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Old 05-05-2014, 08:01 PM   #201
DalTXColtsFan
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Here are some highlights:

First, I just want to talk about cruises in general, because even without the poker it's a phenomenal experience.

RC's Serenade of the Seas had basically unlimited live music, two swimming pools, four jacuzzis, shuffleboard, pingpong, a movie theater, a gym a jogging track, a casino I don't think my ship had poker in the casino but some of them do and mini golf just to get started. They also have varieties of activities like sushi instruction, dance classes (people were learning to dance the Thriller on our ship), broadway-like music shows, comedians, and acrobats.

The food is unbelievable. You can literally eat 24 hours a day once you've paid for the cruise and it's not just unlimited pizza, burgers, hot dogs and tacos - it's unlimited prime rib, shrimp, lobster tails, salmon, new york strip steak, pasta, soups, fresh salads, fresh fruit, desserts - you name it. I'm seriously talking unlimited four-star restaurant food. The only catch is you can only order one plate at a time, so if the menu is lobster, steak, salmon and prime rib, you order the lobster first, then the prime rib (which comes with a baked potato), then the steak (which comes with veggies) - you get the idea. And yes, you can order room service as often as you want.

On my particular cruise we made one stop in Key West and two in the Bahamas, including Royal Caribbean's private island CocoCay. The beaches in the Bahamas have to be seen to be believed.

Now the kicker is if you know how to shop, you can get all of that for between $750-$1000 per person plus transportation to the departure port (if you're lucky enough to live in a city like Galveston or New Orleans or Miami or San Diego from which cruises depart, you're talking about 2 taxi rides and that's it.)

Think about going anywhere else for vacation with one other person for 7 nights - 7 nights in a hotel at, say, $100 a night, 42 meals at, say $20 average per meal (and I'm being cheap there - when you're buying all of your own meals you're not getting steak, lobster and prime rib every night), let's say $200 for entertainment - we're already over $1700 right there, and when you're on a regular vacation you usually have to drive or travel to everywhere you want to go as opposed to having it be right upstairs or right downstairs. Plus with a cruise you have 24-hour-a-day access to fresh, sea air.

I'll talk about the poker aspect a bit later.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:24 PM   #202
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Are you Linda Johnson? Seriously, I enjoy cruises and have been on 3 and loved each, but the food is not what I would call top of the line quality. The all day buffets are poor quality and the dining rooms are just assembly line created that loose the luster after a day or 2. You really seem like a cruise line shill from that post.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:42 PM   #203
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Are you Linda Johnson? Seriously, I enjoy cruises and have been on 3 and loved each, but the food is not what I would call top of the line quality. The all day buffets are poor quality and the dining rooms are just assembly line created that loose the luster after a day or 2. You really seem like a cruise line shill from that post.
I've loved the food on the cruises I took.

The best coffee I have ever had was on Norwegian Cruise lines.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:14 PM   #204
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Are you Linda Johnson? Seriously, I enjoy cruises and have been on 3 and loved each, but the food is not what I would call top of the line quality. The all day buffets are poor quality and the dining rooms are just assembly line created that loose the luster after a day or 2. You really seem like a cruise line shill from that post.
I'm not Linda Johnson but I met her on the cruise I went on . Out of curiosity what cruise lines did you take on your first 3?
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:19 PM   #205
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Carnival twice and Princess.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:26 PM   #206
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

OK I'll state my take on the poker: It was a totally different atmosphere than playing at a casino. Admittedly I've only played at 3 casinos ($1/$2NL at Bay 101 once, $1/$2NL at Aria in Vegas once and a mixture of $1/$2NL and $4/$8LHE at Winstar in OK), but it seems like when I go, a friendly atmosphere at the tables is the exception rather than the rule - nobody asks each other where they're from or makes small talk between hands etc. "I'm here to take your chips not be your friend" etc.

On a cruise ship, the same 30 to 50 people are at the tables every night and it's a fun, friendly, laid-back almost LOUD atmosphere. We're at the poker tables with each other then later we're at the dinner tables with each other, or in the pool etc. We chatted each other up between hands - i.e. "that stupid jack on the river cost me $16 because I wouldn't have bet into you if I hadn't hit two pair"

The dealers were excellent, almost mechanical in their efficiency - 2 or 3 of them had dealt at the World Series of Poker. Of course I'm a bit biased because one of them dealt me a royal flush .

