Everything You Need to Know About Gambling Cruises
Do you enjoy taking vacations that allow you to relax and gamble at the same
time? You are not alone! Maybe you have been to Atlantic City and Las Vegas and
are ready to experience something different. Why not try a gambling cruise?
Gambling cruises offer a similar experience to other gambling vacation hotspots
you may have visited in the past, providing the casino atmosphere you know and
love and offering your favorite slots and table games. Of course, there are some
distinct differences between land-based casinos and gambling cruises.
We provide details on those differences below along with info on non-gambling activities
offered on these cruises, the history of gambling cruises, our recommended
gambling cruises, and our gambling cruise directory. We strive to make this
guide as thorough and accurate as possible, which is why we update it on a
regular basis. So, are you ready to be exposed to the most up-to-date info on
gambling cruises? Let’s dig in!
Differences from Land-Based Casinos
Learning about the differences between land-based casinos and cruise-based
casinos will help you determine whether or not gambling cruises are the right
fit for you!
The age restriction for gambling cruises is typically less restrictive than
land-based casinos. You will find that most cruises allow anyone 18 years of age
or older to enjoy the on-site casinos, while land-based casinos generally prefer
their players to be 21 years or older. Age restrictions on cruises will vary
depending on where they are located, though. For example, cruises near Alaska
typically require players to be 21.
Payout percentages are typically lower on gambling cruises than on land-based
casinos. Although the difference in payout percentage is not substantial, it is
there. Expect games offered on gambling cruises to have a 1%-1.5% lower payout
percentage than their land-based casino counterpart.
The modern trend for new land-based casinos is to offer a non-smoking section
or to make the entire casino a non-smoking facility. This is not the case for
gambling cruises, where smoking is allowed without restriction. The only
exception is cigars; cigars are generally not permitted to be used on gambling
Standard of Poker Players
Professional poker players hardly ever make an appearance on gambling
cruises, giving skilled players the opportunity to make a significant amount of
money at the tables. The competition will be very loose, as many people on
cruises are there to enjoy themselves, not to make a profit. Of course, there
are always going to be those few exceptions to the rule.
Gambling cruises are best suited to fit the needs of low rollers, as they
tend to offer lower table minimums than land-based casinos. Finding roulette
tables that offer a $1 per spin bet is common on cruises but nearly impossible
in land-based casinos. Poker tables and blackjack tables typically have minimums
set at $1, $3, and $5 on cruises. Try finding something that reasonable in a
Non-Gambling Activities on Gambling Cruises
It would be rare to find a cruise where the only attraction is gambling, even
if that is the cruise’s main focus. Most gambling cruises offer a wide selection
of other activities designed to keep their customers happy. Exactly what
activities are offered vary from cruise to cruise, but here are some examples of
activities you will find.
Many cruises offer an assortment of classes to sign up for. Classes commonly
listed include cooking, photography, and yoga. More obscure classes include
glass blowing and ice carving. Check with the agency you are going through to
see what classes are available and to see if you can sign up for classes ahead
of time, as they usually fill up quickly.
Concerts and Shows
Cruises often put on various concerts and shows in an attempt to keep their
passengers entertained. Well-known musicians that have made an appearance on
gambling cruise ships include Boston, Lionel Richie, Rascal Flatts, and Smokey
Robinson, to name a few. Other shows you can expect to find include magic shows,
plays, musicals, and more.
Since cruises are generally stocked full of delicious foods, you can expect
your calorie intake to increase while you’re onboard. Want to avoid gaining
weight and relieve stress at the same time? Then exercising is a must! Lucky for
you, cruises often have a designated fitness area that includes weights,
treadmills, ellipticals, etc.
Those who find reading to be a relaxing activity will appreciate the fact
that many cruises have an exhaustive library. You will typically find a wide
selection of fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, mystery, and romance novels. Some
cruises even provide a nice selection of magazines to browse through, too. Of
course, any book or magazine you borrow must be returned by the end of the
Cruise ships often have standard theaters built into them, and modern cruise
ships even offer IMAX theaters. The movies that are offered on cruise ships tend
to be a year or two old, but every once in a while, you will find a cruise ship
that offers brand-new ones. Either way, watching a movie is a great way to
unwind in between gambling sessions.
