Jump to content

How much actual cash to take?


eileen2664
 Share

Recommended Posts

We're the type of people that put everything on a credit card and pay it off at the end of the month.  We don't even have debit/ATM cards, so we need to make sure we have enough cash without carrying around thousands in small bills.  Assuming we pay everything in advance and/or charge it to the credit card....how much actual cold hard cash do we need?  Family of 4 (9yo and 18 yo kids the oldest will in separate stateroom w/a friend), 7 night cruise, 3 ports (Montego Bay: all inclusive resort thru Carnival; Grand Cayman: snorkel w/ 3rd party company can pay with credit; Cozumel: winging it).  We're not heavy gamblers (though I assume dh will visit the casino at least once), not heavy shoppers (we'll pick up some vanilla and maybe a few odds and ends but no expensive jewelry).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's very difficult to suggest an actual amount other than to say you will need smaller bills for any miscellaneous off ship tips with porters, taxis, etc., along with any spending money for purchases of gifts or souvenirs in the ports of call, meals or drinks in ports of call where perhaps a credit card may not be taken or convenient, etc.

 

Most ships allow casino / bingo expenses to be put on your room charge, although that would not be our preference. But as the ships are cashless, there really isn't much need for cash on board unless you want to leave additional cash gratuities for your stateroom attendants and dining room wait staff.  And those amounts - if desired - would be at your discretion, so if that would be something you might do, then plan accordingly.

 

Only you know the type of spending habits you have on vacation, so budget from there.  As a rule of thumb we usually take around $100 per day and always have a good amount coming home with us, which covers parking v a credit card.  But we never plan ship sponsored excursions so cash for port of call taxis and other expenses may be a bit higher with us than others. As a result of our loyalty tier status with our preferred cruise lines, we have daily opportunities for complimentary cocktails, with which we always tip our server in cash, as they would not otherwise receive a gratuity on the n/c drinks.  But again, that is our situation which plays into what we take with us.

 

I'm sure others will post their preferences which hopefully will provide your with some guidelines.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everything you spend money on aboard the ship will go against your account and your credit card. If you want to leave extra gratuities for the staff you can also charge that to your account. If you want to spend anything in port the only merchants that don't take plastic would be sidewalk or straw market merchants. We typically will go ashore with about $100 in cash for any impulse purchases we want to make.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DH and I are about to take a 5-day cruise just the two of us. I think I will take about $200 cash ($100/port day) and then another $40 for porters & room service (which are both about $1/item/bag). All other expenses are charged. 

 

For your excursions, you should be covered completely (drinks, food, transportation to/from) in Montego Bay since you booked through Carnival. Will you need any extra money for souvenirs? Grand Cayman- you booked through a 3rd party, so are you responsible for getting to the meeting point or do they pick you up? Cozumel- if you are winging it, you may need to pay for a taxi. Also, do you want to tip your tour guides any extra? DH and I tip about $20 ($10pp) at the end of the excursion if it was a good one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't have ATM cards you should definitely plan on having at least $100 for each day of your cruise. There are various things that come up like tipping the porters at the cruise port, tipping room service waiters on board, tipping the your wait-staff, cabin steward, plus tour guides ashore, cab rides, souvenirs. It's better to be safe than sorry. 

 

Have around a $100 on you when you go ashore and leave the rest in your cabin safe. 

 

Jonathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you do take say, $100 with you to shore, don't just take five 20 dollar bills - take a variety of bills so you can make change for just about anything.  My first time in Cozumel, an $8 cab ride cost me $20 - "sorry sir, I don't have any change".

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, tomo0862 said:

If you do take say, $100 with you to shore, don't just take five 20 dollar bills - take a variety of bills so you can make change for just about anything.  My first time in Cozumel, an $8 cab ride cost me $20 - "sorry sir, I don't have any change".

...except that they do and he was unfortunately being very unscrupulous - we've gotten change many times there.  But your point is quite valid and smaller bills for the majority of your on hand cash will in port is very wise.  I would also confirm in advance of any off ship purchase in cash that the change provided will be in US$ (unless you want local currency). 

Edited by leaveitallbehind
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, this depends upon where you go.  If we cruise in Europe, we have no problem getting Euros out of ATMs and any charges are reimbursed by our bank.  However, we recently got off a cruise to South America and despite the fact that DH and I had $400 between the 2 of us, I wish we had carried more US cash in smaller bills.  We were limited to getting only about $30 in pesos out of many ATMs and each time there was a $5-10 surcharge.   I wound up hitting my ATM card 4x to get enough cash for a tour we wanted to do where no cards were accepted....but US $ would have been accepted.  Live and learn.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We, like many, use cash, mostly, for tips--porters, servers, headwaiters, room steward, room service and excursion personnel.  We do, occasionally, need cash for taxis in port stops.  Then, of course, there are occasional spends in various port stores--anything over $20 will probably go on a credit card.  We will, often, have a lunch in a port, and that will usually go on a credit card.  Other than tips, I can't think of any other cash expenditure on the ship.

