Cruise ship currency & onboard spend FAQs

How do I pay for items whilst onboard?

Generally most cruise lines operate a ‘cashless cruise’ environment. This means that instead of paying by card or cash as you go, you’ll be given a kind of Sea Pass which allows you to bill items to your unique customer reference number. If you’re paying by cash you’ll need to top up your card at the beginning of your cruise, then if you reach this limit, you’ll need to top it up again during your holiday. If you’re paying your bill by card at the end of your cruise, you’ll just need to provide your card details at the beginning of your journey to go on your file which acts as protection for your onboard spend.


Can I change currency whilst onboard?

Many of the larger cruise lines will have the facilities to change your currency onboard. However you may want to avoid this option as your required currency might be unavailable or there could be long queues. You’re also not guaranteed to get the best exchange rates.


Can I use my credit or debit card overseas?

You can use most credit and debit cards abroad which is quite convenient. However there are transaction fees for doing this each time you pay or withdraw money in the local currency. Also using your bank card in a different country or several different countries can flag up your account activity as suspicious which means you may have to go through security check phone calls to validate your purchases and unlock your account.


What’s the best way to manage my money if I’m travelling to many destinations with differing currencies?

If you don’t like the idea of carrying around cash in several different currencies (there isn’t a safe in every cabin on every ship) then you may want to get a Cash Passport. You can order these cards online before your cruise. Simply select your card, select your currency or currencies, top the card up with the amount you’d like to add and then have it delivered to your address. The card is chip and pin secured and it has no link to your actual bank account, so if you do lose it, you won’t have to inform your bank. If you run out of money on your Cash Passport during your cruise, you can top it up online.


How much money should I bring on my cruise?

This really depends on your personal spending habits. If you’ve purchased a drinks package in advance of your stay then this really reduces your costs. Other things to think about are if you want to dine in one of the restaurants which aren’t included, spa treatments, gratuities, excursions and purchasing food/drink/souvenirs whilst in port. You don’t necessarily need to bring much cash, just budget that you have enough to cover these extras (if you want them) on your payment card.


Are there cash machines on cruise ships?

Most cruise ships will have a cash machine on them, but it’s worth checking your specific ship in advance to be sure. You’ll find the majority of cruise lines operate in USD and there will be a service charge from the ATM to withdraw funds.

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