Budgeting Tips for Cash-Friendly Cruise Ship Vacations

Cash for Cruise Ship: You need to budget enough money for purchases at the cruise port when you go on a trip. Even though carrying actual cash has become less necessary over time, many cruisers still find it useful, particularly for little purchases. Using debit and credit cards facilitates both in-person and online shopping.

However, a lot of small businesses at ports of call aren’t equipped to take credit or debit cards.

You might be wondering how much cash you’ll need for the cruise.

How Much Cash Is Appropriate for a Cruise?

(Credit: CNBC)

Most visitors should typically bring between $100 and $125 in cash per day. On a Caribbean cruise, the quantity of cash you should bring can vary greatly depending on your itinerary, spending limit, and style of travel.

On the cruise ship, cash is not required. You can use your cruise card as a bank account. To make payments on the ship and at the cruise line’s islands, just swipe your card.

The following is a list of items that require monetary payments:

  • Tipping: Cruise lines include gratuities as part of the cruise ticket. However, you can bring cash to thank employees like dining room servers or room attendants for their outstanding service.
  • Purchases at Ports: Local merchants, tiny stores, and markets may only or prefer to take cash from you when you disembark at various ports. Except for certain cruise line private islands, you cannot use your cruise card to make purchases while in port.
  • Onshore Transportation: Cash may be needed for taxis, buses, or other local transportation during port stops, particularly in places where credit cards aren’t commonly accepted or where there is a significant cost associated with card purchases.
  • Onboard Casinos: You will want cash if you intend to wager in the onboard casino. The majority of casinos on cruise ships accept cash only. Winnings are handed out in cash, even if you can charge for your accommodations.
  • Laundry Services: The majority of cruise ships bill your onboard spending account for laundry services. On the other hand, self-service laundry facilities on certain older ships require coins to operate.
    Tips for Porters at the Cruise Terminal: Tipping the porters at the cruise terminal who help you with your bags is usual.
  • Crises: It’s a good idea to keep some cash on hand in case of unanticipated events or crises.
  • Souvenirs & Local Crafts: Purchasing items from regional craftspeople or from portside souvenir stores usually involves cash, but it’s also a fantastic way to help the local economy.

Generally speaking, you should set aside the same amount of money for this trip as you would for any other. For most people, we advise carrying $100–$125 in cash each day.

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Insider Advice

It is advisable to store valuables such as passports, credit cards, IDs, and critical documents in your stateroom safe while on the cruise ship. You should also leave the majority of your cash there.

Things to Take Into Account

When deciding how much money to bring on a cruise, several considerations are involved. Consider the following:

How long is the cruise?

The length of your cruise has a significant impact on the amount of money you’ll need. A three-day trip to the Bahamas doesn’t require you to pack as much cash as a two-week trip around Europe.

In general, you should have more cash on hand for longer cruises.

Longer cruises have more port calls, giving you more time to explore and buy.

Your Purchase Patterns

A busy day in Juneau, Alaska, where cruise visitors may buy souvenirs on S. Franklin St.
Consider your shopping habits carefully. You’ll need to bring extra cash if you enjoy shopping for presents, handcrafted goods from the area, and mementos.

While some travelers prefer going on full-fledged shopping sprees, others are happy to window shop or purchase one or two souvenirs. Admit your habits to yourself and set aside money for them appropriately.


(Credit: Food & wine)

Tipping goes beyond the pre-paid gratuities that cover your cabin and dining staff; it’s a big element of cruise culture.

We won’t get into the contentious subject of tipping over the automatically charged service charge in this piece.

However, if you enjoy leaving tips for employees that provide excellent service, you might want to bring over some extra cash to express your gratitude. Think about the tour guides, porters, main dining room servers, and your stateroom attendant.


(Credit: Hotel)

In the cruise ship casino, cash rules supreme. It is now possible for passengers to charge their onboard accounts for casino purchases made on several cruise ships. But in the casino, the majority of cruise lines only take cash.

Winnings are still paid out in cash, even if you can charge your account for casino expenditures.

Setting a budget for your gambling in advance will help you avoid going overboard during the thrill of the game. Recall that there are significant fees associated with using onboard ATMs, so it’s best to bring only the necessities rather than making larger withdrawals.

Is Cash Required on a Cruise Ship?

On a cruise ship, cash is not required. Purchases on cruise ships are made via a cashless system that charges your onboard account, which is connected to a credit or debit card.

