The Ultimate Guide to Cruise Ship Casinos: Everything You Need to Know

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You can find just about every amenity and activity on a modern cruise ship, and amongst the most popular is always the on-board casino. The chance to strike it lucky and win big in a glitzy floating casino appeals to many a would-be Bond and card shark.

So, if you’ve got a cruise coming in the near future, and one eye on the on-board casino, we’ve answered a few common questions about the cruise ship casinos. Here is the Cruise1st Australia ultimate guide to cruise ship casinos.

Are Cruise Ship Casinos Open for the Entire Voyage?

Unlike many casinos on land, cruise ship casinos are not permitted to remain open 24 hours. They are required to close whenever the ship is in port (aside from a few exceptions including Malta, Bermuda and Nassau) so as not to compete with local gambling and entertainment businesses.

Cruise ship casinos can typically open three to 12 nautical miles from the coast, when in international waters. But aboard the majority of cruise ships, the casino will remain closed during the day, as most people are entertaining themselves with other pursuits during daylight hours. But once open, the on-board casinos tend to run into the early hours, until 2 or 3am. Check your daily cruise schedule to find out the casino opening hours.

Roulette Game Server collecting chips

What Games are Played?

The range of casino games available will differ depending on which cruise line you sail with, but most on-board casinos will have blackjack, roulette, slot machines and three card poker. Some lines, including Crystal Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, also have craps and Texas Hold ‘em poker. Some also offer fun 21, let it ride, baccarat and bingo. Ask your booking agent or contact the cruise line to find out exactly which games will be available in the casino.

Can I Use Cash in the Casino?

Most cruises allow passengers to use both cash and their cruise card in the casino. You can exchange your cash for chips to play at the tables, or else charge the price of chips to your cruise card. There are very few on-board casinos that only take cash, such as those found on Windstar, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas and Silversea ship. If you’re cruising with one of these lines and are planning to visit the casino, it’s a good idea to take some cash with you as the on-board ATM may charge a high fee for withdrawals.

Is There a Minimum Age to Enter or Play in a Cruise Ship Casino?

Most cruise ship casinos have a minimum casino entry age of 18. Some liners raise the age limit to 21 on Alaskan or Caribbean cruises, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and MSC. There are several lines (Windstar and Seabourn Cruises) that have an age limit of 21 no matter the destination.

Many on-board casinos are located along main corridors, so children will pass through the casino, but are not permitted to linger. If you’re hoping to gamble on board but think you might be too young, contact your cruise line or travel agent to find out the age restrictions before booking.

Man adjusting his tie in preparation for the Casino event

Is Smoking Permitted in On-Board Casinos?

With fewer and fewer places permitting smoking indoors, cruise ship casinos are one of the last places you can light up inside. Most cruise ship casinos still permit smoking in designated areas – save for a few of the luxury lines. Cigarettes are allowed in certain areas, but cigars are rarely permitted.

Is There a Dress Code?

As with many areas on board cruise ships, the casino may have a dress code. This is by no means to restrict guests, but rather create a certain atmosphere of elegance and class. If you’re planning on heading to the casino on your cruise, be sure that you’ve packed a suitable outfit to look the part. Shirts, trousers and shoes are usually the expectation for men (jeans may not be permitted), and stylish dresses for the ladies. Most people enjoy the opportunity to wear their finery on board a cruise liner, so make the most of it and dress up to the nines!

Will I Have to Pay for Drinks in the Casino?

Unlike land-based casinos, which often provide complimentary drinks to gamblers, in a cruise casino you will only get to enjoy this service if you’re on an all-inclusive cruise. Otherwise be prepared to pay for a tipple.

If you fancy trying your luck in an on-board casino during a luxury cruise, why not check out the extensive range of Cruise1st Australia deals? Browse the full collection online, or call our friendly sales team on 1300 857 345.

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About Author

Lily Egge

Lily is in her mid 60’s and loves cruising. She and her partner have cruised on at least 40 cruises so far and there is much more to see. They usually travel on a balcony cabin, especially at Christmas where they celebrate on the cruise with the family. She lives in Manifold Heights in Victoria. Lily writes for Cruise 1st on a regular basis.

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