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Buying OBC (On Board Credit) in advance


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I am considering buying OBC in advance of my Veendam cruise in December. I have never done this before on any of my HAL cruises.

 

The advantage to me is that I can choose a time when the exchange rate is favourable. It is also easier than bringing cash for the casino - I always used to bring travellers cheques for this.

 

I have a few questions

 

1. If I buy enough OBC in advance will they still put the $60 pp hold on our credit cards?

 

2. Can I use the OBC in the casino? Do they charge for this?

 

3. I assume that HAL refund any unused OBC at the end of the cruise. How do they refund this - is it cash or will it go back onto my card?

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I am considering buying OBC in advance of my Veendam cruise in December. I have never done this before on any of my HAL cruises.

 

The advantage to me is that I can choose a time when the exchange rate is favourable. It is also easier than bringing cash for the casino - I always used to bring travellers cheques for this.

 

I have a few questions

 

1. If I buy enough OBC in advance will they still put the $60 pp hold on our credit cards?

 

2. Can I use the OBC in the casino? Do they charge for this?

 

3. I assume that HAL refund any unused OBC at the end of the cruise. How do they refund this - is it cash or will it go back onto my card?

 

Carol I do this for my cruises - for the very reasons you outlined.

 

I believe they still place the hold, (not 100% sure) but I know they will remove it upon request if you want as they will see the OBC you have. Another roll call member did this.

 

You can certainly use the OBC in the casino. I use the slots and there is no charge. You can simply cash out later. (You can also do this if you want cash for your left over OBC)

 

The OBC is refundable. Any unused portion is credited back to your credit card. HAL is very fast to do this.

 

Hope this helps.

 

oops, I forgot to say that HAL will still cash travellers cheques at no charge as well.

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I am considering buying OBC in advance of my Veendam cruise in December. I have never done this before on any of my HAL cruises.

 

The advantage to me is that I can choose a time when the exchange rate is favourable. It is also easier than bringing cash for the casino - I always used to bring travellers cheques for this.

 

I have a few questions

 

1. If I buy enough OBC in advance will they still put the $60 pp hold on our credit cards?

 

2. Can I use the OBC in the casino? Do they charge for this?

 

3. I assume that HAL refund any unused OBC at the end of the cruise. How do they refund this - is it cash or will it go back onto my card?

 

Carol I do this for my cruises - for the very reasons you outlined.

 

I believe they still place the hold, (not 100% sure) but I know they will remove it upon request if you want as they will see the OBC you have. Another roll call member did this.

 

You can certainly use the OBC in the casino. I use the slots and there is no charge. You can simply cash out later. (You can also do this if you want cash for your left over OBC)

 

The OBC is refundable. Any unused portion is credited back to your credit card. HAL is very fast to do this.

 

Hope this helps.

 

oops, I forgot to say that HAL will still cash travellers cheques at no charge as well.

 

From a different perspective than Jacqui. I have done this for years.

 

 

1. If you purchase in advance enough OBC (along with any given OBC) to cover the $60/p/d you do not have to register a credit card, therefore there is no card to put a hold on. During the cruise if you come close to what you have on hand, you will be requested to visit the Front Office.

 

2. I have used the OBC in the Casino in the same way as Jacqui. However, if you know in advance that you are going to use some that way, maybe purchase Casino Credit. I am doing this for the first time on my next cruise. It has been posted here that you get vouchers that are redeemed for cash at the Cashiers Window. Casino Cash is in $10 increments.

 

 

3. I have always received Cash back at the end of the cruise, then again they didn't have a card to credit it to. The only time this was questioned was the Koningsdam in February. When I went to cash out, they asked if I wanted to return it to the card on file. I just told them no card was on file and they gave me cash. No Problem

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How would you pre-purchase OBC from HAL without a credit card? If you call to order, I'm sure they require a c.c. and the same for online purchases. I could be wrong and I'm sure someone could clarify this.

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How would you pre-purchase OBC from HAL without a credit card? If you call to order, I'm sure they require a c.c. and the same for online purchases. I could be wrong and I'm sure someone could clarify this.

Yes, you would have to use a Credit or Debit card to purchase the OBC. However, there are distinct advantages to doing it. One mentioned for other than US citizens is to have a little more say in the exchange rate.

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How would you pre-purchase OBC from HAL without a credit card? If you call to order, I'm sure they require a c.c. and the same for online purchases. I could be wrong and I'm sure someone could clarify this.

 

I use my debit card when I purchase from HAL.

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We generally purchase enough OBC's to cover the daily auto gratuity charges on the longer cruises & maybe for a wine package or two (or anything else for that matter) that we purchase on board.

