Can You Exchange Money on a Cruise Ship?

Can You Exchange Money on a Cruise Ship? On a cruise ship, it can be confusing to figure out which currency to use when. Cruise ships have their own onboard currency for purchases, but also dock at ports with different local currencies. Exchanging money can help you avoid transaction fees and get the best rates. But are you able to exchange currencies onboard and how does it work? This post will explain the logistics of money exchange on a cruise. We’ll look at the cruise card payment system, whether ships have ATMs and currency exchange desks, the fees associated with exchanges, and tips for when to exchange before your trip or onboard.

Can You Exchange Money on a Cruise Ship?

Yes, you can exchange money on a cruise ship, but the availability and terms of currency exchange services can vary significantly depending on the cruise line and the itinerary. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Availability of Currency Exchange Services

  • Onboard Services: Many cruise ships offer currency exchange services at the guest services desk or another designated area. This is particularly common on ships that travel to international destinations.
  • Limited Currencies: The range of currencies available for exchange on board might be limited. Cruise ships typically offer currencies for the countries they are visiting during the cruise.
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2. Exchange Rates and Fees

  • Exchange Rates: The exchange rates offered on cruise ships may not be as favorable as those you would find at a bank or currency exchange bureau on land.
  • Service Fees: Additionally, there may be service fees associated with currency exchange on the ship, making it a more expensive option compared to other methods.

3. Alternative Currency Exchange Options

  • Before Departure: It’s often advisable to exchange some money into the local currency of the countries you’ll be visiting before you leave home. You can usually get better exchange rates at a bank or currency exchange service in your own country.
  • ATMs: Using ATMs at your destination can also be a convenient and cost-effective way to obtain local currency. However, be aware of any fees your bank may charge for foreign ATM use or currency conversion.
  • Credit Cards: For purchases, credit cards are widely accepted in many destinations and offer competitive exchange rates. Inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid any issues with international transactions.

Why Shouldn’t You Exchange Money on a Cruise Ship?

There are several reasons why exchanging money on a cruise ship isn’t typically recommended:

High Exchange Rates: Cruise ships generally offer much less favorable exchange rates compared to other options. They often add significant markups and fees, meaning you get fewer local bills for your dollars. These charges can eat into your spending money considerably.

Limited Currency Options: Cruise ships may not always have the specific currency you need for each port, especially less common ones. They might only offer major currencies like USD or EUR, leaving you stuck if visiting ports with different local currencies.

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Limited Availability: Smaller cruise ships may not even have onboard currency exchange services, leaving you solely reliant on ATMs with potential fees.

Better Alternatives:

  • ATMs in Ports: Usually offer better rates than an onboard exchange, although ATM fees might apply. Research withdrawal fees beforehand.
  • Local Banks/ATMs in Ports: Often provides the best rates, minimizing conversion costs. Be aware of local fees and ensure your card has international withdrawal functionality.
  • Pre-Planning with Local Currency: Exchange some funds before your cruise at your bank or a competitive service. This eliminates reliance on onboard options and ensures access to necessary currencies.


Currency exchange services are available on most cruise ships, typically at the guest services desk or designated areas. However, the availability of currencies may be limited, and exchange rates and fees can be less favorable compared to land-based options such as banks or currency exchange bureaus. Therefore, it’s generally recommended to exchange money before departure or use alternative methods such as ATMs or credit cards for obtaining local currency. Exchanging money on a cruise ship might not offer the best value due to higher exchange rates, limited currency options, and potential fees. Consider pre-planning and exploring other options for currency exchange to optimize your spending while traveling.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money should a person bring on a cruise?

Most guests bring $50-$120 cash per day to spend during the cruise.

How do I change my currency on Royal Caribbean?

Authorization for participation in the currency conversion program can be selected during online check-in, and the final authorization is made at the port during the pre-cruise check-in.

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How does money work on a cruise ship?

Since cruise ships have a cashless onboard system, passengers will not be needing cash once onboard, but can use cash in certain circumstances.

What is the best way to pay for things on a cruise?

All onboard purchases are paid for using your cruise card, which doubles as your room key.

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