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retiretwo

Currency exchange on ship?

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I'll be traveling to Guadalupe and I understand they only accept Euros.  I'm going on a tour, so will probably only need a small amount for tips. My local bank and AAA only do larger sums in exchange for Euros. Will I be able to exchange about  $50 US at the front desk? Thank you.

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On past HAL cruises, we have been able to exchange monies aboard ship.  Only exception (known to us) was that we could not get Brazilian Reals on our ongoing Grand South America/Antarctica voyage.  Guest services directed to to go to the money exchange store in the terminal of our first Brazilian port of call.

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3 hours ago, retiretwo said:

I'll be traveling to Guadalupe and I understand they only accept Euros.  I'm going on a tour, so will probably only need a small amount for tips. My local bank and AAA only do larger sums in exchange for Euros. Will I be able to exchange about  $50 US at the front desk? Thank you.

 

A possibility for you is to chat to some friendly Euro users (Nederlanders, French, German etc but not Brits) on your cruise and see if they want to get a few of your US dollars in exchange for their euros.  I have done this a few times for cruisers and I use the dollars in other islands.

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3 minutes ago, VMax1700 said:

 

A possibility for you is to chat to some friendly Euro users (Nederlanders, French, German etc but not Brits) on your cruise and see if they want to get a few of your US dollars in exchange for their euros.  I have done this a few times for cruisers and I use the dollars in other islands.

 

That’s an EXCELLENT idea.  And the exchange rate would be more fair as well 😉 

 

If the OP reaches out to their roll call members, there is bound to be someone who would be delighted to have some U.S. $ and not have to exchange.   A win win for both 😄 

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Thank you both for the great ideas! I knew I could count on Cruise Critic followers.

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5 hours ago, Oak Hill Cruisers said:

we could not get Brazilian Reals on our ongoing Grand South America/Antarctica voyage.  

 

On the Zaandam's South America/Antarctica cruise a couple of years ago, Argentine currency was not available.  Nor, could I purchase any from my bank before I left home.

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However you get the Euros you need,  do not go overboard with the amount.   I had excess Euros on a Med/Trans-Atlantic cruise on the Westerdam.  I figured I would take them to the front desk and put them on my account on the night before disembarkation to lower my cabin account balance.   The buy-back exchange rate was horrible, even though I was partially paying off my cabin account.   I hung onto the Euros for a future cruise and let HAL put the balance on my credit card.

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1 hour ago, TAD2005 said:

The buy-back exchange rate was horrible, even though I was partially paying off my cabin account.   I hung onto the Euros for a future cruise

 

That is what I do as well.  At a restaurant in St. Barts, I paid for our lunch bill with Euros after the waiter asked "what credit card would you like to use".  He was surprised when I gave him currency.

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14 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

On the Zaandam's South America/Antarctica cruise a couple of years ago, Argentine currency was not available.  Nor, could I purchase any from my bank before I left home.

Argentine currency is only available in Argentina.  Take care in the amount you purchase The exchange booth in terminal will not buy back and other countries do not accept the money.  We had to spend down our money in port shop.  Worked out ok as my partner got a neat if overpriced cap.  We also passed on remaining small amount to fellow travelers to find goodies.

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This thread is all about a non-problem with a very simple answer.

 

Most cruise terminals on Planet Earth have ATMs right in the terminal.

They all have language options for the linguistically impaired.

And Surprise !! -ATMs nearly always give you a better rate than banks or currency exchange shops.

Even better, ATMs ALWAYS give you a far better rate than cruise ships do.

 

Now for the next non-problem.

 

What to do with leftover foreign currency?

1. Do you really have that much to worry about it? Chances are that the amount is tiny.

2. The currency makes great souvenirs for children. Also great tips for cruise line and hotel service staff.

3. Nearly any of your local banks can exchange it for you - even if they need to send it to a larger city.

4. Do you or any friends, relatives, neighbors, or co-workers ever plan to visit that country again? Probably.

5. Just holding on to the money will probably not bankrupt you, and it is unlikely that the currency will lose value over time.

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1 hour ago, Donald said:

This thread is all about a non-problem with a very simple answer.

 

Most cruise terminals on Planet Earth have ATMs right in the terminal.

They all have language options for the linguistically impaired.

And Surprise !! -ATMs nearly always give you a better rate than banks or currency exchange shops.

Even better, ATMs ALWAYS give you a far better rate than cruise ships do.

