Cruise Ship Casinos
Back when gaming was restricted to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, cruises were popular gaming destinations. As soon as the big ships hit international waters — three miles offshore — shipboard casinos could open for action. Since the ships were in international waters, which do not fall under state or federal government regulations, gaming on these vessels was perfectly legal. The operators of the cruise ships were the only authorities, and they could set whatever rules and payouts they wanted. Playing on cruise ships was fun. However, it was rarely player friendly. As you can imagine, lack of competition and a captive audience weren't incentives to offer games with a low house edge.
Some states now allow “cruises to nowhere,” that take passengers into international waters for an evening or weekend of gambling. Table odds on these cruises might be better than on ships where gambling is just one small piece of your trip. Still, it's a good idea to check the ship's rules and regulations before booking passage.
While there are vastly more gaming opportunities now in the United States, cruise ships still tend to operate much as they did when there weren't. Audiences are still captive, and gaming is often secondary to other shipboard activities. As such, games in cruise casinos typically carry odds that are extremely friendly to the house. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't play them when you're blithely cruising about the high seas. It does mean that you want to play your best game when you do. Picking games with the best rules will minimize your losses. However, of all the gambling options available, it's probably good to stick this one at the bottom of the list.