All about Cruise Ship Casinos

Whether or not there is a casino on a cruise ship is solely dependent upon the type of cruise line a customer has chosen. The majority of large cruise ships and even a few smaller ones feature an onboard casino. One exception, however, is Disney Cruise Line which does not permit a casino on any of its cruise ships. In addition, most riverboats and expedition ships do not have casinos present either.

Most cruise ship casinos feature the variety of slot machine options as well as table games, including poker games and blackjack that can be played against the dealer. Some ships even exhibit dealer-dealt tables while others favor the usage of electronic Poker Pro tables. Usually, there will at least be one roulette table and one craps table. Hardly ever will there be baccarat.

Penn slots are available on every cruise ship casinos, but the downside is that the variations offered are too many. Virtually, at 1 percent variation, the 1 cent bet can easily end up costing a customer more than $2 a go. As for high stakes gambling, only a limited number of cruise ships offer this option. On some ships, for example, if there is a sufficient amount of high rollers willing to play a high stakes game, the pit boss may allow the arrangement of the game. Although for the most part, the tables are limited. 

Allowance of Tournaments

Tournaments of some kind are usually offered on most cruise ships that feature casinos. Some of the common ones happen to be slot and blackjack. The majority of the tournaments are buy-ins. This means that you pay a certain amount to enter and then do not actually spend any money in the duration of the tournament itself. You can even benefit from a refer a friend promotion on some of the casino lines. Some cruise lines will even allow you to rebuy during blackjack and other poker tournaments. Hence, the winners tend to be whichever player is willing to keep rebuying. The winners are sometimes enabled to receive a free cruise for two where the final Poker tournament is held. The prize pool for the latter is 100,000$ guaranteed.

Ship Casino Working Hours

Cruise ship casinos are not open full-time. When the ship is out to sea or in port in a few selected countries, casinos open only then. And gambling obviously has to be permitted wherever the ship is stopped. On certain cruise ships, casinos are closed during the day as well. The reason for this is very simple, the owners of casinos know that people may be busy doing other things. Usually, casinos work during the nighttime and stay open until 2-3 AM. 

Age Restrictions

The minimum required age, on most cruise ships, tends to be 18. Although, some of the major casinos set the required age at 21. Often times, casinos are located in such a way that kids walking through or passing by will inevitably have a look, although they are not encouraged to linger around. Perhaps, the most effective solution to this problem would be the dislocation of casinos from the main thoroughfares. Checking with the travel agent and the cruise line before applying for gaming is always a good idea.

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Options for Money

Finally, most cruises allow customers to use both cash and cruise cards.  At the table, however, cash will be turned into chips and the customers can be charged the price of the chips on their cruise cards. Although, most slot machines will only take the cruise card while some allow cash. A few numbers of ship casinos tend to be cash-only and some big ships will feature ATM despite the fee to withdraw being substantially high.

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John Shallo
John Shallo
John Shallo is the founder and editor of Cruise Addicts. Since 1999 it has been a leading destination for cruise travelers and self professed Cruise Addicts looking for the latest news, ship reviews and travel tips.

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