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Hi, and welcome to Cruise Critic,


I don't know how many currencies the ship will carry. Sometimes a local bank send someone aboard to provide the service.

But I do know that like all cruise lines the exchange rates offered by P&O are awful.

For precise advice you'd need to list all your ports - do that in the appropriate Cruise Critic  ports-of-call forums..... (on this page top right "boards" > Ports of Call > African & Middle East or wherever).

But broadly it's best to rely on a credit card for large purchases, and even just a couple of beers in most ports - the exchange rate given by cards is at or a little above the wholesale rate, some 3% better than exchange bureaux and up to 10% better than on ships.

But most cards have a foreign exchange fee, and the minimum fee screws up value on small purchases. So If you don't already have one, get a credit card that doesn't charge a foreign exchange fee, like Halifax Clarity or Capital One or Post Office credit card. We have a couple of cards that we use exclusively for foreign travel (they don't have other perks like cashback).


A little local jingle in your pocket is always very useful, so a choice of

- in some ports a major currency like USD (eg Caribbean, Vietnam, Cambodia) or euros (Scandinavian or Mediterranean countries) or AUD (south Pacific islands like New Caledonia or Vanuatu) are readily accepted by those who deal primarily with tourists.

- buy a small quantity of local currencies before you go, through the usual suspects like ASDA, Sainsbury, Tesco, M&S, Post Office, etc. (buy on-line click-and-collect, the rates offered are better than those offered in-store to walk-ups)  

- rely on ATMs in ports (though service charges can screw up the value for small amounts)

- when using exchange bureaux ashore, first change unspent notes from previous ports - probably poor value but better than arriving home with too much souvenir currency.

- some cruise lines will buy-back unspent notes at the same rate that they charged you. I don't know if that includes P&O, but the avoidance of waste would go some way to alleviating the poor exchange rates.


But, back to the top of my post, a Visa or Mastercard credit card with no forex fee is king in most circumstances


JB :classic_smile:


Edited by John Bull

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Additionally, we have recently found that Yorkshire Bank have a brand of credit card called The "B" Card, which  doesn't incur forex fees. One of the party for our upcoming  July cruise applied online (while sat in the pub,lol) and his new card arrived 4 days later. 

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Back in the day, when I worked for P&O the ship had foreign currency brought aboard by the ship's agent. Don't recall any port where we couldn't get local money. However, as JB mentioned they charge a fortune for the convenience.


We use a credit card for almost all purchases, but do get small amounts of cash for each port before leaving home. Many pax will use ATM's ashore, but with limited time ashore, we don't want to waste time.

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