Cruising currency

Gloria is lucky enough to be heading off on a cruise but isn’t sure if it’s better to be billed in $AU or $US. Cruising expert Jo Hall offers her advice.

Q. Gloria
We are going on a cruise on the Voyager of the Seas and all the onboard prices are quoted in USD. We would like to know if it would be better to pay our account in American or Australian dollars.

A. Provided by Jo Hall, 

Yes, Voyager of the Seas does operate in US dollars. 

If you’re planning to pay by credit card for onboard purchases, meaning settling your onboard account, you may be asked at the end of the cruise if you want the amount to be billed to your credit card in US or Australian dollars.  Which is better often depends on the exchange rate at the time, and also which bank has issued your credit card – they all vary a bit regarding exchange rates and charges. I would say the safest bet would be to ask to be billed in Australian dollars as it may avoid conversion charges.

If you’re planning to settle your account using cash, however, you will be asked to place a deposit on your account before sailing. There is a daily limit on cash accounts, Royal Caribbean state this as US$500.00 for seven-plus night sailings and US$300.00 for 2/3/4/5 night sailings. Once the daily cash limit is reached, the guest will be advised that the limit has been reached. 

It will be worthwhile clarifying that the ship will accept the deposit in Australian dollars, if this is your preference. You should also avoid using the ATMs onboard the ship, as the charges for withdrawing money are considerably higher than using a bank onshore before you depart.

Personally I prefer to settle accounts using a credit card for a number of reasons. Besides collecting frequent flyer miles, if there’s a dispute over any charges, you can often get help resolving from the issuing bank, Mastercard, Visa or Amex.

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Written by joannaha