Welcome to the Cruise Reviews forum. Your first cruise is going to be 18 days? Wow!
The onboard account can be established using credit cards, debit cards, or cash. If you use a credit or debit card you provide this info when you do your online check-in and then when you get to the pier they will scan the card and activate your account. At that point a certain amount of your credit line or bank account will be placed on hold. This is $500 I think. I know that if you tell them you will be using cash they have a $500 daily limit, and when you approach that amount (whether it is the first day or 10th day of the cruise) you will be told to come to the guest relations desk and pay up so they can keep your cruise account activated.
I am pretty sure that with Royal Caribbean you do not have to provide a cash deposit at the beginning of the cruise if that is how you want to pay your account. If you use a credit card, when you hit that $500 mark they will automatically put a hold on another $500 of your credit line. The only problem would be if you ran out of credit line.
Here is an important note: if you use a debit card this means money in your bank account is not available and therefore it could impact any automatic payments you may have set up such as mortgages or electric bills if you don't have enough funds in your account.
We always use a credit card and don't worry about it after checking in. If you use either a credit or debit card you do not have to settle up in cash when the cruise ends. They will at that point charge or debit the amount you owe. If you wish, you can settle in cash and have them adjust the credit or debit card amount accordingly.
During the course of your cruise you will hear people being paged to contact guest relations. More than likely, this is because their accounts are about to be frozen. I strongly urge using a credit card and making sure you have enough credit available to avoid a problem. Only you know how much you will spend on drinks, purchases, etc.
For us, we look at $100 to $200 per day in charges (total for 3 of us). Many think we are being extravagant. But typically, for a 7-night cruise we'll end up with a bill of around $1000 to $1200 and that also will include the gratuities for the crew unless we had the tips added to the cruise fare.
I am so jealous..would love to go on a cruise that long. I hope you have a blast.
My husband and I did a 7 day cruise on Freedom a year ago, we only used cash. We brought $1500. And had money left over. They had a credit card already, before we boarded..Maybe from our deposit from making reservation???? I do not remember giving them one (did not remember seeing husband giving them one). I know they had one cause we got a credit on card about 2 or 3 weeks after from RCCL. There were only 2 of us on ship and did 2 excersions. We did pre pay for atleast 1 dinner (murder mystery). I also pre bought soda package, water package, juice package, and got bottle of wine and 2 other "treats". Depending on how u feel this may be better (easier)??. My thought buy it before so don't have to worry zbout it later. I will not get as much stuff on next cruise as we did on 1st.
Candice, did you do online check-in before your cruise? During the online check-in process, you're asked for the type of payment you'll be using on the ship, and if a credit card, the type of credit card and the last four digits. Is it possible that you filled in that information during online check-in instead of indicating you'll be paying in cash? If you said you want to pay in cash, they require a deposit before you sail, and impose a $500 per day spending limit. If you give them credit card information, you can still settle in cash instead of having the bill sent through to the credit card company.
And finally, if you set up a credit card during your on line check in, be sure to bring that credit card with you to have them swipe it during check in. You can change the card to another at check in but that takes more time. If you have the same card then things go faster.