How to Manage Your Money on a Cruise


No matter how carefully you manage your holiday spending money – unexpected fees, one too many meals, and the inability to say no to one final souvenir can soon spell the end for your holiday budget.

If you’ve booked a cruise believing that managing your money will be easier atop the high seas – given the all-inclusive meals and entertainment – you may be sadly mistaken. However hard you try to keep tabs on a cruise budget, the classy restaurants, glittering casinos and well-stocked cocktail bars will quickly sap your holiday spends – if you let them.

With careful planning and a degree of self-control however, it is possible to manage your money without over or under-spending on a cruise break. Here, we’ll provide some simple tips and advice on how to do just that.

Create a Generous Daily Budget

At Cruise1st Australia we’re often asked, “How much money will I need on a day to day basis during a cruise?” This depends on a number of factors, including how many excursions you book, how often you’ll eat and drink in areas not covered by the all-inclusive tariff, and whether you plan to purchase any souvenirs or gifts during the cruise.

Our advice would be to budget liberally on a day-to-day basis, and take into account any unexpected overheads. It’s also a good idea to pre-book excursions before you travel, so as not to eat into your at-sea budget.

Using Debit & Credit Cards on a Cruise

Pretty woman operates an ATM on the street

For many travellers, using a debit or credit card on holiday is easier than buying foreign currency, and often garners a better exchange rate. Whilst it’s perfectly OK to make purchases and withdraw cash from a debit or credit during a cruise, you’ll be charged a poor exchange rate – particularly when compared to the rate of purchasing foreign currency on dry land.

Not only that, but amid the excitement of cruising, it’s also easy to misplace your card, meaning you’ll have to go through the rigmarole of cancelling it – not easy in the middle of the ocean.

Try Cash Cards and Traveller’s Cheques

If you’re concerned about carrying foreign currency for fear of it being lost or stolen, pre-paid cash cards or traveller’s cheques offer a safe and secure way to pay for goods and services whilst you’re away.

Available from the bank, post office or bureau de change; traveller’s cheques have been used by holidaymakers for years, and can be exchanged for cash on-board or paid directly to a number of vendors. Alternatively, pre-paid cash cards are becomingly increasingly popular, and are now widely accepted on most cruise lines. Just load it up with your holiday spends, and enjoy easy instant payments or withdraw cash from an on-board ATM.

Always Carry a Small Quantity of Cash

Young woman tourist in dress with photo camera walking near the big cruise liner

Whether you opt for a pre-paid cash card, traveller’s cheques, or plan to make purchases using your debit or credit card, it’s a good idea to carry some cash on you for those small, unexpected payments. Whether you’d like to tip in a restaurant or hop on a bus when your ship makes a port call, carrying extra cash on your person is a shrewd move.

For more tips and advice on enjoying a hassle-free cruise holiday, check out the rest of the Cruise1st Australia blog. Alternatively, visit the Crusie1st Australia homepage to browse a complete range of affordable, upcoming cruise breaks, or call our team on 1300 857 345.

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Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Images Money

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