Several casino chains now offer free or reduced cruises for Princess and Carnival. Free cabin for two BUT you do have to pay port fees and taxes which is nominal. You don't need to be a "high roller" to qualify and there are no hidden costs. Anybody out there sailing this way? Also, how many of you are comped free cruises or cash by the ship for playing on board?
How many cruisers out there use the "free" offers from the Casinos for cruising?
My sister-in-law uses it at least once/month. Has achieved high status on the "gaming loyalty" which brings a lot of perks. Just pays the taxes.
Good for her! Glad someone benefits!
Never spent a dime in the casino in 11 cruises and do not plan to in the future so no invites for me.
During 2019, I took 6 week long cruises from the Casino and just got another invite for 1 week this March. Heck YES, take what you can get. I usually pay taxes for 108 - 118 for each cruise.
how do you get them
Actually there are several ways to get "free" cruises from casinos. Most do involve you having to gamble but not always as much as one would think, in some cases all it requires is the entry level buy-in for a qualifying tournament (which can sometimes be about $25). I cruise a lot, sometimes as much as 5 times a year, and I get casino offers frequently even though I rarely budget more than $50 per night in the casino.
Land based (and internet) casinos:
1) Check their comp benefits, some land based casinos have select annually cruises (set dates on set ships) that they arrange as open group travel out of various ports. At different player comp levels these can be a greatly reduced fares such as $250 (first or second tier up from the base level) or more off the rack rate on an interior cabin to free Jr. suites (upper 1 or 2 tiers), for certain 3-14 day sailing. The land based casino is essence is working as a group coordinator and granting certain preferred patrons a upfront rebate off the group fare to show their appreciation. In these cases the casino has nothing to do with the cruise line beyond being the entity of record for the master group booking contract.
2) On occasion for casinos that still do reward purchases for comp points, they may offer gift card or booking certificates for certain cruise lines. Works much the same as credit card reward points/$ towards the "purchase" of pretty much the same product. In this case there is no group booking and you tend to deal direct with the cruise line or a specific TA that accepts the card or certificate towards the total price of booking of any cruise date, itinerary, and ship of your choice. In some cases those with enough casino comp points for higher value GCs and booking certificates can in effect pay for their entire cruise (including taxes and dock fees and sometimes even insurance and gratuities) with these.
3) Enter advertised as "Win a Cruise" tournaments or bonus raffles at the casino, no loyalty or comp status needed though the casino can make the base entry requirement of having a comp card. The tournaments with this as a prize tends to be more for poker players at land based casinos while the raffle is something that is a little more popular with online slot casinos. The prize TOU will be hidden some where in the fine print of the contest rules. So the prize can be any variation or combination of the 2 described methods above. BUT do be careful of casinos holding a raffle that does not require at least some gambling to increase your odds of winning, as these tend to be affiliated Time Share and/or Vacation Club come ons, with just about everyone winning a free 2-5 day cruise that will include several chances for the salespeople to corner you for a 2-5 hour sales pitch.
On board casino:
1) Very similar to land and internet casinos, on board casinos have a player ranking system, they don't always call the points they track comp points but that's just semantics because they are used pretty much the same way. The big exception is the casino is directly involved with the cruise line, so their offers are for more varied sailings, even sometimes offering last minute bonus deals that were not part of the original tier program. When awarded a cruise line casino booking certificate can usually be taken to any CLIA accredited travel agent, handled by the cruise line's own booking agent (PVP/PCA/PCP) and sometimes through the online booking system.
2) Though generally not run by the casino you can try your hand at the Win a Cruise Bingo. This tends to be run directly by the cruise line, with the prize being tied to how many people buy-in for that round of Bingo. There maybe caveats such as the ship reserves the right to substitute a cash prize (or refundable OBC) if they don't sell at least 100 bingo sets or in the case of a tie. Sometimes when a cruise is awarded it is in the form of a future cruise credit that would equal the average price of a double occupancy interior of the cruise it was won on, even though the price of a bingo sheet or package is the same on a 5 day as it is on a 14 day cruise.