Best Poker Cruises 2023: Ultimate Guide to High Seas Poker Adventures

'Introduction to Poker Cruises'

Introduction to Poker Cruises

Picture this: you're shuffling chips with one hand, sipping a pina colada with the other, all while a balmy breeze flirts with your royal flush ambitions. Sounds like a gamble worth taking? That's the allure of a poker cruise.

These floating poker havens marry the grandeur of ocean travel with the thrill of the felt. It's where the splash of the sea meets the clink of the chips. But let's be honest for a moment – can you focus on your straight draw when there's an endless buffet calling your name?

On a poker cruise, you'll find a cornucopia of amenities:

  • Endless food and drinks.
  • Picturesque views you can’t find in any card room.
  • A collective of fellow poker aficionados.

And, of course, ample poker action. But don’t forget, there's a reason casinos don't have windows or clocks. It's hard enough to fold a full house, but do you have the willpower to walk away from Italian night at the dining hall?

Let's consider the positives. You wake up, enjoy a sunrise that would make even the most hard-hearted skipper tear up, then saunter over to a poker tournament. Could there be a better morning routine?

Oh, you've got a partner who isn't quite as enthusiastic about the game? No problem! They've got pools, spas, live shows — enough activities to make them forget you're even there...until you hit the jackpot.

But hey, who's really on a poker cruise to sightsee or sunbathe? You're there for the cards, right? Just wait until the dealer calls "shuffle up and deal" amidst a horizon that seems to never end.

Before you know it, we'll dive into Card Player Cruises — the next part in our adventure. Here we’ll explore the intricacies of a poker cruise aimed squarely at the card carrying enthusiasts. 'Cause let's face it, you're intrigued despite knowing your sunscreen application might be as patchy as your poker face. Am I right?

'Card Player Cruises'

Card Player Cruises

So, you've read about poker cruises, huh? Picture this: Hawaii's breathtaking views or Alaska's pristine glaciers as the backdrop to your royal flush. If that doesn't scream "bucket list," I don't know what does.

Card Player Cruises, the seasoned pro since '92, isn't just dealing cards on the high seas. They're dealing experiences. But only if you book exclusively with them. Exclusivity has its perks, am I right?

Consider their poker room an oceanic haven. I've seen bathrooms smaller than their poker area, no joke. That's where the magic happens. And by magic, I mean the delicate dance of chips and cards, of course.

What's on the menu? Apart from the actual menu with options ranging from the "I swear it's diet-friendly" to the "I’ll start my diet tomorrow":

  • Texas Hold'em: The classic, the love of my life.
  • Omaha: Because four cards are better than two.
  • Seven Card Stud: Because we're fancy like that.
  • Themed nights: Think "Pirates of the Caribbean," but with more chips and less plundering... unless you count a hefty pot as a treasure, matey.

Skeptical about swapping your regular poker den for something so... nautical? Will a midnight sun poker tourney in Alaska thaw that poker face? Or, perhaps, will you let the lure of the aloha spirit seduce you into going all-in in Hawaii?

One thing's for sure, with Card Player Cruises, it's not just about the destinations. It's about strutting into your next poker night back on land with stories that scream, "I'm not your average card shark." Be prepared to drop that "this one time, on a cruise..." line liberally.

Next stop, the high-roller buzz: World Poker Tour at Sea with Virgin Voyages. Oh, believe me, it's a thing. Let's see if those Virgin ships can deal with poker players like us, shall we? Stay tuned, folks.

'World Poker Tour at Sea with Virgin Voyages'

World Poker Tour at Sea with Virgin Voyages

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Poker at sea? Isn't that something retirees in Hawaiian shirts and bucket hats do? Well, think again! Virgin Voyages is shuffling the deck with its partnership with the World Poker Tour, and they're dealing a hand that just might entice players of all ages.

Let me lay down the flops for you:

  • First permanent poker room on a cruise ship.
  • A professional poker vibe, with that WPT sheen.
  • Games galore: think No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha.

