When you register at the port, they will either use your credit card, or send you to the purser's desk if you wish to use a cash deposit.
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We put ours on our credit card. Its alot easier, and its no hassle. On your last day at sea,you'll receive a statement of charges in your cabin. If you wish to payoff your account at that time in cash, you can do so with no problem. No worries mate !
S&S card is used for all purchases on the ship. Nothing on the ship except the casino takes cash. The tips are automatically charged to the S&S card. I would recommend backing it up with a credit card. You can have your childrens S&S card so they can't use it for purchases.
I once attached my SS card to my Visa Check card. Bad idea...They put a standard hold on it that can last anywhere from 2 weeks to a month. During that time I could not access the money held and I actually bounced a rather large insurance check. After that, I've always put the cash down. That way I was able to more accurately monitor spending. Hope this helps...I would never do it any other way