Cash vs credit card for onboard spending

I have read many comments where it is suggested that it is better to use cash for your onboard account and not a credit card, but I have not understood why. Can anyone help me with the advantages vs disadvantages, thanks 🤔

Tags: Cash vs credit

14 Answers

For some people, it's a question of budget and a desire to debark without a credit card bill hanging over their head. It can be a way to also prevent overspending in the casino or gift shops.

Everything you buy on the ship must be put on your cruise card so some people like to put the "cash" they would normally spend for drinks, gifts, etc. into their onboard account ahead of time by either adding it ahead of time online or walking up to guest services and handing them the cash on day one of the cruise. If you have not prepaid your daily gratuity fees, this will be "charged" to your credit card on file or deducted from the cash on hand every day.

I prepay everything and also add cash to my onboard account before the cruise using a credit card that I get bonus points for. (I also try to pay the credit card bill before the cruise).

We prefer to use cash for our onboard account. We can stay on budget and be more aware of our spending.

Most advise against using a debit card. The cruiseline will place an initial hold on your card, and then add holds as you make purchases. It's up to your bank to release the holds on your funds. Some have come home to an unpleasant surprise when they discover that their checking account funds aren't available due to the holds. It can take several days after you return home for all the holds to be released.

The same is true of credit cards, but it ties up your available credit line instead of your checking account funds.

I will use a gift card to have $200.00 applied to my onboard account a week before I board. Once on board, I will use either gift cards or Carnivals gift cards to add as needed. This will eliminate carrying large sums of cash and those dreaded holds on your card.

We prefer to use a credit card, even though the holds are a nuisance they are usually resolved by the time the bill is due. It really depends on the individual, just like everything else in life... what works for on may not be for another. Now if I win in the casino (and I have small sums) I often take that cash and apply it to our account, just because it feels good!

I am EXACTLY like DVCruise (she is smart!). Prepay all, cash on cruise account, and I know my available limits.

Now if I could just stay away from the art auctions.....

I sat through an art auction once on a cruise out of curiosity. Naively thought everything would be under a Grand. LOL! Silly me.

We have friends that have spent enough money at the art auctions they got a "free" cruise with a special art auction presentation. Some of the modern artists were there!

Thanks everyone for your reply. I have cruised twice before using credit card for onboard account, didn't have any problems (prepaid as much as I could). I only recently joined several cruising sites and was seeing this advice given and wanted to understand if I was missing out on something.

First cruise was 4 night, second a 5 night. Hubby and I decided to take a 7 night on Ncl Escape for our 25th anniversary and so I have been doing a lot more research than I had previously done and the cash vs credit advice had me baffled

so, I will say again thanks everyone for your replies 🥂🛳🎉

You are welcome!! Welcome to the forums. Stick around and have some fun with us :)

We prepay what we can, then use our credit card. There are different ways of looking at this and whatever you are comfortable doing is what you should do. We check our statement regularly to make sure that there are no surprises on disembarkation day. .

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