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Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy Review

Discussion in 'Card Room Reviews' started by jamby, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. jamby

    jamby Creativity Alliance

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    This is a trip report from attending a 4-day Western Caribbean poker cruise on Carnival Ecstacy sponsored by the Players Cruise group. This was their 12th cruise. It was my first cruise.

    I just returned yesterday - a day later than expected. It was quite a trip. The cruise itself left a lot to be desired. I felt often that I was in the middle of a Jerry Springer audience and/or a bunch of idiots on spring break. I have found out now that Carnival is known for this kind of behavior from passengers since they're cheaper to cruise with than others. The poker was outstanding though. Over 200 players cruised with the group and our poker room was opened up to the cruise passengers at large so it was pretty fishy - especially if you played smart and waited for your moments to make a move. I had three way up days out of the four so am pretty happy. We played all no-limit, both $1/3 cash and multi/single table tourneys. There were also $2/4 limit crazy pineapple games offered, but I didn't play that.

    The room we had was next to the ship disco, which made for a lot of loud bass thumping vibrations at night and people also cutting through to get to the restrooms. It was a minor annoyance at most. I believe we had 7 tables in all setup for action. Copags were in use throughout. The cash game chips were nice custom Chipcos. The tourney chips were customized plastic dice-equivalents. The dealers were all professionals.

    There was also a casino on board the ship, but I didn't venture there at all except to walk through once in order to report back here. The poker game there was one of those new all-electronic NLHE machines with no dealer, chips, cards. Yuck. One craps table, several blackjack tables, 3-card poker and lots of slot machines.

    My tourney results were just not all that great and most of my good fortune came in cash games. Here's how the poker went down for me on a day-by-day basis.

    10/11
    Set sail (no sails really, but I think that's what they call it) at 4:00 PM from Galveston.
    Started out on day one with a $40 NL SNG - finished 3rd and earned $63
    Played another $40 SNG - finished 1st - made $140
    Played $1/3 NL cash from 10pm - 4am on 10/12 - finished up $590. It was a grind, but a good day overall.

    10/12
    Got about 5 hours sleep, showered, ingested some quick coffee and breakfast and was back in the poker room by 10:30 am - 1/2 hour after it opened.
    Played an $80 multi-table tourney - finished 9th - out of the money as it paid the top 7 finishers. I believe there were 36 entrants.
    Played more $1/3 NL cash from 1:30 - 5pm and finished down $145.
    Took a break for dinner and hit the $1/3 tables again from 7pm - 4:30 am on
    10/13 - finished down $86.
    Day #2 was a disappointing day for sure.

    10/13
    This was the one day of the cruise that we stopped at a port. Ours was Cozumel island in Mexico. It was outstanding. I paid for a snorkeling excursion in advance and definitely picked a winner. The water in Cozumel is crystal clear and the locals are really awesome people. After the snorkeling I found a great little restaurant right on the ocean and had the best guacamole ever made with a mortar and pestle table side. It was extraordinary. So were the margaritas. An utterly outstanding day in Cozumel and I found some nice handmade gifts to take home to family and friends too. I could see me living in a place like Cozumel. It was really special.

    Back on the boat and took a nap as we were late departing so the poker room couldn't open until we were back on our way. Apparently somebody important didn't make it back on the ship in time and we were waiting for them. I was told this just isn't usually done so am guessing it was a V.I.P. of some sort.

    Poker Room opened up and I played $1/3 NL cash from 6-7pm and finished down $48.
    Then played the $60 'Ladies' multi-table tourney with 28 entrants. Got knocked out early on a pretty bad beat when my AKs got whipped on the river by A6o. Decided to buy back in for another $60. All the multi-table events had what were known as ghost seats for any unsold seats. Stacks were placed at the unsold seats and got blinded off. Within the first hour a new player entering or a player knocked out could buy back in and take a blinded-off stack for another entry fee. This is what I did for an add'l $60. I wound up finishing 4th - just in the money and made $72.
    Played more $1/3 cash from 9:30-11pm and finished up $112.
    Took a breather for a late night dinner at the Mexican buffet. It was terrible food, but needed the sustenance.
    Played more $1/3 cash from midnight - 3:30 am on 10/14 - finished up $117.

    10/14
    Played $1/3 NL cash from 10:30 - noon - finished down $42.
    Played another $80 multi-table tourney and finished 11th on the final table bubble and again out of the money.
    Played $1/3 NL cash from 2-5:30pm and finished up a whopping $1. That was pretty funny. I don't think I've ever had such an even session.
    Took a break for another bad dinner. This one was Chateaubriand and it tasted more like overcooked pot roast. Again - it was sustenance though.
    Played more $1/3 NL cash then from 6pm - midnight and finished up $762.

