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Of all the kinds of holidays a cruise is surely one of the most glamorous. Travelling from port to port and seeing many more countries in one trip than some people do in a lifetime, dressing for dinner and having your own cabin crew – it’s undoubtedly an experience many would aspire to enjoy. And, just as you might expect, most cruise ships, with the exception of the Disney line, also boast that other essential of luxurious leisure, the casino.

Because cruises attract all kinds of people you’ll find that these casinos are welcoming to all and make even complete gaming novices feel at home. Naturally, the games on offer vary quite a lot between the various lines but you can generally find all of the favourites including blackjack, roulette and poker. There are also always a wide selection of slots to play. As cruises tend not to attract truly serious gamblers the stakes are often comparatively low across the games although if the person in charge of the casino, called the “pit boss”, finds there are enough people who want to play a high stakes game one can often be arranged.

Also, for the dedicated gambler, some companies including the Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines do run occasional tournament cruises where players can compete in qualifying rounds at blackjack, or poker with the grand final taking place at the end of the year. The prizes are generally cash but some, including Royal Caribbean, offer the chance to win a free cruise for two.

Unlike land-based casinos which are often open 24 hours a day those on cruise ships tend to have far more restricted times. For example there’s a general agreement that casinos will not operate while a ship is in port. This is not only to avoid competing with local casinos, it is also to tie in with local laws which relate to gambling. So generally a ship has to be at least 12 miles from the coast to operate – although on cruises around Alaska which tend to stay fairly close to the shore the restriction is only three miles. On many ships, even when out at sea, casinos tend to only open between around 7pm and 2 or 3am in the morning and usually the reason put forward for this is that passengers are more interested in on-deck activities during the day.

In terms of age restrictions for players, these tend to be 18 on most lines and some raise this to 21 when they are in Caribbean or Alaskan waters so it’s best to check with your particular line before you go.

One of the great benefits of a cruise is that most of your on-board spending can be done with your “cruise card” so there’s generally no need to take cash to the casino, even if all you want to do is play the slots. Then you can usually choose to take your winnings in cash or use them to pay off some of the expenditure on the trip.

So hopefully this has whetted your appetite for a little online casino action, who knows, if you’ve encountered enough good luck symbols it could pay for a trip around the world and an opportunity to visit one of the esteemed casinos on board a cruise.


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