A warm and sunshiny winter day is the perfect time to go out on a SunCruz Casino Cruise. SunCruz has several boats, sailing out of Mayport/Jacksonville, Ponce Inlet/Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral, John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach, Key Largo and Palm Beach (soon). I've been on the SunCruz XII out of Cape Canaveral several times, so I'll review that cruise in particular.
The SunCruz XII is the biggest ship SunCruz has in Florida. It carries 1,200 people and is 308' long. The boat sails twice a day. The day cruise leaves at 11:00 a.m. every day and the evening cruise sets sail at 7:00 p.m. Each cruise lasts from five to six hours. There is no charge to get on the boat and parking is free.
You'll find they have four decks with gambling on every deck. There are over 640 slots, including nickel machines. Some machines bet up to $100 per pull. They also have more than 35 tables with blackjack, roulette, mini baccarat, craps, Caribbean stud poker, let it ride, 3-card poker and live poker (cash games). One of the decks has a poker room, which is where the cash games are played. There are also tournaments held on some of the cruises but the schedule varies. Check the schedule at this http://www.suncruzcasino.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=75 if you're interested in playing one of the tournaments. There are quite a few special promotions each month, too. You can check the calendar http://www.suncruzcasino.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=30 to find the current month's offerings.
SunCruz offers a lunch buffet ($7) on the afternoon cruises and a dinner buffet ($10) during the evening cruises. There is also an a la carte menu. Free well drinks available while you are gambling, but you'll pay for sodas and bottled water. You'll find live entertainment at the Tiki bar, outside on the rear deck.
I've had mixed feelings about the employees I've dealt with on this cruise. I've had one dealer who was extremely rude, a couple who were very slow and inefficient, but three or four who were wonderful. The manager in the poker room has been extremely helpful when I've had questions about different rules and policies. After one cruise where the seas were quite high, I needed a wheelchair to leave the ship. I had not taken mine with me because I felt good when we went out. The first manager my husband approached practically ignored him when he asked for help. There was another employee, however, who bent over backwards to find a wheelchair and bring it to us. He even wheeled me out to our car when we disembarked. I would give this cruise a 4-star great rating if I hadn't had so many negative experiences with the people who work on the ship.
The port is very easy to find; however, if you don't feel like driving or just want to save the expense of gas, SunCruz has several busses that will pick you up at many locations across Florida. Some of these are located in Orlando, Cocoa Beach, Jensen Beach, Port St. Lucie, Ft. Pierce, Indian River, Vero Beach, Melbourne, Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Zephyrhills, Lakeland, Winter Haven, Haines City, Ocala and Leesburg. You do need to make reservations to use the bus. Call 1-800-474-DICE (3423) or look at the bus schedule http://www.suncruzcasino.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=28 for more information.
Note that everyone must show a valid State or Federal photo ID in order to board. You must be 18 to sail and 21 to consume alcoholic beverages. You will have to pass through a metal detector and may be scanned with a metal-detecting wand before you are allowed to board. Purses and anything carried on will be searched. Knives, scissors, anything with a blade, etc., will have to be returned to your car or will be confiscated.
If you get seasick, you may want to call 1-800-474-DICE (3423) to find out what the waves are like before going out. This boat is small enough that you can feel the up and down motion if the seas are very high. Cruises can be canceled if the weather is deemed too dangerous to sail.
A few hours spent on the SunCruz XII is a fun experience. I've even come away a winner.