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Cruise casino deals -- what's the best you've ever been offered?


DeenOnDeck
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Me, nothing too spectacular -- a lot of my friends get the "drink for free while in the casino" deal on Carnival, which, personally I do not find to be much of a perk (it's just what every Vegas casino offers to try to get you to stay and gamble) -- I go into more details and the ones I've been able to get without gambling anything:

https://deenondeck.com/2022/06/17/how-do-you-get-cruise-casino-deals-on-carnival-and-royal-caribbean-and-do-you-even-have-to-gamble-to-get-them/

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Well, it's been nearly  8 years, since my  last cruise. All my cruises have been on Carnival. I had booked/canceled a couple cruises, due to covid.I continue to receive promotions daily.  Free suites, free balconies,  free drinks,  freeplay, elite/ultra offers, etc. None of these are really "free". 😉!!!

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16 hours ago, urbanhawk said:

Well, it's been nearly  8 years, since my  last cruise. All my cruises have been on Carnival. I had booked/canceled a couple cruises, due to covid.I continue to receive promotions daily.  Free suites, free balconies,  free drinks,  freeplay, elite/ultra offers, etc. None of these are really "free". 😉!!!

May not be free but they save us a heck of a lot of money. We gamble on all our cruises whether they are “free” cruises or not

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Our best deal was free suites with $1000 free play and drinks around the ship.  My husband and I were both getting these types of offers and we booked 3 cruises with them and both got the $1000.  Since cruising is picking up again, our offers have dropped to balconies with less cash and drinks in the casino.  Like memoak said... we're going to gamble anyway so it's nice to get the "pre-paid" offers.

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My Carnival offers have also been for free suites and $1000 fun play and drinks everywhere. When I checked on booking a suite, it didn’t have a balcony, so I would never book one.  It’s balcony or no cruise.  I now am spoiled with the free drinks everywhere and just delete the offers with free drinks while playing in the casino.  With drinks everywhere, I can go to a bar and order a drink and not wait for a server to bring me one in the casino, and they’re in no hurry to do so. I can also order a glass of wine or any other drink at dinner. Luckily, I’m still receiving these offers.

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We cruise on Princess

 

our offers are:

 

free inside, casino free play - varies between $150 - $500, entry in slot tournament or Black Jack

or Free Balcony with princess plus (free wifi, gratuities, drink package)

 

We book if we get free cabin (if inside, we pay to upgrade to Balcony) and free casino play

not worried about the plus package, not big drinkers, so we have to come out of pocket for gratuities only.

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Our best have been 'hosted' cruises through Caesars.  Everything paid except airfare.  Includes drink package, specialty dining and all gratuities paid. 

 

On two of our hosted cruises it also included hotel night before in New York (Gansevoort  and New Orleans (Harrah's for two days before & after).

 

Cruises have been in Balcony (very happy with) and Haven(woo-hoo!).

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My best was a comped junior suite cruise on Oasis of the Seas over Labor Day week last year. We upgraded it to a grand suite. Price paid for that cruise booking: $423 (fare, fees/taxes).

 

Royal Caribbean was giving double points, and we got double points for being in a suite, so we ended up getting quadruple points (28 for a 7-night cruise).

 

The casino offer I used also included $500 in freeplay. Due to unrelated things, the only time we spent in the casino was to use the freeplay. We ended up cashing out $540.

 

Net price for a week-long cruise in a grand suite earning 4x points: -$117.

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Carnival - Free suite + $2500 funplay, free airport trans or parking , wifi for 2, drinks everywhere on board for 2, platinum for 2 for that sailing, gifts in cabin, treats in cabin, early room access, priority embark/debark, waived room service charges, free excursion for 2, etc. (USA based cruises) 

 

Same offer as above with $4000 AUD (for Australia based cruises).
 

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7 hours ago, Brkintx said:

Carnival - Free suite + $2500 funplay, free airport trans or parking , wifi for 2, drinks everywhere on board for 2, platinum for 2 for that sailing, gifts in cabin, treats in cabin, early room access, priority embark/debark, waived room service charges, free excursion for 2, etc. (USA based cruises) 

 

Same offer as above with $4000 AUD (for Australia based cruises).
 

I can only hope to get some of that! We just lost $26k on the miracle on a 10-day Alaska run. (But I don’t think we’re in their marketing demographic as we’re early 30’s DINKS and not quite platinum yet)

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20 hours ago, Brkintx said:

Carnival - Free suite + $2500 funplay, free airport trans or parking , wifi for 2, drinks everywhere on board for 2, platinum for 2 for that sailing, gifts in cabin, treats in cabin, early room access, priority embark/debark, waived room service charges, free excursion for 2, etc. (USA based cruises) 

 

Same offer as above with $4000 AUD (for Australia based cruises).
 

