Casino on a Cruise Ship: Comprehensive Guide to this Popular Entertainment Option

Casino on cruise ship: Some passengers find casino gaming on cruise ships to be very important. On a cruise ship, you frequently hear people organizing their schedules around meals, entertainment, and tours. I overheard a group of six people discussing how they were going to organize their entire day around the time in the ship’s casino last night.

The casino is more of an onboard curiosity than anything else for other cruisers. All those table games—what are they? Do players in cruise ship casinos truly win cash or complimentary trips?

Are casinos on board every cruise ship?

Majority of large, mainstream cruise ships, such as Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line (except Pride of America), Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Virgin Voyages, have casinos on

Casinos are not found on specialty cruise lines like Disney Cruise Line, Paul Gauguin, or the majority of adventure cruise ships. While Viking, Azamara, and Windstar Cruises do not offer casinos, luxury cruise companies Oceania Cruises and Cunard have. (Windstar and Azamara genuinely converted the casino areas on their ships into other uses.)

The non-expedition ships of luxury cruise lines Silversea and Seabourn feature casinos; all of Regent Seven Seas’ ships feature casinos. On smaller luxury ships run by Ponant, Ritz-Carlton, Scenic, and Emerald, there are no casinos. Even on American rivers, where “riverboat” gaming is limited to casino boats rather than river cruise ships, river cruise operators do not have casinos on board.

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Are cruise casinos open in port?

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Cruise casinos, with a few notable exceptions, are closed when a ship is in port. Usually, they can only function when the ship is in international waters. For this reason, there isn’t a casino on Norwegian’s Pride of America. The ship never leaves the U.S. seas because it cruises only in Hawaii.

When cruisers discover that the casino closes on certain evenings when sailing Alaska, they are frequently taken aback. A notable example are cruises that depart on the last night and sail to Seattle from Victoria, British Columbia. Since the ship never enters international open waters—it sails directly from Canadian to U.S. waters—the casino closes the night before it arrives in Victoria and doesn’t reopen while on the tour.

Currently, ports in Bermuda and Malta, where cruise lines must apply for a gaming license, let the cruise lines to run their casinos when the ship is in port. Since 2013, Bermuda has permitted licensed ships to operate casinos from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Since there are no land-based casinos in Bermuda and many cruise ships spend the night in port while sailing the island, it’s a perfect scenario. Malta, a country with land-based casinos, permits ships with licenses to open their establishments between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Which gambling games do cruise ships offer?

Cruise ship casinos frequently offer slot machines and table games such as three-card poker, Caribbean stud poker, craps, blackjack, and roulette. They may also offer popular table games like pai gow and Texas Hold ’em on certain sailings.

Can you win real money at a casino on a cruise ship?

The majority of games offered at cruise ship casinos follow the same guidelines and payback percentages as land-based casinos, thus the answer to the question of whether or not you can win money there is definitely yes.

There are rumors on social media and in casino announcements that at least a few people consistently earn four- and sometimes even five-figure sums of money from slot machines. However, losing your bet is far easier than winning that much money—just like in a physical casino.

To qualify for a free cruise, how many casino points are required?

(Credit: Cruise Critic)

Every cruise line that allows onboard gambling establishes its requirements for accruing benefits through its player’s club or casino loyalty program, just like land-based casinos do. Typically, the system awards points based on the duration of gameplay and the amount of money wagered, including winnings and recirculation.

Similar to an airline loyalty program, you can gain better benefits as you progress toward higher status levels by accruing casino points, which typically take a year to accumulate. One of those benefits is usually gratis (also known as comped) interior cabins at relatively low-status levels on annual free or discounted cruises.

Giving you an advantage, a lot of casinos also allow you to match casino status from other cruise lines or land-based casinos. For instance, I joined the Carnival Players Club through its Fun Match program even though I haven’t taken a cruise with the company in a while and haven’t played in any of its onboard casinos. I submitted a players’ club card from MGM and an offer from a rival cruise operator when I enrolled. I now see casino deals, including free and reduced cruises, when I go into the Carnival website.

Regardless of status, several cruise lines also give out quick rewards based on the quantity of points (i.e., money) spent on a particular cruise. That would be the equivalent of an airline giving away free tickets to any future flights to customers who spend the most money on their travels, regardless of loyalty status.

The majority of popular cruise lines use camped cruises as a tactic to fill cabins on dates when they expect to have a surplus of openings. They offer these additional deals for marketing purposes rather than as incentives for playing a lot. Because cruise companies are constantly looking to draw in new casino players, new players may obtain these incentives after playing at low levels.

All of that adds up to the potential for a free cruise for a minimal amount of points accrued during cruises, as well as guaranteed free cruises once your points reach the play levels specified in the casino loyalty programs of the cruise lines.

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Which Casino game is the greatest on a cruise ship?

The game that keeps you entertained the most is the finest casino game to play on a cruise ship. You play, after all, to have fun, right?

Your chances of winning are higher when playing games that call for a blend of skill and luck. For instance, the casino has a 25% overall advantage when it comes to slot machines, but the overall odds on blackjack are only 1% in the casino’s favor.

