How it works: Your cruise card is used to earn "points" while you play. Once inserted, you set up a pin and then do one of two things: a) insert cash or b) charge a specific amount to your room. When you remove your card from the machine, the "cash" left on the machine posts to your cruise card. This does not apply back to your room charge! You may then take the cruise card to the cashier and get your money off it and/or move to another machine and download "cash" from your "bank" on the card to the new machine. The machines do not give you tickets.
I usually set a gambling budget of around $200 for a one week cruise. I do not play max bet - I play conservatively at first but may play for a long time especially late at night. I move around and when I win, I usually upload the money to my cruise card, take the card out and download a nominal amount and start again.
You usually need around 1000 points to qualify for the drawing and/or receive a letter the last day offering you a "free cruise" and sometimes cash.
If you frequent the casino often, they will usually comp you a meal at a specialty restaurant and free drinks. I have had them send chocolate covered strawberries to my room. Again, I am not a high roller, just a consistent player.