I Scored a Free $1200 Room on a Royal Caribbean Cruise by Gambling in the Casino. It saved me over $1200 and is the best last-minute deal around

27 Mar 2024
Matt Hochberg

Cruise prices are on the rise, and that makes free cruise offers through the ship's casino much more enticing than ever before.

Free cruise from Royal Caribbean's casino

Royal Caribbean has its own loyalty program tied to gambling in its casinos. Similar to land casinos, the more you play, the better benefits you get.

I never paid much attention to the casino offers and its perks because I only casually gambled on my cruises and wasn't aware of how lucrative the program can be. The more I cruised, the more I became aware of what it offered, and I was intrigued.

Read more: How to get free cruises through the casino

Slot machines

Let's stop here and remind everyone gambling is very addictive and is not for everyone. Know your limits, and you could easily spend much more in gambling losses than what you could get on a cruise. There is definitely a bigger picture to consider.

You can earn free cruise offers based on how much you gamble during a sailing, and if things go moderately right, you could come home with a free cruiser offer.

How I got a room just by playing in the casino

Promenade cabin

On my spring break cruise in March, I had some good fortune in the casino and won enough money at the beginning of the cruise to budget my gambling for the remainder of the sailing.

Usually I'll play $100-200 on any given day in the casino, primarily in the evening after dinner and nightly entertainment on the ship. But on this cruise, my early win allowed me to play a bit more since I had a cushion.

In short, you can earn one point for every few dollars you wager (not wins or losses, just how much you play). 

Casino point milestones

At the casino host desk, there is a sheet that lists how many points during that sailing you need to reach certain reward thresholds. The lowest milestone is 1200 points, where you can get an inside stateroom for free and just pay taxes and port fees.

If you get more points, you can qualify for better cabins and/or more free play to go with it.

NextCruise office

I got my 1200 points, and then booked an open cruise booking with NextCruise, which is a requirement to get your free room.  Once I got home, I called Casino Royale and booked my cruise based on the available sailings that qualify.

Read more: 4 common mistakes people make when booking another cruise onboard their ship

You can't use the free cabin offer on any cruise. There are a list of blacked out sailings, and it's no surprise they are over holidays.

Freedom of the Seas at CocoCay

I found an  offer on Freedom of the Seas in May, and went ahead and booked it. I opted for an inside guarantee cabin, because I would get an additional $25 in free play at the casino if I went with that instead of picking a room.

I then checked how much my room would have cost if I paid cash for it that same day, and it was $1499.29.

Freedom of the Seas booking if I paid cash

I paid $204.29 for my free room, which was just the port fees and taxes.  Meaning, I saved $1295 on the booking.

Of course, I'd have to refer back to how much I gambled on my cruise to get it, and in this case, I came out ahead because of my windfall that buoyed my play.  That's not always going to be case.

Room price
My total for the room

The counter-argument when someone says "you're paying for the room, it's just in gambling losses" is while true, some people are going to gamble anyway in the casino.  It's one thing to go out of your way to gamble, but some people play enough whether there's a free room offer or not.

By offering cruises to further entice play, someone could continue to cruise and save a lot of money on their cruise fare.

Of course, luck isn't always on your side. I've been on cruises where it seems like the you cannot win anything, and losses can mount quickly.  It's entirely possible to lose thousands of dollars and come home with just an inside cabin on a weekend cruise to show for it. It's important to keep this in mind when playing, and be realistic about your play.

The best last-minute deal on the market

Royal Promenade

In addition to winning a cruise based on your play, Royal Caribbean will periodically send offers select members to entice them to come sail again and play in the casino.

It's not uncommon to get online, email, or even printed letters with an offer of a free or reduced fare cruise. Often, these are for sailings coming up in the next few months.

With regular fares being so much more expensive, it's impressive how lucrative these casino offers can be even for just casual play.

Casino entrance

An added bonus to relying on casino bookings is you can cruise more, which helps catapult you up the Crown and Anchor Society membership tier ladder faster.

In my situation, I found my Freedom of the Seas sailing to be a steal. I paid money to gamble that I probably would have done even if there was no free cruise offer, and I came away with a bonus sailing.

While you should expect gambling losses, I still think the Casino Royale offers are the best deal you can get on a cruise these days, especially on a close-in sailing.

It's certainly not an option for everyone, but those that have a stomach for casual gambling might find the best Royal Caribbean cruise deals coming through the casino.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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