Are There Poker Blackjack Or Slot Tournaments In The Casino
Most cruise ships with a casino will offer tournaments of some kind. Most common are slot and blackjack. Most tournaments are buy-ins where you pay a certain amount to enter and then don’t actually spend money during the tournament. Some cruise lines allow you to rebuy during blackjack and poker tournaments, so winners tend to be whichever player is willing to continually rebuy. Winners of tournaments typically win money but on some ships, namely Royal Caribbean, winners of the Texas Hold’em tournament are also eligible to receive a free cruise for two on which the final Royal Poker Tournament is held, for which a prize pool of $100,000 is guaranteed.
The Games You Can Play On A Cruise
If you are on a big ship like the Oasis series, everything you are used to playing in a land-based casino will be available at sea as well. This includes modern slot machines, video poker machines, and an assorted selection of cards, craps, and roulette tables.
The number and variety of machines and tables go down as you decrease the size of a cruise ship. Most of the games are where you play against the house, like blackjack for instance. Playing against other players is also possible with poker tables available at many of the larger casinos.
Cruise ships also run tournaments and leaderboard contest on a regular basis. Slots and blackjack tournaments are pretty popular these days. The prizes for winners are varied, with some offering cash or rewards in the form of cruise tickets.
Countries To Keep An Eye On
Gambling laws can change quickly, so the above list is not exhaustive.
Always remember to do your research on local gambling laws before you roll the dice, but keep your eyes peeled for developments in some of these countries
In some nations such as North Korea and Cambodia, land-based gambling is illegal for natives yet legal for visitors, which has led to a casino-tourism boom for the latter.
Its reported that in Lebanon there is only one licensed casino on land. But this just means that inventive locals and tourists board a cruise ship from Beirut, Abou Merhi Cruises: Orient Queen, where you can gamble to your hearts content off-shore.
Youll find a similar situation in Israel, where casino betting on land is illegal, but there are a number of cruise ships with casinos in the major ports, that will allow you spin the roulette wheel in international waters.
Bermuda and Malta are two more nations where the waters are muddied, as gambling is permitted only in ports on overnighting cruise ships that have had a license approved, and between set hours.
While Japan has finally given the green light to the construction of three integrated casino resorts its first ever. But the news hasnt been a hit with large swathes of the public with many people wondering whether casinos will increase crime levels in Japan.
Still, if youre planning a cruise in Asia, these developments are worth keeping tabs on.
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Bad Bet: How Cruise Ship Casinos Offer Poor Payouts
Ever wonder why the casino is located where it is on a cruise ship? Nearly always youll find it near the center of the ship with an entrance from the main promenade walkway. Thats because making the casino inviting and easy to get to rakes in more cash for the cruise lines.
But if youre a casual gambler, then you might not realize there is something more that the cruise lines often do to make even more money. Cruise ship casinos offer some of the poorest payouts of any casino youll find. As the only game in town, you cant just head off to another casino with better payouts.
Dont get us wrong. Were big fans of casino gambling. Weve placed bets, thrown dice, and pulled slot handles everywhere from Las Vegas to Louisiana. And its widely known that the house always wins. But what youll find on a cruise puts the advantage heavily in the casinos favor.
How strong is that advantage? Well, it depends on the game, but weve found some examples of bad bets in ship casinos that youll want to know about before you put your money down.
Oasis Of The Seas & Allure Of The Seas
The largest ships in the world Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are the unsurprising hosts of the largest casinos at sea with the gaming rooms containing 450 slot machines apiece. Blackjack, roulette and poker tables with skilled croupiers are also abundant in the main casino lounges alongside a bar area, poker room, and the players club.
The whole casino pays tribute to the history of casinos with a Museum of Gaming walkway entrance leading from the main body of the ship.
Deal: Ocean Voyage on Oasis
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Royal Caribbean Loyalty Program
Royal Caribbean has a point-based frequent cruiser program, the Crown & Anchor Society, that has six tiers, ranging from Gold to Pinnacle Club .
Members earn points for every night they sail on one of the lines ships, with double points awarded to passengers staying in suites. To hit the first tier, Gold, takes one cruise. Reaching the second tier, Platinum , would take five cruises if youre doing seven-night trips, fewer if youre in a suite.
Lower tiers dont bring all that much in terms of truly valuable benefits. Youll get things like priority check-in and a private departure lounge with Continental breakfast at the end of a trip. But higher levels of the program start to be enticing.
The second-to-highest tier, Diamond Plus , brings Concierge Club access, priority seating at onboard shows, an exclusive number to call for bookings and reduced rates for solo travelers, plus other things. The top Pinnacle Club level brings free cruises after hitting key milestone levels.
