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You need cash for room service tips, porters at dock, extra cash thank you rewards beyond auto tips, etc.
And in ports, use for small purchases, snacks, cab, airport, going/coming home, etc
Figure $500 per week
I came over on the boat, and boy, are my arms tired from rowing!
USNS General Alexander M Patch Bremerhaven to New York City August 1955
Grand Circle Cruise River Harmony Frankfurt to Amsterdam December 2005
Celebrity Mercury Panama Canal Repo San Diego to Baltimore October 2010
Celebrity Century Hawaii to Ensenada March-April 2012
Celebrity Solstice Vancouver to Alaska to Seattle May 2014
Unless I'm making a major purchase at a reputable shop, I never use my credit card in port. I usually have a pretty good idea of how much cash I will need before I travel, and I add an extra $50 a day for incidentals. I pay my ship and hotel folios with a credit card, although last year we had a lot of Euro left at the end of our cruise and I paid the post cruise hotel folio (incidentals and local taxes, the room was paid for with points) in cash.
August 2002--Disney Magic Eastern
October 2005--RCCL Mariner Western
October 2011--Disney Dream Bahamas
June 2012--Windstar Wind Surf Back-To-Back, Rome to Venice to Athens
April 2014--Paul Gauguin to French Polynesia
Still to come...
Sometime in 2016, ship, month, and itinerary TBD
Three weeks in Europe (two on a ship) with a 20" roll aboard and a tote bag--packing list here.
My all in a 20" wheeled bag for a warm weather cruise packing list here
We always bring at least $500 in cash--for incidentals on shore--except for paying for private tours, we don't spend much ashore, but a lunch, water or pop, ice cream, souvenirs, etc. still need cash. Also for extra tips on the ship and on shore.
We don't usually use our credit card ashore, but once in a while it makes more sense than cash.
I think it's essential to have some cash also as a 'just in case' backup if needed.
We often come home with a lot of cash left, since we have cruised enough that we don't buy a lot of extra stuff. We also use ATM's, say in Europe, if needed.
We try to pre-pay for as many tours as possible which does help reduce the requirement for cash. However, except for large purchases, we do try to avoid using a credit card in ports so as to avoid foreign exchange and transaction fees levied by the bank. So yes, IMO you need to bring along cash. To avoid carrying a lot of cash we also purchase on a commission free basis travellers checks which while all but impossible to cash ashore, are very cashable at the pursers desk on the ship.
We always bring cash for those small expenses, tips, and gambling....we use our CC for onboard charges. We will use a CC if we purchase anything ashore that has "value"....usually use cash for snacks/lunch/cheap souvenier, etc...
Awesome thanks, thats about what I was thinking may even get some travelers checks
You might get some more opinions concerning travelers checks, but our experience is that they are difficult to cash. The ship may cash them for you, but that doesn't help much when you are at a port. Some vendors do not take them.
One thing that we've done is to buy pre-paid credit cards in smaller denominations for our port time. If one gets stolen, not a terrible loss (money, yes, identity or ability to rob us blind, no). If we don't use all the money, we keep them and use back home.
Granted we DO carry cash for onboard tips and all.
We don't take traveler's checks anymore--almost useless on land, though the ship will cash them. We finally used up a bunch that we had purchased for some land tours years ago. I was glad to have them gone.
Prefer not to use my credit card in port. Using cash in port keeps spending down and no worries about who has my credit card info.
We bring cash and our credit cards, only use the credit cards forthe ship on board account and hotels. Use cash for everything else, agreed this minimizes ones credit information falling in to the wrong hands.