Imagine the thrill of trying your luck at a high-stakes poker game as you cruise through the azure waters of the Caribbean, or playing slots while sailing under the starlit skies of the Mediterranean.
Welcome to the captivating world of cruising casinos – an exciting fusion of adventure, luxury, and gambling that’s taking the travel industry by storm. This unique experience combines the allure of casino gaming with the grandeur of some of the world’s largest and most opulent cruise ships. In this article, we’re going to navigate through the crème de la crème of these floating casinos. Prepare to embark on a journey of discovery that will take you into the heart of the casino cruise trend, a growing phenomenon that’s redefining vacations for thrill-seekers and leisure travelers alike. So, ready to set sail and explore? The adventure is just a flip of a card away.
1. Norwegian Epic
The Norwegian Epic cruise ship, a remarkable vessel operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, provides an extraordinary cruising experience with routes that encompass the Caribbean, Europe, and Transatlantic voyages. The ship has garnered recognition as the “Best Cruise Ship” by Travel Weekly and has won 4 awards over the years, solidifying its top-notch reputation. The Norwegian Epic stands out for its capacity to host over 4,100 passengers, akin to a floating city. It offers a diverse range of dining options, including the Wasabi Sushi Bar and Moderno Churrascaria, offering cuisines from all around the world. Moreover, the ship is currently the 21st-largest in the world, making it a marvel of modern maritime engineering. This cruise is renowned for its exceptional entertainment, including live performances by the world-famous Cirque du Soleil. Plus, the onboard Epic Casino awaits you with its vast array of slot machines and table games. Prices for cruises on the Norwegian Epic start from $439 per person, offering a fantastic cruising experience at a competitive rate.
2. Queen Mary II
The Queen Mary 2, operated by Cunard, is a luxury cruise ship offering top-tier dining, world-class entertainment, and plush accommodations. Its bookings for the years 2023 and 2024 are currently open. The Queen Mary 2 is not just a cruise ship, but a grand ocean liner with a maximum speed of over 30 knots, making it faster than most contemporary cruise ships. It offers an exceptional experience, especially on its Transatlantic Crossings, where passengers can savor the ocean adventure at its finest. The ship recently underwent a £90-million refurbishment, further enhancing its allure. The Queen Mary 2 signifies the dawn of a modern era in ocean voyages, characterized by the fusion of premier service with state-of-the-art technology and innovative design. This prestigious vessel is named after the reigning British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. The ship provides transatlantic journeys between New York and Southampton, promising a memorable travel experience. Onboard, you can relish the opulence of accommodations such as the Princess Suites, immerse yourself in a vast collection of 8,000 books in the ship’s library, or try your luck at the Empire Casino. With a wide array of table games and slot machines catering to both novices and seasoned gamblers, there’s something to satisfy every guest’s taste.
3. Oasis of the Seas
The Oasis of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean International, is a pioneering cruise ship that revolutionized ocean travel. Being the inaugural ship in the revolutionary Oasis class, it held the distinction of being among the biggest cruise ships at the time of its launch. The ship is renowned for its groundbreaking design, featuring seven distinct neighborhoods, each offering unique experiences and amenities. It’s an ideal choice for couples and families alike, with the top-rated Adventure Ocean Program catering to children aged 3 to 11. With a capacity for over 5,600 passengers at double occupancy, this number can rise to nearly 6,700 during peak seasons. Embarking on a voyage with Oasis of the Seas will transport you to the Bahamas, making stops in Miami and Florida. You’ll have access to an array of bars and restaurants, offering an extensive selection of beverages to suit your preferences. Casino Royale welcomes all gambling enthusiasts to indulge in their preferred games. For those seeking more adventurous activities, zip-lining and ice-skating options are available onboard.
4. Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises, a Miami-based cruise line and subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Group, is renowned for its award-winning luxury cruises1. With a fleet that sails globally, Celebrity Cruises offers diverse itineraries with stops in popular destinations such as the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska, Asia, and Europe. Notably, the cruise line has been voted as the best premium Cruise Line for 14 consecutive years. While Celebrity Cruises may not boast the largest fleet globally, they make up for it with an array of engaging activities for their guests. Their itineraries span multiple continents, offering trips across Europe, Asia, Alaska, and beyond. Onboard amenities include dance classes, trivia games, lavish spa services, and wine-tasting workshops. For those who love to learn, educational courses are available, and fitness enthusiasts can take advantage of the well-equipped gym. Casino lovers will be delighted with the Fortune Casino, designed to cater to all their gaming desires.
5. Regent Seven Seas Explorer
Regent Seven Seas Explorer, often referred to as The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built, offers an extraordinary luxury cruise experience. Launched in the summer of 2016, this ship is the jewel of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet. It features an impressive 413m2 Regent Suite, which boasts the largest balcony at sea. With a name like Regent, a cruise line should undoubtedly deliver nothing short of excellence. The Regent Seven Seas Explorer is a premium vessel that hosts an array of upscale restaurants and bars, alongside a spa that’s in a league of its own. This floating oasis provides signature massages, luxury products, and rejuvenating detox treatments. Its casino ranks among the world’s best. Moreover, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer navigates through South America, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean, ensuring guests experience all the must-see destinations.
