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Do you need cash in a cruise?

Is it necessary to have cash on hand while on a cruise? Learn why carrying cash on a cruise is vital.

By Cruise Booking Team

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When getting ready for a cruise journey and preparing the budget, one important thing that will come to your mind is whether you should carry cash or not. While booking the cruise vacation, most of the expenses are included in the cruise fare, and you can also pre-book drinks, dining, shore excursions, and fitness packages. In addition to all of this, you still need to have cash in hand because there might be a few small additional expenses. Currently, the majority of cruise lines accept contactless payments, but if your debit or credit card isn't working, you can use cash in an emergency. The amount of cash you should carry is determined by your travel plans and any additional amenities you may use.

Do you need cash in a cruise?

The following are some of the reasons why you might need to carry cash to make payments on a cruise vacation.

1 - Tipping crew members on ship

Cruise ships have a policy of adding gratuity and tips automatically into the accounts of all travelers. It is entirely up to you whether you want to give extra tips to staff members who provided you with exceptional personal service and whom you wish to acknowledge. It is a common practice that many travelers love to do and is a great way to bond with crew members. Small envelopes will be available so that you can tip in cash.

2 - Need cash to enjoy casino

A casino is one of the key attractions of a cruise ship, and if you visit it, you should consider how much money you will spend there. There are several things where cash can be used, such as for table games and slot machines. If you run out of cash, there will be a few ATMs on the cruise ship where you can withdraw money. One thing that can be done is that you can charge casino play to your cruise account using your cruise card, but a significant amount of fee will be charged for it.

Also Read: Do cruise ships leave you behind?

3 - Cash is needed during the shore excursion

When cruise ships stop at a port, cruisers use this as an opportunity to go on shore excursions while enjoying various activities and meeting local residents. Although credit cards are accepted at several places, carrying cash can be very helpful to make smaller payments. When you go shopping to buy food, drinks, and souvenirs from small vendors, they will only accept cash. When you visit the beach, there are many activities to enjoy during shore excursions like boat rides and snorkeling, or you can rent some chairs to spend some time relaxing, such things often require cash for payments. During a walking tour, cash can also be utilized to tip the tour guide.

Tips to save money on your cruise vacation

  • Cruise lines allow travelers to bring a few bottles of wine or champagne on the ship. By doing so, you can save money by not purchasing pricey drinks on board.
  • You should book shore excursions online rather than on the cruise ship, as they may be more expensive. There is also the possibility of receiving a discount by booking online.
  • Prefer eating your meal at the main dining rooms rather than specialty restaurants. Cruise lines charge an extra fee to dine at specialty restaurants, while dining at the main dining hall is included in cruise tickets.
  • Look for discount deals on spa and salon treatments to save money, which is usually available on embarkation and port days.


While preparing for a cruise vacation, it is crucial to make a budget for it and carry some amount of cash, as it is not possible to make cashless payments everywhere. Before embarking on a journey, figure out all the places where cash payments will be needed and carry the amount of cash according to it. Cash will come in handy in an emergency when your credit card may not work.

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