Because of such odds, the cruise lines that run the casinos will give players of slots a greater preference than players of cards in terms of the number of games offered and the loyalty benefits given.

In conclusion, skill games are the greatest for making money. Slot machines are the greatest option for accruing loyalty benefits like complimentary cruises.

Are beverages complimentary in the cruise ship’s casino?

Bar on a cruise
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In the past, cruise ship casino patrons have not always received free drinks, unlike those who frequent land-based casinos. But there are some exceptions.

Casino loyalty aboard Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, Holland America, and Norwegian Cruise Line entitles members to free beverages in the casino. When you reach the required level, you will typically receive free drinks from the casino bar for a full year of status. For individual comped cruises, Carnival, Princess, and Virgin Voyages frequently provide complimentary drinks (at the casino or across the ship). Free well drinks are provided to all casino patrons aboard Celebrity cruises.

Additionally, upscale cruise lines like Silversea, Seabourn, and Regent Seven Seas offer free drinks in their casinos because the cruise fee covers all onboard beverages. Anyone who sails on a price that includes drinks or purchases a drinks package on the big-ship lines will also be able to enjoy “free” drinks at the casino.

Do cruise ships have regulated casinos?

Cruise ships control casinos using two methods. They usually follow the laws of the nation where the ship is registered. However, cruise lines that depart from U.S. ports also follow the guidelines established by the Cruise Lines International Association. They typically limit gambling to times when the ship is on international seas. According to these regulations, any technology installed on member cruise lines’ ships must meet the internal software and payback requirements set forth by the Nevada Gaming Control Board or another authorized authority.

Additionally, each casino must to post its house rules. Only adults are permitted to play the slots or the tables, and each member cruise line is required to post the minimum and maximum betting limits for each game at every gaming table.

What is the minimum age to gamble at a casino on a cruise ship?

There are some exceptions to the general rule that cruise ship casinos require 18-year-olds to gamble. MSC Cruises requires a minimum gambling age of 21 on cruises that include a port in the United States. On some Alaskan cruises, certain cruise lines—like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity—raise the age requirement to 21.

Are there casino tournaments on ships?

Mainstream cruise lines frequently hold onboard tournaments with a variety of casino games at their cruise ship casinos. In addition to blackjack and Texas Hold ’em card games, there are slot machine tournaments on the list.

Certain tournaments are exclusive to casino loyalty members who meet specific requirements. Participants who have attained that level frequently conduct these on cruises organized especially for them. For example, Royal Caribbean offers Signature cruises that intend to delight and amuse these elite participants.

Is smoking allowed in the casino?

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Casinos on cruise ships are often seen as the last place where people are allowed to smoke, except for private, licensed smoking spaces on deck. However, there are an increasing number of ships that have smoke-free casinos.

In addition to not allowing smoking in its onboard casinos, Celebrity Cruises prohibits smoking in the comparatively modest casinos found on luxury ships.

There are hybrid possibilities in several lines. Certain casinos on Carnival ships have designated areas for smoking and nonsmoking. Certain Norwegian ships have designated smoking areas, while ships without such areas allow smoking cigarettes and using e-cigarettes in the casinos. Except for specified slot machines, Princess does not permit smoking. Holland America similarly has dedicated smoking spaces throughout the casino.

Do casinos on cruise ships accept cash?

Cash for Cruise Ship, how much cash to bring on cruise
(Credit: WSOC TV)

Cash is accepted in IVAN SARFATTI/MSC Cruise ship casinos for both table games and slot machines. For instance, you can insert 20 dollar into a slot machine when seated at it, and the machine will turn it into “credits” on the screen. The machine’s denomination determines the credit’s worth. As an alternative, you may approach a roulette table, put down $20, and get chips in return.

Even when you win, cash exchanges hands only at machines and tables. In the casinos on cruise ships, neither the dealers nor the slot machines give out cash. Some cruise lines allow you to load your winnings straight onto your onboard account when you finish playing, or they may give you a paper credit slip to take to the cashier’s cage for cash. You will bring chips to the cashier at the tables to convert them back into cash.

If you don’t have cash with you, there are ATMs in guest services and throughout the casino. Cruise ship casinos offer options such as setting up lines of credit with the casino, putting onboard credit or casino free play on your stateroom account, or using paper credit slips like cash at machines or tables.

You can charge gaming funds directly to your onboard account, just like you would for a drink at a bar. Different cruise lines have different gambling fees, but generally speaking, slot machines don’t have any, and table games do.

The blackjack table charged my spouse a 5% surcharge when he requested money from his onboard account. Although they were not configured to do so, onboard slot machines occasionally charged onboard accounts. I didn’t pay a surcharge, but I would have if I had requested payment in cash. Our final onboard bill included the addition of both our costs.

Since playing slots is free, onboard casinos typically establish guidelines for withdrawing funds. The regulations prevent passengers from withdrawing onboard credit or cash from the table games using slot machines as ATMs.

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