A few weeks ago, I took a break from the real world and unplugged for a few days. My wife and I booked a cruise out of Miami on the Royal Carribean Navigator of the Seas and headed for the Bahamas.

If you’ve never been cruising, I urge you to try it at least once in your life. Go on a cruise with someone you enjoy being around because you’ll be stuck with them in very close quarters for a few days.

There are lots of things to do on a cruise, most of which involves eating copious amounts of food. If you’re a gambler, almost every cruise ship has an onboard casino. The casino games aren’t the best deals in gambling, but from an entertainment perspective, it’s great fun.

Entrance to the Navigator of the Seas Casino

If you know what you’re doing, the onboard casino can be cheap fun, even at the less than optimal odds. To give you a comparison, my wife and I spent $600 on a dolphin excursion. We then spent another $300 on a private beach day.

Let’s compare the expected cost of playing blackjack for 3 hours a day at $10 per hand. The blackjack is all 6-5.

Normally, the blackjack tables were packed, so let’s say there are five players at the table. You’ll play about 70 hands an hour. That’s $700 worth of action per hour. If you play for three hours per day, you’ll have total action of about $2100 per day. If you book a four day cruise, that’s about $8400 worth of action total during your trip.

At a house edge of 1.5%, you can expect for your fun to cost $31 per day. Over a four day cruise, you can expect to spend about $126 playing 6-5 blackjack.

Let’s say you can’t to flat bet $10 for three days. You increase your bets to $25 at some point, so that your overall average bet is $20 per hand. Your cost is still only $252 over the long run.

That’s why I mean by cheap fun.

Craps is Still the Best Deal in the Casino 

Craps is the best game on the ship, even with the stingier odds. On the Navigator of the Seas, the casino allows for max odds based on the amount of your line bet.

Minimum bet is $10 on all game

According to my recollection, these are the max odds…

  • $10 line bet, then max is single odds;
  • $15 line bet, then single odds, but breakage on 5 and 9 to $20;
  • $25-$50  line bet, then max odds is 2x;
  • $50 or more, then max odds is 3,4,5x

Even on a single odds, the house edge is .848% (source: Wizard of Odds, Michael Shackleford).

At double odds, the combined house edge is .606%.

Compare this to the following games:

  • 6-5 blackjack, where the house edge is around 1.5%.
  • Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em, where the house edge is 2.1% on the ante bet
    • strangely enough, most people were not min betting on the ante bet
  • Roulette, which has a house edge of 5.25%
  • Slots, you’re guess is as good a mine. I just know they’re really tight

Craps, by a wide margin, is the best deal in the casino, even at the stingier odds allowance. That’s why I encourage everyone to learn craps.

International Waters!

Most cruise ships cannot open their casinos until the ship hits international waters.

I was at the craps table waiting for the craps table to open. The moment the ship was in international waters, there was an announcement in the casino and the action began.

Everyone was in their rooms settling in or on the lido deck soaking up some sun. Lots of people were eating.

My wife was in our room getting ready and unpacking our luggage. That gave me about 3o minute to of playtime, and I took full advantage of it.  That’s the video above.

In tomorrow’s installment, you’ll see me play with some of the other cruise mates. You won’t see the craps table empty like this again.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in comment section below.




Posted in: Craps, Gambling, Travel

0 thoughts on “Cruise Week: Navigator of the Seas, First Sea Day with Real Craps Game

    • It’s a game protection protocol that indicates who has or is about to have possession of the dice.

      Watch where the stick moves the disc when she has the dice under her control. Then, when she is about to send out the dice, she moves the disc again.

      Some sticks will have the disc in the middle of the 6 lights when the player has control, while some sticks do it the other way around.

      Tomorrow, I’ll have Sea Day 2 and you’ll notice the same thing, but opposite of how this stick moves the disc.

      • That’s interesting RG, because on a recent Celebrity cruise (owned by RCCL), they did the same thing but it was only to count the numbers of rolls. They did it while I was playing solo and I had to wait for the dice each time untie the sensor indicated “OK.”

        • According to the cruise line, that’s the only reason.

          I just have my own suspicions that’s it’s also about game protection.

  • They are pretty strict on both dice hitting the back wall. If they did that where I play most often there would be a lot of no rolls. I usually hear a few warnings but they let the roll stand until it becomes a pattern.

  • RG,

    You could have had more money to gamble with if you purchased your excursions when you got off the ship vs on the ship…you know better….lol

    The cruise marks up the prices 30-50% to keep their cut….

    You can book directly with the excursion company directly on the shore…

    • It is true that excursions may well be cheaper when you purchase them off the ship. But there is less quality control and often it can be a free for all of haggling if you do so. Moreover, if you get caught up in traffic or some other delay and miss the ship’s departure, you are on your own. By contrast, the cruise line will be responsible for travel and expenses to get you back on board if you buy an excursion from them.

    • Yea, you know me very well. Lol.

      What I find is that the vendors know the tourist and onboard ship prices, so they keep pretty close. They just undercut the ship by enough. I think they’re cheaper by a few bucks, but not 30-50%.

      Some of the attractions have an agreement with the ships to not undercut.

      I find that the excursions are cheaper on average by about 10%-20% if purchased direct. I usually demand value for my money, and in this case, I’m willing to pay the extra fee for the quality assurance that the guarantee that I’ll get back on the ship.

