Gambling is a popular activity for a lot of holidaymakers. However, for those that can’t make it to Las Vegas, Macao or the other big casino towns, a good alternative is to take a cruise holiday. The ship’s casino is literally the only place in town and who knows, ‘lady luck’ may shine its eyes upon you.
Some cruise line’s offer more gambling facilities than others; however, most ships should generally have the basics of blackjack, poker, roulette, and slot machines. A notable exception to this is Silversea Cruises, which does not offer poker.
Many cruise companies have increased their gambling offerings in terms of size and gameplay to reflect the “high roller” Las Vegas style atmosphere.
A current development is the idea of Player Programs, offering perks and prizes for those that gamble with large stakes.
If a casino is an important part of your cruise experience then take a look at these five cruise line clubs for a well rounded gaming experience.
CELEBRITY CRUISES BLUE CHIP CLUB
Feel like a VIP when you step into a Celebrity Cruises’ casino. The Fortune Casinos are reminiscent of Caesar’s Palace with marble statues and Roman columns. If it wasn’t for the gentle waves, you’d swear you were in Vegas.
Celebrity ships offer some of the largest casinos at sea, with some containing six blackjack tables and over 270 different slot machines. All this variety will keep you busy for a while! Regional games such as Caribbean Stud Poker or American Roulette give a unique twist to the casino.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CASINO ROYAL
Royal Caribbean’s megaships differ from the norm in many ways and are sure to appeal to even the most casual gambler. Before stepping foot in their casinos, the Hall of Odds and Museum of Gaming presents a timeline history of gambling and casinos.
The casinos in general are some of the largest available on a cruise ship and some of the fleet have an amazing 480 slot machines, an enormous table section, a bookie section and even a bar and grill where you can relax and enjoy a meal in between games. There are also free gaming lessons for those keen to learn.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE CASINOS AT SEA
NCL’s Casino At Sea has won many awards and has gained many fans around the world for their enormous array of games. Almost 3000 slot machines and 200 table games are available fleet wide and there are special arcade games too.
These games, known as Cash Crane and Penny Pushers, have carved the word ‘fun’ into their gaming. NCL was the first casino at sea to offer Texas Hold ‘Em, which continues to be popular to this day. The casino has proved to be so popular that it has its own newsletter called The Deal.
HOLLAND AMERICA CLUB 21
Well known for their elegant and classy demeanour, Holland America’s casino’s reflects their style perfectly. With a wide variety of games, including penny slots, poker, blackjack or Texas Hold ‘Em and a high energy style that is sure to get you betting, this is a good place for novice gamblers too.
The company also plays the MegaCash jackpot game which can top one million dollars and the Holland America lottery offers a week long cruise as its main prize. For all of you expert gamblers, try the slots or poker tournaments.
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES OCEAN PLAYERS CLUB
Carnival Cruise Lines’ party atmosphere extends right into the décor of their casinos which are pure glitz. Don’t let the fantasyland atmosphere fool you; when it comes to the games, they’re all business and high-rollers are commonplace onboard their ships. They follow all the rules and regulations of a Vegas casino such as using a soft 17 at blackjack or playing craps with double odds. Carnival holds several different gambling tournaments throughout the year.
From avid poker players to those who place a few pence in a slot machine, today, cruise ship casinos offer something for everyone.
Written by Veronica Shine