Note that, in contrast to airline frequent flyer programs, cruise line loyalty programs do not require you to requalify for status every year. So, yes, the perks with lower tiers arent great. But, its not as difficult as it might at first seem to hit the more rewarding higher level tiers in just a few years if youre cruising a lot.
Related: The TPG guide to cruise line loyalty programs;
Carnival Cruise Line Casino Program Upgrade 2018
In May 2018, the company introduced new Players Club amenities and services to provide club members with more access to unique experiences and special offers, both onboard and ashore.
- The upgraded program features Dealers Choice with savings, free drinks in the casino and exclusive Players Club events.
- “Getaway” offers are available on 3-day to 5-day itineraries with extras like in-cabin gifts, priority check-in, and luggage delivery, free casino drinks, chance to win up to USD 10,000 in free play, cash, and prizes.
- “Premier” offers are for avid players and available on 6+ days long itineraries, These offers include all “Getaway” offers plus priority debarkation, complimentary pre-cruise gift, invitation-only casino tournaments, exclusive Welcome Aboard cocktail party, chance to win up to USD 20,000 in free play, cash and prizes.
- “Ultra” level players receive all Premier;benefits plus chance to win up to USD 100,000 in the casino.
- “Elite” players receive all perks plus complimentary cruise terminal parking, airport pick-up/drop-off, free drinks , early cabin access, free shore excursions, free Wi-Fi, Welcome Aboard and sail away cocktail parties, VIFP Platinum status.
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Count On A Bruising If You Gamble While Cruising
QUESTION: You’ve stated that casinos are regulated to make sure that slot machines are random and honest. Who regulates the casino slot machines on cruise ships? Phillip W.
ANSWER: Cruise ship gambling came about with the 1991 Cruise Ship Competitiveness Act, which gave U.S. ships the opportunity to offer games once they hit international waters.
The gambling laws for land-based casinos are clear. It is far more difficult to know who is setting and enforcing the laws at sea. There is an organization called the International Council of Cruise Lines that offers some regulatory control. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near the level of the control exercised over U.S. land-based casinos. Cruise ships operate in international waters and are not bound by land-based casino regulations.
If you happen to have a dispute, you won’t likely find an ICCL agent on board. Your alternative is to speak to the casino manager, or, if you’re still not satisfied, bring your concern to the attention of the hotel manager. Those are pretty much your resolution options.
Regulations or not, lack of competition gives casinos little reason to cheat the captive masses. Competition is what raises slot payoffs. On the open water, cruise ships have no competition, just a confined audience. The casino knows you’re a one-timer on a holiday and that your pockets are full of cash. It isn’t looking for repeat business because you’re probably never coming back.
Casinos Arent Open 24/7
It would be nice to enter the casino early in the morning, but most cruise ships have to close around 2 or 3 a.m. The casino may also close if the ship ports in a country where gambling is illegal. As long as youre out to see, the casino will maintain regular hours. Depending on the cruise ship, the casino may stay closed in the day to make room for other activities.
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What Casino Games Are Available On A Cruise
Like playing slots? Youre covered. What about blackjack or craps or roulette? They have them all. Despite the small size of cruise ship casinos compared to those on land, they offer a wide variety of games.
For instance, while you wont find table after of blackjack, there will be a few, and usually one craps table. There is also roulette and often other specialty table games like WPT Heads Up Hold Em. Texas Hold Em poker is also popular, with tournaments and play throughout the cruise.
Whats a little surprising is that there are several games you wont ever find on land that are on a cruise. One is similar to a skill crane where you use a joystick to move a key to push down stacks of dollar bills. But perhaps the most popular are the coin pusher machines.
The coin pusher machines are exactly like youd find in an arcade, but instead of tokens they use quarters. You can try your luck to push quarters over the edge, along with wads of cash that are also in the machines.
Many cruise lines are also now offering their own scratch-off tickets available for purchase, as well as big lotto-style drawings with jackpots worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Casino Games Available
- Slot Machines
- Lotto Draws
Tips For Playing In A Cruise Ship Casino
They may be smaller than the ones in Las Vegas, but cruise ship casinos mirror whats found on land in terms of rules and the training required for dealers. Cruise lines make sure theyre offering the latest and most popular slots and table games, including penny video slots and the ever popular blackjack. Heres what you need to know to improve your odds, at least of having fun:
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Ships Without Cruise Ship Casinos
Sorry, but if you are thinking about booking a sailing on Disney, Viking, or Voyages to Antiquity youll have to find other ways to keep yourself entertained at night since none of these lines ships have a casino . Some passengers enjoy escaping the clamor of slots and the buzz of voices as the roulette wheel spins and the dice roll, while others thrive on the nightly energy.
