If you’ve never heard of a cruise ship, then I’m not sure what rock you’ve been sleeping under. But I’ll give a brief explanation of what a “cruise ship” is before we go into a few of the best casino cruise ships out there.
A cruise ship is essentially a floating resort. While on board, you can enjoy the relaxation and luxury that comes along with staying at a five-star hotel. Most cruise ships have so many activities to offer that it can be almost impossible to check them all out.
On board, you’ll find restaurants, bars, casinos, swimming pools, spas, gyms, shops, theaters, and cinema. There’s plenty of space on modern cruise ships, even while being packed full of so many amenities, so you never have to worry about not being able to find a place to stretch out and relax.
Your cruise ship is also going to include staff that have high levels of customer service and will be there to take care of you and meet any of your needs. Cruise ships can take you just about anywhere in the world, with two of the most popular destinations being the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.
More ships have expanded to other territories, including Alaska, Asia, the Middle East, and Northern Europe. The beautiful thing is that while you will get taken to a new place sometimes every day, your hotel will come along with you, so you’ll only have to pack once!
Again, cruise ships have many different activities to keep you occupied. Some not mentioned yet include high class culinary opportunities and top entertainment from world-renowned performers. You can always count on there being something for everyone while on your cruise, so you don’t need to worry about your kids getting bored.
Drawbacks of Casino Cruises
All that being said, there can be a number of drawbacks to going on a cruise. One of the first (and most obvious to some people) is that seasickness is a very real phenomenon. With that being said, cruise ships are so incredibly massive that most people don’t experience motion while on the ship, but it’s possible for you to experience this not-so-fun phenomenon during bad weather.
Sure, smaller saves you money, but not everyone can handle being stuck in a tiny room day after day.
This leads me to another drawback—claustrophobia. Not everyone suffers from this, but even people who aren’t normally claustrophobic can run into this problem. In fact, there’s a form of claustrophobia that you’re probably familiar with often referred to as “cabin fever.”
You can absolutely experience this (and the related form, island fever) when stuck in a small area with no real horizon. Not everyone knows if they’re going to have this problem or not until they get on the boat though, so if you’re prone to claustrophobia, you might want to think twice before going on a casino cruise ship.
Finally, there’s the recent rash of cruise ship crashes and problems that you’ve probably heard about. More than a few cruises have ended up as nightmares, with literal crashes in some cases, and others where the facilities on the boat stopped working. Now I’ll be the first to say that these are pretty rare, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Casinos on Boats
When it comes to casinos and boats as one entity, there’s actually a long and storied history, especially in America. Some of the first casino boats were on paddle steamers that used to journey up the Mississippi River.
The paddle steamers were used as entertainment venues and casinos, offering slots as well as table games. Paddle steamers are still used today as popular river boat casinos, but the concept of gambling at seas has evolved to a place much bigger than paddle steamers.
Now, we have gargantuan cruise liners with casinos inside that take their passengers on journeys all around the world.
1 – The Sunborn Superyacht Hotel and Casino
It’s hard to find a hotel and casino experience as elegant as what you’ll find here at the Sunborn Superyacht Hotel and Casino. It’s docked in the Ocean Village Marina in Gibraltar and includes some of the most breathtaking views across the strait toward Morocco.
The casino can be found through a separate entrance at the back of the boat. It includes 58 state-of-the-art slot machines, three American Roulette tables, three live poker tables, and four card tables where you can play blackjack for real money.
There’s also a private poker room available that holds tournaments. Inside the casino at the Sunborn Superyacht, you’ll find a world-class bar serving beer, spirits, champagnes, wines, and a huge selection of cocktails.
There’s also a table-side service that will take care of you in case you don’t want to step away from the poker table. There’s a variety of bedroom suites available once you’re on board, including a penthouse with a sundeck.
This ship is a dream come true for someone wanting a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s a lot to be said about cruises in general and how much fun they can be. But for the gambling aficionado, there’s something particularly compelling about combining that passion with a luxury cruise.
2 – The Norwegian Escape
The second casino cruise ship on the list is known as The Norwegian Escape, based in Miami, Florida.
The ship can hold 4,266 guests and takes them on adventures throughout the Bahamas and the Caribbean. For some people, water that’s crystal clear and sand as white as snow may not be enough to keep them entertained. And with that being said, The Norwegian Escape is packed with plenty of entertainment options on board.
Amid the rest of the options for fun on board, the ship includes a state-of-the-art casino. The casino comes with 28 gaming tables that offer roulette, pai gow, baccarat, poker, Let It Ride, craps, and blackjack, and 318 real money slots.
For the real high-roller casino goers, the ship has an exclusive VIP room. It includes three tables that can be used to meet any guest preferences. Limits can be requested that are much higher than the $5,000 maximum that’s on the casino floor for guests wanting to go big or go home.
There are over 15 restaurants on the ship that provide a great opportunity to spend your winnings, as well as clubs or a massage at a spa.
3 – Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas
The Allure of the Seas could be the Granddaddy of all cruise ships. It’s the second largest cruise ship in the world, sitting at 362 meters long and weighing over 225,000 tones. The ship carries up to 5,400 passengers. A whopping $1.2 billion was used in the construction of the Allure of the Seas.
My favorite part of this large vessel is its world-renowned casino, Casino Royale. Casino Royale is probably one of the greatest poker movies of all times, not to mention one of the best James Bond films of all time.
The Casino Royale has everything you could dream about gambling on a cruise ship. The gaming floor is 18,000 square feet and it includes 500 slot machines, including Wheel of Fortune and a game called Triple Diamond. There are 27 game tables that include roulette, poker, blackjack, craps, and Caribbean Stud.
The guests of this ship receive an experience that I would compare to a weekend in Las Vegas, but maybe even better. From the beautiful decor to the customer service, you’ll never need to worry about spinning a wheel without a drink . All of the service is tableside, so if you’re on a winning streak, you don’t have to leave the game for the sake of getting a refill.
The Vegas experience on Allure of the Seas doesn’t just stop with the casino. The ship hosts some famous Broadway shows, including Mamma Mia!, Cats, and We Will Rock You. It also has an Aqua Theater. The Aqua Theater merges water with drama, similar to what you would see at a Cirque Du Soleil performance.
Are there any great casino cruise ships that I left out? Feel free to let me know in the comments!