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Could some of you seasoned travellers give me advice on the currency I should take on a forthcoming Holiday. Travelling on P&O's Arcadia for the Christmas and New Year Hols I will be taking in the following Caribbean Islands - Antigua, Tortola, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Vincent and Barbados.
Some use Eastern Caribbean $, I think its Barbados and Tortola that have their own ( I don't have the list here with me) but lots of posts mention using the US$.
Can you please tell me what experience you have had at each destination and whether it works out better to use the local money - financially or just change £Sterling to US$ that are accepted at all locations. I guess changing currency is not best done on board ship but which ever currency you recommend me using should I get it in UK or on each island.
The U.S. Dollar is acceptable just about everywhere in the Caribbean except for Euro-islands like Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Travel with a mix of small, medium and large denom. notes.
Thanks Aplmac, judging by your number of posts I've no doubt everything you say is good advice.
I was hoping to get a few answers from the UK angle so I'm going to direct the question to a P&O topic.... just to let you know i'm not dismissing your much welcomed reply.
I've tried to have some local currency, reason being generally the further away one gets from the port, the less likely it is they'll accept US money. (As well, try juggling the different exchange rates, like dividing the cost of your souvenirs in St. Kitts by 2.7 - the amount of Eastern Caribbean dollars to the US dollar - to get what it costs in US dollars to make sure you got the right change back, and for me, it's just far easier to get $50 or $100 in local currency before the cruise.)
That said, the local currency in Tortola (British Virgin Islands) is... the US dollar. Not the British pound. Story goes that BVI people were doing their shopping in the nearby USVI, and brought back American money, which they then spent in their home country. The government just threw their hands up and decided forget the exchange, and to just accept the US dollar.
Carnival Triumph - May 2004 / Eastern Caribbean
Discovery Cruises Sun - Dec. 2004 / Bahamas
Norwegian Dawn - Jan. 2007 / Eastern Caribbean
Disney Wonder - Oct. 2007 / Bahamas
Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas - Oct. 2008 / Western Caribbean
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess - Oct. 2009 / Bermuda and Eastern Caribbean (repositioning)
Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas - Oct. 2010 / Eastern Caribbean
Disney Dream - Feb. 2012 / Bahamas
USD is without a doubt the way to go. It's accepted everywhere you're likely to go on this cruise, & the exchange rate with the Eastern Caribbean Dollar is fixed.
Most, if not all, that you'll want to spend money on will be priced in USD unless you buy something from a shop geared essentially to the needs of locals, so far from simplifying matters using local currency means you'll be forever doing mental arithmetic to convert from that to USD to GBP, and twice as likely to be ripped-off.
Yes, if you stray to somewhere well away from tourist areas you just might find somewhere that doesn't accept the USD, though I doubt it on these islands, and the only way you're likely to end up somewhere like that is by taxi, in which case your driver will help out.
You'll almost certainly get a better rate in the UK, because you can choose the best value at your leisure, rather than be stuck with ship's probably-poor exchange rate or the risks & costs of using an ATM.
But beware that apart from outlets geared solely for visitors such as port shops, port taxis, tourist beaches, etc, you are likely to receive change in local currency, so get plenty of low denomination, and nothing larger than a $20 bill.
Sainsbury's rates were pretty-well best last week & unusually they had plenty of $1 & $5 John Bull
Do any of you know if we take US travellors cheques will the ship,
banks or beaureax du change give us us $ cash or local currency?
Or can we choose at time of cashing them? My reason for asking is we dont want to go in and out of £ the ships currency is £.
Many thanks for your help our cruise is with FO to the caribbean in March