That was a  great deal! Just out of curiosity, did you win much/any with the funplay? Thanks.

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12 hours ago, KarmaCruisers said:

I can only hope to get some of that! We just lost $26k on the miracle on a 10-day Alaska run. (But I don’t think we’re in their marketing demographic as we’re early 30’s DINKS and not quite platinum yet)


It really has zero to do with demographics, it’s all analytics. You have a Theoretical Daily Loss based on your on board play, on land play at casinos that submit info to the data aggregators (just like the insurance industry has LexisNexis for the Clue report, the casinos have similar), your butt in seat time, etc.  it also has zero to do with losses vs. wins - the casino ALWAYS makes their cut, if you win it means others lose. 
On an average 7 day cruise my points earned are well over 100k. Sometimes that happens with an overall profit and sometimes with a significant loss, but the risk amount (coin-in) is significant because the same money recycles over and over. 
Thus far, I am Gold (with 43 sailed nights) in Carnival’s VIFP program. Every cruise but my first was a “free” one (aka prepaid via play in the casino). Since that first cruise (Jan 2019), I’ve received offers at every casino tier level (Getaway, Premier, Premier Special Edition, Ultra, and Elite), and on that 4 night sailing I only had a bankroll of $5k. (But at the time was 7Stars with Caesars, so would have been in the data that way, etc…)

My guess is that you’ll get a wide variety of offers starting about 4 to 5 months from now (well better than the rather garbage level offer of free room and drinks in casino only they leave in your stateroom on debarkation eve). 

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14 minutes ago, urbanhawk said:

That was a  great deal! Just out of curiosity, did you win much/any with the funplay? Thanks.


Depends on your perspective…  on my recent 7 night Vista trip, I left the ship with 22 tax forms (W2-G). Sounds amazing. And at one point a woman came up to me and said very sternly that I should leave so others can win (apparently assuming the wins that the host announced over the speakers were profit for me and not bringing be back to life after significant play). 
In reality, if it were a land based casino, that experience of 5 minutes after the casino opened and on my second spin aboard (and with free play, betting $25/spin on a Buffalo machine), where I won a couple thousand on a bonus round, I’d get up and leave entirely, with some decent profit… 
On ship - well, there’s 1. Not much to do during some periods of the day. 2. A propensity to think “I can play this just won money without actually losing anything”.  3. No way to leave really - sure you can leave the casino, but it’s not like you can just go home. 

So in reality, I set a “willing to lose” budget (bankroll) for the trip, and continue to play any winnings and that bankroll, but don’t exceed that. Sometimes I leave with cash in my pocket and a little profit even. Sometimes I leave with a loss within or right at my bankroll. Either way, I show a ton of play at high bet levels. And it generates a lot of attention with the hosts - I had 6 free (casino paid) spa treatments, free IMAX, free specialty dining, and lots of gifts added on by hosts as I hit their secret points earning thresholds. But it is just the same money, over and over - and the substantial number of hand pays is more due to my bet level than anything else. (Essentially, it’s not remarkable to hit $1200 when betting $20-$25/spin the way it is when betting $5-6/spin. A machine with a 97% payback only has to have 45-50 spins to reach a hand pay level win that maintains the payback %.)  

As for budgeting… Every cruise since my first has been a casino offer where the room was “free” and came with free play. My bankroll is set basically to an amount equivalent to what I would have paid for the cruise and inclusive items if I was paying for them… Which keeps me solidly in the category of not losing my shirt just to pay for the opportunity to lose my shirt so to speak…  To reduce overall exposure, I also keep great records of my play so I can negate the extra income with losses, charge slot play to my S&S account even when I have the cash (earns points as a purchase), and buy the maximum monthly amount of Carnival gift cards ($2500) at 10% off, applying those to my account on board for additional savings.
 

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2 hours ago, Brkintx said:

On an average 7 day cruise my points earned are well over 100k.

GOOD GOD! That means you’re putting in a MINIMUM of $250k coin-in…no way in bloody blue hell we’ll EVER do that on a cruise! We’re on a CRUISE! If we wanted to bang out just gambling we’d go to Reno or Vegas

 

My only gripe is; people we’ve met in the casinos onboard saying “we get free cruises all the time!” And they’re sitting there at Heads Up Hold’Em betting the $5  minimum..that doesn’t compute to me…

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4 minutes ago, KarmaCruisers said:

GOOD GOD! That means you’re putting in a MINIMUM of $250k coin-in…no way in bloody blue hell we’ll EVER do that on a cruise! We’re on a CRUISE! If we wanted to bang out just gambling we’d go to Reno or Vegas

