Memories of a Cruise Ship Doctor Part 9-Still Cruising

Although no longer a cruise ship physician, Len Kreisler MD still enjoys cruising as a passenger.  He’s added this last story in just for the blog.  His previous stories on the blog came from his book regarding his cruise ship doctor days.  In this story he tells us how a chance meeting on a cruise ship led to learning something about the history of  some major players in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Palace Station Hotel Las Vegas

Palace Station Casino photo courtesy of

As a cruise ship physician and as a cruise passenger, I definitely prefer the smaller (1000 to 1200 passenger) ships. For one, I do not like waiting in long lines for embarkation or disembarkation; either at the beginning of the cruise, at the end of the voyage, or for shore excursions during the trip. I like to socialize with the passengers and crew and if current security polices allow, I like to visit the bridge, request dinner with the Captain or another officer, and have a relaxed open seating policy; i.e. just show up during the designated meal times and be seated where ever the Maître Dee’s judgment takes you. On a smaller ship the”Hotel” service people get to know you and your preferences; for dinner, room serve, etc. Here is one pleasant memory on a small ship cruise.

We were in a short dinner line waiting for the doors to open. It was the Regent Seven Seas Mariner’s18-day trans Pacific cruise from Hong Kong to California. Behind us was a very tall, good looking Texan with huge, rodeo-type belt buckle, snakeskin cowboy boots and a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like; at least fifteen years younger, embracing his left arm. I can assure you, it wasn’t his daughter or his niece.
I turned to him and asked, in jest of course:
“What part of New York are you from?”
He smiled and drawled back, “Galveston, Texas.” Where you from, Son?”
“Las Vegas since 1973.”
“Do you know the Fertita’s”, he asked?
“Familiar with the name, but don’t know them personally. I know that Frank, the patriarch, took a Motel Six on West Sahara Avenue and expanded it into a very successful gaming hotel, The Palace Station.  It has since added more properties throughout the valley known collectively as Station Casinos. Interestingly no one seems to know anything about where Frank came from. At least anyone  I’ve asked.”

He gave me an ear to ear, pearly, white-capped-toothy smile. He proudly went on to tell me the Fertita-Galveston story, as his young escort showered  him with swooning, affectionate eyes.  I could read her mind: “My sugar daddy is spellbinding ’em with his never-ending knowledge.”
Galveston had been an ipso facto gambling city for many years even though gambling was illegal throughout Texas. In 1956, an Elliot Ness-type, state Attorney General, decided he was going to clean up the state. Frank Fertita was part of the Galveston gaming establishment and was now out of business. Where else would a professional in the gaming business relocate? We had a few dinners together with great conversations during the rest of the trip.
a lifetime of doctor memories in a book

Dr. Len Kreisler’s book

To read and hear more about cruise ship medicine visit my web site: You can contact me directly with questions, comments or just plain cruising-smoozing. I have a chapter on cruise ship medicine in my nonfiction book, ROLL THE DICE, PIC A DOC AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.
                                                                     Len Kreisler MD
Excerpts from Dr. Len’s book about his cruise ship days:
The opinions in this blog are those of the guest author and not those of My Cruise Stories.  I’ve sailed on cruises from as small as 12 passengers on a yacht cruise to over 4000 passengers on a large cruise ship and enjoyed them all.  Each ship no matter how big or small has its own unique charm.   A cruise is what you make of it, so make the best of whatever cruise you are on and you’ll have the best possible experience.

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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