"Free Cruise" from Harrahs

Discussion in 'General' started by Dyepaintball12, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Dyepaintball12

    Dyepaintball12 Well-Known Member

    Hey guys,

    Just wanted to share a few things about a recent "Free Cruise" I went on that was given to me by a Harrah's Property.

    As you may or may not know, CET has some sort of agreement with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). Anyway, a casino I play at with some regularity has a once-a-year offer where players with enough play on their card receive a "Free Cruise" from NCL. The offer is anywhere from 3-7 nights, could be a variety of room classes and a variety of destinations.

    The lowest would probably be a 3-night cruise to the Caribbean with an inside stateroom to the best being a 7-night cruise basically anywhere NCL goes with a suite.

    Anyway, both my friend and I were given a free cruise. I received a 7-day cruise to Bermuda, Mexico, or the Carribean with an inside room and my friend received a 7-day to anywhere with an ocean view. All of these cruises allow you to take a guest.

    As you can guess we were super excited because we realized we could either both go on the same cruise with a guest or we could take 2 cruises using each other as our guest.

    At this point I will describe why "Free Cruise" needs to be in quotations. Yes, technically, you are not paying for the cost of the cruise. BUT YOU STILL PAY THE TAXES, which is about as much as the cost. Then you add a set per day fee for gratuities, travel to the cruise port, cost of alcohol on the boat, and cost of "specialty" restaurants on the boat which cost more.

    So basically, for a $1,000 cruise, you are getting the "cost" of the cruise waived but you pay about $1,000 in taxes.

    We had a great time but just keep in mind if you are ever offered this that the costs will add up. Lots of "fees" keep popping up.

    You can get a week-long all-inclusive resort + airfare to Jamaica for like $800.

    Just my thoughts!

    - Dye

    P.S. The blackjack on this boat was interesting. Most the tables were 8-deck H17 6:5, but if you played $10 min you got 3:2, and if you bet at least $50 a hand you also get S17.

    P.S.S. The casino has a players card where the points entitle you to receive money off your final bill or even money off your next cruise. Also, drinks are free in the casino.
  2. Machinist

    Machinist Well-Known Member

    Excellent post

    Thanks Dye,
    Sounds fun, Greek town years ago did the same thing.. I had a free trip, but things were happening and couldn't afford the "free cruise", to many promos back then to stop playin.:)

  3. 13Counter

    13Counter Active Member

    Free Cruise

    I used it last year and only paid $450 in taxes for a 7 day cruise, not bad. I've gone on the timeshare "free" cruises and it was the same way, you always have to pay the taxes. Maybe it's an IRS-tax law where they can't pay the taxes for you.
  4. geneticfreak

    geneticfreak Well-Known Member

    You do always have to pay the taxes, but they are not nearly as high as you stated, and they are very dependent on which ports the ship docks in. Daily gratuities are just a part of cruising. I've been a few comped cruises (2 on the Gem and 1 each on Dawn and Epic) directly through NCL's Casinos at Sea. The Epic cruise was the maiden trans-atlantic and all we paid for 2 was a total of about $600 in taxes and class upgrades to a larger balcony. Since NCL and CET are both owned by Apollo, they have similar comp systems, which is also why Harrah's players have the opportunities they do. The ship's casino hosts do a good job of taking care of their comped players. In New York, the casino guests actually have their own holding area before boarding and are the first to board, even before the high $ suite passengers.

    I've heard horror stories about the games on other lines, but NCL didn't seem too bad to me. I've seen both H17 and S17 8 deck games and 6 deck games. The only 6:5 game I saw was single deck on Gem one time. Everything was hand shuffled except the one CSM table on the Gem that had the wheel of fortune side bet. Overall, nothing really any worse than you would see in AC.

    As far as drinks, at the beginning of the cruise, usually only "casino guests" are given comped drinks, but after a few days, the crew knows who the players are and will comp them also.

    The overall atmosphere in a ship's casino is very different than on land, mostly because you get familiar with the dealers and pit, since you are basically living in the same house as them for a week. Not only did I recognize some on my second Gem cruise, some of them transferred to the Epic and remembered me there.
  5. Most Interesting Man

    Most Interesting Man Well-Known Member

    Do they make you walk the plank if you get 86d? :joker:
  6. 13Counter

    13Counter Active Member

    No they do something worse...they only let you cash out like $500 at a time....their excuse was "they ran out of money"...:laugh:
  7. alwayssplitaces

    alwayssplitaces Well-Known Member

    I personally would never count cards on a cruise. It's international waters and I don't want to be thrown overboard.
  8. It's a myth that no laws apply on a ship in international waters. A captain who did or allowed violence to be done to a passenger on his ship would be in a world of trouble when he got to port, starting with losing his captain's license, and theoretically up to the death penalty if people were murdered.
  9. geneticfreak

    geneticfreak Well-Known Member

    It's also more of a don't bite the hand that feeds you situation when your cruise is comped, which is worth much more than hustling RFB comps at a land based casino. Give them enough action to want you back, but don't burn them.
  10. Sucker

    Sucker Well-Known Member

    Huh??? And I suppose Harrah's has absolutely NO hidden agenda here; they're only trying to be nice when they offer you a cruise?
  11. FLASH1296

    FLASH1296 Well-Known Member

    Nowhere in this thread has the word "penetration" appeared.
  12. shadroch

    shadroch Well-Known Member

    Harrahs profits by being paid by NCL for directing people to the cruise.
    If you use your comp points for the cruise, its a double win as those points are no longer available to use at Harrahs.
  13. Harrah's (now Caesars Entertainment) co-owner Apollo Management also owns 50% of Norwegian Cruise Line. It makes sense to funnel its Total Rewards players to the cruises.
  14. geneticfreak

    geneticfreak Well-Known Member

    Yes, although Total Rewards and Casinos at Sea are two separate systems. I've never used Total Rewards to book a cruise, so those points are never touched.

    I've seen penetration vary from 60 to 80%, so it isn't profitable, but playable. Breaking even for the week with enough action to comp a future cruise for the wife and I worth $1500 to $2000, which becomes extra money to use on board that we didn't have to pay right from the jump like most of the other passengers. It isn't more than comp hustling on a different scale.

    Their comp rate isn't that good, but if you manage to knock a few dollars off your final shipboard bill, its a plus.

    As far as other games go, video poker isn't full pay, but the wife did hit a royal on the Gem. I've seen the best pay table on the three card poker and craps is 3,4,5x. Overall, NCL's games are not as ridiculously horrible as they are made out to be.
  15. bigplayer

    bigplayer Well-Known Member

    Harrah's gets a kickback based on your theoretical. Tip for you, if you're on the cruise and actually playing hit your NCL on-board host up for comps as you go (Steakhouse, Spa, etc). If you just charge it to your room you won't get as much comped and if they decide they don't like you stuff you charge to the room you'll have to pay for.

    Best is that you eventually will be able to book free cruises directly with NCL rather than having to go through HET as the middleman.
  16. moo321

    moo321 Well-Known Member

    Agreed. There is such a thing as admiralty law.
  17. anedenL

    anedenL Banned

    That's great!
  18. PonyPrincess

    PonyPrincess Active Member

    "Pretty miserable", if you're talking about the blackjack.
  19. flyingwind

    flyingwind Well-Known Member

    Ditto. And I'm worried about CC in other countries outside the US.
  20. alwayssplitaces

    alwayssplitaces Well-Known Member

    I'm not worried about counting in Canada

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