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VacationLove15

How many Euros did you actually need in ports?-10 night Italy & Greece cruise

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Hi all! We are leaving in 2 weeks for our 10 night Norwegian Jade Greek Isles & Italy cruise and we did get euros for a few things we know we have to pay in cash (tips, entrance to Acropolis, a private van tour, and about 190 additional euros for random purchases that we can't use CC for. I'm interested in people's experiences of how much they actually spent? I have 2 adults and 2 children (ages 13 and 10). I would like to use my credit card for most things, but I do realize some places may only accept cash. We have prepaid all of our excursions so this is just regular pocket money. We also have 3 nights in Rome pre/post cruise. Any insight is appreciated! Thanks

Edited by VacationLove15
typo

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I would just get cash (Euros) from ATMs as you need them.  They are everywhere.  Notify your bank in advance  and make sure your card uses a 4-digit PIN.  Take a second card as a backup in case one gets lost or damaged.

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This comes up again and again, for my trip decades ago, LOL, there were the tours that wanted cold hard cash, then all the little stuff.  I simply calculated how much for the big items and secured that amount prior to departure, the rest I topped off with ATM, just avoid the ship at all cost!!

 

Arrival at airport always have ATMs, every port you can find banks that have ATM, I'd avoid any store front / convenience store ATM.

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Even agreeing with the previous posters I generally show up with about 30 euros in my pocket so the I don't have to run looking for the ATM first thing.

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We are obviously in the minority here, as we (have never in our lives) used an ATM for anything.  We try to use our (no foreign transaction fee) credit cards for everything when traveling out of the U.S., but always change $500 to $1000 into euro before we leave, depending what private tours we are taking.  For example - we know our transfers for our Aug. cruise will be around 190 euro, so we put that into a labeled envelope before we go.  If we have leftover euros when we come home, we save them for the next cruise!

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32 minutes ago, pe4all said:

We are obviously in the minority here, as we (have never in our lives) used an ATM for anything.  We try to use our (no foreign transaction fee) credit cards for everything when traveling out of the U.S., but always change $500 to $1000 into euro before we leave, depending what private tours we are taking.  For example - we know our transfers for our Aug. cruise will be around 190 euro, so we put that into a labeled envelope before we go.  If we have leftover euros when we come home, we save them for the next cruise!

We do the same....We take the euro with us and I have them in envelopes for the tours, transportation etc....then I use our credit card for whatever I can. 

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Thanks everyone! Any actual experience you're willing to share of what you ended up spending? Like 30 euros for lunch, 10 for coffee, couldn't use CC for less than certain amounts? 

 

I did do the envelope trick for the money I know I need euros for (exchanged enough for 700 total euros pre-trip). I am a little nervous using my ATM card over there as my friend had identity theft when she went on her Med Cruise 2 years ago!

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I'm traveling in Europe generally 3-4 times per year, using my ATM card (including a Med cruise nearly every year)....never yet had a problem.

 

You lose money on the exchange rate if you obtain in the US before your trip. (Canada isn't so bad, their exchange bureaus are much closer to par.)  That said, unless you are planning to exchange thousands of euro, it doesn't add up to a lot.

 

You are much more likely to come up against a need for cash in southern Europe (e.g., the Med) than Northern Europe where credit cards have virtually replaced hard currency.

 

Places where you may need cash:  small souvenir carts, food trucks, street vendors, small mom and pop restaurants or hole in the wall bars. Public restrooms may require coins. Occasionally you may run up against a small local "sight" that will only accept your admission in local currency (e.g., a church with museum or crypt), local public transportation.

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Gelato, water bottles, tips and rest rooms are our biggest use of cash.  On a 7 day Med cruise that might come to 50E.  If there is extra towards the end of the cruise we either pay for something in cash instead of CC or save it for the next trip.

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19 hours ago, VacationLove15 said:

I am a little nervous using my ATM card over there as my friend had identity theft when she went on her Med Cruise 2 years ago!

We have lived in Europe and travel there almost every year.  We have never had trouble with ATMs. 

To be extra careful, use the ATMs in a bank lobby.  In the airports, use the ATMs of a local bank.  (You can google "banks in Greece" before you go to get the names of the major banks.)  Like in the US, do not use the "stand alone" ATMs in shops or elsewhere because of security issues and outrageous fees.

Most importantly, have two ATM cards from different banks.  We have a small account in a credit union that we use for travel.  In the worst case, thieves can only access the money in that account.  Also, the credit union charges no fees.  

Edited by marazul

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Another thing to keep in mind when using a bank atm often it will ask if you want the exchange done in US dollar or euro.  If your card does not have a foreign transaction fee chose the exchange in euro.  I have found my bank offers a better exchange rate than the European bank atm I am using. I completely agree it is best to use atms in bank lobbies.  Also if your bank has a chip card I would make sure to use that.   We use capital one for a credit card and td bank for atm.  Both have no foreign transaction fees and have good exchange rates.  