6. Freedom of the Seas
The Freedom of the Seas, a remarkable ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, offers an unparalleled cruising experience. This majestic vessel, known for its innovative design and wealth of amenities, provides guests with an array of activities and entertainment options. Onboard features include a FlowRider surf simulator, a rock-climbing wall, a mini-golf course, and a water park for kids. The terms ‘luxury’ and ‘urban’ might seem contradictory, but they blend seamlessly on the Freedom of the Seas. This ship features a primary restaurant, three specialty dining options, and an array of shops. It also offers sports and entertainment facilities and houses a casino, demonstrating a perfect fusion of upscale refinement and urban vibrancy. The Freedom of the Seas sails to various exotic destinations, including the Caribbean and the Bahamas, offering itineraries that combine relaxation and adventure.
7. Azamara Journey
The Azamara Journey is a distinguished R-category cruising vessel owned and operated by Azamara Club Cruises. With a gross registered cargo capacity of 30,277, it can comfortably accommodate up to 694 passengers. The ship offers an array of amenities including seven restaurants, cafes, and lounges, a refreshing pool, sun-drenched decks, and a revitalizing spa for the ultimate relaxation experience. The Azamara Journey provides unique cruises to the Mediterranean and beyond, allowing passengers to view the world through a local lens. Its itineraries are designed to help guests cross off destinations from their bucket list, making for an unforgettable journey. For those who enjoy a bit of gaming, the Casino Luxe is always open for some exhilarating casino action. Reviewers applaud the Azamara Journey for its exceptional deck plans, dining options, and comfortable rooms. It’s a highly recommended choice for those seeking a small-ship cruise experience with a touch of luxury.
8. Princess Casino
Princess Casino Cruise, part of the Princess International Casino & Hotel Group, offers a high-quality gaming experience on the high seas. The casino is an integral part of the onboard entertainment and features everything from the latest slot machines to classic table games. Players can join the ‘Princess Players Club for a more personalized gaming experience, with the card or Medallion automatically enrolling them into the club when used in the casino. Furthermore, the Princess Casino Hearts program offers VIPs early boarding and exclusive perks for a luxury gaming experience. For those who prefer digital gaming, the Ocean Casino allows wagering on portals around the ship, extending the fun beyond the physical casino floor. The Emerald Princess Casino, one specific cruise line, offers over 250 slot and video machines, live blackjack tables, and various poker games, ensuring a variety of gaming options for every kind of player. However, the entertainment extends beyond gaming, with offerings such as wine-tasting events, painting sessions, and paddle tennis matches.
9. Carnival Vista
The Carnival Vista, operated by Carnival Cruise Line, offers a unique cruising experience with a multitude of onboard activities and facilities. As the lead ship of her namesake class, she sets a high standard for cruise vacations. The ship features an industry-first SkyRide aerial circuit where guests can race pedal-powered vehicles in open-air pods, adding an element of thrill to the journey. Itineraries include a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise starting from Galveston, Texas, bringing a mix of adventure and relaxation to passengers. The Carnival Vista has received multiple awards over the years, reflecting its quality services and experiences. Fares for cruises on the Carnival Vista start at $399 per person, providing an affordable yet unforgettable vacation option. Guests can enjoy a variety of shows during the day and night, as well as live music performances. The ship is also home to a steakhouse among its array of dining options. For those interested in gaming, the Carnival Vista Players’ Club is a must-visit. And for those craving a casual bite, the ship offers a convenient pizza delivery service, ensuring a satisfying meal anytime you desire.
10. Norwegian Escape
The Norwegian Escape, a Breakaway Plus-class cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, offers an unparalleled cruising experience. With itineraries that include Caribbean and Transatlantic cruises, the ship is known for its variety of amenities and services. The Norwegian Escape has won four awards over the years, reinforcing its excellent reputation among cruise ships. Guests can explore the ship’s deck plans to discover all that the Norwegian Escape has to offer, including unique features like a stunning hull painting of marine creatures by conservation artist Guy Harvey. Onboard, passengers can test their luck at the superb casino bar, featuring an array of table and slot games. The ship also boasts 11 outstanding dining options and a plethora of entertainment activities. VIP players are treated to exclusive cabins, but rest assured, there is comfortable accommodation available for every guest on the ship. Cruises on the Norwegian Escape start from $349 per person, making it an affordable option for a memorable vacation at sea.
Navigating Legal Aspects of Engaging in Online Casinos on a Cruise
Cruises offer a plethora of enjoyable activities, including online casino games. However, the legalities involved in this activity are not as clear-cut as they are on land. While conventional casinos on many ships function under maritime law, the legality of online casinos can be more intricate.
The jurisdiction of a casino online is linked to the license issued by its regulatory authority, and operating outside this jurisdiction necessitates acquiring an additional license. This complexity escalates on a cruise ship, where the gaming laws of each port country also come into play. For example, playing online casino games off Barcelona’s coast is legal, thanks to Spanish laws, while doing the same off Miami’s coast is prohibited under U.S. law.
Maritime law adds another layer of complexity. When a cruise ship ventures more than 12 miles from a country’s coast, it enters international waters, and the laws of the ship’s originating country become applicable. Therefore, if online gambling is legal in the ship’s home country, it would also be allowed on international waters.
Age restrictions are another crucial consideration. The minimum age for online gambling varies, with some countries setting the limit at 18 and others at 21. Enforcement of these rules depends on the flag state or the country of origin of the ship.
Lastly, winning money from online casino games on a cruise ship may have tax implications. The taxable amount depends on the ship’s country of origin and its location in international waters.
In summary, while playing online casino games on a cruise ship can be exhilarating, it does come with various legal considerations, including taxes, maritime law, jurisdiction, and age restrictions. Therefore, it’s recommended to consult with a lawyer to fully comprehend these aspects before engaging in online gambling on a cruise ship.