 

On our most recent cruise--15-day Hawaii roundtrip out of Los Angeles--I think I brought about $600 in cash with me.  As has been previously suggested, that was a mix of 20s, 10s, 5s and 1s.  When we arrived back home, I had about $175 left.  That went into my stash for our next cruise.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We rarely spend all the cash we bring, but better to have it, if you need it, than not!  Any cash can go right back into your account when you get home.  We rarely travel with less than $1500 for a week, depending on where we're going.  Bring plenty...keep it in your cabin safe, and take it back home, if you don't need it.

 

You will find that cash is easier for those little "random" purchases ashore...for cabs, and tips.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

Everything you spend money on aboard the ship will go against your account and your credit card. If you want to leave extra gratuities for the staff you can also charge that to your account. 

Yes, you can put extra tips for the crew on your credit card but you cannot be selective as to which crew member gets the cash.  It goes into the large tip pool that covers everyone.  Those that have earned that extra gratuity, your cabin steward or waiter, will only see a small fraction of that.  Leave the auto gratuities on your account and give those who have served you directly a few dollars.  We normally give our cabin stewards about $10 a day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We take at least a thousand for a seven day cruise,  a couple hundred for tips , including about a hundred in singles and fives . We tip extra for room steward, porters , waiters , bartenders. Also small bills for ports and money for gambling. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, RocketMan275 said:

Yes, you can put extra tips for the crew on your credit card but you cannot be selective as to which crew member gets the cash.  It goes into the large tip pool that covers everyone.  Those that have earned that extra gratuity, your cabin steward or waiter, will only see a small fraction of that.  Leave the auto gratuities on your account and give those who have served you directly a few dollars.  We normally give our cabin stewards about $10 a day.

The one time that I had to do this I was able to give the crew members name and the department they worked in to guest services and they assured me that it would go to them. 

Edited by sparks1093
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, eileen2664 said:

We're the type of people that put everything on a credit card and pay it off at the end of the month.  We don't even have debit/ATM cards, so we need to make sure we have enough cash without carrying around thousands in small bills.  Assuming we pay everything in advance and/or charge it to the credit card....how much actual cold hard cash do we need?  Family of 4 (9yo and 18 yo kids the oldest will in separate stateroom w/a friend), 7 night cruise, 3 ports (Montego Bay: all inclusive resort thru Carnival; Grand Cayman: snorkel w/ 3rd party company can pay with credit; Cozumel: winging it).  We're not heavy gamblers (though I assume dh will visit the casino at least once), not heavy shoppers (we'll pick up some vanilla and maybe a few odds and ends but no expensive jewelry).

Almost every shop and restaurant in every  port accepts credit cards. You really don't need a lot of cash, but it wouldn't hurt to have at least $500 just in case you need it. As far as small bills that people mention, don't waste your time. I never leave home with anything less than a $20 and always come back with a bunch of singles, fives an tens in addition to a lot of twenties.

 

It is very easy to beak your twenties because you are going to buy something at the airport, or as you drive to the port, and the ship is happy to make change for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

The one time that I had to do this I was able to give the crew members name and the department they worked in to guest services and they assured me that it would go to them. 

No doubt that is an accurate statement of what you were told.  However, others have reported that specific individuals cannot be rewarded that way.  One can only wonder.  If I wanted to be certain, I would reward with cash to the individual.  And, keeping the auto gratuities in place of course.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

No doubt that is an accurate statement of what you were told.  However, others have reported that specific individuals cannot be rewarded that way.  One can only wonder.  If I wanted to be certain, I would reward with cash to the individual.  And, keeping the auto gratuities in place of course.  

Yes, that is my preference also but I wasn't going to incur an ATM charge for it (yes, I miscalculated how much cash I would need). This also might vary by cruise line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, sparks1093 said:

Yes, that is my preference also but I wasn't going to incur an ATM charge for it (yes, I miscalculated how much cash I would need). This also might vary by cruise line.

I suspect that variation between cruise lines might explain the difference.  

 

I make a budget for cash expenditures on a cruise.  Extra tips are a priority.

I always reserve a certain amount of tips for the crew in a special envelope in the safe.

Any cash not spent is brought home where it goes into another envelope for cash for the next cruise.  I add additional funds to this envelope as necessary.  By the time the next cruise rolls around, the next cruise cash envelope is fully funded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

I suspect that variation between cruise lines might explain the difference.  

 

I make a budget for cash expenditures on a cruise.  Extra tips are a priority.

I always reserve a certain amount of tips for the crew in a special envelope in the safe.

Any cash not spent is brought home where it goes into another envelope for cash for the next cruise.  I add additional funds to this envelope as necessary.  By the time the next cruise rolls around, the next cruise cash envelope is fully funded.

I was a neophyte at the time and have since adopted a similar procedure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

Good girl or boy as the case may be.

Cruise critic is a great source for learning.

Not that it matters but I'm the guy in the picture. I figured this out on my own really because I always made up a budget before the cruise and realized that we needed to have a cash budget also.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

The one time that I had to do this I was able to give the crew members name and the department they worked in to guest services and they assured me that it would go to them. 

 

On one of our cruises we could add an additional gratuity to our sign and sail for our steward (by name), but not for dining staff (even with their name).  It likely varies by line and accounting system.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Thank You for 25 Years - Click for Fun Stuff!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...