Cruising with Tas
One VIP host's view from the Fortune Lounge Cruise
The 2014 Fortune Lounge Cruise has come and gone with 50 lucky winners and their partners enjoying an all-expenses paid Caribbean cruise adventure. The 7 day cruise was held on the Goliath Oasis of the Seas cruise liner. In addition to life on the ship, passengers were treated to day trips to three of the Caribbeans most exclusive locations: the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Martins. As one of the player hosts that accompanied the players on the cruise, VIP Host Tasneem had a unique perspective on every aspect that went into a successful cruise event. Tasneem, or as she insisted I call her, Tas, sat on the couch opposite me exhausted from what she described, very early on in the interview, as one of the most frantic yet enjoyable working holidays she had ever been on.
The onboard slots tournament
As one of the main onboard activity's for the players, the slots tournament turned out to be a huge success. The tournament consisted of 4 rounds, each in a sectioned off part of the Oasis of the Seas' casino. The slots machine designers definitely saw this as a spectator sport, with each slot being fitted with a camera and accompanying screen so everyone around could enjoy the reactions of the players as they won and lost. These tournament rounds often coincided with one of the football World Cup games, and the pride of each nation in attendance was soon transferred to the outcome of each round. With the Germans, Spanish, French and English supporting their countrymen, the tournament went into its final stages. Dean B walked away with top honours and an impressive €20,000 winners prize. Virginia P and Maureen S completed the top three placed finishers and won €15,000 and €10,000 respectively.
The Floating Bar
One of the highlights of the cruise was the much talked about "Floating Bar". This particular tale unfolded on a stop on a beach in St. Thomas. The hosts and players had managed to get their hands on a number of lielows that were initially used to soak up the sun while floating gracefully on the crystal clear Caribbean waves. After a few drinks, however, the lielows went under a MacGyver like transformation in to a gigantic floating bar with Hollywood star like popularity. The bar attracted so much attention, in fact, that it quickly became the central attraction for the entire beach, drawing in people from far and wide. A few more drinks in and the "what if we tried" phase kicked in. The consonance of which was the challenge, to anyone willing to take it up, to traverse the entire length of the "Floating Bar" without taking a header into the clear blue water below. Needless to say, the challenge was fraught with misadventure leading to side clenching laughing fits and whoops of congratulations to those among the crowd most up to the task.
Tas' Fortune Lounge Cruise survival kit
As a player host of the Fortune Lounge Cruise, Tas admitted that it was possibly the most exhilarating and exhausting experience of her life. As a result, she quickly came up with Tas' Cruise Survival Guide to make sure that she never skipped a beat in providing her players with only the most peronalised experience imaginable. Her kit included:
- Running shoes - to get around the mind-blowingly huge Oasis of the Seas cruise ship
- Sunblock and a sun hat - the Caribbean weather was perfect and although blessed with perfect olive skin, she needed a little protection from it
- Liver tablets - on the cruise a few drinks tends to lead to a few more making liver tablets essential
- Coffee - no cruise survival kit is complete without a HUGE scoop of the strongest coffee
Tas did, however, leave one or two secret ingredients out of the above item list, trade secrets and all.
A year in review
The Fortune Lounge cruise for 2014 is over and Tas, the rest of the hosts, the players, and their partners are left with the memories of a glorious and rip-roaringly entertaining experience together. The group overcame boundaries of language, ethnicity and culture to form, in many cases, lifelong friendships under the common banner of the lucky few to win a ticket on this unbelievable adventure.