Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sail On...Sail On...Sail...On-n-n-n-n

 On...Well where do I start…

I guess with saying this week was the Eastern Caribbean with ports of call in Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

Lets get started

This week I am going to talk about Embarkation Day. This is totally different then I thought it would be and you hit the deck literally running. I have already spoken about the chaos when you first arrive, now I want to talk about what happens when you report to work.

On the Dream I was told immediately where my “station” was and to set up a table. This was accomplished by using the three tier “treatment cart” I have in my room. I stock it with needles, swabs and a sharps container. As I am new on the ship to date I have not used a person for demos but plan on doing so this Saturday and I’ll let you know how that goes.

The biggest difference was I thought that a group of people would show up and I’d have maybe 5+ minutes to talk with them, not so. Here guests occasionally filter through by themselves.  In most cases are ushered through by massages therapists and other spa personal. You have maybe 1-3 minutes to get and hold their attention.

Have your “rap” down. Tell them who you are, your credentials (state licensed etc.) and what your speciality.

Here is what I generally do:

“My name is Larry Pannell and I am a state licensed, nationally certified acupuncturist and have a masters degree in Oriental medicine.

Have you ever had or thought of getting acupuncture? The WHO and NIH have stated that TCM is a safe and effective treatment for over 300 different medical conditions. I have been in the healthcare field for the past 23 years and specialize in pain and stress management, injury prevention, sports medicine and weight control.

Are you experiencing any pain? Do you have any stress in your life? I’m sure I can help you. Over the past 23 years I have literally treated over 20,000 patients and I have never had anyone get off the table that was not completely relaxed.”

At that time I will focus on what the guest might bring up and how I have treated someone with a similar condition.

When asked I will also explain that with even one treatment I can help you but it will more then likely return and that most people book a package of 3-5 treatments and why.

“As acupuncturists at sea we have found we get amazing results in as little as 3-5 treatments that take up to 1- 2 sometimes 3 months on shore. It has been scientifically proven that the body just is more receptive to healing when it is in a stress free environment and what is more stress free then being on a cruise.”

At this point I will inform them that “tonight I am giving FREE consultations or better yet lets get you in for a treatment. I have found that once the word gets out and people begin to experience acupuncture what few appointments I have available book very quickly. Here is a sign sheet for tonight’s FREE consultation”

Sometimes I am asked about the cost of the treatments and this is how I handle it during the Spa Tour and in my treatment room.

“The first treatment is $150 and then a discount kicks in when you book 3-5 treatments. This actually will bring to less the cost on shore” and I explain why.

“On shore your first visit will be $150 - $200 for your first treatment. Then they will tell you that a follow up treatment is around $75, where I worked it was $95. Then when you get your bill for find it is around $125 - $145. When you ask why you are told the treatment was $75-$95 but your office visit was $50.” This seems to work very well and people seem to understand that it really is less on ship. I will also say “most people get a package of 5 for $525 and you actually SAVE $225.” They like that word SAVE.

If I have enough time, you will know by their interest, I will tell them “last week I had a patient that got one treatment for $150 and did not want a package. It helped her so much that she came back 2 days later for another treatment and paid for another $150 treatment. She returned a couple days later for another treatment for another $150. I felt bad because I could have saved her $75 if she would have got a package.” This is a true story, it happened.

All of this depends on the time you have with the guests. You have very little time for the most part as the “spa staff escorts” have other areas and spa services to make them aware of. I have also found the spa staff is very good in suggesting that the guest sign up for the “free” consult”.

It is a very long, hectic day so remember to work hard and….

This week our headed to the Eastern Caribbean and our first port of call on Sunday was Nassau. I was off until 2pm when I had to return and give a seminar on back pain and arthritis.

Of course there are taxis etc that you can take but I decided to walk over to Paradise Island and visit the Atlantis Hotel and Casino. It is about a 2-2.5 mile hike from the ship and I took my time. The town from what I saw was nice and clean and I was surprised how few people were on the streets and most stores had not opened.
Walking down Bay Street

There are two large one way bridges that cross the waterway to Paradise Island. The view from the bridge was great and you could see the difference in the type of homes on the island and those in town. You could tell living in “Paradise” was going to cost you.