Put otherwise, your keycard functions much like a credit or debit card. You will receive a cruise card from the cruise line, which you can use to make purchases on the ship. Instead, you may receive a wearable device from certain cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises and Virgin Voyages.

Your cruise card can be used to pay for gourmet dining, shore excursions, spa services, cocktails, and souvenirs, among other things.

Your onboard account is immediately charged for the transactions you make at bars and stores when you swipe your card.

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When you receive the statement of transactions after your holiday, the purchases are paid for.

The automated gratuities will also be deducted from your onboard account. The automatic gratuities are sometimes overlooked by inexperienced cruisers. You won’t need to tip at any point during the voyage thanks to the automated tips.

Of course, you may always tip the hardworking room attendant, wait staff, or bar personnel more by handing them cash. To ensure that the money is going to the appropriate people, many people choose to leave cash tips for crew members.

Just keep in mind that cash tips are additional to the gratuities that cruise lines automatically charge. It’s a wonderful opportunity to express gratitude to the diligent crew that contribute to the tranquility of cruise vacations.

The casino’s slot machines aboard Scarlet LadyThe only other place you might need cash is at the casino, excluding onboard tips. In most cases, you can use some cash to buy chips in the casino on your ship. Additionally, you will receive cash payment if you win.

Winnings at the cruise casino are frequently paid out in cash, even if you play using your cruise card.

It is quite convenient to swipe your keycard. It reduces the chance of theft or loss and does away with the need to carry currency about the ship.

But keeping track of all that swiping might be difficult. And it’s simple to overdo things.

Recall that your account balance won’t be available to you until the last day of the cruise. You can end yourself spending more money than you had planned if you’re careless.

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A passport and several hundred dollars next to it while someone packs for a cruise. When going on a cruise, you should bring 100 dollars per day.

Decide on a Daily Budget

Daily Budget on cruise
(Credit: Informi)

When lounging on the pool deck in the warm sun, money is the furthest thing from your mind. You can easily spend too much money if you’re not careful.

The easiest way to make sure you don’t go over your spending limit on your cruise holiday is to set a daily limit.

Consider the daily budget you have in mind, excluding pre-paid items like drink packages or excursions.

Maintain Account of Your Bills

You can get anything you need from your self-contained environment on a cruise by simply swiping your room key. However, it’s too simple to lose track of your expenditures thanks to this convenience.

Keep a careful check on your spending to prevent sticker shock at the end of your trip.

Through the cruise line’s mobile app, stateroom TV, or guest services, you can monitor your onboard spending. Frequent check-ins assist you in maintaining your budget and adjusting your spending.

Benefit from Onboard Discounts and Promotions

Who doesn’t enjoy a good bargain? You can get great deals on cruise ships, so keep an eye out for onboard specials and promos.

From spa offers on port days to happy hour prices at the bar, there are plenty of ways to indulge and spend less.

If you don’t feel like having an afternoon piña colada, consider treating yourself to a massage instead of checking the daily agenda for special offers. Recall that the objective is to achieve equilibrium and relish your journey without plunging into an ocean of debt.

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Which Currencies Need to You Pack?

US currencies are accepted at all ports in the Bahamas, Alaska, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It is preferable to have euros with you when sailing around Europe, as they are widely accepted as local currency (the UK and Norway only accept pounds and Norwegian kronere, respectively).

Do ATMs Exist on Cruise Ships?

ATMs on Cruise Ships
(Credit: Should be cruising)

There are ATMs on board most cruise ships, so you shouldn’t freak out if you run out of cash.

It’s vital to remember that cruise ship ATMs charge steep fees (sometimes about $7) for cash withdrawals.

Additionally, most ports of call have ATMs. These cash machines might not be entirely reliable, though, and they also come with hefty costs.

Although it’s rare, cruise lines’ ATMs occasionally run out of money while you’re on the water. There’s no reason to freak out if this happens to you.

At the Casino Cashier, you can use a credit or debit card to obtain a cash advance. However, be ready to pay an approximate 5% “convenience fee” (usually with a $5 minimum price).

Currency exchanges are also available on cruise ships.

However, be advised that there will always be an exchange fee paid to the cruise line and that the conversion rates are terrible.

If you need to exchange currencies before you leave, this is the best course of action.

Protect Your Money

Recall to keep your cash safe in the safe in your stateroom. There is usually a safe in a cruise ship stateroom. When not in use, keep cash, credit cards, travel documents, jewelry, and valuables in the safe.

After the cruise, don’t forget to empty the safe before you disembark.

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