve been doing some writing about the wild horses in Mongolia (sold a three part series to Horses in Art magazine) I’ve read A LOT of it over the past couple of years and I think that you both have what it takes.

    Tim Cahill, Paul Theroux and Redmond O’Hanlon are among my favorite travel writers. Also any of the Best American Travel Writing series.

    I’d say buy a bunch of travel magazines next time you’re near a Borders and get their submission guidelines. I think you have something with the casino cruise, being seduced by it being “free” because you are the cheapskate of the family. Carol and John’s offer to make it up to you by taking you to timeshare presentations really, really tops it off. LOL

    Waiting for the space shuttle that never takes off suggests a parody of Peter Mathiesson’s book, The Snow Leopard, in which he travels all over an area of the Himalayas with George Schaller, the biologist, enduring pretty extreme conditions and never sees one. It’s more zen than humor, but there is a certain irony.

    Anyway, hope you’re enjoying the warm weather and have a great holiday!

  6. This is too funny – we had the same experience on a Sun Cruz in Key Largo… Sorry you went through it too, but now we’re not the only ones that had a kvetch about it. There is no such thing as “free” booze. Dammit. Great to hear about you tromping around where we were – Vero was just north. On Hutchinson Island is a groovy laid back bar called Archies if you make it there – and they are dog friendly with seating outside! Wish we were there to snag a beer with you, but we made it back to Idaho about a week ago. Deep breath now complete. 🙂
    Careful down there, ho ho ho!

  7. Got a kick out of your comments, how true. John feels bad about suggesting you accompany us on the cruise from hell so he is recommending a FREE presentation on TIME SHARE property that gives each participant a FREE MEAL and SHOW, it just takes a couple hours of your time. (HA, HA) that was John not me. Anyway, hang in there, keep smiling and laugh every day. Hugs, Carol

  8. Loved your statements regarding our FUN CRUISE. John would like to make it up to you for suggesting that you accompany us on that cruise from hell by recomending some TIME SHARE presentations with FREE FOOD AND FREE SHOW TICKETS they will each only take one hour of your time, (Ha, Ha). That was John speaking not me. Hang in there, keep smiling and laugh every day. Hugs, Carol


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