Gone are the days of breathing in the recycled casino air among the slot machine chimes. Hello, ocean breeze and the sweet clinking of poker chips.

Why should you care? Besides the chance to bust out your best poker face with the backdrop of a sunset over the open ocean, you’re smack in the middle of a bona fide WPT event. That's right. We're talking real stakes, real strategy, and real bluffs—with a side of sea legs.

Sure, you could stick to the same old card room you know back on dry land. Or worse, follow in the footsteps of the Card Player Cruises where, let's be real, it can sometimes feel like you've teleported to a floating retirement home—sorry, grandma!

But Virgin Voyages dares you to raise the ante. So, how about it? Ready to go all-in on the high seas before we set sail towards Norwegian Cruise Line's Poker Challenge? There, the poker tales might be as varied as the buffet, but your cruise ship poker bravado? Crafted exclusively by WPT and Virgin Voyages, baby.

Am I sceptical? Maybe a touch. After all, folding under the pressure of an intense hand can be tough enough on land. But try doing that while the horizon is doing the cha-cha. Still, I've gotta admit, it's a call I'm willing to make. Are you ready to check-raise your cruise expectations?

'Norwegian Cruise Line's Poker Challenge'

Norwegian Cruise Line's Poker Challenge

Now, if you thought hitting the high seas with Virgin Voyages was a blast, wait until you ante up at the Norwegian Cruise Line's Poker Challenge. Who wouldn't want to play poker while gazing out at the ocean's horizon, right?

Imagine this: a Vegas-worthy poker room that rocks gently with the waves. You're all in — literally on the water. Each year, Norwegian Cruise Line hosts this poker extravaganza, transforming one of its luxurious ships into a card shark's paradise. The main event? Oh, it's just a little gathering with a prize pool so significant, you'd think you'd hit an iceberg made of cash. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but it's impressive.

Are we talking serious poker? You bet. Here's the deal:

  • A main event that draws in the sharks and the fish alike.
  • Additional tournament events that satisfy your poker-playing palate.
  • Daily cash games, because why sleep when you could be flopping the nuts?

And let's not forget the surrounding amenities that can either soothe your beat-soured soul or spend your winnings. How does one gracefully walk away from a bad beat? Perhaps with a gourmet dinner or a soothing spa treatment.

Can it really be as satisfying as the plunking of chips in a land-based casino? Will you miss the unmistakable carpet patterns or the flashing lights of the Vegas Strip? Perhaps. But then again, does Vegas have an all-you-can-eat buffet just steps away from the poker tables? I think not.

On a cruise, you've got ocean views. Ocean views! As if the panoramic distraction of the sea's vast beauty would let you focus on those poker tells. Presumably, the guy with sunglasses at midnight inside the casino isn't just there for the style points.

Coming up, we'll shuffle over to the Celebrity Cruises' poker offering. One thing is for sure – they have their work cut out for them topping the Norwegian's floating poker fiesta. I mean, who can resist the siren call of the all-in with a side of sea breeze?

'Celebrity Cruises'

Celebrity Cruises

Following the thrill of the Norwegian Cruise Line's Poker Challenge, you might think the high seas couldn't get any classier, right? Guess again! Celebrity Cruises rolls out the red carpet with their sophisticated poker experience that's so upscale, you'll need a GPS to find the deck chairs. Their state-of-the-art casinos come alive with the clinking of chips and the whisper of cards against felt. Here's why their poker tables are hotter than that sundeck surface at noon:

  • Variety of Poker Tournaments: From Texas Hold'em to Omaha, they've got tournaments that'll make you feel like you're in Vegas, minus the desert heat.
  • Rewards Club: Yes, you get rewarded for having a good hand... or pretending you do. The more you play, the more you gain, all with the glorious backdrop of the ocean. Is there anything better?
  • Activities For All: If your poker face is worse than a broken slot machine, fear not. They've got activities for everyone, including Aunt Marge, who thinks a flush is just a plumbing feature.