 

Now for the next non-problem.

 

What to do with leftover foreign currency?

1. Do you really have that much to worry about it? Chances are that the amount is tiny.

2. The currency makes great souvenirs for children. Also great tips for cruise line and hotel service staff.

3. Nearly any of your local banks can exchange it for you - even if they need to send it to a larger city.

4. Do you or any friends, relatives, neighbors, or co-workers ever plan to visit that country again? Probably.

5. Just holding on to the money will probably not bankrupt you, and it is unlikely that the currency will lose value over time.

 

I personally wouldn't want to pay $5-8 dollars in ATM fees to get $50 worth of currency.  Also it's recommended security practice to only use bank ATMs due to the security risk of having a card (and account!) compromised by an ATM with a card skimmer.  If you know you need to use an ATM abroad, I recommend getting a Charles Schwab debit card as they'll reimburse the ATM fees and set up a separate account so your risk is limited to what's in the account.  Added in edit: there's also no guarantee that the third party ATM has a better (or even fair) rate - the airport in Paris had some ATMs that were gouging by about 10% above the daily rate, whereas Hamburg airport ATM was only about a point above daily rate.  Europe was good about requiring them ATMs to disclose the rates, but it was up to the consumer to know what was fair.

 

Having had family members who suffered having their bank accounts zeroed from a compromised debit card, I take simple card security seriously.  They were home and we could float them some cash until their bank helped them out - imagine having only the cash in your wallet accessible until the bank can verify your fraudulent activity claim!!!  In this day in age, it doesn't hurt to set up a separate savings account at one of the big banks that offers a high-yield savings account anyway (Goldman Sachs' Marcus account or Cap One 360 are two examples) and get the benefit of better yields >1.5% on your savings and a little extra security as it puts cash into a pot that is separate from your daily checking account.

 

As to small amount of Euros left over on our previous cruise, I used them as tips for the crew (#2).  My more recent Euros I stuck in a drawer and will use next time I visit the EU (#5), providing me with taxi money instead of having to fumble with a credit card.

Edited by jb008

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2 hours ago, Donald said:

This thread is all about a non-problem with a very simple answer.

 

Most cruise terminals on Planet Earth have ATMs right in the terminal.

They all have language options for the linguistically impaired.

And Surprise !! -ATMs nearly always give you a better rate than banks or currency exchange shops.

Even better, ATMs ALWAYS give you a far better rate than cruise ships do.

 

Now for the next non-problem.

 

What to do with leftover foreign currency?

1. Do you really have that much to worry about it? Chances are that the amount is tiny.

2. The currency makes great souvenirs for children. Also great tips for cruise line and hotel service staff.

3. Nearly any of your local banks can exchange it for you - even if they need to send it to a larger city.

4. Do you or any friends, relatives, neighbors, or co-workers ever plan to visit that country again? Probably.

5. Just holding on to the money will probably not bankrupt you, and it is unlikely that the currency will lose value over time.

 

Whilst I disagree with your ATM-in-the-terminal suggestion I would like to add another point to your leftover currency list:

 

- International airlines and airports will usually have collection areas for unused foreign currency donations to go to a good charity.

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As one who travels Internationally, including many cruises, about 6 months a year we obtain all of our currency via ATMs.  They are usually convenient, give us the best exchange rates, and have the lowest fees/commissions of any currency source.  We carry 3 different ATM cards, each drawn on a different bank/credit union.  Two of our ATM cards do not charge any fees, which is why we opened accounts at those facilities.  Does this kind of thing really matter for cruiser?  The answer depends on how much currency you will need.  For small amounts we think it makes sense to use whatever is most convenient and not worry about the rates or fees, since the real extra cost is not worth any additional hassles.  For those who need a substantial amount of currency we do think using bank owned ATMs does make sense.  In our case we save hundreds of dollars per year.  We also love the security of knowing we can get currency 24/7 and usually do not have to carry large amounts of cash.

 

We also suggest that folks get a fee free VISA/MC card that also charges zero foreign exchange fees.  One popular such card is issued by CapitalOne, but there are many others.

 

Hank

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There is a total misconception that the ATM determines the rate...not true. Your bank determines the rate. We have a Schwab account...no ATM fees and they reimburse any fees we are charged by the ATM. We always get the best rate. That account is our travel account. We transfer money into it before hitting the ATM. Then take the money out...leave about $10.00 in it. The absolute best way to get currency in the country you are traveling in. We each have separate cards so if by chance one gets compromised the other still works.

