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Europe Cruise - Exchange cash for euro's prior to trip?


Cindyscruising
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Hi I have an upcoming Greek Isles Cruise ( departing and arriving Venice). Will be using NCL air promo ( from JFK) and arriving into Venice early morning the day of cruise departure so I will not be staying overnight in Venice.

 

I am thinking I will need some Euro's during the cruise shore excursions for items such as souvenirs, food, glass of wine etc as I am sure I will be coming across some places that don't accept credit cards. For those of you who have done a Europe cruise did you exchange cash for Euro's here in the US prior to your trip ( I am guessing many of the large banks can do this for me?)  or did you do the currency exchange someplace in a port?

 

Thank you very much!

Cindy

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I’ve done it several times before leaving as my local bank will order the euros for me. However, we’re going on the TA next spring and I will probably just do it on the boat. I never use as much as I think and end up having to exchange again back home. I will just take some out a needed on this trip.

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My choice is to get foreign currency in advance.   A main branch of my bank has euros and British pounds on hand for purchase, but I expect any bank can order what you need if they do not have them on hand.  Personally, I feel more comfortable knowing I am prepared when I land for a snack or bottle of water at the airport, a taxi, or any other incidentals without having to look for an ATM at the airport or somewhere between the airport and the ship.  As for ports, I typically book excursions with the cruise line, and it may be inconvenient or impossible to get to an ATM on excursions.  

 

This is a matter of personal preference.  It's my understanding that the exchange rate at ATM's is better than what I get from my own bank.   My feeling is - so what.   For the amount of cash that I get, a few percentage points difference on the exchange rate is worth it to me for the convenience of having the cash in advance and not needing to find a bank or a free-standing ATM somewhere.  

 

I might feel differently on a land vacation, where I would need more cash and would have more time to locate ATMs.   

 

Have a great cruise, whatever you decide to do about currency.  

Edited by Joanne G.
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If you are using ATMs in Europe for currency then make sure they are major bank ones. Santander, HSBC, Credit Suisse, etc. You will still pay a fee, usually the equivalent of 1 or 2 euro's but they are much better than the currency exchange booths you will see in airports, train stations or street corners. Avoid the independent ATM's like, Travelex, Euronet, Moneybox, Cashpoint. These have terrible hidden fees. They usually take a 3-5% fee before they apply their terrible exchange rates. Pretty much every ATM has an English language option so they are easy to use.

 

A good tip is don't just keep taking 20 or 30 Euros at a time. You will lose a lot in fees, even from the big banks.

I would take at least 100 Euro's with you. It should be easy to get from your local bank in the USA. That way you are not desperately searching for an ATM when you get there. Also don't ask the locals for an ATM, they don't call it that. Most will recognize the term bancomat especially in Italy and Greece. Also look for the Cirrus logo or Plus logo, usually most North American banks are part of those networks.

Edited by triptastic3
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@freeholdfriends

 

However, we’re going on the TA next spring and I will probably just do it on the boat. 

 

Terrible exchange rate AND a large fee for the exchange; worst place to do it.   Even worse that what is available from the various booth type places.

 

Try an advert locally to see if you can buy privately at exchange midpoint.   I use https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/ to work out what both sides win on!!

 

Otherwise buy from your bank and then sell the excess by advertising.

 

If you are travelling, as a one-off, Europe to the USA let it be known that you have Euros to sell privately.

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3 hours ago, freeholdfriends said:

I’ve done it several times before leaving as my local bank will order the euros for me. However, we’re going on the TA next spring and I will probably just do it on the boat. I never use as much as I think and end up having to exchange again back home. I will just take some out a needed on this trip.

If you do it on the boat you will pay a higher exchange rate than doing it at an ATM on land or at your bank before the cruise.

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Just of the Star/Venice/Greek Isles cruise 8/11.  Have a wonderful trip!  We always get euros from our bank before we go.  We have never used an ATM - even here in the U.S.- to get $$.  We always clear 2 credit cards for travel before we leave- neither one charges foreign transaction fees.  We used our credit cards for "more reputable" charges - restaurants, larger souvenir shops, etc.  We used euros for smaller stands, street vendors, etc.  If you are going to Croatia, most places do not take euros - only kuna or credit cards.  We did see a few shops that also took euro, but they were few and far between.

