The Seven Stars Voyage must fit certain criteria:
The Seven Stars Voyage excludes some cruises:
What you pay:
What you get:
Planning The Cruise
NCL’s Web site, www.ncl.com, has information about the various ships and destinations. You can use this as a starting point, but keep in mind that not all cruises are eligible for this benefit, and there are sometimes capacity controls in place, meaning that only a certain number of staterooms per cruise are available. You may see a balcony room online, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it.
The best way to plan the cruise is to call NCL directly at (877) 742-9521. Have your Seven Stars player’s card number handy, because you will be asked for it. A cruise “consultant” will check your name against a list of Seven Stars customers and will help you learn what rooms and cruises are still available.
Be sure your passport is up-to-date and does not expire for at least six months after your cruise ends. Otherwise, you may not be allowed on the ship.
You will receive confirmation in the mail from NCL, along with luggage tags and tickets. If you want to arrange for credit and/or front money checks, you should review the confirmation for instructions on doing this.
Be sure to arrive a couple hours early to board. You don’t want the ship to sail without you. There is often a special check-in line for “Casino at Sea” customers. It is often faster and shorter than the other check-in lines.
When you board, you may need to wait a couple hours for your stateroom to be ready. When you enter your stateroom for the first time, you will likely find a nice note from the casino host along with chocolates, your player's club loyalty card, a free drink card, and an invitation to an exclusive party or reception either that day or the next day. At the reception, there are often some nice hors d'oeuvre and free drinks available at the bar while you listen to the casino host talk about the great casino and their loyalty program. The program typically lasts 30 minutes at which time the bar closes, so don’t be late.
On The Ship
On the ship, you do not get any special Seven Stars privileges other than free well drinks at the casino bar. Your stateroom key doubles as your on-ship card to charge merchandise, adult beverages and other add-ons to your stateroom account.
The casino is open when the ship is at sea. When at sea, slot machines are open 24/7 while table games typically open up around 10 a.m. on sea days and about an hour after the ship leaves port on port days. The size of the casino varies by ship, with the newest ships like the Epic and Breakaway having larger casinos.
Slot machine variety is very good, with a mix of classic reel slots, recently released reel and video slots, and video poker. Denominations range from penny to $25, with several $1/$5/$25/$100 mixed denominations. Video poker payouts range from 92 to 97percent based on the pay schedules and optimal play. The casino is catering to a captive audience, literally, so slot payouts can’t be the highest available. All machines are ticket-in/ticket-out.
A typical ship casino has one poker table, four to six blackjack tables, one or two roulette tables, one Caribbean Stud table, and one or two craps tables. The less popular table games may be open only during peak times or upon customer request. Table game minimums are typically $5 or $10, with low maximums on roulette ($200), Caribbean stud ($100) and craps ($300). Some blackjack tables have maximums of up to $2,000. According to casino brochures, high maximums can be arranged in advance of the cruise. There is also a tucked-away blackjack pit with two or three tables for semi-private higher minimum action.
As with the slot games, table game rules are not as good as many onshore casinos. Craps tables offer 3X/4X/5X free odds behind the Pass Line. Blackjack pays even money for bets less than $10, and 6-to-5 for bets of $10 or more. Resplitting after Aces is not allowed, and most tables allow doubling only on 9, 10 or 11.
All casinos operate in dollars regardless of the ship’s embarkation point, destinations and currency of other on-ship purchases. You can use $5 to $100 bills in the slot machines and at the tables. You can also get up to $2,000 per day in chips or cash charged to your stateroom account. If you presented a credit card for stateroom charges, this will appear on your account as a transaction charge in U.S. dollars, e.g., not a cash advance and not subject to foreign currency transaction fee; however, on ships that depart from the United States there is a three percent service charge for this convenience.
Some ships have a cigar bar. Other than that, the casino is the only place onboard inside the ship where a person is allowed to smoke. While that may be fine for gamblers, it is not for people passing by or those who are attired for a dress-up meal and want to be able to wear their clothes again during the cruise. For some ships such as the Star or Jade, the casino is tucked away so this is not a big deal. For other ships, such as the Epic, one has to walk through the casino to get to dinner.
Normally, a player has to accrue 1,500 points to get free drinks while playing in the casino (see Players Club below). However, people traveling on a Seven Stars Voyage automatically get a card entitling them to drinks. Free drinks include draft beer, well drinks, and basic fruity drinks such as pina coladas. You don’t have to be actively playing to get drinks but can get them from the casino bar when it is open. Considering that an adult beverage is typically $5+, this is a decent benefit.
On sea days, there will be a few casino promotions.
The minimum age to gamble at the casino is only 18, regardless of from where the ship embarks.
NCL Players Club
NCL has its own Player's Club. Details can be found on the NCL Player's Club page. NCL does not match status with any land-based casinos. When you travel for the first time, you start at NCL’s lowest “Lucky” tier and have all the benefits except that you don’t need to play to get complementary well drinks and you receive “stateroom goodies” of a chocolate tray. Beyond that, points accrue much the same way they do at Caesars casinos: $5 coin-in slots or $10 video poker is one point. Points accrual for table games is based on play. If you earn 1,000 points you get $10 in free slot play, in $10 increments. When you get to 2,500 points or more, you can redeem the points for comps to defray on-ship expenses or port taxes.
Points can be transferred from ship to ship, but you need to verify that you have the same Players Club number as with the prior cruise and you may need to have the casino host request a manual transfer.
The Players Club page lacks some details of the amenities. Here is some information from an onboard flyer:
There is a two-hour window on the last night of the cruise where you can redeem accrued points for comps or free slot play. If you have more than 10,000 points for the trip, this is worth your time. Although not documented, many players have reported receiving comps beyond the 100 Points: $1 ratio listed in the Player’s Club documentation.
Playing after getting that comp applied to your on-board account will not get additional comps, however points accrued are valid for 18 months before expiring.
Other Things To Know: