When it comes to paying for things on board, most cruise lines have developed a billing system for your convenience. They will take a scan of your credit card and set up a tab for the cruise. You will then receive a total bill at the end of your cruise.
Be sure to keep all those little receipts you sign to verify the tab at the end. This is important, as it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that overcharges to your account might occur. Sign your receipts in a way that makes it easy to distinguish and difficult to duplicate.
One couple reported that when presented with their bill at the end of the cruise, there were over $1200 in charges on their bill that they had no receipts for. When they disputed the charges and the purser looked into it, someone else had charged items to their account. If they hadn’t had their receipts, they probably would have been stuck with the overcharge. As it was, the purser had no choice but to remove the charges.
If you don’t want to take the time to go through the bill and match them up with your receipts at the end of the cruise request your bill a few times during the trip and check the receipts as you go. They will give you a copy of your bill anytime you ask, so take advantage of that and stay on top of your charges.
To set up an onboard account you can use a credit card or set up a cash account.
Using your credit card can be more valuable than using cash, so use it when you can. You’ll probably be able to get a better exchange rate than changing money to spend yourself and you’ll be in a stronger position; the credit card company can often charge back disputed charges.
Many times your credit card will offer an extra guarantee or warranty when you purchase items with your card, but you’ll want to read the fine print for exceptions. You won’t have to risk your safety by carrying and displaying large amounts of cash, plus if you lose your card, most credit cards have a low maximum liability limit if you quickly report the card as lost.
Cruise spending tips onboard:
- Keep a running tally of your expenses
- Don’t wear your card around your neck, someone can see your folio number and use it
- Periodically check your folio from guest services or a kiosk
- Look for deals or specials before you decide to buy. A lot of the specialty venues have a free bottle of wine the first night
- If you’re worried about drinking too much and spending – do yourself a favor and set up a cash only account and leave the credit card in your wallet
Each cruise line throughly explains onboard accounts. Here is what Royal Caribbean says about their SeaPass.
With cruise ship surveillance and technology, it’s pretty hard for people to act as you on the cruise ship, but remember, just like in any city, those people do exist.