Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator, is hosting its 2008 Carnival PokerPro Challenge, a series of No Limit Texas Hold’em poker satellite tournaments taking place on dozens of “Fun Ship” voyages.   The tournaments will occur on select cruises now through June 30, 2008 with winners of the preliminary tournaments facing off for a cash prize of $45,000 in the “Grand Final Playoff” during the Carnival Fantasy’s October 4, 2008 voyage.

Tournaments will be played on recently installed state-of-the-art PokerPro tables, which clearly and quickly display players’ commitments and table stakes, pot amount and community cards. PokerPro tables also identify the winners at the end of each hand and immediately add the winnings to the player’s table stakes.

First place winners of the preliminary tournaments will win $750, plus entry to the “Grand Final Playoff” on the Carnival Fantasy. Finalists booking their “Grand Final Playoff” cruise will receive an early booking bonus of $100, redeemable on board during the cruise, if they book within one month of qualifying.

Entry fee and buy-in for up to 10 players is $150 each, and rake fees are $15 per entry. Tournaments will be held on all voyages on the following ships from now through June 30, 2008 (with limited exceptions, as noted):

      • Carnival Pride (excluding June 15, 2008 sailing)
      • Carnival Spirit
      • Carnival Conquest
      • Carnival Legend
      • Carnival Glory (excluding May 10, 2008 sailing)
      • Carnival Valor
      • Carnival Liberty
      • Carnival Fascination
      • Carnival Victory
      • Carnival Miracle (excluding the April 23, 2008 sailing)

“With the increasing popularity of No Limit Texas Hold’em poker tournaments throughout the gaming community, these events not only combine the excitement of a high stakes casino tournament, but also provide guests the opportunity to experience a fun and memorable cruise vacation,” said Rodney Dofort, Carnival Corporation’s Vice President of Casino Operations.  “We are particularly pleased that we are able to hold the Grand Final Playoff on board the Carnival Fantasy following the implementation of her full Evolutions of Fun upgrades later this year.”

The $250 million “Evolutions of Fun” ship refurbishment program includes a new Serenity adults-only area, redesigned mid-ship resort style-pool, and Carnival Waterworks- an elaborate water park encompassing a four-deck-high, 300-foot-long spiraling tube water slide, a separate 82-foot-long double-lane racing waterslide, and an expansive spray park that offers multiple and varied water spray apparatus.

Guests can register for the tournaments on the first night of their cruise at the casino cashier cage, subject to availability.

Carnival is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 "Fun Ships" operating voyages ranging from three to 18 days in length to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, New England, Canada, Bermuda, Europe, the Greek Isles and South America.   The line has three new ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2011.