Player’s Cruise Card Room Review by Jamby (aboard Carnival Cruise Ship "Ecstasy") Location: Player's Cruise - Caribbean Poker Vacations Games offered: $1/3 NLHE, multi-table NL tourneys, NL Sit-n-gos, WSOP qualifier tourneys, crazy pineapple, $2/4 limit (not played on this cruise though) This is a review of a trip that I took in October 2007. It was a 4-day Western Caribbean poker cruise on Carnival Ecstasy sponsored by the Player’s Cruise group. This was the 12th cruise of the Players Cruise group. It was my first cruise. Here's a picture of the poker room on board the Carnival Ecstasy. This is from the actual cruise that I was on and is courtesy of PlayersCruise.com. Pros The location of the poker room. I describe it below in the décor section as being between the disco and bathroom. Since it was so located we had a lot of foot traffic walking through and gained many new players as a result. Many of those players proved quite profitable. The Player’s Cruise personnel. From dealers to card room manager to cruise host/organizer, they were all great folks and really made us comfortable throughout. The fact that we were on a cruise. So cool to be able to take a break from play and be aboard a ship cruising the Caribbean – it was awesome and for me a great way to relax. Cons The cruise itself left a lot to be desired. I often felt 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 food was of very low quality and so was the service for the most part. This surprised me since I’d heard that cruise ship food was pretty good. The ‘Fun Ship’ Carnival Ecstasy is one of the oldest ships in Carnival's fleet, which probably has a lot to do with some of the things that were disappointing 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. Games/stakes available No-limit hold ‘em $1/3 cash, $60-80 buy-in NLHE multi-table tournaments and $40 buy-in NLHE Sit-n-go tourneys were the primary offerings. There were also a $2/4 limit crazy pineapple game spread mainly late at night. They had $220 buy-in 9-player SNG tournaments too in which 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. The Players Cruise group said that 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. Decor and atmosphere 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. It was also situated next to the bathrooms in that area of the ship. While being convenient, it also made for a lot of foot traffic in the poker room. This worked to our advanatage as we gained players as a result. There were seven tables in all setup for action. Quality of opponents There were two main groups of players. The first being the group of us that actually signed up for the cruise through Player’s Cruise. Much of this group appeared to take poker pretty seriously and played at an above average level. My initial understanding was that the card room would be limited to just those of us with that group. This was not the case. The card room was opened to all ship’s passengers. This worked out to our benefit since there didn’t seem to be that many with the Player’s Cruise group although they told us that around 200 folks had signed up through them. The ‘players at large’ group ran the gamut as far as quality of play, but many had over indulged so even if they were good players didn’t play so well intoxicated. Lots of pretty weak drunken play for sure. Much like any Las Vegas casino card room would have. Chips and cards 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. Additional perks The card room manager had platters of appetizers delivered to us regularly. This was an effort to keep the players playing cards and not venturing about on the ship looking for meals. You could even get room service delivered to you at the table if you so desired. Reviewers Comments<o></o> The Player’s Cruise folks are allowed to keep the card room aboard the ship open whenever the ship is at sea and in International waters and they pretty much keep those hours. I played a lot of non-stop poker and didn’t do much aboard ship that wasn’t poker related barring the occasional meal and a few necessary short sleep sessions. The ship that we were on is not one of the flagship ships of the Carnival line. It is old and actually broke down during the trip. 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 traveled 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. You definitely need to keep unforeseen delays in mind when scheduling such a trip. <o></o> I would do a poker cruise again and would consider Player’s Cruise again too. Other groups like Card Player also sponsor these cruises, but as far as affordability the Player’s Cruise offerings are very competitive. In 2008 half of their cruises will be on Royal Caribbean, which I'm told is a better cruise line. Here are a couple more pictures from the October 2007 cruise from PlayersCruise.com. And here's a picture of yours truly on the button with a very short stack in the lady's tourney, which I did not win.