Gambling cruises know players can’t endure long playing sessions on an empty
stomach, which is why they have a variety of restaurants to choose from.
American, Chinese, French, Italian, and Mexican cuisine is often served.
Sometimes even Indian, Thai, and Japanese can be found. They will also have an
assortment of beverages on offer: beer, soda, water, wine, and so on.
Looking for a little adrenaline rush? Theme park-style rides found on select
cruise ships may be just what you need. While standard roller coasters probably
won’t be available, water rides and sky rides might be. Check with your cruise
line when booking your tickets to see what rides they have available.
What’s more relaxing than laying out by the pool or going for a quick swim?
Nothing, that’s what! Most, if not all, cruise ships have a swimming pool. Some
have multiple pools to choose from, and others even have hot tubs. Since cruises
are required to have a lifeguard on duty, the pool hours will be limited. Most
close around 10 pm, so plan accordingly.
The History of Gambling Cruises
Decades before the first gambling cruise was launched, they had what you
would call gambling ships. These ships strictly offered gambling and nothing
more. They were small in size, only able to hold around 100 passengers. Even if
it was illegal to gamble where the ships ported from, they would still be
allowed to offer casino games once they were three miles offshore in
An early gambling ship that you may have heard of was the Johanna Smith. It was an old lumber schooner that was converted into a
gambling ship in the early 1920s. It ported from Long Beach, California, for
about twelve years before it was destroyed in a fire.
Another example of an early gambling ship was the SS Monte Carlo. Also porting from
California, this ship served thousands of people over the years until it sank
off the shore of San Diego in 1937. Ships like those are rare to come by
nowadays, though, as they are required to be twelve miles away from the coast
for gambling to be legal instead of just three. This is a long distance for
small gambling ships, but this distance is no problem at all for large gambling
Gambling cruises became especially popular in the late 70s and have
grown in popularity ever since. They are equipped to hold thousands of
passengers and are full of amenities and activities for them to enjoy. People
love being able to combine their love of gambling with their love of
cruise-style vacations, and modern gambling cruises make that possible.
Recommended Gambling Cruises
#1 Budget Cruise – Carnival Cruise
Carnival cruises vary based on which ship you choose and what time of the
year it is. If you’re looking for the most inexpensive cruise, then choose one
of their older ships. Our top two choices would have to be the Carnival
Inspiration and the Carnival Ecstasy, as they both offer rooms for
less than $50 a night during their offseason.
#1 Mid-Range Cruise – Princess Cruise
Princess cruises are a little pricier, but they are still reasonable. Most
rooms are within the $100 to $150 price range. They have over 700 different
cruises to choose from that port from various cities all over the world.
Princess cruises typically have more amenities than Carnival cruises and are
known for having the best restaurants in the industry.
#1 Luxury Cruise – Silversea Cruise
Expect fine dining and top-of-the-line room service onboard this ship! As you
might have guessed, a cruise line that is known for offering the most luxurious
cruises is also going to be known for offering the most expensive ones.
Silversea Cruise does not list their prices on their website, but after
searching the web, we found their standard rooms to be over $200 per night.
Prices vary according to location, of course, and there are over 800 locations
to choose from.
Gambling Cruise Directory
Azamara Club Cruises
This cruise offers 3-card poker, blackjack, roulette, and slot games! The
minimum wagers are in the $3 to $5 range, making them the perfect option for low
rollers. Anyone 18 years of age or older can be a passenger on this cruise
unless it happens to be porting from Alaska. In that case, the minimum age is
raised to 21. They accept cash, onboard accounts, and a pre-approved line of
credit. Smokers are welcome.
Phone Number: 1-888-532-5828
Carnival Cruise Lines
Here you’ll find 3-card poker, bingo, blackjack, craps, roulette, slot games,
and video poker. Their minimum wagers are all relatively low, but they vary from
game to game. The minimum wager for roulette is set at $1, while the minimum
wager for blackjack is $5.
