‘How do I pay for things I buy on board?’ is one of the most common questions from first time cruisers. Fortunately, the answer is really simple!
You will register a credit or debit card as part of the embarkation process, either online pre check-in or at the terminal, and will be issued with a cruise card. This will be used to access your stateroom, as ID when embarking or disembarking the ship in ports and to register all on board spending.
Every time you make a purchase on board, your card will be swiped and you will be handed two receipts; one to keep for your records and one to be signed and returned to the cashier for the ships records. The spend will then be added to your on board account. Some cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean allow you to track your on board account via the interactive TV, whilst others will require you to check at reception or the purser’s desk.
At the end of your cruise, the total amount on your on board account will be debited from the credit or debit card registered at embarkation.
Your cruise card will serve as ID when you are in port and you must take it with you whenever you disembark for any reason. A crew member will scan the card when you leave the ship and when you return. This allows them to make sure everyone is present and accounted for, as well as serving as a security measure.
Don’t panic if you lose your cruise card! Nobody can use your card to make on board purchases without a signature that matches the one registered to your account and as your cruise card doesn’t feature your cabin number, there’s no risk of anyone who finds it gaining entry to your stateroom either. Head to reception, where your cruise card will be replaced immediately.