Poker cruises are the perfect vacation, complete with magnificent views of big blue in all its glory, island-hopping adventures, fabulous shopping escapades, and the finest cuisine imaginable. Once you've cruised, it's hard to top that experience. These all-inclusive, exotic adventures will take you on an epic journey, and you’ll get to enjoy the poker party of your life!

For a modest fee, it's possible to live it up like royalty, with the finest customer service in the world, and more entertainment options then you can wrap your head around. Set against this enticing backdrop, imagine how utterly enticing it is to experience poker cruise ship entertainment. Without further ado, grab your bicycle deck of cards, your dark glasses, and your wacky poker outfit – it's time to cross the gangplank and put your poker skills to the test in the wildest poker tournaments yet.

Hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades will be dealt fast and furious at the finest cruise ship casinos. Expect nothing less than perfection in full flight from the poker dealers, all of whom are eager to impress poker aficionados from across the spectrum.

Upcoming poker cruises are always a hot topic in the poker world, particularly with luxurious cruise liners frequenting the tropical island paradises of the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, and the Bahamas. 

As a seafaring poker pro, you will likely be buoyed by the option of playing an exciting selection of poker games such as Mixed Games, Omaha/8, No-Limit Hold'em, and Limit Hold'em Tournaments. Provided there are enough players in the contest, the hosts routinely roll out a fine selection of poker games for players to enjoy. With 2019 in our rearview mirror, it's time to look ahead to 2020 poker cruises and the majestic options that await you.

PS: Norwegian Cruise Line recently offered a $600,000 poker tournament aboard the Norwegian Getaway cruise liner. This marks the sixth annual Norwegian Poker Challenge (December 1-8, 2019), with a $400,000 Main Event, +5 additional Daily Poker Tournaments, + Cash Games.

Don't worry if you missed this one, because there will be a 2020 Poker Challenge on the Norwegian Joy, beginning on 7th November 2020. Some of the poker ambassadors who may be aboard include Loni Harwood, Jeremy Moore, Kelly Minkin, and Joe Cada. Don't let them catch you on a short stack with your poker hands!


2020 – perfect vision – and possibly a great year for poker fans! The New Year is filled with promise, and the poker wizards among us are certainly hopeful that the number of world-class poker cruises will excite players no end. Kicking things off is a fine selection of poker tournaments for players across the spectrum. Whether you're a greenhorn or a card shark, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate poker cruises. Consider the following options that are readily available, and seeking players:

• The Heartland Poker Tour – This 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise adventure takes place on the iconic Oasis of the Seas cruise ship. It departs from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and takes players on a dazzling adventure across the Caribbean, stopping in St Maarten, San Juan, Labadee, and back to Fort Lauderdale. This 8-day cruise features a glittering poker room which is open when at sea, with a $1100 Main Event and an expected prize pool of $200,000 +. The cost of the cruise is $757 + per person, excluding taxes and gratuities. This poker cruise sets sail on the 25th January, 2020.

• Lips & Chix Championship at Sea – Ready to cruise? This 7-night Western Caribbean poker championship takes place on the world-famous Liberty of the Seas cruise line. A Royal Caribbean favorite, this $150 No Limit Hold’em Ladies Only event features a $340 Main Event which is open to everyone. A proud member of the Women's Poker Association (WPA), this cruise is bursting with fun. It kicks off in Galveston, Texas, drops anchor at Roatan, Honduras, sails on to Puerto Costa Maya in Mexico, continues to Cozumel, and then returns to Galveston. Starting at $559 per person, excluding taxes and gratuities, this one is not to be missed (26th of April – 3rd May 2020).

The Southern Caribbean Cruise RGPS – Here's a much longer cruise for all the tenured poker players out there. This southern Caribbean cruise plays out over 9 nights and it features the Run Good Gear Poker Series Championship. The cost is $899 per person, excluding taxes and gratuities. It sets sail from Miami, Florida on 26th March 2020 and returns on 4th April 2020. The action takes place on the Explorer of the Seas cruise liner, on Deck 2 FWD. The cruise leaves from Miami, sails to Labadee, Haiti, and moves on to Oranjestad, Aruba, then Willemstad, Curacao, and finally Kralendijk, Bonaire, before returning home.

• The Hawaii Cruise – Aloha Hawaii! Nothing is more welcoming than the call of Hawaii and poker entertainment. This cruise departs from the port of Honolulu in Oahu, Hawaii on the 7th of May 2020. The CPC at Sea leaderboard features 6 glittering days of poker entertainment, 12 tournaments, and one survivor each evening. Prizes have yet to be announced, but the Ovation of the Seas has been picked out as the cruise liner for this poker-fueled adventure. Some of the exotic Pacific Island spots along the journey include Honolulu, Lahaina, and Kailua Kona. The organizers are playing their cards close to their chest on this tourney, since we don't know what the prize pool is yet!

• 9-Night Canada and New England Poker Cruise – to the north! This exciting poker cruise departs from Cape Liberty in New Jersey on the 10th of September 2020. It travels to Boston, Massachusetts, Portland, Maine, Bar Harbor, Maine, Halifax, Nova Scotia, St John NB, and docks back at Cape Liberty, in New Jersey. The cost of this cruise is $849 per person excluding taxes and gratuities. The name of the game is poker, and it takes place on Deck 2 Forward. There is a $340 Main Event + $50 Bounties and Celebrity Bounties as well. Definitely a cool cruise for poker fans!

