Gambling at Sea: A Look at the Top 5 Cruise Ship Casinos

Posted: March 5, 2014

Updated: October 4, 2017

Land-based casinos might be hot places to play, and online gambling is getting hotter, but the 21st century is also seeing a new renaissance in the world of the floating cruise ship casino.

Cruise ships used to have a poor rep for their casinos, since limits were low and the players were often amateur. The old cruise liners were not exactly reeling in the Vegas high-rollers and simply served as a manner in which to pass the time at sea.

Now that is no longer the case, since casinos on cruise ships are getting bigger and better, and are even reaching out to high roller players at land-based casinos promising a good game.

Here is a list of the top 5 floating casinos to place your bets in.

Independence of the Seas

The Independence of the Seas is one of the largest cruise ship casinos, whose homebase is located in Fort Lauderdale, with a lively scene of 19 tables offering games of blackjack, Caribbean stud poker, two three-card poker, low limit Texas Hold’em, along with roulette and craps tables.

Top casino cruise destinations:

Curacao is well known for its online gambling sites, but it’s also a popular Caribbean destination for casino gaming.

St. Maarten is known for its land-based casinos that are popular with cruise tours.

Estoril in Portugal is the largest land-based casino in Europe and served as inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.

The games on offer range from a wide selection of games with bets running from $25-500 through to $50-1000 blackjack tables. Although, the casino has plans to open $100-$2000 tables to welcome players looking accommodate those looking to play for higher stakes.

The Independence also has 306 slot machines with a range of wagering opportunities.

The Independence takes players on east and western Caribbean cruises, and will also make a journey to Europe, so keep an eye for this floating casino in the future.

Celebrity’s Summit

For players looking for the seaborne equivalent of Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas, then the Celebrity’s Summit is for you.

While most casinos on board cruise ships tend to have low minimums and maximums, not to mention short operating hours, Fortune’s Casino on the Celebrity’s Summit has a busy blackjack table with $50-1000 game, and also offers higher stakes games on request.

The hours can also be extended until the late hours of the morning, with dealing sometimes going on as late as 4.30 a.m.

The on board casino is surrounded by a number of slot machines with 12 table games on the casino floor.

There are multi-deck blackjack games, along with single deck versions of the game, three-card poker, Caribbean stud poker, craps and roulette.

One thing that makes the Celebrity’s Summit casino stand out is in the quality of its dealers, who are both competent and personable.

Cruises have a reputation for not attracting high rolling players, but the Celebrity Casinos have adjusted to bring in players who are used to Vegas-style casinos, offering comped drinks for higher stakes players.

Norwegian Gem

The Norwegian Gem sails the route along the Bahamas and the Caribbean, offering the most player-friendly cruise at sea, even rivaling the casinos on the Caribbean islands.

There are 20 tables split into two banks with a $25 minimum and a $1000 maximum, but there is also a high-roller area with two blackjack tables, with a minimum of $100.

For roulette fans, there is an eight-person Megastar roulette table, and a table with a dealer.

However it’s the Texas Hold’em table and the PaiGow tables that seem to reel in the crowd.

For serious players, the casino are very attentive to VIPs, which when coupled with good dealers makes this a great floating casino for high-stake players looking for a good gaming experience.

Radiance of the Seas

When it comes to seaborne casinos, it’s perhaps the easiest to judge the quality of the games by the skills, or lack of skill, of the players on board. Sometimes playing on a cruise liner can be frustrating for more vintage players.

So if you’re looking to wager a couple of hundred dollars or more at the blackjack table when you’re playing with amateurs can be rather frustrating.

But the Casino Royal on board the Radiance has what it takes to keep more experienced players happy. With plenty of gaming tables offering a variety of casino games and a wide range of bets, accommodating most of the visitors on the cruise.

But with the range more amateur players willing to play for $25 minimums at the blackjack table, playing to split kings, hit on 17 and stand on cards of 13 might make it frustrating for more experienced players.

This is a good casino for players looking to try out their gambling luck, but high rollers have plenty of other casinos that better suit them.

Azamara Journey

Azamara is a good bet for players looking for a Vegas style casino at sea, since the Celebrity group offer one of the most professionally run casinos on their cruise liners.

VIP players looking for a weekend of gambling on the high-seas are more likely to seek out other waterborne casinos, since it only offers six, mostly low-stakes tables, but it’s a good one to go for if you’re looking for a good ambience and off-the-beaten track destinations.

However, there is the possibility that the casino will accommodate VIP players looking to play blackjack for high-stakes, like $100 to $2000 until the late hours.

The Azamara Journey is great for new players and for VIP players that are attracted to the cruise for other reasons. Its casino has potential, but there are better liners for those exclusively looking to gamble rather than looking into other factors found on the casino liner.

And if you still want to gamble on the go, you’ve always got online and mobile casinos at your disposal if you fancy something else.

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