I see many poker players are asking about the poker games and their cruise. I am posting to give some info that will help some to settle thier worries about getting their "fix" onboard.
Although I cannot speak for every ship, I can give a generality based on my experiences.
First I must get past the basics.
As every serious poker player knows, the house looses money on poker. The only reason casinos are building bigger and better card rooms is because of the demand, thanks to Mike Sexton and the WPT.
Why expand on a money losing business? Because of the residual profits. These are the profits made from the other games generated by poker tables(poker wives, busted tourney players, etc). If a poker player brings a slot player along, the house will win.
With this in mind, a poker player must realize that a cruise ship casino, if they had their way, would never include a poker table in their offerings. They would pack in as many slot machines as they could. Machines... no tables.
So to answer the question of where am I going with this. Video poker.
Cruise ships are implementing video poker tables. Not the slot machine types, but actual poker tables with individual monitors for each player and a community(pot) big screen in the middle of the table, almost like playing online. See it at www.pokertek.com.
For the rounders out there that already play online, this will not be a challenge to overcome. Players will stare each other down and search for tells, just like a live game. Basic computer interaction is all that is required and can be learned in a couple of hands. The system was designed to be very user friendly.
The casinos are promoting this type of play because of the low overhead. There are no dealers to pay and one pokeroom manager can oversee many more tables. To try to change the inevitable outcome of the small casino pokerooms, is futile. Profit is king.
As a player myself, I have only 2 complaints. Both complaint are actually minor to many others that I have in various B&M cardrooms around the States.
My first complaint is that the game gets too social. Not really. But the game does get social, we're on a cruise ship! But gabbing does happen, and there are'nt any buzzerss/bells on the monitor. When people get to talking, they forget to play. If this is a problem for you, just play "dealer."
Say "your turn" and keep the game going quickley.
My second complaint is that there is no real card room manager. Because of the cruise ship casino size, a dedicated manager for the pokerroom is not plausable. Because of this, any complaints sent via the button on the touch screen, are sent to the "cage", where they will be answered in a untimely manner. This is not a very big concern because of the computer keeping the game going just like a online gane. Major problems, just flag a normal floorperson.
Although there are still ships in some fleets that are still using a blackjack table to play poker on(with a healthy 10% rake), the buzz is that most will be going the way of the Poker Pro type tables in the very near future.
For your specific ship, searh the forum. You can p.m. me for poker/cruise help if needed.