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We have booked our first world cruise in 2021- very excited😊  I know we need to get VISAs for some ports and I know we have to take care of this on our own, but my question is, can Princess tell me which countries we need VISAs for?  From reading various posts I know some Princess reps are more knowledgeable than others so if this is something they can help with I'll keep calling back until I get someone who can help.  We will be on the Royal for a cruise in October so I was thinking of asking the Future Cruise Consultant this question - not sure how helpful they generally are but I'm figuring that person may have been an a world cruise and know the answer.

 

Another question is foreign currency - there is no way to can get money for each of the different countries and I plan on using my credit card (and paying the foreign transaction fee) but if you've done a world cruise did you use foreign currency often?

 

Thanks for any help you and give me and if you have any 'helpful hints" I'm happy to get that info too

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Yes in your booking documents it tells you what visas you need.  We also are on the 2021 world cruise.  Some of the visas you can do on line 6-months before you go.  See you on the ship!  Look at your bookning summary it is under "visa requirements".

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Another question is foreign currency - there is no way to can get money for each of the different countries and I plan on using my credit card (and paying the foreign transaction fee) but if you've done a world cruise did you use foreign currency often?

We have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. You have plenty of time. You may wish to look into this.

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We did Sydney to Cape Town on the 2019 world cruise.  Used our credit card (no foreign transaction fee) for everything we needed.  Did have some Australian dollars  since we were there for a couple of weeks prior to the cruise;  If you  card requires  a pin #, make sure you remember that number.  

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I have found that generally, Princess just says you are responsible for checking what visas you will require. I suggest you check the government website of each of the countries you will be visiting.

 

Consider what you plan to do in each port to help you decide if you need local currency. Now that a lot of European countries use Euros, currency isn't too difficult in that part of the world.

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Just back from the 2019 World Cruise.

 

The visa requirements are listed in the Cruise Personalizer.  Find your booking, then in the left column under "Booking Details" select "Visa Travel Requirements".   Be advised, that countries do sometimes change the rules, so be sure to re-visit the details several times as the months pass and your embarkation date nears.

 

Money.  As mentioned above credit cards are very, very widely accepted.  However, remember that if your credit card issuer suspects fraud they will either suspend service until you contact the institution or worse still issue a new card with a new account number.  Problem here is you have no way to get the new plastic from the financial institution.  Our solution was to take 3 or 4 different bank cards so we knew we would always have a working card.  I would also suggest you dedicate one credit card to your Princess Folio and not use that card for any other purpose.   Princess will charge you credit cards several times during the cruise.  

 

The card we typically used ashore offered a feature that sent an instant email for every transaction.  Often, while having lunch ashore, I'd get the email before the restaurant returned my plastic to the table.   This is a great feature, and allows you to confirm  that not fraud is taking place in almost real time.  The email provided both the foreign amount and the USD amount.  Ask your credit card issuer how or used they web site.

 

Physical Cash.  Do not rely on ship's Customer Service Desk having foreign currency for every country.  While they may have some cash for larger countries (Australia, New Zealand, etc.) they may not have a large stock(or any) for less frequently visited countries.   Everyone will say use an ATM upon arrival, and this is the best advise.  We did order in advance some foreign currency from Travelex for countries with multiple port calls.  Yes...Travelex is a bit expensive, but it is so easy to order via their web site and it is delivered via FedEx.

 

Finally, we did not do this but many WC passengers did.....order a pre-paid debit card.  You can use the card anywhere a credit card is accepted and it is totally separate from your own identity and other cards.  You can add move cash to the pre-paid card via the issuers web site.

 

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Forgot to mention.....best not to take all your credit cards ashore.  Imagine if you lose your wallet or purse.  

 

Four months is a long time, and getting replacement cards near impossible.  

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Many credit card issuers encourage you to notify them of your travel plans in advance to avoid being declined while overseas. We always do this and never have had a problem using our cards.

 

Foot stomp in agreement about taking backup cards but not taking them all ashore at once. Excellent advice.

 

Definitely get a card with no foreign transaction fees. They're getting pretty common these days.

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Only CC I have experienced excessive shut down due to suspected fraud is the Princess Barclay Card.  

