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March 20, 2007

How Not to Bungo Cruise Ship Bingo!

Breakfast at sea
Breakfast at sea

Cruise ship life has a way of getting inside you. We begin every morning with breakfast on the balcony, which is one of the most pleasant breakfast experiences there is. Why all the other guests congregate in the buffet area when they could be sitting at their very own, private ocean-view table watching the sun rising on the horizon is a mystery to me.

I now have come to anticipate, even expect, the ship's gentle pitching as it nods over the waves. When I was eating dinner in Hawaii, I became almost seasick. The floor began to feel uneven, as though it was rising up and down beneath my feet, and for a few moments I felt like I was either going to vomit or pass out. It passed.

The winning card
The winning card

This morning, it was my turn to take care of little Greta. The two of us hung out in the room for all of three minutes, then decided to check in on Mummy, who was in the lounge playing Bingo. Laura told me that each of the two bingo cards she was playing cost $8 apiece and I shook my head in judgment.  Nevertheless, I took the second card and Greta and I sat down to play. On the first round, an elderly man yelled out "bingo." He walked up to the front of the room to have his claim verified and the announcer, speaking into the microphone, said, "Sorry folks, its a bungo." ("Bungo" is the technical term for a false bingo.)  His embarrassment was palpable.

Next round, I found myself with the winning card. But instead of yelling out bingo, I hesitated, fearful that I, too, had bungoed. So I handed the card to my wife, who has more guts than me, saying, "It's a bingo. It's a bingo." And it was. Laura stood in front of a crowd of envious grey-hairs, savoring the sweet taste of glory. But I will get to taste the yet sweeter nectar that is $140 in cold, hard cash. This evening--which is yesterday for most of you--I'm taking my winnings to the blackjack table to continue what I started in Wendover. Wish me luck.


Beware of the Bingo Mark, Laura has it in her genes. You may come home from your 80 days and find her dobbing away in a smoky parlour.

Mark, according to the laws of the high seas - I think Laura would be fully within her rights to stab you in the eye with a blotter for tut tutting her over an $8 bingo card whilst on a comped cruise.

Hi there, been digging the blog so far, but the article about playing bingo had me worried a little bit :-)

FYI, the reason everyone on board a cruise ship doesn't opt for breakfast on their private balcony is that most people can't afford a room with a private balcony, let alone what is most likely a suite that offers butler service. Before passing judgment on one cruise that is pretty high class (and i assume free for you), take your next trip down on the first floor in an inside cabin :-)

Looking forward to the rest of the trip! Lots of luck, and smooth seas!

I just wanted to let you know that you inspired me to keep my own blog. I am traveling to Barcelona in June, for a week long cruise to France and Italy. Keeping the blog has been great. Thanks for the inspiration and I look forward to reading all of your future posts.


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The editors at Conde Nast Traveler answer questions and share travel secrets, tips, and dispatches

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