How To Use Cold, Hard Cash On A Carnival Cruise

How To Use Cold, Hard Cash On A Carnival Cruise

We’ve all heard horror stories about identify theft, debit card holds, and going crazy at the casino to make us at least flirt with the idea of cruising with only cash. Cash, cash. Like paper bills, cash. The things is, though, that cruise lines make it really complicated/confusing to do this. Why? Because you’ll spend more when cruising on credit.

But, putting down paper money to fund your onboard spending isn’t hard. I’ll break it all down for you.

Let me clarify that you cannot pay with cash on board. Most cruise lines do not accept cash on board for individual purchases. Ships aren’t designed with cash registers at every location. What you can do, however, if set up your onboard account with cash and use your Sail & Sign card to swipe. Every time you purchase something, that amount is deducted from the cash you started your account with.

The first step will be to complete your online check-in. At the section for onboard purchases select that you will establish a cash account. You’re all set until embarkation.

Once you get on board, your first stop should be Guest Services. Let them know you want to use cash for your purchases while on the ship and hand over your cash. They also accept traveler’s checks in USD currency. Below you will find recommended amounts to start with. If you blow through that, you can always return to Guest Services and add more cash.

For 2-4 day cruises, Carnival recommends a starting cash balance of $100 per person. For 5-8 day cruises, they recommend $200 per person, and for cruises that are 9 days or longer, they recommend $350 per person.

The amount you deposit will be applied toward your Sail & Sign card. Once you run out of money, they will shut off your card. If you somehow go over by any $ amount, they will attempt to find you on board (this could include paging you over the ship’s PA system.) Staff gratuities will be removed from your balance a day or two before the cruise ends, so make sure to keep an eye on your account to see what you have left. One way to avoid this is to pre-pay your gratuities. You can also go to Guest Services and ask that the gratuities be removed from your account. You can then give out your gratuities in cash, in person. Your account can be accessed via the Hub App, through your TV in your cabin, or via several kiosks around the ship.

If you have over $10 cash left at the end of the cruise, Carnival will mail a check to your home address on file. Overages under $10 will be donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. According to Carnival’s site, if you would prefer your overage in cash, you should visit a kiosk or Guest Services prior to debarking the ship.

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