Would you book a trip on any of these cruise ship casinos? Let us know in the comments below!
Are Drinks Free In A Cruise Ship Casino The Same Way They Are In A Land Casino
Drinks are only free in casinos on ships where drinks are always free, such as luxury lines including Crystal, Silversea and Regent. On most ships, you’ll have to pay for your drinks just like you do at the bar or in the dining room. Pit bosses do have the authority to buy a round for the table a couple of times a night, so make friends with the pit boss if you can. If you’re a member of a cruise ship’s casino loyalty program and have racked up enough points, you might earn free drinks but most programs require you to bet a significant amount of money before all drinks are on the house.
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Gambling Vacations In 2020
Want your next trip to be a gambling one? It doesnt get much better than a cruise. Essentially luxury hotels that sail between one exotic destination after another, cruise ships mean: all-inclusive and endless buffets, cringey but fun cabaret acts, a new location every day or two and, of course, a casino. Maybe even a great one
Now youre all clued up about gambling on cruise ships and the laws at sea, you can get planning your next trip!
How Can I Find Out More About Cruise Ship Casinos
You might also like the following article:
The What to Expect on a Cruise series, written by Cruise Critic’s editorial staff, is a resource guide, where we answer the most common questions about cruise ship life — including cruise food, cabins, drinks and onboard fun — as well as money matters before and during your cruise and visiting ports of call on your cruise.
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Smoking Is Allowed In The Ships Casino
When you first step on a cruise ship, youll learn quickly that smoking is prohibited just about everywhere. You cant smoke in your cabin. Restaurants on the ship are non-smoking. And theres no smoking in interior portions of the ship, unless its the casino. When youre playing, smoking is perfectly fine .
So what if youre a gambler who doesnt like cigarette smoke? Your best bet is to either go during off-hours when the casino isnt as busy, or try to find a spot away from any smokers. The good news is that the air filtration on ships is pretty good so unless someone is smoking right next to you, its harder to notice.
Casino Limits For Table Games And Slot Machines
If youre a low-stakes gambler, then youll feel right at home on a cruise ship. Minimums across games are low, making it affordable for any level of player to enjoy themselves.
Of course, there are penny slots as youll find in any casino . On table games you will find minimums starting at $5 for many games.
This makes sense considering the potential customer base on a cruise. With only a few thousand people on the ship the cruise needs to be sure to appeal to the most people possible.
That said, we have seen table games starting to creep up to $10 minimums instead of $5.;
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Payouts Are Pretty Bad On Cruise Casinos
What happens when you mix a captive audience on a cruise ship with the only casino around? Poor payouts. Weve written extensively about the payouts on cruise ship casinos. For example, youll find blackjack tables that pay 6-to-5 on blackjack instead of the traditional 3-to-2. Video poker machines typically offer low payouts , and craps tables allow only 1X odds on your bet. You can click here for more details and examples. Just dont expect friendly payouts, although it is possible to win big:
A Sure Bet: Cruise Ship Casinos Pay Off With Jackpots Friends And Making Guests Feel At Home
MIAMI /PRNewswire/ — When Texan Glenda Ostrokol gets on a ship she has a plan: Get to the casino as soon as it opens. She does not gamble on land. But in cruise ship casinos, she’s a big player, and receives all the perks that go along with that status.
” Carnival Cruise Line just makes it so much fun,” Ostrokol says. “I do love slot machines, and I play them all. And the casino team takes really good care of me.”
David Simpson , says arriving at a ship casino is akin to coming home. He and fellow Carnival Cruise Line players communicate through a dedicated Casino Fan Facebook page.
“We go in there and meet other friends we cruise with from all over the U.S.,” Simpson says. “There’s always somebody we know, people from Texas , North Carolina . And there’s not a ship that we go on that we don’t know the casino team.”
Unlike with casinos on land, cruise guests are typically on board for a week or more, time for relationships to develop.
“We offer them a warm and friendly environment where they can interact with fellow cruisers,” says Marty Goldman , senior vice president of global casino operations for Carnival Corporation . “And we have an engaging casino team that takes the time to understand guest needs. We want to ensure that we are different from a typical casino in that way.”
Casino play is popular on all the cruise lines under the Carnival Corporation , Holland America Line,;Cunard, Seabourn,;German line AIDA Cruises P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.
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Cruise Ship Minimums Are Low
Worried about blowing your budget? Well, its a risk at any casino, but the good news is that cruise ship casinos have low minimums. With only a few thousand people on the ship, the cruise lines dont want to scare away potential gamblers with high stakes. Tables games will have $5 minimums, while penny slots are plentiful. If you want to bet more you certainly can, but if you just want to play without risking a lot, youre in luck.