Oh, they will be used by the end of the cruise. They usually are automatically put on your sail and sign card. You use this for drinks, pictures you buy, anything from the gift shop, bingo and some cruise lines your tip now. So depending how much credit you got, you will most likely use it all.
Actually, it is our own money. The booking agent we bought from was offering cheaper fares after we had paid for our cruise. When I asked for a credit for the price difference they told me that we couldn't get a refund but CCL would issue shipboard credits in lieu of a cash refund. This didn't really make since to me because the last time we cruised with CCL the day before we left CCL was offering discounts, I sent a message to my TA and they issued a credit on my credit card immediately. But, I'll take whatever I can get.
Wow, I am shocked that they will even do this. I always thought that once you booked and paid in full that you were set with that price. I know that a lot of cruises become cheaper right before the cruise because they give out last minute rates to try anf fill the ship up. I didn''t think you could get any money back once they did that. I did just save $300 on mine because they were having a promotion for certain cabin catagories so I moved cabins and got the promotion rate, but my final payment had not yet been made at that time. Interesting. I think you are very lucky to have even gotten this credit. I would treat myself to a nice piece of jewelry.
the ship board credit is posted to your S&S card. When you get on the ship you can check your account the TV (if you are on one of the new ship). It will show your credit. As the days go on check it and you will see you really won't have a balance until it is spent.
I like what Chuck said, you go to the casino on the last day, go to the money counter and tell them you want x amount of dollars on your sign and sail card. There is a 1% fee on Conquest and they give you coins for slots or chips for the tables. After a while go cash them in (like you won) and they give you cash. Then you have you left over in cash.
If you are lucky you won't owe a sign and sail bill.