A casino features on board most cruise ships, though smaller ships and expedition ships may not always feature a casino venue. Casinos remain open until the early hours and age limits are dependent on the cruise line; British cruise lines such as P&O Cruises and Fred Olsen set an age limit of 18+, whilst American cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean do not usually permit guests under the age of 21 to use the casino at any time. The gaming options available depend on the size of the ship and which cruise line you are travelling with, though blackjack, poker and roulette tables often feature alongside a variety of slot machines.
Guests are not permitted to use the casino when the ship is in port. When cruising from the UK, the casino will remain closed until the ship is outside of UK territorial waters (usually 12 miles offshore). This only applies when the itinerary features an overseas port and does not apply to British Isles itineraries; casinos will not open at all on a British Isles cruise, as the ship will never venture more than 12 miles from UK waters. These restrictions apply to many of the world’s ports and cruise lines will keep guests informed on casino opening time information through the daily planner, which is delivered to staterooms each evening.
Casino chips can be purchased with cash in the currency applied on board. Alternatively, you may use your cruise card to purchase chips, though there will be a small charge incurred for this service. On board credit cannot be used to purchase casino chips; this applies to all cruise lines.
Unused casino chips must be cashed in before disembarkation at the end of your cruise. Any chips not cashed will be forfeited. Many casinos employ a manager, who will remind passengers to exchange chips before their departure from the ship.
Most cruise lines no longer allow guests to smoke in the casino, though a dedicated smoking area is often located nearby for convenience.