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My local Wells Fargo here in MD has Euros & British pounds on hand at all times for exchange.  Rate runs a day or two behind the current market but no extra fees as casofilia correctly points out above, courtesy of NCL at the reception desk onboard.   In all fairness to NCL they are NOT in the currency exchange business; they do it as a courtesy for their pax so you will be charged for this service, like any other service offered onboard...sigh 😑

 

You'll need Euros at some of the local markets & such that don't take credit cards; we found this out in Croatia/Dubrovnik/Split during our Greek Isles cruise out of Venice back in '15.  Cash IS king, as correctly pointed out above...

 

Word of advice based on personal experience: Take TWO credit cards (one as backup) and make sure you tell the banks that issue them that you'll be traveling with them & the dates of your cruise.  They usually have a place on their website where you can enter the dates & countries you'll be visiting.  Otherwise you run the risk of having your card refused; we had this happen to our daughter once on a cruise where we "loaned" her one of our credit cards; lesson learned!

 

Hope you have a great cruise!  The Greek Isles cruise(s) are fantastic!!  Wear good walking footwear!

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18 hours ago, Cindyscruising said:

Hi I have an upcoming Greek Isles Cruise ( departing and arriving Venice). Will be using NCL air promo ( from JFK) and arriving into Venice early morning the day of cruise departure so I will not be staying overnight in Venice.

 

I am thinking I will need some Euro's during the cruise shore excursions for items such as souvenirs, food, glass of wine etc as I am sure I will be coming across some places that don't accept credit cards. For those of you who have done a Europe cruise did you exchange cash for Euro's here in the US prior to your trip ( I am guessing many of the large banks can do this for me?)  or did you do the currency exchange someplace in a port?

 

Thank you very much!

Cindy

Forget exchange get a prepaid FX card - in the UK it is all the rage and no charges and better rates 

 

FX bureaus are old hat and expensive and ATM a complete RIP OFF 

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It's nice to hit the ground running with some Euro coins. You won't get them at an exchange place nor from an ATM, they tend to only deal in bills. However, if you have a friend who has been to Europe, you may be able to buy a few Euros worth. Or try to make a cash purchase for which you can get change very early on (a beverage, snack, whatever). Many public restrooms in Europe charge anywhere from  0€20 to 2€00. Sometimes there is an attendant who can make change, more often you'll need to put coins into a slot. 

 

Enjoy your trip! You'll likely want to hold on to any "leftover" Euros, as you'll want to return.

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20 hours ago, mbleackl said:

If you do it on the boat you will pay a higher exchange rate than doing it at an ATM on land or at your bank before the cruise.

Yes, we are aware of this but it’s just for the sake of convenience. I tend to use my AMEX card or a Travel Visa card that doesn’t charge exchange fees so the higher fees on the boat is just easier. 

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On 9/10/2019 at 7:22 PM, Cindyscruising said:

Hi I have an upcoming Greek Isles Cruise ( departing and arriving Venice). Will be using NCL air promo ( from JFK) and arriving into Venice early morning the day of cruise departure so I will not be staying overnight in Venice.

 

I am thinking I will need some Euro's during the cruise shore excursions for items such as souvenirs, food, glass of wine etc as I am sure I will be coming across some places that don't accept credit cards. For those of you who have done a Europe cruise did you exchange cash for Euro's here in the US prior to your trip ( I am guessing many of the large banks can do this for me?)  or did you do the currency exchange someplace in a port?

 

Thank you very much!

Cindy

I always get Euros before we take our flight to Europe.  We usually fly in two days before and stay at a B&B in Rome.  We get a discount for paying in cash.  We use Euros for shore excursions.  I just prefer to have the cash we will need before we get there..

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1 hour ago, casofilia said:

@freeholdfriends

 

 I tend to use my AMEX card or a Travel Visa card

 

You had better check that you can charge currency exchanges  on the ship to your Folio.   I would imagine that Euros will have to be paid for with US bills

 

I should clarify that I do take some US currency and since I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Europe a few times I also now save any unused Euros now rather than exchanging them back after the trip. I know this isn’t for everyone but I am hesitant to use ATM’s in other countries. I was burned once so I just feel more comfortable doing it on the ship. I use Bank of America and they are willing to give you their reciprocal banks in European countries so that’s another way to get money in foreign countries.

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