 

The booking, promo & TA OBC's usually get 'burned' up with drinks, massages and the one-armed bandits. :)

 

The 'big' box' Citi card has a 3% cash rebate for travel which includes pre-paid OBC's, etc. (no fee card) in cash back every February (which goes directly into our 'travel' internet savings account. On-line Chase Savings account currently around yields 1.15% (not much but every dollar counts, no?).

 

We do it primarily just for "one less thing to pay for" / "peace of mind" sort of thing.

 

Have a great cruise!

Bob:)

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Carol I do this for my cruises - for the very reasons you outlined.

 

I believe they still place the hold, (not 100% sure) but I know they will remove it upon request if you want as they will see the OBC you have. Another roll call member did this.

 

You can certainly use the OBC in the casino. I use the slots and there is no charge. You can simply cash out later. (You can also do this if you want cash for your left over OBC)

 

The OBC is refundable. Any unused portion is credited back to your credit card. HAL is very fast to do this.

 

Hope this helps.

 

oops, I forgot to say that HAL will still cash travellers cheques at no charge as well.

 

Thanks Jacqui

 

It is virtually impossible to buy travellers cheques here in Spain now. They look at you as if you are from another planet - lol

 

I am looking for an easier way to handle things. It seemed a lot easier when I travelled with my DH but this time I am travelling with a friend who is a first time cruiser.

 

Living in Spain (he also owns a bar here) he was absolutely shocked when I told him what the onboard drink prices are. He says he is only going to drink tap water.

 

I thought if he had pre-purchased OBC he might relax a bit more.

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From a different perspective than Jacqui. I have done this for years.

 

 

1. If you purchase in advance enough OBC (along with any given OBC) to cover the $60/p/d you do not have to register a credit card, therefore there is no card to put a hold on. During the cruise if you come close to what you have on hand, you will be requested to visit the Front Office.

 

2. I have used the OBC in the Casino in the same way as Jacqui. However, if you know in advance that you are going to use some that way, maybe purchase Casino Credit. I am doing this for the first time on my next cruise. It has been posted here that you get vouchers that are redeemed for cash at the Cashiers Window. Casino Cash is in $10 increments.

 

 

3. I have always received Cash back at the end of the cruise, then again they didn't have a card to credit it to. The only time this was questioned was the Koningsdam in February. When I went to cash out, they asked if I wanted to return it to the card on file. I just told them no card was on file and they gave me cash. No Problem

 

My problem is that, if there is anything left at the end of the cruise - some hope !!!!, I do not want cash but I do not want a $60 hold on my card either.

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Am I right in assuming that Hal will release the hold on the Charge card before sending the charges you make on the cruise ship to the charge card company?? If not what happens if the limit on your card will not accept the charges??

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My problem is that, if there is anything left at the end of the cruise - some hope !!!!, I do not want cash but I do not want a $60 hold on my card either.

If you want the remainder to go to a card, i believe they gave me that option. I just use that money as spending money on my way home.

Maybe if you register the card on the last day, they might just hold $60.

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Am I right in assuming that Hal will release the hold on the Charge card before sending the charges you make on the cruise ship to the charge card company?? If not what happens if the limit on your card will not accept the charges??

 

yes, you are right. The cards only have the hold in place until the charge goes through. Holds are released automatically when the charge goes through. No worries ;)

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Am I right in assuming that Hal will release the hold on the Charge card before sending the charges you make on the cruise ship to the charge card company?? If not what happens if the limit on your card will not accept the charges??

 

yes, you are right. The cards only have the hold in place until the charge goes through. Holds are released automatically when the charge goes through. No worries ;)

 

Actually, this is partially right. The company issuing the hold does nothing to release the hold. If the resulting charge is for the same amount as the hold it drops off automatically. If the amount is different, the hold may stay on for a period of time determined by the card issuer. If you are on a longer cruise, the hold might drop off long before the cruise is over.

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We have recently had so many problems with 'holds' on our Spanish credit cards that I would prefer it if we could avoid that.

 

Spanish banks seem to leave the holds there for a long time. We recently rented a car and it took ages to get the 'hold' released.

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If you buy OBC that totals $60/p/d or more it should be just the same as if you had put down that amount in cash on embarkation day ... no card required.

Edited by jtl513
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Actually, this is partially right. The company issuing the hold does nothing to release the hold. If the resulting charge is for the same amount as the hold it drops off automatically. If the amount is different, the hold may stay on for a period of time determined by the card issuer. If you are on a longer cruise, the hold might drop off long before the cruise is over.

 

 

 

I keep forgetting not to apply Canadian Banking in general terms to these boards ;) sorry. I should have stipulated.

 

All my holds are available to be seen on my credit cards (along with charges).

 

Aside from my past life in the bank and awareness of the system, my holds always disappear immediately on my account. But it's a Canadian card ;)

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  • 1 month later...