      My wife and I got burned on our very first cruise together. I tried to cut cost, took an independent tour, and got burned. I ended up threatening to call the local police on the guy. Only then did he give my money back. But we lost half the time in port. After that, my wife said that we are buying the excursions directly from the ships from now on, so long as the premium is reasonable.

  • Coming back when down 2/5 of your buy-in was a nice turn around.

    I too, am interested, in why the stick kept moving that black lammer around after each roll. Why is that?

    • Hey Monte,

      It’s game protection protocol.

      Watch where the stick moves the disc when she has the dice under her control. When she is about to send out the dice, she moves the disc again.

      Some sticks will have the disc in the middle of the 6 lights when the player has control, while some sticks do it the other way around.

  • Alfredo Calimlim says:

    I love going on cruises and I try to play craps at the ship’s casino whenever I have a chance.

    I think you have a spelling error towards the end of the video where you thank your viewers and “wound” should be “would”?

  • I didn’t even notice the stickman moving the lammer back and forth after each roll on my first watch. I went back and was trying to figure it out and when I thought I was onto something they did something different so I came away with nothing. Never seen anything like that before.

    • It’s game protection protocol.

      Watch where the stick moves the disc when she has the dice under her control. Then, when she is about to send out the dice, she moves the disc again.

      Some sticks will have the disc in the middle of the 6 lights when the player has control, while some sticks do it the other way around.

      I’ll go into this later during the week.

  • Ha RG great come back you should always bet on 5 you seem to roll a ton of them every time you are rolling on almost every video,as your buddy Rick Bruner says bet what you are seeing.Hope you had a great time on the trip try carnival better odds and moor comps they treat the gamblers well.we go at least once a year .

      • Never had a problem been on three trips with them I like them better than the others the crew was great on all three and the dealers are fair never call short roll like she did in that video .good luck at the tables

        • Thanks, Fitz.

          Wife and I have agreed that Celebrity is our next cruise.

          They get rave reviews on their food and the overall experience.

          • Celebrity is great and they have a new ship – “Edge” that is quite cool. Warning – double check balcony rooms to ensure unobstructed view. Also, watch the balcony room configuration as they typically alternate the bed near the /front/middle of the room, then the next room the bed is right next to the window and the lounge area is as you come in – the latter is odd too me.
            We were on the Reflection (Baltic Sea) and the food was good but too me typical cruise food. Entertainment was – “Blah,” we quit going after two nights on a 12 day cruise. Craps – $10/3-4-5 odds, eastern-European dealers for the most part were very friendly and efficient. I found myself playing alone quire a bit and typically started most sessions.

  • Lots of come out roll 11s …C and E players ( like myself) would have been happy ! Was i seeing things or did one come bet get paid off and stayed up ?

  • I was kind of shocked to hear a dealer actually call a no roll for not hitting the back wall. At my casino they are so loose on that rule that someone call short roll 3 times and not get called no roll. anyway great video. I dont know why but i kept wanting to see the face of that stick girl in the beginning 🙂 look forward to part 2.

  • RG,

    My wife and I and two of our friends from Ohio just got back from a 7 day Alaska cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. LOVED it. This was my wife and I’s 3 cruise and our friends 1st. Went to the casino for some Craps and I was the only one at the table. It was like that the whole cruise. When I was on the Norwegian 2 years ago you couldnt find a spot at the table. Anyhow, they took me for about $300 total until the last night I took them for $600. Still an ok time. After the cruise my wife and I flew from Seattle to Vegas for a week. Stayed at Aria, love the place. Table mins were $15 which I don’t mind. I played slots initially with my wife (she’s a Slot fanatic), within the 1st Hour I hit a Handpay for $1500, gotta love “HOUSE” money. Craps table weren’t so friendly though but I did manage to make a little profit after the week on Craps. Came home with money in my pocket to put back in the bank. I did try to talk to a Host about getting the Resort Fees comped but she told me that I was “Over” comped. I was comped 4 nights free and hitting that Handpay probably didnt help either. Oh well. Heading back to Vegas on X-mas day and staying through New Years. Only back a week from Vegas and I am already counting the days until I see the Bright lights once again.

    • J-Rob,

      You comments will now appear without moderation. We filter first comments for spam (I should just have that on paste).

      Thanks for the recommendation of the Celebrity ship. So many people have said good things about Celebrity that Ms. RoadGambler has already decided that Celebrity is going to be our next cruise, come summer 2020.

      When they say that you’re overcomped, you should say, ‘well, in that case I have an offer from [this other casino] and I’ll go to them next time’.

      What I do is have a screenshot ready on my phone of a competing offer from a casino. I get the offers by email, so I can pull something up pretty quick and show it to her. In this environment, they can’t afford to lose you to another casino.

      Good luck at the tables, my friend.

    • Hi Passline Pat.

      That is indeed Ms. RoadGambler.

      YW! I’m glad you enjoyed the video.

      FYI, your posts will now appear without moderation. We filter first comments for spam.

  • Single odds…ugh! I like minimum line bets and max odds. I realize that virtually no one goes on a cruise strictly for the gambling, but I would be inclined to spend less time in the casino with those rules on the odds.

    Thanks for your continued posts and videos.

  • They weren’t perfect on the whole back wall thing as a few rolls one die didn’t hit the wall and they let it go. I wonder if you’re playing and a big enough tipper(like on day 3) they ease up a little on that stuff.

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