Many cruise casinos offer a unique opportunity for guests to gamble onboard and earn perks along with a chance to win cash.
By Guest Writer, Joyce Rimmer
Gambling on a cruise ship can be both fun and rewarding! Many cruise casinos offer a unique opportunity for guests to gamble onboard and earn perks along with a chance to win cash. Extras like free drinks, onboard credit to spend while in the casino, priority dining and VIP seating at shows, invitations to special event cruises and even discounted or free cruises.
The Basics: Royal Caribbean’s Casino Program
Most of my experience has been with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line so I will review their specific rewards but other cruise lines have their own programs and benefits available to cruisers who gamble.
Casinos are operated by the cruise lines. You must be 18 years old to play in the waters. On our current sailing, Independence of the Seas the casino was also open during our day at CocoCay. This ship has 295 slot machines and 18 tables for play. On sea days usually the slot machines are available starting at 8am and tables at 10am. They remain open until between 2am and 3:30am. On port days, the casino will open for play once the ship has left port and is again in international waters. Specific times will be on the Royal Caribbean app.
How it Works
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines casino loyalty program is called Club Royale. Each cruise casino has a host and managers that oversee the operations in the casino. In my experience they are extremely helpful and willing to answer questions. They are there to ensure everyone enjoys playing and gets the most out of their casino experience.
Guests are tracked for casino play time using their Sea Pass Card. When playing table games this means you sit down, present your sea pass card to the dealer and your time and amount of wagers per hand will be tracked for the duration of your play. If slots are your jam, you insert your Sea Pass Card into the slot machine before beginning to play and leave it until you are finished with machine. Slot machines will give you a running total of points earned on each cruise.
Earning Points on a Tiered Scale
All of the points earned during your cruise will accumulate and based on the number you reach; you can begin receiving rewards even during the sailing. For example; currently if you have reached 800 points during the cruise you earn $200 off a future cruise or a complimentary cruise for select dates of sailing. If you earn 2,500 points you earn free drinks in the casino. Club Royale points are then accumulated for a one-year time period during all of the cruises you sail April 1 to March 31.
Whatever the total number of points earned during this year period will determine the tier status you have achieved for that year and will then carry forward into the next year. So, if you reach 2,500 points during the year, 4/1-3/31 you are considered Prime in the casino. Here are the benefits earned for each casino level achieved.
1 – 2,499
2,500 – 24,999
25,000 – 99,999
|Point Redemption towards onboard expense account credit or as FreePlay in the Casino||●||●||●||●|
|Instant Cruise Rewards Certificates||●||●||●||●|
|Waived Casino Convenience Fee (5%) for Cashless Wagering on SeaPass||●||●||●|
|Complimentary Drinks in Casino Royale||●||●||●|
|Unlimited Surf & Stream Internet Wi-Fi Packages||Discount||1 Device||2 Devices|
|New! Onboard Credit||●|
|Priority Entertainment Seating and Dining Reservations||●|
Tips for earning and using cruise casino rewards
- Most players will tell you the fastest way to earn points is by playing the slot machines. The points are given at a steady rate and can easily be tracked. Players earn one point for every 5 dollars wagered. Casino hosts will even make you an extra sea pass card to use in a neighboring slot machine to speed up the point accumulation. Points earned during table are not given at an even rate so it will usually take longer to achieve the same number of points.
- Take advantage of the free drinks. Anytime the casino bar is open on a Royal Caribbean ship Prime Tier members get free drinks. Meeting here pre-dinner or show to collect a drink before your next activity can save a lot of cash.
- Free internet for Signature level members is a great perk! You can share this benefit with family members but only one can be active on a device at a time.
- The special phone number provided for those Prime and above in status is extremely helpful when trying to book a cruise and get the most out of benefits earned. Representatives can guide you in choosing the best cruise deal for the offer you have earned.
Carnival Cruise Lines casino loyalty program is called Carnival Players Club. Their cruise casino benefits include free drinks, cruises and invitations to play on special Carnival Premier Cruises. Premier Cruises players receive special treats delivered during their cruise, a complimentary gift in your cabin and additional FunPlay Credit. There are other special casino cruises offered by Carnival for some casino players.
We have really enjoyed the benefits of cruise casino play and honestly have cruised more because of the rewards we have earned. Of course, like all gambling endeavors, you have to be prepared to “donate” whatever cash you play with in the casino. For us it is fun money and, in the end, we do not spend as much as the rewards we earn would cost out of pocket.
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