Can anyone please explain how the purchased OBC gets applied to your account? Am I right in thinking it is issued as a gift voucher that you have to take to the front desk to get applied? I don't want $60 a day hold (each!) on my card but neither do I want to be spending ages queuing to get my account credited with the OBC.

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Can anyone please explain how the purchased OBC gets applied to your account? Am I right in thinking it is issued as a gift voucher that you have to take to the front desk to get applied?

No, it is not a voucher. The credit will already be on your account as a credit when you board. You will have a card in your stateroom acknowledging the amount of your credit. No action is required at all.

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Can anyone please explain how the purchased OBC gets applied to your account? Am I right in thinking it is issued as a gift voucher that you have to take to the front desk to get applied? I don't want $60 a day hold (each!) on my card but neither do I want to be spending ages queuing to get my account credited with the OBC.

 

The OBC is simply applied to your account. No gift card.

 

Example - say you buy $500 OBC...

 

When you check your account statement you will find you have a $500 credit to which your charges will be applied.

 

Hope this makes sense.

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Can anyone please explain how the purchased OBC gets applied to your account? Am I right in thinking it is issued as a gift voucher that you have to take to the front desk to get applied? I don't want $60 a day hold (each!) on my card but neither do I want to be spending ages queuing to get my account credited with the OBC.

The OBC shows up on your ship account automatically, no vouchers to submit to the front desk. I always bring documentation of OBC, no matter from where it comes... HAL, TA, myself and I make sure the OBC is there by the second or third day; getting your account statement might require you to visit the front desk, depending on which ship and if you will have remote access to your statements.

 

Pre-purchasing OBC equal to $60/p/n (or $30/p/n for cruises 30 nights and longer) eliminates the need for a credit card hold, and for having to register a credit card at port check-in. But you may still have to register a credit card for online check-in to get your e-docs. But then HAL should not be placing a hold at port check-in which is when the hold begins. m--

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The OBC shows up on your ship account automatically, no vouchers to submit to the front desk. I always bring documentation of OBC, no matter from where it comes... HAL, TA, myself and I make sure the OBC is there by the second or third day; getting your account statement might require you to visit the front desk, depending on which ship and if you will have remote access to your statements.

 

Pre-purchasing OBC equal to $60/p/n (or $30/p/n for cruises 30 nights and longer) eliminates the need for a credit card hold, and for having to register a credit card at port check-in. But you may still have to register a credit card for online check-in to get your e-docs. But then HAL should not be placing a hold at port check-in which is when the hold begins. m--

 

When doing the online check in, there is an option for cash. Pick that and there is no need to register a card in order to get your e-docs.

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The OBC shows up on your ship account automatically, no vouchers to submit to the front desk. I always bring documentation of OBC, no matter from where it comes... HAL, TA, myself and I make sure the OBC is there by the second or third day; getting your account statement might require you to visit the front desk, depending on which ship and if you will have remote access to your statements.

 

Pre-purchasing OBC equal to $60/p/n (or $30/p/n for cruises 30 nights and longer) eliminates the need for a credit card hold, and for having to register a credit card at port check-in. But you may still have to register a credit card for online check-in to get your e-docs. But then HAL should not be placing a hold at port check-in which is when the hold begins. m--

 

Copy and pasted from the HAL website "The day you board, Holland America Line places an initial hold on your credit or debit card for $60 per person per cruise day ($30.00 per person per day for cruises longer than 25 days).

When we put a credit card on our account for a HAL cruise, the $60 (or $30) per day hold is applied, usually the night after sailing, or the next day. In all of our cruises, the hold has dropped off the card in 4 or 5 days. We usually take longer cruises, 21 days and up. We have never had a HAL card hold last for the duration of the cruise. After we disembark, the balance that we have run up on our onboard account is charged to our card, usually 2 or 3 days after we get home.

But having the hold drop off in 5 days on a long cruise is kind of silly. HAL got their original authorization that the card was valid and a sufficient balance existed on day 1. After the hold drops off on day 5, you stop at some port on day 10 and buy that nice gold Rolex watch you have always wanted, which taps your card down to a zero balance. What does HAL do when you have already disembarked and they hit your card with a zero balance? Call their lawyers ?? Do they check your card again the night before disembarkation for a sufficient balance ? With 2000 passengers, that's a lot of work, and all holds and final charges happen from Seattle, not the ship. The ship just transmits your balance due to Seattle and they take it from there.

Edited by TAD2005
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We always consider pre paying. It depends on the exchange rate that the cruise line is charging at time of payment and it depends on our view as to where the currency is going. We did it for the first time this winter because the exchange stars were aligned.

Edited by iancal
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