 

My only gripe is; people we’ve met in the casinos onboard saying “we get free cruises all the time!” And they’re sitting there at Heads Up Hold’Em betting the $5  minimum..that doesn’t compute to me…


Lol, you’re not wrong. And correct on the coin in, but it’s not as dramatic as it sounds… as it’s the same money over and over so the same $1k of cash could be responsible for tens of thousands in coin in, in a rather short period of time…  

As for being on a cruise, certainly different people enjoy different activities…  (e.g., trivia and onboard sales-ey shows don’t appeal to me at all, and the sun / pool… well I can only take so much of that in a day.) Some folks could spend every moment in the sun or partying or similar… To each their own I suppose. 
 

I actually don’t know what the threshold is for a free cruise - a buddy traveling with me spent $3k in real money and accrued only about 15k or so in points on a 5 nighter and he’s a minimum better generally. He gets the free offers now as well but at a much different level. (Free interior / ocean view + free drinks in casino only, etc.)  He also has no land based play though…

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1 hour ago, Brkintx said:


Lol, you’re not wrong. And correct on the coin in, but it’s not as dramatic as it sounds… as it’s the same money over and over so the same $1k of cash could be responsible for tens of thousands in coin in, in a rather short period of time…  

As for being on a cruise, certainly different people enjoy different activities…  (e.g., trivia and onboard sales-ey shows don’t appeal to me at all, and the sun / pool… well I can only take so much of that in a day.) Some folks could spend every moment in the sun or partying or similar… To each their own I suppose. 
 

I actually don’t know what the threshold is for a free cruise - a buddy traveling with me spent $3k in real money and accrued only about 15k or so in points on a 5 nighter and he’s a minimum better generally. He gets the free offers now as well but at a much different level. (Free interior / ocean view + free drinks in casino only, etc.)  He also has no land based play though…

Coming from a data analytics person and a software engineer..these numbers are nuts..do you know what Vegas would give you for that kind of action!? (Believe me; we’re degenerates Aka: 7Stars)

For what you’re saying, the theo you’re earning is $25k (10% hold on slots). That’s BONKERS! 
but your numbers line up from your friend (we usually earn about 15-20k points on a 7 day cruise and we’re getting those same paltry “free” offers)

thanks for your replies! It’s definitely opened our eyes and will save us MANY thousands in the future as well not gamble on a cruise ship anymore haha. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Our best was a comp crown loft suite on RCI for 4 of us we paid $145 each. We then bid on a 2 bedroom ATS minimum bid of $500 ($1000 divided by 4 was $250) this was star class so included gratuities for all 4, beverage package for all 4, WiFi for all 4, specialty dining for all 4. And of course our amazing genie which comes with star class.  Total pp for this was $395 pp once in a lifetime deal for this cruise. The suite was awesome 

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On 7/3/2022 at 7:45 PM, KarmaCruisers said:

Coming from a data analytics person and a software engineer..these numbers are nuts..do you know what Vegas would give you for that kind of action!? (Believe me; we’re degenerates Aka: 7Stars)

For what you’re saying, the theo you’re earning is $25k (10% hold on slots). That’s BONKERS! 
but your numbers line up from your friend (we usually earn about 15-20k points on a 7 day cruise and we’re getting those same paltry “free” offers)

thanks for your replies! It’s definitely opened our eyes and will save us MANY thousands in the future as well not gamble on a cruise ship anymore haha. 

 

Sorry missed this reply while I was on travel - but yeah, I spent several years in the (formerly named) TR program at the 7* level, and definitely enjoyed the travel and other benefits... But you know what I liked best - that their program had published rules, benefits, etc.  You could easily determine whether spend of X was worth Y benefit, especially while playing because of the Tier bonuses. At the time I lived near a TR casino, so re-tiering only took a visit every few weeks. I moved thereafter and actually have only been in a land based casino 2 times since the shutdown. (Yet the mailers still come....)

 

On Carnival, it's all a smoke screen. On some ships, I have had a host on my heels from three seconds after I slide a card into a machine forward, and I do appreciate the attention, spa treatments, etc. But on others - I hardly, if ever see them and if I want something I have to seek them out and ask (which feels like begging for something you've actually already paid for). Pretty frustrating to know that I'm in touch with my EH via text while on board and well, I'll stop whining. 

 

Despite that they have thresholds on their side, they don't publish those so you don't actually know what you're entitled to. I'm not whining about not getting another massage or having my ship store purchased comped off my S&S account in those cases - I'm more saying that it's impossible to make informed value decisions. 

 

I'm also interested in data points, so on this next cruise I'm going to soften my play and exposure a bit and see what type of reaction I receive program wise.

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