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Royal Caribbean — No Gamble Here

Employees in the cruise industry know you can go from the bottom to the top if you play your cards right, and nobody knows that better than Dean Bailey.

He is part of the management team in Royal Caribbean, most recently as hotel director on Explorer of the Seas.

In the beginning, he was a casino dealer.

"It was either blind luck…or I wasn't very lucky at sea," laughs the personable British-born, 20-year cruise veteran. "I tell people I'm really a casino dealer masquerading as a hotel director."

The current CEO of Royal Caribbean, Richard Fain, started as a purser.

"A great message for our employees," says Bailey. "The sky's the limit. From the 20 years I've been with the company, I can see that we rarely lose people."

Like so many who people work on cruise ships, Dean Bailey's story is interesting, perhaps even fascinating. And like so many, he's in a time and a place that as a 20s-something he could never have imagined he'd be.

When he was just six, Dean was told he was destined to be a gambler.

"I used to know every card game," he says. "I never have been a big gambler, but I knew the mathematics…the strategy…and I guess I was that good it was logical to say I'd probably be a professional gambler."

Young and single, he and a buddy were looking for work in the remote parts of the world because "most casino workers like to go traveling" and they wound up with two geographical choices — Eastern Europe or the Bahamas.

"I was thinking that Eastern Europe was cold and I couldn't speak the language…Bahamas, sun and sea and sand…sold to the man in the white suit!" he explains Bailey, who was hired by Royal Caribbean after acing a "table test." in his interview. "The woman who hired me said I had all the skills and then she asked me "Why should I hire you?' And I said: 'Because I love people and I have a great smile!'"

His first was Legend of the Seas. Between that and Explorer of the Seas, his personal armada of ships has taken him from Vladivostok to Vietnam and from New Jersey to New Zealand. When he returns from his 10-week vacation at the end of this month, it will be to Majesty of the Seas, sailing from Miami.

It really wasn't supposed to be that way.

"I was studying mechanical engineering and I only worked in a casino to take time off from engineering," he chuckles. "The same thing happened when I went to work on a ship — it was a time-out from getting on with my career."

His buddy went to Budapest. Ironically, today Dean Bailey lives in Budapest, but that's a story for another day.

Tomorrow.


Disney Dream
3 nights
August 29, 2013
Port Canaveral (return): Nassau, Castaway Cay
Inside: $735
Cost per day: $245
www.disneycruise.disney.go.com

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