Every other game falls somewhere in between. Some of
their cruises offer tournament-style competitions, while others do not. The
minimum gambling age is 18. They only accept cash or an onboard account; they do
not extend lines of credit to players at this time. While they are smoker
friendly, they also have smoke-free areas for non-users.
Phone Number: (800) 764-7419
Celebrity cruises are known for their wide selection of games. They offer
3-card poker, baccarat, blackjack, craps, Let It Ride, roulette, slot games,
Texas hold’em, and video poker. Table minimums are typically around $5, but they
do vary by game.
The minimum gambling age is 18 unless the ship is making any
stops in Alaska. When that happens, the minimum age changes to 21. Onboard
accounts and cash are the only two forms of payment they accept. They are a
smoke-free cruise line.
Phone Number: (800) 722-5941
This cruise line has 3-card poker, 5-card poker, blackjack, roulette, slot
games, and Super Fun 21 available to choose from. Their table minimums are set
at $5 for all their card games unless they happen to be running a special, at
which point table minimums can be found as low as $1. Passengers must be 18
years or older to board this cruise. They accept cash, onboard accounts, and
pre-approved lines of credit. They are a smoke-free facility.
Phone Number: (800) 247-7320
In addition to a variety of slot games, expect to find all of the typical
casino games at Crystal Cruises, like 3-card poker, blackjack, craps, roulette,
Texas hold’em, and video poker. One game they also offer that is hard to find
anywhere else is mini-baccarat.
This game is only available upon request,
though. Their table minimum is $5, no matter what game you play. Anyone 18 years
or older is free to play at the on-site casino. They accept payments in the form
of cash, onboard accounts, and lines of credit. Smoking is prohibited on this
Phone Number: (888) 722-0021
Cunard Cruise Line
Only standard games are offered here: 3-card poker, blackjack, roulette, and
slot games. The minimum bet amounts offered are the lowest we have ever seen,
though. Roulette can be played at only 25 cents per spin, while blackjack and
poker are available at only $1 per spin.
You are free to play at the casino as
long as you are 18 years of age or older. Since they don’t offer a line of
credit, you will need either cash or an onboard account to gamble. This is
another smoke-free facility.
Phone Number: (800) 728-6273
Holland America Line
3-card poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, slot games, and Texas hold’em can
all be found here. The table game minimum is set at $5 for every game other than
roulette, which has a low $1 minimum.
Unique gambler features they have include
an onboard lottery and blackjack tournaments. The minimum gambling age is 18;
cash and onboard accounts are the only acceptable form of payment. Smokers are
welcome to play in their facilities.
Phone Number: (877) 932-4259
This cruise line offers traditional games like bingo, blackjack, roulette,
and slots. In addition to that, they also offer more obscure games like chemin
de fer, punto banco, and trente et quarante. Their table minimums are a little
higher than what we typically see offered on gambling cruises, as they range
from $5 to $10.
They have ongoing tournaments for most of their games. The
minimum gambling age for their Mediterranean cruises is 18, while their minimum
age for their Caribbean cruises is 21. They accept cash, credit cards, and
onboard accounts. Smoking is allowed on all MSC cruises except the MSC
Phone Number: (877) 665-4655
Norwegian Cruise Line
The Norwegian Cruise Line offers a decent selection of casino games. They
have 3 card poker, baccarat, blackjack, craps, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker,
roulette, slot games, and Texas hold’em. The minimum bet is $5 for most table
games. Tournaments are available for blackjack and slot games only.
One thing this cruise does have that we were impressed by was free lessons on how to play
every game they have available. This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants
to learn how to play a new game or simply brush up on the rules of a game they
haven’t played in a while.
Their casino is exclusively for players 18 years of
age or older that have cash on hand, as that is the only payment method they
accept. Smokers are welcome here.
Phone Number: (866) 234-7350
This cruise line only has the bare minimum games available: blackjack, poker,
roulette, and slot games. Their minimum bets are higher than what we generally
see at other cruise lines.
