It would be really nice if the Purser's Desk could act as a foreign exchage for passengers visiting foreign ports. As far as I know, most pursers will accept many foreign currencies as payment for bills, but will not allow passengers to buy foreign currency. What I envision is: the ship pulls into a foreign port, say Mexico, passengers exchange their dollars, pounds, etc. for pesos to use while on shore. When the passengers return they exchange their leftover pesos back to their original currency. Wouldn't that be nice? The cruise line could even make a profit, by charging a small service charge (as foreign exchange offices do).
I have also seen this done on the old R-3 in Tahiti. Not that many people were using it when it was discovered that the exchange rate onboard was really bad. If you exchange into foriegn currency I personally recommed you do so onshore and only use it for small purchases. For large purchases use your VISA or MasterCard as the rates are usually the best. In addition, remember to turn in you foriegn currency before you leave port. US Banks will ONLY redeem paper currency and not coins.
For large purchases use your VISA or MasterCard as the rates are usually the best.
...however, many credit card issuers are now charging a 3% or higher conversion fee. Check with your credit card company. What I have found is that travelers checks in foreign denominations work well. The purser's desk will cash them w/o a fee (on RCCL at least), and you get the added protection of travelers checks. However, they are not accepted well on land, so you need to plan on cashing them at the pursers desk.