As stated, my first cruise is on 2nd december this year. I have lots of questions :
As far as the shipboard account goes - I am slightly worried about overspending etc - is there way you can check out your account balance at any point you like ? Also I here that you cannot pay by a debit card at the end of your cruise. I do not use any credit cards and my only option is debit - will this be a problem ?
I can't speak for all cruise lines. but on Carnival you can check your balance anytime you want at the Info. Desk. On most of the ships they have inter-active TV where you can check you account, book excursions etc.
As far as Debit cards, if has a Visa/Mastercard logo on the card is perfectly acceptable.
Some people choose not to use their bank debit card because they put a hold on it for the amount to secure your account. But if you want to pay with it is no problem as long as the funds are available in your bank account.
You can also give them the required cash deposit without a credit card.
We had some folks on our ship use their debit card and then they couldnt purchase anything in ports because they had a hold on their account. Now I hear if you let your bank know what will be happening they wont freeze it. My suggestion is put cash up front for your ship board acct. That way when you have charged all you can, it wont accept anymore and you still have your debit card for purchases in ports.
We would suggest getting a credit card before your cruise. They are oh so easy to get. On ours, we've never paid any interest charges as we pay the balance off monthly. Our last cruise was on the Caribbean Princess Sept 2-9. Our total charges was for around $750.00 It included drinks, a wine tasting seminar, photos, perfume and a few small items from the gift shop. We just received our credit card bill and the charges were not on it yet. That means we get 30 more days before we have to pay.
Everybody is different and for us we generally allocate about $100.00 per day for these charges. It usually works out pretty close, except when Rita finds something in the jewelry shop!
__________________ "Sea" You, Keith & Rita Ann
Fast dancing is the second best form of exercise, slow dancing leads to the first!
Holland America requires a minimum of $60 per day. I didnt go to my limit. With 2 people that would be $120 per day x 7 days so $840. If you can, maybe put $1000 down. I wouldnt get a credit card just for the ship. Credit cards are way to easy. I know, I have filed bankruptcy once and wont have another credit card.
I like the suggestion someone on another thread made about getting a prepaid credit card. You can get a Master Card or Visa and load it with as much money as you want to spend. It's like a gift card. We use a credit card but also take travelers checks. We then pay down the cruise charges with whatever travelers checks we have left at the end of the cruise and the balance goes on the credit card.
A "hold" is when the credit card company places a charge on your account as a "deposit" on what you might spend. Its done to protect the store (in this case the cruise line) from someone using a card that say only has $400 limit on it and then having them charge $1000 worth of items on the card. They only actually ttry to put the charge through at the end of the cruise. If you don't have the limite, the card could be denied.
It happens all the time if you use a credit card at a gas station, they will make sure the card is good buy putting a hold on it when you swipe it. If the hold is denied, then the card won't be accepted.
For a debit card, you will see a "hold" charge placed on your account. It may be $1000 to $1400 for a 7 day cruise. This could cause your checking account to bounce because the end of the cruise charge can come through (Let's say you spent $800 on board) and the $1000 hold (which may stay on your account for a week or two) and boom your account is down $1800. Even if you knew you had the $800 in the account, you still have problems.
On top of that, if you use your debit card the hold may cause your debit card to be denied if you then try to use it in the ports.
Easy to just use a credit card and not worry about it in my mind...
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NCL Dream October 2006, RCCL Mariner OTS June 2007