I had heard going into the cruise that cruise ship poker games are among the softest you'll ever see - that it's all retirees who are just there to gamble and don't actually know how to play. At the $2/$4 and $4/$8 LHE tables, this couldn't have been further from the truth - there were a BUNCH of skilled players in these games. Very seldom were we seeing more than 4 people to a flop. The $1/$3NL games were fairly soft though (they didn't spread $1/$2NL due to lack of interest). They also occasionally spread Omaha and there were a few $10/$20 games but I didn't touch those (bankroll!). Linda Johnson herself played in the highest-dollar games with the cruisers.

The rake was 10% to a max of $5 per hand.

I'll bet I played over 30 hours of poker over 7 days (about 80% LHE) and ended the week down $240 - given that I'm not that great a player, that's not bad! My friend, who is a VERY good player and played about 50/50 NL/LHE won enough to pay for his cruise.

If there's anything else specific anyone wants to know, please ask.

EDIT I forgot to talk about tournaments because I didn't play in any of them. They had several typically-structured $125-buy-in NLHE tournaments which generated some pretty good prize pools. They also had what are called survivor tournaments where you buy in for $80 and the top 1/3 of the field split the prize pool evenly (kind of like a triple-or-nothing sit and go or whatever).

Last edited by DalTXColtsFan; 05-05-2014 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:28 PM   #207
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Carnival twice and Princess.
This is second-hand information but I heard from several different people aboard that the food on Royal Caribbean is the best of every cruise line they'd ever been on, and Carnival was one that people specifically singled out as not having particularly awesome food.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:20 AM   #208
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I've cruised once on carnival and a handful of times on Holland America and Cunard.
Carnival is like the Quad being compared to The Wynn or Bellagio.
It is typically the least expensive, and it shows when put up against the better lines.
Having said that, comparing RC buffet food to a 4/5 star restaurant is also laughable.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:58 AM   #209
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Originally Posted by DalTXColtsFan View Post
This is second-hand information but I heard from several different people aboard that the food on Royal Caribbean is the best of every cruise line they'd ever been on, and Carnival was one that people specifically singled out as not having particularly awesome food.
I've been on three royal caribbean cruises and agree pretty much exactly with what that_pope said. I liked them and will definitely go again, but I guess they just don't get me that excited.

Also, when people talk about ridiculously soft games on cruises, they are not talking about card player cruises. I would expect those to be tougher than the typical cruise ship casino.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:37 AM   #210
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Originally Posted by that_pope View Post
Are you Linda Johnson? Seriously, I enjoy cruises and have been on 3 and loved each, but the food is not what I would call top of the line quality. The all day buffets are poor quality and the dining rooms are just assembly line created that loose the luster after a day or 2. You really seem like a cruise line shill from that post.
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Carnival twice and Princess.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalTXColtsFan View Post
This is second-hand information but I heard from several different people aboard that the food on Royal Caribbean is the best of every cruise line they'd ever been on, and Carnival was one that people specifically singled out as not having particularly awesome food.
I've been going on cruises for over 30 years and have sailed on every mass market cruise line multiple times (CCL, RCL, HAL, NCL, Celebrity, Costa, etc.) as well as some of the luxury and specialty lines, (Seabourn, Windstar, etc.) so I think I can speak to this issue with a little bit of experience.

The first thing you all need to do is to quit thinking that because you sailed on one ship, for one week, on one cruise line, that gives you any indication at all for what the quality, preparation, and taste of the food is on that line or cruising in general. It not only varies by line, it varies by ship and by chef. As an example, I was on RCL's Mariner of the Seas for a 30-day trip around South America and the food was just meh; a few months later I was on RCL's Voyager of the Seas for a 14-day transatlantic crossing and the food was delicious (but nowhere near four-star). I've had similar experiences on different CCL ships in the same year as well.

In general, the more expensive the cruise line, the better the food (big surprise). Dining on lines such as Seabourn and Crystal really is akin to going to a four-star restaurant with a well-known chef. But then again, the kitchen is cooking for only 2-400 people, not 2-4000 (or more). It's possible to get a similar experience on a mass market line such as RCL or HAL, but you'll pay extra for it. These lines have now added alternative dining venues where you make reservations and pay extra for your meals. The service is more personal and the meals are prepared individually rather than assemply-line style. Oh, and they are not AYCE like the main dining room is. You are limited to one entree.

I should make one other distinction. There are levels within the mass market cruise lines. There are "entry-level" cruise lines (CCL, NCL, RCL) and also mid-tier lines that serve as a bridge between the entry-level and the true luxury lines. For RCL, that mid-tier line is Celebrity; for CCL, it is HAL (although it has begun losing that distinction). In general, Celebrity offers a better dining experience than RCL and HAL is better than Carnival.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:43 AM   #211
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

I stated *my* opinion about *my* experience and I stand by it. I will not defend myself further.

