The dice fly, the wheels spin and the chips stack up! Winning at sea isn’t about a Naval fleet; it’s about gaming on the waves, by they ripples or high rollers. Taking all the elements of Vegas from the desert and loading them onto a boat is what these liners have in mind. From poker to craps, slots to wheels, bingo to baccarat—there is truly something for everyone.
Perhaps there is maritime magic involved with luck on the way to a Caribbean destination or maybe the mythical Nemo himself has some pull in Central American waters, but there is no doubt that a sea cruise transports passengers in more ways than one. Take a chance, toss the dice and work on your best poker face while basking on the deck with a tropical drink.
The casinos are fully stocked and loaded, from the bars to the décor, games and grandeur. The essence of any cruise is the carefree spirit, pampering, indulgence and discovery. Whatever floats your boat is the unspoken rule of the waves.
A few suggestions for gaming as you sail are presented here for your perusal. Make sure you visit the websites to locate your departure ports and destinations, then draw your own comparisons and find the best fleet for a personal fit.
A SURE BET
If you’re new to cruising or casino culture, we received some professional insight from, Dori Saltzman, News Editor, CruiseCritic.com.
“The main difference between casinos on different cruise ships, and cruise lines, is overall size and the availability of live table games,” she said. “Typically the bigger the ship, the bigger the casino. Also, on some ships certain table games like Texas Hold ’Em are with live dealers and actual decks of cards while others use machines.”
Saltzman reminds poker players in particular.
“It’s important to a person they really should check with the cruise line or a travel agent beforehand. Same with craps, not all cruise lines have a craps table. Another difference is hours. On the larger ships, the casino is pretty much open whenever the ship is in open water. On smaller ships, the casino (or more specifically the table games) may have set hours only in the evenings or at night.”
And a casual note to non-smoking preferences.
“One thing to point out is that casinos tend to be one of the few places on a ship that passengers can smoke. There may be a non-smoking section of the casino, but it’s usually small. Many times smokers will congregate in the casino to smoke, so non-smoking casino players should be aware of this ahead of time.”
1 855 206 2759 | carnival.com
Pioneering the fun, shorter, and less expensive cruises, the British-American owned line is anchored in the Miami, Florida suburb of Doral.
Whether you cruise three days or seven days, to the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, or the Bahamas, there are memories to be made on any of the Carnival ships.
The fleet of 24 ships bear such names as Freedom, Miracle, Fantasy, Breeze, Liberty, and Imagination and the crew on each line is ready to live up to the name on your chosen cruise.
Casino action is wide-ranging with a Las Vegas element and very accommodating and friendly floor. Everything from nickel slots to the High Rollers Club await. There are all the traditional games including Roulette, Poker, Craps, Prize Games, Blackjack, Slots, and tournaments. If you cast off and find that you are only proficient in Go Fish, there are instruction classes on board to transform the beginner into a winner.
Get ready for some celebrity encores. New to the Carnival LIVE stage in 2015 Carnival welcomes Rascal Flatts, Journey, Smokey Robinson, Styx, and Little Big Town. There is also live music and libations on hand at the Red Frog Pub and theatrical and music productions are a hot ticket in this floating off-Broadway boat.
There are two dozen restaurants available to Carnival cruisers as it is best advised to be a gambler fueled by a full stomach. Dining from Guy’s Burger Joint serving up the juiciest burgers on land and sea from celeb chef Guy Fieri’s menu. The savor and charm of an Italian countryside villa is at Cucina del Capitan and if the young’uns are on board, there’s Suess inspired theme of Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast.
(866) 562-7625 | royalcaribbean.com
Founded in 1968 in Norway, this international cruising fleet is now located in Miami, Florida. From the shipping lanes and fiords to the sun-kissed sands of tropical destinations, Royal Caribbean sails 21 ships and at grand capacity.
The maiden voyage was Song of Norway and since 1991, all ships under the Royal Caribbean International brand have had names ending in “of the Seas.” Voyages to Alaska to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe to America aboard the Rhapsody, Enchantment, Splendor, and Legend of the Seas. Visit the Royal Caribbean International page on Facebook for a complete list of vessels.
Each Royal Caribbean ship includes a top-of-ship lounge called the Viking Crown Lounge boasting panoramic views, onboard rock climbing walls, bars, lounges, spas, gyms, a main dining room and 24/7 alternative dining venues. Your little ones and older children on board the Adventure Ocean program will provide them with entertainment and education.
Score some M Life perks! Royal Caribbean International and MGM Resorts International have partnered to bring the best in cruise vacations and at-sea casinos. M Life members have access to these benefits so consider which level fits your cruise schedule and budget: Sapphire, Pearl, Gold, Platinum, or Noir.
