Carnival Cruise Line Clarifies the Use of Cash Onboard

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Carnival Cruise Line has addressed a pricey rumor about cash, namely, the use of cash onboard the cruise line’s ships. Despite social media insistence, the cruise line will, in fact, permit guests to continue using cash to set up their onboard accounts, though individual retail outlets onboard are indeed cashless.

Carnival Cruise Line Will Continue Accepting Cash

The latest rumor swirling around Carnival Cruise Line is the idea that beginning in 2025, the cruise line will no longer accept any cash onboard for Sail & Sign accounts. While it is true that onboard shops, bars, spa facilities, photo galleries, and other retail outlets do not accept cash as payment, the rumor indicates that guests will not be able to set up their Sail & Sign accounts using cash.

“I was going to make a joke about our ships not taking cash, only credit cards. But bugger, I just can’t think of one ATM,” John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador, joked about the rumor. “This is not correct, cash is and will continue to be allowed.”

Furthermore, guests can feel free to offer cash as extra tips and gratuities to their cabin attendants, bartenders, wait staff, and other crew members as desired.

The confusion may be due to the fact that guests are not permitted to use cash why buying anything in the onboard shops, and may not pay for dining reservations, spa treatments, or shore tours booked through the cruise line with cash directly.

Many travelers prefer to use cash on a cruise as a way to ensure they do not run up large credit card bills that can be an unpleasant surprise after a fun vacation. Some travelers may also not have credit cards, or wish to use cash just as a matter of personal preference, especially when making purchases in ports of call where credit cards may not be accepted.

Cruise Currency
Cruise Currency (Photo Credit: Jaime Garcia M)

Read Also – 10 Things You’ll Wish You’d Packed for Your Cruise – Including Cash!

Carnival Cruise Line – and all major cruise lines – operate on a cashless basis, with shipboard accounts used for all financial transactions. Each guest’s individual account is linked to a method of payment the guest chooses when checking in for the getaway.

That method of payment may be select major credit or debit cards, traveler’s checks, or cash. One payment method (one single card, for example) may be used for up to 15 guests, making it easy to set up accounts for families or other groups.

Using Cash for a Shipboard Account

To set up a Sail & Sign account with cash, travelers will need to visit the Guest Services desk on the first day of the cruise to deposit cash to cover onboard expenses. The minimum recommended deposit, per person, is $100 (USD) for a 2-4 night cruise, $200 for a 5-8 night cruise, and $350 for any cruise 9 nights or longer.

If guests spend more onboard than they anticipated and run out of cash in their accounts, they will be contacted by Guest Services to deposit more cash. At any time during the cruise, travelers can check their account balances via the Carnival Hub app, through available kiosks, on stateroom televisions (on select ships), or at the Guest Services desk.

Carnival Liberty Promenade Deck
Carnival Liberty Promenade Deck (Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin / Shutterstock)

If cash-based accounts are running low, travelers can easily visit Guest Services to add more cash to their overall balance if necessary or desired.

All accounts must be paid in full before guests debark at the end of their sailing. Because of long lines and debarkation procedures on the final morning of a cruise, passengers are urged to ensure their accounts will be settled appropriately on the last full day of a sailing.

Where Cash Is Accepted

Guests on all Carnival ships can continue to use cash for extra gratuities when desired, and any small amount is certainly appreciated by the hard-working crew members.

Cash can also be used in the ship’s casino, or guests can use their Sail & Sign accounts for gambling if funds are available. For accounts set up with credit cards, daily limits do apply for casino play.

Do you use cash to set up your onboard account? How much cash do you bring onboard? Share your thoughts on the Cruise Hive boards!

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