Their destinations? Oh, only worldwide. You can play a hand in the Mediterranean and fold in the Caribbean. Talk about international waters!

Now, to ensure you're not entirely distracted by the siren calls of celebrity status, let's not forget: Poker isn't the only royal flush aboard. The ships feature a smorgasbord of entertainment that makes losing your shirt at cards (metaphorically, of course) just a side hustle.

And if you get on board with their rewards club? Well, don't get me started. Who knew that playing poker could get you perks, like discounts on future misinformation lessons from the charming chap who just bluffed you out of a pot? Huh, isn't that something?

So, as you decide if you want to go all in with the Celebrity Cruises poker experience, remember: Carnival Cruise Line is up next. Can they match the allure of Celebrity's full house of offerings?

Know what, let's not answer that—some rhetorical questions are best left floating in the sea of our thoughts.

'Carnival Cruise Line'

Carnival Cruise Line

So, you've heard about the upscale poker rooms on Celebrity Cruises, huh? That's all fine and dandy if you're looking to dress to the nines and pretend you're James Bond for a night. But maybe, just maybe, you want something a touch more relaxed, a bit more 'I'm here to have fun and not totally empty my wallet'. Enter the world of Carnival Cruise Line—where budget-friendly meets the poker table.

And let's get something straight, Carnival doesn't just throw a couple of card decks on a table and call it a day. No, sir. They've got a well-equipped casino that'll make you wonder whether you’re on a cruise ship or back in Vegas. Let’s run down the list, shall we?

  • Texas Hold’Em PokerPro® tables that practically shuffle the cards for you. (Because, who has the time nowadays?)
  • Games for all kinds of players—newbies, seasoned pros, even your Aunt Tilda who still thinks a flush is just a plumbing feature.
  • High roller tables for those who wear sunglasses indoors and have mysterious nicknames.

It's not a bad setup for those of us who want to splurge responsibly, right? I mean, who doesn't love the thrill of going all-in without risking the deed to their house?

But here's the clincher: Are you actually going to find that high-stakes, nail-biting action at these tables? Or will it be more like a spirited game night with good ol' Uncle Joe, where the biggest risk is spilling your piña colada on your shorts?

Come on, we all know the poker face here might be more about hiding sunburn than a royal flush. But that's okay; after all, you're probably here for the sunshine and the free-flowing buffet as much as you're here to call someone's bluff.

And hey, once you're done anteing up (or folding, if that's your style), what's next? Well, Princess Cruises might just be your answer to the high seas high life. Because nothing says 'I'm mixing luxury with my flushes' quite like sashaying over to their casinos. Ready to see if you’ll trade chuckles for clinking chips?

'Princess Cruises'

Princess Cruises

So, you've heard about Carnival Cruise Line's offerings and think that's the peak of seafaring poker adventures? Wait until you step aboard Princess Cruises. Sure, it's not just about the poker — but boy, do they know how to cater to a card shark like me.

Let's talk about luxury. Princess Cruises offer that in spades. No pun intended. You'll find yourself wrapped in a cultural mosaïque with every trip. One day you're marveling at glaciers, the next you're sipping fine wine in Tuscany. Can Carnival match that? I think not.

But the poker? Ah, the poker! Their casinos come with a dose of class you typically expect from a Monte Carlo establishment. Are you ready to feel like James Bond at the card table? Only without the risk of international espionage.

Now, I must confess, I was pleasantly surprised by their poker offerings. Who knew you could enjoy such a variety amidst the high seas? To give you a taste, here's what you can expect:

  • Hold'em? Check.
  • Omaha? You bet.
  • Invitational tournaments? Oh, you fancy now.

And sometimes, they host these invitational poker tournaments. I find myself wondering, does an invitation to Princess Cruises’ poker event come with a crown? It should, right?

