We all know that most cruise ships offer onboard casinos, but it’s not something we really talk about. I sometimes feel like casinos at sea are the taboo of the cruising world and shouldn’t be discussed, but why is that? They are there for our entertainment and so long as you know when to cut yourself off, they can be a great experience. I never gamble at home, but I do like a little flutter on the Roulette wheel when I am at sea. I’m not exactly a big spender, I usually budget around £20 and once that has gone, I move on.
There are no secrets to winning in the onboard casinos and I truly believe that if you go in with the mindset that you are there to win something instead of just being there to have a fun time, then you’re going to leave empty handed. Here are a few of my tips for making the most of your time in the casino.
Know The Rules
When you walk into a cruise ship casino, it’s easy to feel that you’re entering a pretty casual environment. Almost everything on a ship feels a little more relaxed than its mainland counterpart, from nice restaurants to theatres, and the casino is no exception. But you still need to know what you’re doing because the games are still the same as they are on land. In fact, one article made the interesting point that they may even be a little tougher on a cruise ship. In a regular casino, you can walk around the floor and look for games with favorable odds or rules, whereas on a ship the games they offer are the only games you are getting. I had no idea how to play Roulette, but I stood and watched the game and studied the rules for several hours before finally joining in. OK, it’s not exactly a difficult game, but I felt more comfortable knowing what I should and shouldn’t be doing. You’ll often find that ships with casinos will offer free teaching sessions of various games, including the likes of Blackjack and Poker, and I’d highly recommend you take the lessons if offered and you have never played before.
How To Pay To Play
This is a simpler concern and shouldn’t take you too much time to figure out, but you might want to look into it before you embark. Some cruise casinos will allow you to pay for play using the same card you have registered to your onboard account, others ask that you play with cash. You may want to research online or even call the cruise line in advance so that you know how you’ll be asked to pay and you can plan accordingly. Even if you don’t take cash with you, you can often make withdrawals onboard but again, it’s best to double check before you leave.
Try Blackjack Before Poker
This is a matter of personal preference, but in general blackjack is the better choice on a ship. For one thing, it’s simpler and less time consuming, meaning it’s easier to fit in a lot of fun games among all your other on-board activities. Additionally, however, blackjack is the world’s most popular casino game for a reason. It’s one of the easier games to learn, and with some simple strategy and practice, you can reduce the house’s edge to make it winnable. These factors make up the perfect ship gaming experience.
Consider Opening Hours
When you’re on a cruise, it’s easy to fall into a mindset that everything is always available to you. The “all-inclusive” nature of these ships, after all, is part of their appeal. But there are strict hours for cruise casinos. They are only open when the ship is at sea and on some ships, they’re also closed during the day. This is all easy to work around, but you should keep in mind that most cruise casinos are not 24/7, just so you don’t try to go and find yourself disappointed.
Keep It Casual
As a last general point, don’t get carried away with the “high roller” vibe you sometimes see in mainland casinos. As mentioned, everything on a ship tends to feel a little more relaxed, and while you’ll certainly find a few people dressing up for a few hours in the casino, they’ll probably be in the minority. The most enjoyable approach is generally to play it casual. Dress comfortably, have a drink or two, and simply enjoy the games!
Don’t forget! Stop when it’s no longer fun!