My husband and I are sailing the Imagination in Feb. I noticed that they charge 3% to buy casino chips on your sail and sign. Can you purchase chips by any other means? My husband is a big blackjack player, but does not want to pay the extra charge.
I think the reason cruise lines started charging a % for putting the chips on your sign & sail card is because everyone was using this as a means of obtaining cash on the cruise for port visits.
Pax would hit the casino, draw some chips against their sign and sail and then CASH OUT. They'd then use this cash as their spending money while in port, in effect, making the ship a non-interest lender for their port adventures.
I did this for years, but alas, all good things must come to an end.....
If he's a big blackjack player ($25 min. bets) he should also join Carnival's Ocean Players Club. He can accrue points to be used as $ on future Carnival Corp cruises.
I believe he can also prearrange with Ocean Player's Club to deposit gambling funds, and draw on those on the ship.
I think Carnival made a HUGE mistake instituting the 3% surcharge in the casino. Having access to "free money" allowed people to be spur of the moment gamblers, rather than having to have the cash with them to play, or to continue playing.
Thanks for all the info everyone! My husband just felt that the 3% interest was ridiculous, considering that they are already making quite a bit of money off the gamblers in the first place. But he's happy to know he has an alternative! Thanks again!
While I enjoyed using my sign and sail card to obtain chips in the casino, I can understand why Carnival (like many if not all other cruise lines) started charging the 3%.
It is just a business decision as Carnival (just like any other merchant) has to pay a fee for all charges. Assuming a cruise is priced at $1000, then Carnival would have to pay $30 for letting you charge it.(that is what the fee for Mastercard and Visa used to be, I think Amex is closer to 6%). My guess is that they build that into their margins and adjust prices accordingly.
This certainly is no different than any land-based casino, as they charge their own fees for cash advances (in addition to what your credit card company charges you).
I only used this service on my last two cruises (fees were not there yet) and am going to miss it. I really liked not having to bring a lot of cash for the casino.