 

The credit card issuer notification for a world cruise is hard since the number of countries to be visited exceeds all the credit card provider web site slots.  Had to call several.  

 

 

 

Edited by tcdcruiser
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2 hours ago, beg3yrs said:

Many credit card issuers encourage you to notify them of your travel plans in advance to avoid being declined while overseas. We always do this and never have had a problem using our cards.  Several card companies now say that since it has a chip, no need to notify in advance and actually will not take your info over the phone if you call them. In the past we have had problems several times even after notifying the card company in advance of the travel. Card was frozen because amount was suspicious even though it was legit.

 

 

Definitely get a card with no foreign transaction fees. They're getting pretty common these days.

 

If you are using a credit card to get cash from an ATM, that is anpensive way to do it as the withdrawals will be treated as a cash advance.

 

The OP should set up an account somewhere that can issue a debit card that has no foreign transaction fees attached to it. CapitalOne is once such bank that has this.

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Agree with several posters.  Get a CC with no foreign transaction "upcharge"  (often 2.5%).  But get two of them.  As mentioned, have backups.  If from Canada, or countries that offer them, get cards in USD.  The ship folio is in USD and you may be some places that use USD.  Otherwise, the "home" credit card with no foreign "upcharge".  

 

I think for a very long trip like a WC, one of those multi-currency debit cards could be a good idea.  You put a lump sum of home currency on it and then buy some foreign funds in various currencies you might want.  You can convert excess back and perhaps swap into another currency.  Thing is, it has to be used like a debit card or credit card when buying stuff.  So, if hard cash is needed, it won't help.  That said, most places take CC's - in fact some countries discourage cash and only want cashless cards.

 

When we did 60-night S.A. trip, I took cash for paying tour operators we had booked and that were expecting cash.  In most cases, those folks wanted USD.  Bottom line, is check into the norms of where you are going and try to use non-cash as much as possible. 

 

Back up cards help you survive when the bank cannot send you out a replacement.  It has happened to us twice while travelling that a fraud transaction happened to hit one of the cards just before, or after we left home.  

 

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Congratulations to the OP for enjoying the wonderful life of long cruises :).  And yes, World and other cruises do require a share of pre-planning.  The first couple of times we did longer cruises we found the pre-cruise preparation overwhelming.  But eventually, DW and I developed a basic routine and procedures that work for a 60 day cruise or a 160 day cruise :).

 

Regarding Visas, do not depend on Princess (or anyone else) to be the final authority.  You should take the time and research each country's requirements (you need to do this far in advance).  Princess must deal with passengers that hold many different kinds of Passports (each with their own Visa requirements) and they do make mistakes (it has happened to us).  If you have US Passports you can check out each country's requirements on the Department of State web site, although a few countries do have some exceptions for cruisers.  You can also post questions here on CC under the specific Port of Call threads although that info should always be double checked with other sources.   You can certainly call Princess to try and verify requirements, but if the Princess person makes a mistake (this has happened to us) you will be the one penalized!  In the final analysis the Visa responsibility is yours.

 

Handling financial and cash issues can sound complicated but there are a few basic ideas that work well.  DW and I do a lot of independent travel and have learned (through forty years of extensive travel) to have back-ups.  So we carry 3 different ATM/Debit cards...each drawn on an account in a different bank!   Having multiple ATM cards also means you can get more cash in a single day (banks have daily limits).  This meant setting up an additional account which we did with a Credit Union that had no fees.  In fact, finding banks and credit unions that do not charge fees is a good thing :).  We also carry multiple credit cards so there is back up.  Of our 5 major credit cards, 4 of them have zero foreign transaction fees (some cards charge up to 3% for foreign transactions).

 

Another helpful and important thing is take advantage of auto payment options (for things like your utilities) and become comfortable with online banking and financial transactions.  Also look at your checkbook for the past few years and identify any bills (such as insurance premiums and taxes) that you might have to pay while away.  Either pre pay these items of find another way to ensure their on time payment.  

 

Prescription drugs can also be a big problem.  You need to have an adequate supply of your regular drugs (not to mention taking along a virtual drug store to be prepared for other problems) which can be a major issue.  If you are going to have a problem getting an adequate supply of drugs, talk to your pharmacist (well in advance) about vacation advances of drugs (not always allowed) and/or your physician.

