Today’s state-of-the-art cruise ships have so much to offer, from five star celebrity chef restaurants and indulgent high end day spas to vertical rock-climbing walls and adrenalin pumping skydiving simulators. Yet what many cruisers don’t realise is that some vessels also offer world class at-sea casinos that put some on-shore establishments to shame. From rookie roulette players to seasoned blackjack pros, everybody is welcome, as long as they meet the stipulated age requirements! If you love the sound of chips being stacked, cards being shuffled and slot machines hitting the jackpot, read on for a handpicked guide to the best at-sea casinos.
As winner of Casino Player Magazine’s ‘Best Cruise Line’ award, Norwegian definitely knows how to get passengers gambling! The line’s establishments adhere to a classic Las Vegas style theme, with ultramodern slot and multi-game machines as well as all the table favourites such as blackjack, roulette, craps, Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker and Let It Ride. As well as weekly at-sea tournaments, Norwegian also hosts an Annual Poker Challenge. This year’s event will take place in November on-board the 4100 passenger Norwegian Epic. If you want to experience the very best of Norwegian’s casino bunch, book yourself a cabin on-board Norwegian Breakaway or Norwegian Getaway, two of the line’s newest fleet members. Both boast sprawling 18,000-square-foot casinos housing over 300 slot machines and 24 gaming tables!
For those that love to gamble in glitz and glamour, Carnival Cruise Line is an undisputed industry leader. Lavish décor creates a suitably luxe feel, with ships such as the Carnival Freedom even adopting a luxurious Hanging Gardens of Babylon theme. The line’s efforts have won it a loyal legion of fans who flock to its hundreds of slot machines and impressive range of table games. For those with a competitive streak Carnival also run blackjack and slots tournaments on selected itineraries.
Looking for definitive Vegas style swagger? Royal Caribbean is the place to be! Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas boast casinos of colossal proportions, each measuring in at a huge 18,000 square feet. Inside, passengers will find a plethora of slot machines and table games hosting everything from Ultimate Texas Hold’em and Omaha to Caribbean stud and Big Raise Stud. Those wishing to push their luck even further can hit up the dedicated poker room and sports book. Décor is sleek and shiny which adds to the glossy US style vibe. For the ultimate in exclusivity, Royal Caribbean also run Club Royale, an invitation only player program reserved for VIP passengers.
Celebrity’s ships may be smaller but when it comes to at-sea casinos, the line sure knows how to deliver! Stylish and refined, the fleet wide Fortunes Casino is a smoke free zone where passengers can try their hand at an array of table games, as well as next generation video poker. With 237 slot machines to its name, the all new Celebrity Century boasts the line’s largest casino. For passengers that just can’t seem to shake the gambling bug, Celebrity has developed the exclusive Fortune app which lets passengers play from anywhere, at any time. Simply add funds to a virtual wallet and start playing! For high rolling cruisers, the line runs a members only Blue Chip Club.
For old world elegance with a contemporary twist nothing beats the Empire Casino on-board Cunard’s Queen Mary II. The spectacular establishment oozes classic Monte Carlo style and treats guests to incredible views of the ocean. Table games and slot machines are peppered throughout the complex while a casino bar shakes up an impressive menu of high end cocktails which only adds to the elegant atmosphere. For those wanting to live out their James Bond fantasies, Cunard’s Empire Casino is just the ticket!
Have we got you dreaming of a jackpot? Why not head over to Cruise 1st and check out some of the incredible cruise package deals on the lines mentioned above? With the cash you save on your ticket, you’ll be free to try your luck at some of the finest casinos the ocean has to offer!
Images courtesy of Cunard Line