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12 hours ago, wyobean said:

There is a total misconception that the ATM determines the rate...not true. Your bank determines the rate. We have a Schwab account...no ATM fees and they reimburse any fees we are charged by the ATM. We always get the best rate. That account is our travel account. We transfer money into it before hitting the ATM. Then take the money out...leave about $10.00 in it. The absolute best way to get currency in the country you are traveling in. We each have separate cards so if by chance one gets compromised the other still works.

 

Depends on whether the ATM abroad posts the charge as the local currency to your bank, or if they post it to your bank in USD.  Same trick as when a merchant will offer to run the charges in USD or local currency, if you let them run it in USD you'll avoid a foreign exchange fee (if that applies, varies from ~0-3% depending on your card) but the merchant sets the exchange rate.  So your 10 EUD item might be "converted" to 12 USD by the merchant, whereas 10 EUD by your bank would be ~11 USD at today's approx rate.

 

Also the Travelex ATMs at both JFK and CDG airports had terrible rates clearly marked... maybe they charge them as a processing fee or whatnot instead... but cost to withdraw money at both airports was too high.  Thankfully HAM airport had some traditional bank ATMs. 

 

I also have a Schwab debit card, got it specifically for the fee waiver on out of network ATMs.

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23 hours ago, wyobean said:

There is a total misconception that the ATM determines the rate...not true. Your bank determines the rate. We have a Schwab account...no ATM fees and they reimburse any fees we are charged by the ATM. We always get the best rate. That account is our travel account. We transfer money into it before hitting the ATM. Then take the money out...leave about $10.00 in it. The absolute best way to get currency in the country you are traveling in. We each have separate cards so if by chance one gets compromised the other still works.

If only life were simple.  When you travel Internationally, the actual rate you get is best determined by simply looking at your account, seeing how much has actually been debited to your account, and doing the math.  But the reality of ATMs always involves an International Services Fee which in, most cases, is assessed by Visa International (or similar organization) who handles the transactions behind the scene.  That ISF is generally discounted from the current bank wholesale rate of exchange and is a hidden fee.  Your own bank can choose to assess additional fees, which is why many frequent travelers carefully shop for the best bank or credit union.  There can also be other fees/taxes assessed by the owner of the ATM.  So. when I withdraw cash here in Puerto  Vallarta, the local bank assesses a fee/taxes per transaction ranging from about 36 Pesos - 67 Pesos.  That amount is fully disclosed on the screen during the transaction.

 

I should mention that the latest bank "rip off" scheme is called "Dynamic Currency Conversion."  During your transaction a screen will offer you a specific conversion rate (set by the local ATM bank).  If you accept that rate you will usually lose 5-10 percent.  If you "reject" that conversion rate you will get the much better bank wholesale rate.

 

I should mention that many merchants now use s similar Dynamic Currency scam when you use a major credit card.  They will often do this by simply asking the customer if they would prefer the credit transaction to be done in dollars (or your home currency)?  It sounds like an innocent question, but saying "Yes" will get you a lousy exchange rate set by the merchants own bank.  Always say "no" and do your charges in the local currency.

 

Hank

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I have traveled mostly in Mexico. I have never run into this. I have used numerous ATMs and check the amount deducted from my account immediately. We spend 5 months every year in Mexico. There has never been any other charge on my account other than the ATM fee. I have also used an ATM in Canada with the same results. We also use our cc for a lot of things. I have only been asked one time in all my years here if I wanted the credit card to be charged in US dollars. I questioned how they could do that....they stuttered and stammered and said they would just charge it in pesos. While I am not claiming to know everything about how this works it has been my understanding that it is only legal for businesses in a country to charge their own currency on a cc. This was just substantiated by a friend of mine who is a business owner here(we are currently in Mexico). Needless, to say I will be on the lookout for the situation you are describing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, wyobean said:

 it is only legal for businesses in a country to charge their own currency on a cc.

This seems to vary by country.

We did a rum distillery tour on Martinique a couple of years ago.  Bought a bottle of rum at the end of the tour...it was $10. US.  A tiny bell went off in my head as I handed my CC to the cashier...and I told her to charge it in Euros.  My bottle of rum instantly cost $7.50. 

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1 hour ago, wyobean said:

While I am not claiming to know everything about how this works it has been my understanding that it is only legal for businesses in a country to charge their own currency on a cc.