 

Another very important issue (perhaps the most important) is insurance.  You should make sure you have adequate medical insurance and evacuation coverage that will work anywhere in the world. IMHO the policies sold by Princess are wholly INADEQUATE when it comes to medical coverage.  Many simply roll the dice and depend on the Princess coverage but you might want to consider that a major medical problem can often involve cost far in excess of the Princess limits.  For most folks there are third party policies that can give decent coverage.  If you have questions you can call some private travel insurance brokers such as Steve at the Trip Insurance Store....or look online at sites like insuremytrip.com and squaremouth.com.  Personally I want at least $100,000 in medical and at least that much in trip evacuation coverage.

 

And finally you do have to deal with your mail.  The US Post Office is only required to hold mail for 30 days (some local postmasters will agree to a longer hold).  If you don't have a trusted neighbor or family member to get your mail you might consider renting a PO Box and having all your mail forwarded to that box.

 

Hank

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One other thing. If a seller offers to convert your credit card charge to US dollars (or whatever your home currency is), be wary. The seller isn't doing this as a favor to you but as his or her own money making opportunity. Your card issuer's bank rates are almost always much better than the seller's. I've heard, but not experienced first-hand, that on some cards, even if the conversion to USD is done by the seller, the bank may still charge foreign transaction fees, a double-whammy if you have that kind of card.

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A Charles Schwab debit card charges no foreign transaction fees or out of network ATM fees.  You can use any ATM in the world, even the one on the ship, and they will not charge an ATM fee.  Makes it very reasonable to get currency in any port where you can find an ATM, which means just about all of them.    I've had a Schwab checking account for about 5 years that I use only for travel, and so far have had zero problems using it to get cash anywhere I've been.

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Oh my gosh!!!  Thank you everyone for all the information -everything has been very helpful.  I'll check the booking summary for Visa requirements. I did do some research already so I have some info  but just wanted to know what other people did in case I was missing something.   Lots of good info on credit cards, debit cards and ATM so I'll be looking into that also.  Really, thank you so much.  This has been invaluable and we really appreciate everyone taking the time do respond.    

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We did a World Cruise in 2015 on Pacific Princess and it truly was the trip of a lifetime -- loved it!

 

There are many good recommendations here; I just want to repeat a couple and maybe add one or 2.

 

Truly, do NOT underestimate the work it might take to get your prescriptions squared away beforehand.  I'm a bit of a nerd and started early and still had a wacky visit with one doctor who helpfully supplied enough samples to complete my requirements.  "Vacation" advances don't seem to be as simple as you'd expect and many of the PBMs really balk at authorizing more than 90 days worth of medication.

 

I've gotten in the habit of "buying" one dollar bills to handle incidental tips when travelling.  It's often though not always appropriate -- just be aware.  Actually, some fives wouldn't be a bad idea either.  I'm particularly thinking of tips for tour guides.

 

Preparing for our WC finally got me to shift nearly entirely to online banking; I really agree with whoever suggested that, including the suggestion to do it early to get accustomed to it.  Probably much more common now even though our trip was just a few years ago.

 

Mail.  We are fortunate to have a mail slot in our front door and a very good friend who lives nearby agreed to drop by every week or 2 to pick up the mail and move it to the dining room table.  I think she save us a lot of trouble and really appreciated it.  In a similar vein, 2 or 3 months before we left I contacted every company I could think of that sent us catalogs and asked them to cease.  You can also have magazine subscriptions suspended.

 

It was very strange to be packing regular size shampoos, cosmetics, etc instead of the little travel sizes and it was daunting to see how much luggage space they took.

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11 hours ago, South Bay SueB said:

I've gotten in the habit of "buying" one dollar bills to handle incidental tips when travelling.  It's often though not always appropriate -- just be aware.  Actually, some fives wouldn't be a bad idea either.  I'm particularly thinking of tips for tour guides.

we do this for every cruise ... we try not to spend any (many) 1's and 5's, and just throw them in 'the jar' for cruisin'

 

but, if needed, we also buy the 1's and 5's as we don't spend a lot of 'cash' these days to get 'change'

 

a couple of $ for bribes, er tips can go a long way on a cruise ship ...

 

I know...I know - "we don't need, blah, blah, blah

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