If anyone else, like fuxxnuts, would like to know more, please ask and I will happily share.
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:10 AM   #212
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

I appreciate your input on the cardplayer cruise poker. And like others said, I would guess those games are tougher by default than random 1 table of 1/2 NL on random cruise. You mentioned 50-60 people in the player pool, was that just for the limit you played, or for the whole room? How many tables on average were going?
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:10 AM   #213
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

I think Linda said there were 145 guests signed up through card player cruises. The poker room had a total of 8 full-ring tables. Right after supper they were usually full and then the traffic just kind of gradually died down until around 2am/3am. During the day the traffic fluctuated - I saw as few as 2 tables running and as many as all 8, it was just a question of when one showed up.

By "the player pool" I meant the subset of the people who were basically there every second the poker room was open, and I think 50-60 may have been an exaggeration - it was probably more like 25-30.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:19 AM   #214
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

To anyone who's played poker aboard a Royal Caribbean ship that *didn't* book the cruise through Card Player Cruises (and therefore, obviously, just played real-money cash games in the ship's onboard casino) - what was it like to just play in the casino, i.e. schedule, rake, available games, wait times, competition etc?
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:12 PM   #215
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Royal Caribbean runs tournaments for an entry into their Royal Poker Tournament Final in December of each year on most of their cruises.

It is basically a double-shootout. The cost and structure is lol bad, $100, entry, with rebuy's if you have less than 50% of your starting stack for the first three levels plus one add-on. Up to the top three advance to the final table less if the table isn't full. 20 BB starting stack, 10 minute blinds which go up fast, pretty much double each level.

At the final table the winner wins an entry into the December Tournament and a free cruise for two. Second and third get some cash based on the total amount of entries, rebuys and add-ons. They probably take out 50%.

The cabin you win is an outside non-balcony cabin but you an upgrade to a balcony for about $200.

Most ships have electronic tables, most only one, so they are available any time the casino is open. I believe the rake is 15% up to a $15 max. The only game I've seen spread is 1-2 NL with a $40 - $200 buyin. Action can be spotty but usually a game goes every night for at least a few hours.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:26 PM   #216
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Originally Posted by DalTXColtsFan View Post
fuxxnuts I went on a Card Player Cruise a couple weeks ago to Key West Florida and the Bahamas aboard Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas.

The overall experience was truly everything I hoped it would be and then some.

Anything specific you'd like to know? If you just tell me to talk I'll type a novel - I had that much fun.
Okay, I'll take you up on that offer.

Price for trip overall?

What was included (e.g., food, drink)?

How was your room?

How many other people went on the cruise?

What mix of people were on the cruise - couples, older/younger, singles, etc?

What types of games were spread?

How many tables?

What was the rake?
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:08 PM   #217
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

I was just on the independence of the seas (royal c) in April, and I've also been on their sister ships (freedom and liberty) and the majesty of the seas. Only one had electronic (lightning poker, not pokerpro) and it was a disaster that has likely been replaced ( it was 2.5 years ago i was playing on that one). The rake is 10% capped at 15, 2/5 live dealers. Some good dealers/some bad.
On last month's cruise I broke even over the six nights. On the 5th night I flop a flush with j8h with open ended straight flush draw. Got it all in with a guy after the flop who had kh which of course hit. Biggest pot of the cruise at 1.1k. Grrr I was 4/1 fav when we got it all in.
Anyway, we had pretty much the same regulars over the six nights. Some were good, most pretty bad. Despite the rake it's beatable. I wisely avoided the tournaments, but I did watch the end of a couple and the play was laughable. Between royal/carnival/and ncl I would do royal easily. Carnival has pokerpro which is good, but not as fun. Ncl has rake that is capped at 25 bucks!!!! Sick.

Also, most people buy in for only 100. The biggest buy in was for 300 I think.

Last edited by whaler55; 05-06-2014 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:21 PM   #218
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Price for trip overall? What was included (e.g., food, drink)? See this post: https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...&postcount=201

How was your room? Tiny but fine. On a typical cruise you're only in your room to bathe and sleep so it was perfectly adequate.

How many other people went on the cruise? about 140 that booked through CPC, about 2600 total.

What mix of people were on the cruise - couples, older/younger, singles, etc? I'd say over 60 was the largest age group, and below that it was spread fairly evenly - it seemed like it was mostly families with teenage or even younger kids.