    All earnings are post-tip. For the tourneys 20% was taken off the top. 10% for the house and 10% for the dealers. For the cash games 10% or up to $6 plus $1 was taken as rake out of every hand. The 10%/$6 was rake and the $1 was for a free cruise that was raffled off. These seemed like pretty substantial rakes to me. I'm no expert though. The dealers were pretty decent for the most part and I tipped accordingly at the cash games - even when just picking up the blinds.

    The best part of the trip for me - aside from meeting our very own miandsh200 and his friends he travelled with - was that I learned some things about my game that I think need some serious fixing. I realized a couple of what I think are very important holes in my game. Epiphany moments if you will. Not sure how I zoned for so long and didn't figure this out earlier since they're both pretty basic. Anyway, I often fail to bet big enough pre-flop to protect my would-be winning hands against too many calling/limping opponents and I also fail to stand by my non-nuts winners against big bets or re-raises - both pre and post flop.

    The cruise though was for the birds. As I mentioned above, the food was just terrible and so was the service for the most part. The cabin was a downer too. I wish that I had spent more for a larger and less claustrophobic stateroom. The ride was horrible and choppy and we later learned that was because there was a failure of one of the generators that caused a subsequent failure to the propulsion system. As a result we travelled back from Cozumel at much less than normal speed and arrived home very late on Monday - about 8 hours late. This of course caused missed connections, etc. Texas was also experiencing their worst storm of the season, which also impacted travel. My 3:20 PM departure turned into a 7:30 AM departure the following morning. That included spending the night in the Houston airport with some very creepy folks and two evacuation fire alarms - apparently false ones.

    It was an event getting home, that's for sure. However, I met some awesome people and will definitely do this again. I also think that the Players Cruise folks run a decent floating card room and they're really nice folks too. I'm thinking of pursuing one of their cruises in the future for a ChipTalk floating meetup. I'm told that 1/2 their 2008 cruise will be on Royal Caribbean, which I'm told is a better cruise line.

    -jamby
     
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  2. imthatguy

    imthatguy Lifetimer/Former Mod
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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Great report Andi, remind me to stay away from Carnival Cruises. Certainly a better report than SCS huh? :wink:

    Good show!
     
    #2
  3. machinelf

    machinelf Creativity Alliance

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Thanks for the breakdown, Jamby. I've never wanted to go on a cruise before (they always seemed boring to me), but that much non-stop poker would be sweet!

    Glad you made it home in one piece (and without getting one of those cruise ship diseases :razz: )
     
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  4. cdnmoose

    cdnmoose Well-Known Member

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Thanks for the report. I've been considering booking with them next year, ever since you first posted about this cruise.
     
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  5. cdnmoose

    cdnmoose Well-Known Member

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Weird. I could have sworn I made a post but it seems to have gotten lost.

    Anyways thanks for the trip report. I've been thinking of booking with them next year ever since your first post about them.

    The only thing that was strange is that all over their site they warn that you have to book through them to get access to the room, when that wasn't the actual case from your report...
     
    #5
  6. Dr Lecterr

    Dr Lecterr Well-Known Member

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Enjoyed reading about your trip Jamby. I would like to do something like that. I have been on royal carribean and disney cruises and they are both very nice. The disney cruise was perfect. I would still go on a disney cruise even without kids it was great. Enjoy your winnings
     
    #6
  7. jamby

    jamby Creativity Alliance

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Thought of a few more things that might be of interest.

    URL for the Players Cruise group Player's Cruise - Caribbean Poker Vacations.

    Relative to the card room setup by the Players Cruise group.

    They were more than willing to spread other games, but there just wasn't enough interest on this particular cruise to get a table going. $5/10 NLHE, $2/4 limit, H.O.R.S.E., $1/2 NLHE and $3/6 NLHE all came up in discussions though and had we enough players interested a table would have been started.

    Relative to the 'fun ship' Carnival Ecstacy.

    It's one of the oldest ships in Carnival's fleet, which probably has a lot to do with some of the things that I complained about like the extremely small quarters, mechanical condition and possibly even the assigned crew. It might also have to do with the passengers since it's only used for short 3-4 day cruises apparently that are by their very nature the cheapest to take.

    Take that for what it's worth.

    -jamby
     
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  8. jamby

    jamby Creativity Alliance

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Another follow-up. I'm afraid that I've really been out of it since returning. I got super sick about 3 hours after arriving home and am still not feeling coherent.

    An important update though about the poker offerings. They had $220 buy-in 9-player SNG tournaments where the winner of each wins a future cruise for two plus a seat in an 18-player tourney (on that future cruise) with the winner of that one getting a seat in the 2008 WSOP. That was pretty cool. Too rich a buy-in for me on this particular cruise though.
     