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1 hour ago, Hampton99 said:

Another thing to keep in mind when using a bank atm often it will ask if you want the exchange done in US dollar or euro.  If your card does not have a foreign transaction fee chose the exchange in euro.  I have found my bank offers a better exchange rate than the European bank atm I am using. I completely agree it is best to use atms in bank lobbies.  Also if your bank has a chip card I would make sure to use that.   We use capital one for a credit card and td bank for atm.  Both have no foreign transaction fees and have good exchange rates.  

 

Will the ATM machine ask me if I want to exchange in US dollar or euro?

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58 minutes ago, VacationLove15 said:

 

Will the ATM machine ask me if I want to exchange in US dollar or euro?

Not all of them will but if they do pick euro, if they don’t ask we have found it is exchanged in euro.  Also in restaurants in Europe when you pay with a credit card they will bring the machine to the table and we have found more and more machines will ask if you want it billed in euro or US dollar.  We always chose euro because we have found our bank usually has the best exchange rate.  This is all relatively new so not all machines do it.  I think it is a way for the restaurants and banks to make money on the exchange.  

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13 hours ago, Hampton99 said:

Not all of them will but if they do pick euro, if they don’t ask we have found it is exchanged in euro.  Also in restaurants in Europe when you pay with a credit card they will bring the machine to the table and we have found more and more machines will ask if you want it billed in euro or US dollar.  We always chose euro because we have found our bank usually has the best exchange rate.  This is all relatively new so not all machines do it.  I think it is a way for the restaurants and banks to make money on the exchange.  

Okay, got it! Thanks for the tip. 

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10EUR per person per day should be fine, as long as you had a full breakfast on the ship 🙂 If all your excursions are paid, some include snacks and drinks even lunch. I would mostly worry about water and food while I am out on a tour. With kids some treats would be nice too. So, if you want to stop somewhere for coffee and ice-cream, or croissants, 10EUR pp should be fine.

If you want to buy souvenirs, tip, and additional expenses not covered by the excursion, then I suggest adding another 10EUR per day in total. Good luck and have fun!

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We took 1000 Euro's for a 28 day cruise. What we had left over just paid down my cruise bill with it.

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On June 5, 2019 at 7:38 PM, VacationLove15 said:

 

Will the ATM machine ask me if I want to exchange in US dollar or euro?

No, in Euro countries you get Euro's only.  Just like in US, I have never seen it ask if I wanted peso's.

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On 6/5/2019 at 5:49 AM, mskaufman said:

Gelato, water bottles, tips and rest rooms are our biggest use of cash.  On a 7 day Med cruise that might come to 50E.  If there is extra towards the end of the cruise we either pay for something in cash instead of CC or save it for the next trip.

Same here - also some of the small cafes and street markets.  If one feels safer with euros in their pocket upon arrival, I would recommend a very small amount (maybe 50) and hit the local ATM if more were needed.

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12 hours ago, Kate P.C said:

10EUR per person per day should be fine, as long as you had a full breakfast on the ship 🙂 If all your excursions are paid, some include snacks and drinks even lunch. I would mostly worry about water and food while I am out on a tour. With kids some treats would be nice too. So, if you want to stop somewhere for coffee and ice-cream, or croissants, 10EUR pp should be fine.

If you want to buy souvenirs, tip, and additional expenses not covered by the excursion, then I suggest adding another 10EUR per day in total. Good luck and have fun!

Great info! Thank you

12 hours ago, spookyfudge said:

We took 1000 Euro's for a 28 day cruise. What we had left over just paid down my cruise bill with it.

Oh wow, you spent that little in 28 days! That's a relief. I keep thinking I am going to have vastly underestimated spending but you all are making me feel better about that. If it's 10 euros per person per day, on all the days I don't have full excursions, I'll only need about $500-600 euros max (plus I can use my card, not included in that budget).

 

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On 6/4/2019 at 8:22 AM, TSUmom said:

We do the same....We take the euro with us and I have them in envelopes for the tours, transportation etc....then I use our credit card for whatever I can. 

We too do the same with envelopes labeled ahead of time which helps organize our money.  

 

For those using ATMs and all of us travelers who may not, please watch this video of situations you probably don't encounter in your home country.  Knowledge is power 😀

 

Prepare for pickpockets - they’re everywhere, at all public places, and in crowded areas including the churches in Rome.  “Rome, Naples, Barcelona, and Madrid are the Pickpocket Capitals of the World.” 

https://www.bella-toscana.com/pickpocketsinitaly.htm#.W1Xu_9JKhPY

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We just returned from our Med/Greece and I would rather take more $$ with me than I "think" I'll need. We also prefer not to use ATM's and ordered 2,000 Euros from my BofA (fee to do this was extremely low for me personally) and well worth it. We ended up only spending 1,000 Euros after being gone for 3 weeks, 2 pre-cruise days in Barcelona and visiting 7 ports (many of my private tours I had pre-paid). The only place I used my no fee credit card was for the hotel...it wasn't necessary any where else.

Exchanged my unused Euros right back into my account at the same rate I purchased them at...couldn't have been easier.

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