• Western Caribbean Cruise - Ready for an adventure? This 7-night poker cruise departs from Miami Florida on October 10, 2020. The price begins at $919 per person, excluding taxes and gratuities. Scant information is available as yet, but we do know that the poker room is located on Deck 3 Forward, aboard Symphony of the Seas – a Royal Caribbean favorite. The cruise begins in Miami, Florida and takes poker players to Labadee, Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica, Cozumel, Mexico, and back to Miami, Florida. Check back later for more information about the poker tournament and the prize pool up for grabs.

• Holy Land Cruise – this exciting cruise takes poker fans on a round-trip adventure from Rome, to Sicily, to Haifa, to Limassol, Ephesus, Athens, Naples, and back to Rome. The Jewel of the Seas – a Royal Caribbean icon will be taking poker players on the journey of a lifetime to ancient lands filled with wonder. The poker room is located on Deck 5 Forward. This ritzy adventure costs $1,619 per person, excluding taxes and gratuities. It departs on 2nd November 2020.

But that's not all! Fans of the World Poker Tour (WPT) are in for a real treat in September 2020. Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas kicks off with the 10th poker cruise of the WPT Cruise Series.

The action promises fun and games for all, with a fabulous tournament and cash games. The WPT poker tournament takes place all over the world, and it ranks among the most anticipated events on the poker calendar.

Among the many benefits of the World Poker Tour 2020 Cruise are the following:

• Limits of $1/$2 >$2/$5, based on demand
• A snazzy WPT bag filled with all sorts of goodies
• Professional poker hosts to assist you throughout the tournament
• Professional and Experienced World Poker Tour dealers at luxurious poker tables
• Meet and greet with WPT cast members with warm welcome receptions for everyone
• Spectacular selection of cash games including Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or better, PLO, and NLH

In anticipation of a poker cruise, it's always a good idea to brush up on your poker strategy. There's no point betting real money if you don't understand basic poker rules. So, be sure to read up on poker bankroll management, poker psychology, poker bluffs, and poker plays.

You might find yourself under the gun (UTG), ready to flop a monster hand, while limping into the pot – but that means nothing if you don't understand basic poker terminology. There is definitely lots of latitudes to improve your poker game before you register for a poker cruise and sail off into the sunset.


There is the sense that poker cruises are expressly reserved for experienced poker players. That’s simply not true. While you can certainly benefit as a poker pro against lots of fish at sea (excuse the pun), you don't need to be a poker ace to compete in these tournaments. Most of these poker cruise ships are geared towards novices. 

That's great news for other real money casino games like blackjack, slots, and roulette because anyone can have a go in the casino, in between competitive games of poker. All of the poker rooms are fully equipped and staffed to handle high-stakes contests.

Everything is offered in a convivial setting, ideal for players looking to make new friends, shoot the breeze, and enjoy an ocean-bound poker adventure. You can cut loose at the bar with cocktails and snacks on hand – even as a recreational player.

For most of us, a poker cruise is a dream come true. You get to enjoy the finest vacation ever, and you play poker to your heart's content. Many folks are worried that such an all-inclusive adventure would be too expensive; that's simply not true.

Poker cruises rate among the most cost-effective ways to live large and in charge without paying top dollar for it. Flights alone to Las Vegas, Nevada can cost as much as an entire poker cruise – that's saying something! Most of the time, the cost of travelling on a cruise ship, including unlimited food, room service, and sightseeing will set you back $100 per day. 

It's simply an unbeatable price, even when taxes and gratuities are added on. Now, if you're any good at poker, or you're a fast learner, you could pay for your entire cruise by finishing in the money. First of all, the buy-ins are really affordable and most of the competition is soft.

You’re talking casual players who simply want to enjoy some poker fun, perhaps even win a little loot along the way. Provided you meet the legal age requirement of 18+, you're good to go at the poker rooms on the open seas. Whether you’re going with Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruises, or Norwegian Cruise Lines, you're in great hands. 


You can play poker to your heart’s content – particularly Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and mixed games. Don't forget, these casino cruise ships also offer other games for players to enjoy.

As a skilled card player, you may be interested in playing blackjack on board your cruise line. Slot machine games are dime a dozen, and readily available to players of all skill levels. In fact, the only skill you need when playing slot machine games is bankroll management. 

Be sure to check out the RTPs of the slots (return to player percentages) and always choose high RTPs over low RTPs, for obvious reasons. The house edge on table games is typically favorable with European Roulette (2.70%) and French Roulette (as low as 1.35%) over American Roulette (5.26%). Craps also has a low house edge, particularly if you play specific bets like Pass, and Don't Pass bets.

If you don't have time to frequent an Atlantic City poker room, or a Las Vegas poker room in person, you can still fine-tune your poker skills to perfection by playing online poker games.

You can learn how to play poker at plenty of prestigious, licensed and regulated poker rooms. You can even play free poker online, no deposit needed. The true test of your skills will be evident for all to see when you take your seat at these 6/9 Max tables, with No-Limit Texas Hold'em games at the ready. 

Side Note: If you're worried about seasickness, there is always Bonine to help steady your inner ears and dispel nausea. You need all your faculties about you when playing poker for real money – the rest is all fun and games!

About the Author

With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em. 

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