The View From the Bridge of Paradise Island and Atlantis

The Atlantis Casino is huge. Many of my friends know that I am a poker player and have been so for close to 40 years, long before it was the “cool” thing to do. I did play at the Atlantis but I did buy a $5 chip to add to my collection of about 200 chips.

Atlantis Hotel and Casino

I mainly walked around the grounds talking pictures before deciding to go to the aquarium, which was my main reason for going to Atlantis. If you decide to go and work on a cruise ship make sure to ask for your discount. This brought the cost down to $16 verses $39 for the general public.

The aquarium was also huge. There was a wide variety of fish, rays, jellyfish and sharks to view in a number of tanks.

Atlantis Aquarium


More fish


Manta Ray

Both Aquarium Manta Rays

They are also known as "Devil Fish"

Reef Sharks

Reef Shark

After taking a few more shots around the property I took a $4 taxi ride back to the ship.

My next port of call was St. Thomas on Tuesday. I had to work a few hours in the morning, an hour of training and I was off for the day at 11am. I decided to head to “Hooters”, my first time ever, as I was told it had free internet. I met a couple of the girl there from the spa, had a bite to eat and did computer stuff.

St. Thomas

Afterward I decided to walk into town and bought a few things from the store I need for my cabin, returned to the ship, had lunch and took another shower to cool off.

Next I decided to walk back into town. Just minutes from the pier is the “Skyride” that is a ski lift type ride that takes you to the top of a mountain. I found in the morning the line was very long. When I arrived in the afternoon I could walk right onto the gondola. Another hint is to ask for your crew discount. I paid $5 instead of the $21 for the public.

The Dream is the first ship on the left

The ride up was great but even better once you arrived. There were a couple levels where you could walk to and even a nature hike. There was also a restaurant serving food and drink.

The view was incredible and I’m glad I arrived early. As the day grew so did the crowd. I had a great seat right at the edge overlooking the harbor, the ships, the bay with the mountain and islands in the background. As the ship didn’t leave until 8pm I was able to wait out sunset and watch the city and ship lights and darkness fell.

Sunset from Skyride

Living The Dream

Then it was back to the ship for the night. There was a crew party that night but I opted out and decided to watch an old Bogart/Bacall movie instead….”you know how to whistle don’t you Steve? Just put your lips together and blow."

Today is Wednesday and the port of call is St. Maarten, its 78 degree, a slight breeze and 70% humidity. Again I had training and left the ship at 11am. I have the entire day off from that point. I do have to return by 5:30pm and we set sail at 6pm.

St. Maarten has a Dutch, where you make port, and a French side. Everyone ahs told me to go to the French side so that is where I started. I took a $6 taxi ride, with a group, and headed to Orient Bay.

Touristville at Orient Bay

Here I found a 2.5 mile stretch of beach packed with people and lined with different colored umbrellas. For $7 you could get a lounge chair, umbrella and welcome cocktail. There are also different sections of the beach. There is Bikini Beach and the Nude Beach.

I was dropped right in the middle of it all and decided to head to the closest point to take some pictures where there were no people. And yes it took me right through the Nude Beach. Okay for all you curious people it was mostly people in their 50’s I’d say and now big deal.

Looking back at Orient Bay

I walked another ¼ mile or so past everyone to reach the place I want to get a few shots. From here I had great vies of the beach from where I came and around the point was nothing but a rocky shoreline, the waves and me. It was just what I was looking for, some solitude.

At the Point -  Orient Bay

Past the Point - Orient Bay

Further Past the Point

After my file of pictures I walked back and had a banana colada at one of the many small stands that also dotted the beach just behind the lounge chairs and umbrellas.

Next I took a taxi back the Dutch side and the downtown area. Much of it reminded me of Venice Beach in California. There were many places to eat and get a drink right on the beach. One block back was also a small street lined with different shops.

After a couple drinks I again headed “home” this time opting for a $4 ride on the water taxi.

Next is two sea days back to Cape Canaveral and it starts all over again…

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