    #8
  9. moneytmk

    moneytmk New Member

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    HI,

    I am new to this forum (hi Andy:cool: ) and was one of your travel partners. I agree with the assessment of the food (HORRIBLE) the poker was fun, but I seriously doubt the 200 players that they reported had signed up for this cruise. I was not very happy with the cash games barely able to sustain one table for the most part. I was a big winner on the trip thanks to my TRIAD SYSTEM in roullette. I am after all a pro at all the skill games (Craps, let it ride etc..) LOL. I enjoyed meeting you and others, but that miandsh200 almost ruined the trip for me. (how could he check raise me for 100 dollars on day one????) luckily for me "God don't like ugly" I was able to recoup my loss plus some thanks to a split at the final table for $260.00 plus the sweetest revenge of all when my flopped Boat milked Mike for all of his chips on his rivered straight) SWEET!..

    I had fun and would do it again, but I would like to see more people attend.

    Andy, did you ever get mike to commit to the trip to your home game? He seemed really interested and talked about going a couple of times to Doc and Myself.


    Moneytrmk
    AKA TERRY

    :club: :heart: :diamond: :spade:
     
    #9
  10. moneytmk

    moneytmk New Member

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    HI,

    I am new to this forum (hi Andy:cool: ) and was one of your travel partners. I agree with the assessment of the food (HORRIBLE) the poker was fun, but I seriously doubt the 200 players that they reported had signed up for this cruise. I was not very happy with the cash games barely able to sustain one table for the most part. I was a big winner on the trip thanks to my TRIAD SYSTEM in roullette. I am after all a pro at all the skill games (Craps, let it ride etc..) LOL. I enjoyed meeting you and others, but that miandsh200 almost ruined the trip for me. (how could he check raise me for 100 dollars on day one????) luckily for me "God don't like ugly" I was able to recoup my loss plus some thanks to a split at the final table for $260.00 plus the sweetest revenge of all when my flopped Boat milked Mike for all of his chips on his rivered straight) SWEET!..

    I had fun and would do it again, but I would like to see more people attend.

    Andy, did you ever get mike to commit to the trip to your home game? He seemed really interested and talked about going a couple of times to Doc and Myself.


    Moneytrmk
    AKA TERRY

    :club: :heart: :diamond: :spade:
     
    #10
  11. moneytmk

    moneytmk New Member

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Hi,

    I enjoyed your review and for the most part I agree with everything you said, the food sucked! I think the dealers where awesome, the poker was mediocre and the amount of players (200) grossly overstated by the hosts. I only witnessed two cash tables running at a time once and one of the games was some bastardized version of hold-em (pineapple i believe).

    Now for the good stuff, I believe you failed to mention the most awesome part of the cruise LOL, following my best friend (Miandsh200) check raising me early in the cruise to the tune of $100.00 and me subsequently ragging him for the rest of the cruise about this and finally being vindicated when Karma reared it's ugly head. I slow played my pocket Kings (flopped a boat) and let him catch a straight on the river to knock him out of the tourney and ended up chopping the final table for $260.00.

    Andy, did you finally get Mike pinned down on a date for his arrival in the windy city? he seemed excited about being invited and meeting all the other chip geeks.

    Your friend and fellow cruiser

    moneytmk aka. Terry
    :club: :heart: :diamond: :spade:
     
    #11
  12. BLINDFURY

    BLINDFURY Member

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Tkx for the great insite on the cruse.
     
    #12
  13. dad604

    dad604 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Players Cruise floating poker room on Carnival Ecstacy

    Just read this thread. A nice and interesting review as I love cruising. The more info on different lines, the better. I have heard about some of the cons regarding Carnival before and you seem to have confirmed it.

    If you are thinking of going on a RCL ship next time, I can tell you that the decors of the RCL lines are some of the nicest. The food is a step above Carnival but still not that great 3 to 3.5 out of 5. Most staterooms in all the different lines are tiny unless you go for a suite. Generally, RCL have a good mix passengers of all ages. I have been on two ships and service on one was very good to middle fair/poor on the second.

    HAL and Princess have about the best food 4 to 5 out of 5, ship decor is more tradition instead of ultramodern like RCL. Great service. Passengers tend to be older. I have been on one HAL and 3 Princess ship. Also been on one NCL ship. NCL, food 2.5 out of 5, service - ok, ship decor - ok. Don't think I would go back to NCL unless there was a great bargain. I am not comparing the above to the untra expensive lines such as Seven Seas, Crystal, etc.

    Above is only my own personal opions, your mileage might vary depending on ship and your person taste.
     
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