They can be anywhere from $10 to $25, making this
cruise more appropriate for players with substantial budgets. Players are
required to be 18 years old and pay with cash; there are no exceptions to these
rules. Also, smoking is prohibited on the premises.
Phone Number: (855) 623-2642
Princess cruises carry just about any game you can think of. They have 3-card
poker, 5-card poker, baccarat, bingo, blackjack, craps, Let It Ride, slot games,
Texas hold’em, and several other games as well.
Blackjack, poker, and slot game
tournaments are available. One thing to note is that this cruise line has a
higher minimum betting age than normal, as it is generally set at 21.
There are some exceptions, however, as passengers on cruises porting from Japan only have
to be 20, and passengers on cruises porting from Australia only have to be 18.
They accept cash payments and payments through an onboard account. While they do
allow smoking, they will occasionally have smoke-free nights.
Phone Number: (800) 774-6237
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Here you will find blackjack, mini-craps, poker, roulette, and an assortment
of slot games. Table minimums are on the higher side, ranging from $5 to $25.
You must be 18 years old and have cash in your pockets to enjoy the benefits of
the casino. They don’t offer any tournaments or onboard lotteries at this time.
Smokers have permission to smoke anywhere on the ship, as long as they refrain
from smoking in other passengers’ faces.
Phone Number: (844) 473-4368
Royal Caribbean International
The games offered here are as follows: blackjack, craps, poker, roulette, and
slot games. Table minimums range from $3 to $5, which is great news for low
rollers. They provide blackjack and slot game tournaments for reasonable buy-in
fees on most of their cruises. Some cruises even host Texas hold’em tournaments
Gambling lessons are available for those who want to better educate
themselves. Lessons are generally offered in a group setting. The minimum
gambling age is 18 unless they are sailing through Alaska. Then, the age
requirement is raised to 21. Pay via cash, a line of credit, or an onboard
account. Smoking is acceptable.
Phone Number: (844) 256-6649
Seabourn Cruise Line
Blackjack, roulette, and slot games are also available on this cruise. Poker
is only offered on select days. This cruise line can accommodate almost anyone’s
budget, as they have table minimums as low as $5 and as high as $100.
Their minimum gambling age is 21, no matter where they are porting from. Cash, onboard
accounts, and traveler’s checks are suitable forms of payment. Smoking is not
Phone Number: (866) 755-5619
Only blackjack, roulette, and slot games are available on this cruise line.
They offer free blackjack lessons to give you an opportunity to hone your
skills. Their minimum bet amount is $5 for blackjack and $2 for roulette. They
accept payments in the form of cash or cash advances. Anyone 18 years or older
is welcome to play here, but no one is permitted to smoke.
Phone Number: (888) 978-070
This cruise line offers blackjack, craps, poker, roulette, and a large
selection of slot games. Table minimums range from $2 to $10 depending on what
game you are playing and whether or not you are traveling with them during their
busy season (May through September).
Sunborn has a cash-only casino policy that
is strictly enforced; no lines of credit or cash advances will be allowed. They
do have several ATMs on location for your convenience, though. You must be 18
years old to enjoy the casino. Smoking is acceptable except for in their
designated smoke-free zones.
Phone Number: 350 2001 6000
Windstar provides several variations of blackjack, poker, and roulette with
table minimums starting at $5. A myriad of slot games to choose from is also
available, most of which are by Microgaming or NetEnt. Payments can be made via
onboard accounts or cash.
On the higher side, their minimum gambling age is set
at 21. Alcoholic beverages are served on the casino floor at no cost to players,
hence the higher age requirement. They currently do not allow smoking on their
Phone Number: (888) 388-2643
Some Final Points
If you have never experienced a gambling cruise before, then we certainly
recommend booking a trip soon. Not only do they provide affordable gambling, but
they also offer a wide selection of non-gambling-related activities that will
keep you entertained for hours.
There is a myriad of gambling cruises to choose
from, and they vary in terms of game selection, table minimums, age
requirements, and more. So, take your time to sift through our directory to find
the best cruise for you.
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