Gambling at sea has been a popular pastime since the early 20th century. Aside from the excitement of wagering on the water, gambling boats historically offered punters who couldn’t lawfully gamble in their territories the chance to engage in their favourite pastime as territorial laws do not apply to international waters.
In modern times, the cruise ship industry has fully adopted the concept of offshore gambling with many major cruise lines integrating casino operations into their flagships. This is a fitting alliance as both industries are in the business of providing customers with luxurious, memorable experiences. Here is a selection of the best casino cruises on the water today.
Transatlantic cruise cost range: Interior cabin - $1,200 | club balcony room - $2,500 pp sharing
Cunard Cruise Lines boasts a casino on one of the world’s best-known cruise ships, the Queen Mary 2 caters to the ultimate luxury seeker, often playing host to world-famous celebrities. The ship’s annual global tour is an exclusive affair with strict onboarding dates and times and only limited tickets available.
Empire Casino forms a large part of the cruise’s entertainment offering. It is a glamorously appointed venue rivalling any premium land-based casino. You won’t be allowed to stroll into this setting wearing your swim shorts from the pool deck, so you’ll have to keep the strict dress code that applies to most of the ship in mind. The casino which is just off the grand lobby offers poker tables, roulette, and slots with a selection of video games as well.
Cost Range: 7 Night Eastern Caribbean and Perfect Day Cruise: interior cabin - $629, suite - $2,242 pp sharing
This is the most coveted and luxurious of the Oasis Class Casinos and comes packed with all the expected amenities including restaurants, swimming pools and round the clock bar service. This opulent spectacle of a ship also houses a gaming casino and “The Hall of Odds.” Operated by Norwegian Cruise Lines, the ship’s Caribbean cruise is a sun-chaser’s dream.
The casino features Roulette, Caribbean stud poker, Craps, Blackjack, and more, catering to the traditional gaming enthusiast.
Cost Range: 7 Night Eastern Caribbean cruise: interior cabin - $629, suite - $1,479 pp sharing
This monolith vessel is the second largest cruiser in the world, boasting a 5400-passenger capacity. The Casino Royale calls this floating extravagance home and boasts a massive 18,000 ft2 gaming floor with 500 slot machines from top providers and 27 table games including baccarat, poker, and roulette.
The opulent atmosphere of the cruise is complimented by the French-riviera theme of the casino and there is a cocktail service on hand to stave off dry throats. The cruise is optimised for online gaming as well with high-speed internet ever present for your entertainment.
Cost Range: 7 Night Alaska Glacier Voyage Southbound: interior cabin - $499, suite - $3,725 pp sharing
Operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises, this entertainment rich cruise experience travels to a variety of interesting locations. Of their 11 cruises on offer, the Summit, Millennium, Constellation, and Infinity liners offer access to a Fortune Casino.
The table games include baccarat, roulette, blackjack, let it ride and 3-card poker among others with the top-fitted liners containing up to 275 slot machines. The casinos also host tournaments and special gaming promotions where free cruises are up for grabs.
Cost Range: 8 Night Gion Tenjin Festivals (Diamond Princess): interior cabin - $1,539, suite -$3,299 pp sharing
This purpose-designed cruise started out in 1965 with floating entertainment in mind and is now regarded as one of the world’s best casino cruises. The Princess Casino cruise features plenty of activities to keep you occupied, like table tennis and wine tasting with gaming providing the bulk of the fun.
The casino offers roulette, blackjack, Texas hold-em, craps, 3-card poker, Caribbean Stud, and Let It Ride. There are also nightly bingo events to round off your options. Bear in mind that this is a cash and chips operation, so your debit and credit card won’t be any good here.