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What currency is used onboard a cruise ship?

Heading on a cruise and unsure of what currency to use on the ship? The good news is that all major cruise lines offer a cashless system onboard. Simply pay using your cruise card and settle the bill at the end of the cruise.

Spending money onboard a cruise ship could not be easier. Lets face it, they do this for good reason! Drinks, spa treatments, speciality dining, activities and even purchasing that watch you saw in one of the shops – everything can be charged to your ship account. Don’t forget your cruise will include a lot of complimentary options, they are after all sold as full board. Do not feel you will have to spend a lot of cash to have a great vacation.

What currency is used?

This depends on the cruise line but if it is owned by Carnival, Norwegian Line or Royal Caribbean you can bet your dollar it will be dollars. The only exception I can think of is P&O Cruises that use pounds sterling.

Can I just pay by cash?

Sadly not, bars and shops do not have the ability to handle cash, all payments must be made to your onboard account.

What about the casino?

The cashiers office will accept cash (US dollars or the currency of your ship) or you may purchase chips on your cruise card. Be aware there is often a conversion charge (around 5%) for doing this.

Is there an ATM?

Yes, in most cases you will find this outside guest services or in the casino. Please note there will be a fee for withdrawing cash.

How can I keep track of what I am spending?

The idea of swiping a plastic card can be a worry when trying to keep track of the bill. The good news is that most ships allow guests to check their balance on the cabin television. You can also request a statement from guest services at any time. On a two week (or longer) cruise, a interim statement is often delivered to the cabin half way through the cruise. A final statement will be delivered on the last night. Be sure to check this final bill, it isn’t usual to find the odd mistake. After you have left the ship it is much more difficult to raise any queries you may have.

How do I settle my bill?

You have two options, you can pre-register your card before sailing – any outstanding bill will automatically be charged to the card at the end of the cruise. All major credit cards are accepted. Option 2 is to pay in cash on the final night of your cruise. One thing to note is queues for guest services – and long ones at that. I have found that waiting until after second sitting dinner, around 9PM is a good time to visit guest services and miss those long lines.

Who converts the currency?

Major cruise lines will let you choose if you wish to allow your card issuer to do the conversion or the cruise line themselves will offer to do this at their set rate. Please note this rate my not be as competitive as your card issuer.

Hey! I'm Matt, owner and curator of CruiseOholics, a blog dedicated to Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines across the industry.