We have not quite arrived at a cash free world just yet! On your first cruise we highly recommend that you take a certain amount of small bills with you for spontaneous smaller purchases and that spur the moment tipping when least expected. For instance there are numerous ships with Casinos. Tipping will be easy with cash. Also cash is always good to have in the many ports you will be visiting. If safety is a concern, most all ship cabins have personal safes. If your cabin does not have a safe or you would feel more comfortable with storing your jewelry and money elsewhere, your Cruise Ship will have a ship vault. Be sure to get your itemized receipt and ask about the ship's policies regarding your personal items stored in the vault.
Before you take your first cruise you will want to set up your own charge account for all purchases from a cup of coffee to extensive Spa Treatments! This makes everything go very smoothly. The emphasis here is on “credit” cards. If you use a “debit” card you may be limited by your Cruise line to only spending a certain amount. And what if you do not have a credit card? Simply make arrangements to deposit a certain amount of cash before your cruise in an account for your use only. If you are sharing a cabin with a friend both of you charging will not be a problem as you will have separate charge accounts.
Taking your first cruise is exhilarating. You want everything you can possibly think of to run smoothly as there will always be a surprise or two. One of the things to clearly plan for is preparing the children for how THEY will spend their time if traveling with you. There are a couple of plans you could consider:
1. You are in charge of all the kid's expenses and will make all transactions yourself.
2. You could have a separate credit card with a limit on it for the children's use only. Remember, they would not be carrying this card around but would be charging items to their account.
3. You could deposit a certain amount of cash into an account for the kids before taking the Cruise for them to use, making it clear that there is only a certain amount to spend. Perhaps this could also serve as lessons in budgeting and spending habits for them.
Exchange services is an excellent thing to find out before you ever board your first cruise. Some Cruise Ships do offer money exchange services, and some do not. Most people feel more comfortable exchanging their money in a frequented tourist port where their is an exchange bureau provided to exchange all sorts of currency.
You are so used to using your ATMs but please know this: they are very expensive to use onboard. Using an ATM machine while visiting a Port is a much better idea. Generally, know just about what you've allotted to spend for your cruise Cruise that way way you will not feel the pain of too many purchases and by being organized up front you will not get stuck without the proper funds nor be embarrassed when it's that moment to tip! Have fun!