What types of games were spread? How many tables? What was the rake? See this post: https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...&postcount=206
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:40 AM   #219
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Originally Posted by DC2LV View Post
As an example, I was on RCL's Mariner of the Seas for a 30-day trip around South America
Legit brag. I would really love to do a long term one some time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DalTXColtsFan View Post
To anyone who's played poker aboard a Royal Caribbean ship that *didn't* book the cruise through Card Player Cruises (and therefore, obviously, just played real-money cash games in the ship's onboard casino) - what was it like to just play in the casino, i.e. schedule, rake, available games, wait times, competition etc?
I posted somewhere else in this thread, but I played 2/5NL on a RCCL ship and it was the softest live game I have ever played in my life. Interestingly, this cruise was on the weekend of black friday, so I had that fun news to come back to.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:31 AM   #220
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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As an example, I was on RCL's Mariner of the Seas for a 30-day trip around South America....
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Legit brag. I would really love to do a long term one some time.
Longer cruises are great for a number of reasons and have a totally different vibe from the usual 7-day "vacation" cruise. One advantage from a poker-playing aspect is that you get to know the people who want to play poker, can exchange contact info on board, and then set up your own "home" game away from the casino, thus avoiding the typically horrendous rake charge. I usually do this on all cruises that I take that are 14+ days, and pack chips/cards, etc. for the trip.

BTW, my favorite 30-day cruise was one that was round-trip out of San Diego that first sailed to Hawaii, spent a little over a week in the various islands there, then sailed south to French Polynesia and spent a week or so there (Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, etc.), the Marquesas Islands (Nuka Hiva) and then a week sailing back to San Diego.

If you've got the time, I highly recommend such trips.
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:32 AM   #221
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Originally Posted by DC2LV View Post
Longer cruises are great for a number of reasons and have a totally different vibe from the usual 7-day "vacation" cruise. One advantage from a poker-playing aspect is that you get to know the people who want to play poker, can exchange contact info on board, and then set up your own "home" game away from the casino, thus avoiding the typically horrendous rake charge. I usually do this on all cruises that I take that are 14+ days, and pack chips/cards, etc. for the trip.

BTW, my favorite 30-day cruise was one that was round-trip out of San Diego that first sailed to Hawaii, spent a little over a week in the various islands there, then sailed south to French Polynesia and spent a week or so there (Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, etc.), the Marquesas Islands (Nuka Hiva) and then a week sailing back to San Diego.

If you've got the time, I highly recommend such trips.
That 30-day cruise sounds interesting. Could you please post some details about it so I can look it up? What cruise line? What was the cost?

Thanks
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:55 PM   #222
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

The #1 benefit of cruise poker on electronic tables (that I've posted about in this thread) is that people can reload at the table without needing cash, just using their sail card like a credit card. So much better for the game.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:52 PM   #223
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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That 30-day cruise sounds interesting. Could you please post some details about it so I can look it up? What cruise line? What was the cost?

Thanks
The cruise was on Holland America. They do the cruise with one of their smaller ships (about 1250 passengers) a couple of times a year, usually once in the fall and once in the winter. Here's a link to a similar cruise next February which shows the prices and the specific itinerary:

http://www.hollandamerica.com/find-c...hVacation=true

One thing I noticed with this cruise's itinerary is that it adds Fanning Island, but it eliminates a couple of days in Hawaii, including a stop in Kauai, which imo is the most beautiful island. For that reason alone, I don't like it as much as the trip I took. Nevertheless, it does give you an idea of what the cruise is like.

BTW, if you're not familiar with Holland America, I should warn you that the passengers skew older than your typical Carnival or RCL cruise. The ship is normally filled with retirees or those in that age group. I've been sailing with them on and off since my 30s a couple of decades ago and it hasn't bothered me. I choose cruises based on their interesting itineraries and not so much based on what the vibe may be on the ship itself.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:56 PM   #224
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

You could rack up quite a hefty bill on that cruise I would imagine.
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:36 AM   #225
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

* Voyager of the Seas cruise ship *
* Carribean Cruises *

Hi,

Has anyone been on this cruise in the last year or so and know if they spread ring games and what they're like? I'm getting on the boat in December from Sydney. They advertise a poker tournament ($50 buyin) but I'm more interested in ring games.

I pretty much only play micros online so I'm not a live shark or anything. Just if there's likely to be drunk and/or terrible players and I have time to kill, it may be worth it.

Have emailed the cruise people to find out but I'm interested in the 2+2 perspective.
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