But let’s not kid ourselves. Even in such opulent surroundings, the real thrill is stacking those chips high while the ocean's depths unfold beneath you. Still, one might ask, will the poker experience be as royal as the suites? And more importantly, can you maintain your poker face while cruising past breathtaking landscapes?

Coming up next, we'll see what Royal Caribbean has in store for poker players. Can they deal a better hand for our gaming pleasure or is Princess Cruises the unsinkable poker haven we've been dreaming of? Let's hope Royal Caribbean knows that in poker, as in cruising, it's all about raising the stakes.

'Royal Caribbean'

Royal Caribbean

So, you've rolled the dice with Princess Cruises, but maybe I'm looking for something a bit less... regal? Cue Royal Caribbean, the go-to for when those vacation days are burning a hole in my pocket and I've only got a weekend to spare. Two to five days of pure escapism, anyone? Just enough time to pretend I'm a high-roller without the need to take out a second mortgage.

Their casino, oh boy, it's like they transplanted Vegas onto the sea. Sure, there's the standard fare of slots and blackjack, but let's cut to the chase – we're here for the poker, aren't we? Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, – why pick just one when you've got them all? But what really gets my poker face going is the Royal Poker Tournament; I mean, who doesn't love a high-stakes game with ocean views?

Imagine that, sitting at the final table, card sharks all around, and possibly a real shark swimming by your porthole. How's that for ambiance?

But let's be real, among us casual players, do we really stand a chance? Or is this going to be another "valuable lesson" in bankroll management? I guess there's only one way to find out.

For anyone who's more serious about their full houses than finding the best suntan spot on the Lido deck, they cater to your competitive spirit too. The vibe's relaxed, but don't be fooled – there's some serious talent shuffling those decks.

Here's a quick rundown for what's in store:

  • Variety of poker games: You're spoiled for choice.
  • Royal Poker Tournament: For the thrill-seekers and glory-hunters.
  • Casual play: Because not all of us are poker prodigies.

Now, before we anchor and jump ship into the 'Additional Considerations', let me leave you with this: how am I supposed to focus on my royal flush when I'm being distracted by the literal ocean? Yeah, Royal Caribbean, you're a real gem for short vacations, but maybe too convenient for poker enthusiasts who also have a weakness for stunning sea views.

'Additional Considerations'

Additional Considerations

When I'm not daydreaming about hitting it big on a Royal Caribbean poker tourney, I'm mulling over the not-so-small details. Because let's be real, a poker cruise isn't just about the thrill of the cards. There are other factors at play.

First up, duration. Have I really got the stamina for a week-long marathon of bluffing and betting? Or would a weekend quickie leave me just as satisfied? It's the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare, but with more buffets and sunburn.

Then we've got the destinations. Am I looking for exotic locales to snap photos for the 'Gram in between flushes and full houses? Or do I prefer to play tourist at the poker tables, where the most scenic view is the look of despair on my opponent's face?

Let's not forget the types of poker games on offer. Hold'em is a classic, but variety is the spice of life, right? Can I dabble in a little Omaha, or is it all Texas, all the time? And how about tournaments and cash games? Do I feel lucky or, dare I say, skilled enough to tackle both?

Finally, the overall atmosphere. Do I want a high-roller vibe, complete with tuxedos and martinis, or a laid-back lounge where I can crack jokes with the dealer? Remember, it's not just a cruise; it's a floating poker haven.

So here's the deal:

  • Duration: Quick escape or extended adventure?
  • Destinations: Picture-perfect or poker-focused?
  • Poker Games: Diversity or a Hold'em stronghold?
  • Atmosphere: Classy affair or relaxed revelry?

In the end, choosing a poker cruise is less about finding the perfect table and more about the whole deck. Does it deal me the hand I'm really looking for? When the chips are down, the right choice is the one that lets me shuffle my priorities and still come out a winner.

And remember, there isn't a next part, so make this decision count. Because unlike a bad hand, you can't fold this choice and wait for the next round.