The Best Cruise Ship Casinos

As the COVID numbers go down and the vaccination rate goes up, cruise ships are preparing to sail the seas once again. Some of these ships feature first-rate casinos. Let's take a look at some of the top cruise ship casinos for 2021.

1. Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class Cruise Ships

Led by Symphony of the Seas, the largest passenger cruise ship in the world, four Oasis-class ships from Royal Caribbean share the #1 spot on this list. Joining the Symphony, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas round out the Oasis-class fleet.

With each of these ships boasting at least 1400m2 of casino floor space, it's no wonder that the Oasis-class ships take the top spot. With hundreds of slot machines and dozens of card tables, there's room for the over 5400 passengers to play. The real kicker is the dedicated poker room for high-stakes players, something unheard of on a cruise ship.

Despite the impressive casinos, the real highlight for most travellers are the ships themselves. Symphony of the Seas, for example, offers the following:

  • 20 restaurants
  • 12 bars and lounges
  • a theatre with a live orchestra
  • shopping
  • spa and fitness centre
  • the Flowrider© surfing simulator
  • basketball and tennis courts
  • pools with waterslides fit for a theme park
  • laser tag
  • a library
  • mini golf
  • rock climbing
  • ice skating
  • and more...

Check out this video tour of the Symphony of the Seas.

Symphony of the Seas cruise ship

2. The Norwegian Escape

With over 300 slot machines and 25+ card tables, the Norwegian Escape comes in at #2 on our list. What the Escape may lack in size versus the Oasis-class ships, it makes up for in luxury. Leather seats, high-quality finishes, and an open plan design make the cruise ship casino on the Norwegian Escape one of the best around.

Hosting over 4000 passengers, the Norwegian Escape includes much more to do than gamble. Restaurants, bars, entertainment and shopping are found in abundance. Notably, the Norwegian Escape has an ice-cold snow room. This interesting concept can be paired with a sauna to get a Scandinavian experience wherever you happen to be out on the high seas.

For more information, check out the ship's page at Norwegian Cruise lines. They also have a promotional video about the Escape.

Norwegian Escape cruise ship

3. Queen Mary 2

Dress smartly at this casino, the first one on our list that has a dress code. From 18:00, guests are meant to adhere to an evening dress code. How much this is enforced is debatable as most cruise ships have similar guidelines, but you're more likely to be asked to change out of your favourite football jersey on the Queen Mary 2 than some of her American cousins.

While not the biggest cruise ship casino, the Queen Mary 2's boast impressive surroundings. Expensive panelling and quality light fixtures make this one of the best ship-based casinos out there. Large windows overlooking the sea make for a casino experience like none other.

But be prepared for a long voyage. The Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic cruise ship, making trips between Southhampton, UK, and New York City, USA.

Queen Mary 2 cruise ship

4. Celebrity Cruises

Here's another group winner, the entire fleet of Celebrity cruise ships. High-quality casinos have been a staple of the Celebrity brand for several years. The casinos on Celebrity ships operate more like their land-based peers than the more casual fun that is typically found on other ships. Players can find a tiered system for higher-valued players, lines of credit, tournaments, and special casino events on Celebrity cruises.

Check out this page for more details on casino events and Celebrity cruises.

Celebrity cruise ship

5. The Sunborn Superyacht Hotel and Casino

Lastly, we focus on a bit of a smaller ship. But this is only smaller in size; the quality is top-notch. You won't be going anywhere on this ship. Permanently moored in Gibraltar, The Sunborn Superyacht Hotel and Casino is a hotel/casino combination right on the Ocean Village Promenade. Like its seagoing counterparts, The Sunborn offers live music, a spa, dining options, and more.

Being a land-based attraction, The Sunborn also hosts events like company retreats and weddings.

Check out The Sunborn's website for more details.

The Sunborn Superyacht Hotel and Casino cruise ship