 

Hmm I’ve had the offer to pay in our dollars or U.S. dollars in many stores in Fort Lauderdale - Publix, Ross’, etc.

 

So it definitely happens in the United States and I’ve experienced it elsewhere as well.  

For example, in Europe, I’ve also had the offer for automatic conversion in some countries.  In both cases, I choose the currency of the country I am visiting and let my credit card do the conversion 😉 

 

 

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Good to know...I would also always ask for their currency. They must have accounts with a bank that accepts other currencies. I am trying to wrap my head around how that can work. Guess I will ask my banker the next time I am there...lol

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On 2/27/2020 at 1:58 PM, jb008 said:

 

I personally wouldn't want to pay $5-8 dollars in ATM fees to get $50 worth of currency.  Also it's recommended security practice to only use bank ATMs due to the security risk of having a card (and account!) compromised by an ATM with a card skimmer.  If you know you need to use an ATM abroad, I recommend getting a Charles Schwab debit card as they'll reimburse the ATM fees and set up a separate account so your risk is limited to what's in the account.  Added in edit: there's also no guarantee that the third party ATM has a better (or even fair) rate - the airport in Paris had some ATMs that were gouging by about 10% above the daily rate, whereas Hamburg airport ATM was only about a point above daily rate.  Europe was good about requiring them ATMs to disclose the rates, but it was up to the consumer to know what was fair.

 

Having had family members who suffered having their bank accounts zeroed from a compromised debit card, I take simple card security seriously.  They were home and we could float them some cash until their bank helped them out - imagine having only the cash in your wallet accessible until the bank can verify your fraudulent activity claim!!!  In this day in age, it doesn't hurt to set up a separate savings account at one of the big banks that offers a high-yield savings account anyway (Goldman Sachs' Marcus account or Cap One 360 are two examples) and get the benefit of better yields >1.5% on your savings and a little extra security as it puts cash into a pot that is separate from your daily checking account.

 

As to small amount of Euros left over on our previous cruise, I used them as tips for the crew (#2).  My more recent Euros I stuck in a drawer and will use next time I visit the EU (#5), providing me with taxi money instead of having to fumble with a credit card.

I agree. I wouldn't pay $5 to get $50. I also have a credit card with zero ATM Fees.

But I wouldn't mind paying $5 to get $300 - especially as the better exchange rate in an ATM still nets you more money than going to a bank.

My credit card also has a low set daily limit for cash withdrawals from ATMs, and sends me an email every time my card is used for anything.

But then, I wouldn't spend $20 in a taxi to go to a bank in order to avoid using the ATM in the cruise terminal.

Nor would I pay the highway robbery fees charged by the cruise lines to exchange money.

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5 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I should mention that many merchants now use s similar Dynamic Currency scam when you use a major credit card.  They will often do this by simply asking the customer if they would prefer the credit transaction to be done in dollars (or your home currency)?  It sounds like an innocent question, but saying "Yes" will get you a lousy exchange rate set by the merchants own bank.  Always say "no" and do your charges in the local currency.

 

Thanks to what I have learned by participating on Cruise Critic, I have learned to say "no".

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10 hours ago, wyobean said:

I have traveled mostly in Mexico. I have never run into this. I have used numerous ATMs and check the amount deducted from my account immediately. We spend 5 months every year in Mexico. There has never been any other charge on my account other than the ATM fee. I have also used an ATM in Canada with the same results. We also use our cc for a lot of things. I have only been asked one time in all my years here if I wanted the credit card to be charged in US dollars. I questioned how they could do that....they stuttered and stammered and said they would just charge it in pesos. While I am not claiming to know everything about how this works it has been my understanding that it is only legal for businesses in a country to charge their own currency on a cc. This was just substantiated by a friend of mine who is a business owner here(we are currently in Mexico). Needless, to say I will be on the lookout for the situation you are describing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a note that we have lived in Puerto Vallarta for the last 14 winters and are here now.  Dynamic Currency exchange seems to be a very new thing here that we first noticed back in January when we used a HSBC ATM.  A few days later it started showing up on the Santander Bank ATMs.  A friend told us that he also had it on a Banamex ATM although I cannot guarantee that is correct since I do not use Banamex.   But since I use both HSBC and Santander ATMs on a weekly basis you can take that to the bank...….literally.

 

Hank

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