Cruising Cash-Free: 'Shipboard' or 'Onboard' Accounts for Your Cruise Vacation

If you are a first time cruiser, you may be unaware of the way your ‘shipboard account’ works on a cruise.

It is similar to staying in a hotel, with all charges billed to your room. When you board the cruise ship you will set up this  shipboard account with either a credit card or cash.

Basically, the cruise ship is a cash-free society.  Nowhere on the ship can you pay for items with a card or cash, except for the casino. However, there are safes in your cabin to securely store the cash you do bring for activities while in port and there are also ATM’s onboard the ship, but you may want to double check the fees charged before each transaction as they vary by cruise line.

There are safes in your cabin to securely store the cash you do bring for activities while in port and there are also ATM’s onboard the ship, but you may want to double check the fees charged before each transaction as they vary by cruise line.

What that means is that while onboard you will use your room key to charge items you purchase on the ship to your account. If you happen to lose your keycard while on the cruise, no problem, just tell the Customer Service desk and they will cancel out the old card and give you a new one.

Things that you may charge include purchases in the gift shop, alcoholic beverages, soda cards or individual sodas, gratuities, shore excursions, spa treatments, bingo cards, and even cash advances for the casino.

This cash-free society is very beneficial. It keeps you from having to carry money around onboard the ship, so you don’t have to lug around or dig out that wallet each time you’d like a drink.

Don’t worry, you can view your shipboard account everyday in the privacy of your own stateroom, right on your TV. So you won’t be blind as to the amount of money you are spending. You can view and even set up a daily limit or budget with the Customer Service desk onboard.

The last evening of your cruise, you will receive an itemized receipt under your door. You don’t need to do anything if you have set up your account with a credit card. If you used cash, you just settle your account at the Customer Service desk.

Having an onboard account does make for a hassle-free way to take care of funds will on your cruise!

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2 Comments

  1. Helen Dunn says:

    Hi: I was on an Alaska Cruise Aug 12 thru Aug 19, 2012, Booking #MXXPHT
    Room # 4031 The Oosterdam Ship

    I Looked at my account and cannot recognize the charge on Aug 14, 2012 — Transaction # 7903 for $17.25. I also kept all receipts and do not have a receipt for this transaction.

    Please let me know what this is for.

    Thank You
    Helen Dunn

    1. Alara says:

      Good morning!

      Unfortunately, only Holland America Line would be able to provide any further information directly regarding your onboard account.

      Their telephone number is 877.932.4259 or email: guestrelations@hollandamerica.com.

      Please let me know if we can be of further assistance.

      Thank you Helen!

      Alara Shannon

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