Many casino players are also fans of cruises. This is in part because most cruise lines offer a casino onboard, and like the land-based casinos offer ways to get comped cruises.
If you’re new to cruising, just like being new to any casino, you won’t have any comps built up yet, as they’re based on previous play. However, because the cruise lines want to get your foot in the door, they offer various ways of proving your loyalty through other casino programs. This can open the door to your even getting your first cruise comped (minus unavoidable items like port taxes and fees, which are traditionally paid even on comped cruises).
So here are a few ways you can find yourself with an opportunity to go on even your first cruise for free.
Offers from Land-Based Casinos
Many land-based casinos will offer players of a certain level the opportunity to come and claim free cruise certificates from a partner cruise line. These certificates can vary based on your player level; higher level players will get better options than lower-level ones.
If you get one of these vouchers, you usually have a certain window of time to book, and the cruise is within a certain range of time of the promotion. But to be able to set foot on a cruise ship for the first time for casino play you’ve already conducted, that can be a great option.
Booking Through URComped
I’ve written about URComped here in the past; they’re effectively a casino host on behalf of a variety of cruise lines. They can take a look at your existing casino offers or free cruise vouchers and unlock a variety of opportunities across a number of cruise lines.
Once you’ve booked a cruise with them and sailed, they now have play information on file to make more offers, including onto other cruise lines you’ve never tried before, so that adds an additional wrinkle compared to a single cruise line offer.
In my case, my first comped cruise was through URComped, where I was able to show them both casino offers and a land-based cruise voucher to get my first cruise booked. Since then I’ve been able to book three more comped cruises. They’re able to book your casino comp offers as well as ones they offer through the site based on your play.
Carnival Players Club Fun Match Program (When Active)
URComped doesn’t work with Carnival, but right now Carnival is offering its own Players Club Fun Match Program. With this, you can show your status with other land-based or cruise-based casinos, and potentially qualify for a free cruise and free play.
Carnival’s program seems a bit more vague, so it’s hard to know what they’re looking for, but since it’s simple to fill out the form and upload information, it’s easy to learn if you qualify.
Why These Are Available
Cruise ships, like casinos, make money off those who gamble. If they have an understanding of how much you gamble in other venues, they can take an educated guess that you’re going to gamble at that level on the ship as well, and so they’re able to comp based on their expected earnings off of you.
Once you have an established play history under any of these formats, they can (and many times will) offer more comped cruises, relative to your play. Heavier players may get more prime itineraries, better rooms (such as balconies or suites), perks like free drinks, onboard credit or free play, and so on.
Just like any casino program, bigger spenders are going to get more perks. But I can speak from personal experience that you don’t have to be a massive spender to get free cruises either. If you want a room that’s not comped for you, you can always upgrade to a better room type, but if you’re not too picky, you can likely get a good deal on a different sort of vacation experience.