To price and plan call the casino call center at 1-800-762-0702
Travelers can enjoy weekend getaways or cross the ocean. Either way, there are Baccarat, video poker, craps, blackjack, and poker, roulette. Texas Hold ’em, slot, and blackjack tournaments
The environment is lively and a natural for relaxing, celebrating, and making new friends. Tenured casino host Bee Zietsman gets the last word.
“It’s difficult to specify only one thing because hosting has so many exciting and challenging facets to it that make this the perfect job; however, I reckon the friends I’ve made would have to trump all! Meeting new guests and going from that to a friendship is the most valuable aspect of my job; that and reuniting with guests from previous cruises after months or even years to see them return, and not only remember them but have them remember me!”
1-800-774-6237 | princess.com
The beautiful fleet of Princess Cruises celebrates 50 years on the water and all on board in 2015 will enjoy the benefits of this festive silver anniversary.
World-class chocolatier Norman Love partnered with Princess Cruises to launch Chocolate Journeys, an industry-first, premium chocolate experience onboard. A sweet deal to say the least and the future seems to be bright and calls for smooth sailing.
Two Princess ships were used as locations for filming the series, which ran for 10 seasons in the late 70s and early 80s. Those who board with gaming in mind will probably hope they are on the Luck Boat but all’s fair in love and cruising.
All traditional table games and slots create an ultimate ocean-going casino. Easy options to access cash are onboard. Hours vary from ship to ship depending on the itinerary. Please check the Princess Patter online for hours that the casino is open. We offer 24-hour slots while the ship is at sea.
Victory Casino Cruises
855-468-4286 | victorycruises.com
It takes two! The solar–infused Florida locations of Port Canaveral and Jacksonville offer double the bounty in a gaming cruise.
Located on the east coast of sunny central Florida, in the historic Mayport district of Port Canaveral offers a number of attractions and activities that are close and accessible to Victory voyagers. Claiming to have more recreational opportunities than all of Florida’s 13 other seaports combined have kept a steady stream of fun-loving vacationers making Canaveral their destination.
Make your casino cruise a win-win affair with entertainment, dining and an array of tables and slots to help you earn your spending money on shore. Let It Ride, roulette, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, poker, slots, blackjack, craps and more. From bingo to baccarat, there is a diverse menu of options for your gaming appetite.
Theme events from sports to service industry Mondays, ladies nights and DJ disco floors prove there’s something for everyone. An investment with the Player’s Club might be your first wise move. There are three levels of the Victory Card: Gold, Ocean and Elite. Each card has benefits, rewards and bonuses.
Victory Casino Cruises sail seven days a week, twice daily, Departures at 11 a.m. returning at 4 p.m., 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. or noon to 6 p.m. Take advantage of holidays and occasions by booking cruises from personal to corporate, birthdays to weddings in both ports.
Spend the shank of the evening, a sun-drenched sky or beneath the rising moon on this affordable, casual cruising casino. The Dolphin Bar is one of the most popular decks of the ship, perfect for cold beverages and watching turtles and dolphins and other wild creatures—like people.
Visit the website for the Captain’s post of weather, sea conditions and points of interest. Of course, he won’t be able to give you any gaming tips—those are less predictable than the sun and waves!
Norwegian Cruise Line
1-866-234-7350 | ncl.com
The real freestyle cruising experience. With endless options and entertainment, you have the freedom to do it your way.
This cruise line was founded in 1966 and is headquartered in Miami, Florida. They offer transatlantic cruises and cruises to places like Hawaii, Panama, Europe and Bermuda. Norwegian Cruise Lines currently have a fleet of 13 ships with names like the Norwegian – Epic, Breakaway, and Getaway. And each of these ships offer opportunities to create a truly epic getaway.
Thanks to the flexibility and the no-fixed dining times, you can choose where and when to eat. Whether you prefer café’s or buffets, room service or specialty dining, Norwegian Cruise Lines has something for everyone.
And let’s not forget about the on-board casinos. With over 2,800 slots and nearly 200 table games across the fleet, it’s no wonder they were voted best Cruise Line casino by Porthole Magazine. Gamers can participate in tournaments and events. You might even join the Casinos at Sea players club to earn points while you play.
Visit their website for more information about their gaming facilities and entertainment options. Their website also contains information on travel packages and departure ports. Norwegians live life to the fullest. They smile bigger, explore further and relax longer, because they’re free to let inspiration guide them. So, climb aboard and discover how it feels to Cruise Like a Norwegian
by Cindy Lamb