Hey fellow cruisers, going on my first cruise with the family one week from today out of baltimore. I have a question about s&s cards and funds. As i do not have a credit card i use my debit card and cash for everything. can i use my debit card to attach to my account for the s&s card? or do i have to put cash down when i check in to use against the s&s card? please advise, thanks
If you use a debit card just remember there will be a daily "reserve" put on the card that will somewhere around $250. They don't actually take the money but they lock that amount in. It is the same if you use a Credit Card.
If you do not have a credit card then I would recommend setting up a cash account. You will need about $250 and when that runs down Customer Service will let you know and you can add more to it. If you have any left at the end of the cruise it will be refunded, by check, to you.
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If your going to cruise more in the future. Consider pre-paying the gratuities and buy on-board credit (OBC) to amount that expect to spend on board . The surplus will be refunded to you. Some cruise lines recommend about a $500 US deposit on embarkation.
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You should keep in mind, when using a debt card, if for any reason you have some problem with your account with the ship, the moneys will all ready be out from the account tied to your debt card. When using a regular credit card, you have customer service and can question any errors...
When you use any card Carnival will put a hold down - as Mike mentioned - above and then may put through incremental holds throughout the cruise and then put through a final transaction for the S&S balance and release the other holds. With a debit card this can severely restrict the amount of funds available to you.
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Not really sure how Carnival does it, since my only sailing with them wasn't on my card, but when I was on Costa (which is a Carnival Corp company), I saw several holds on my card. They totaled up to a day or two of my use on my Costa card. The 2 days at sea I used xxx dollars on my account, and I had a hold for that amount placed. Day 3 was USVI and I had access to my banking since I had full Sprint coverage and didn't realize it when I was looking at balances (Otherwise I would have bought more art, since I saw my avail balance and did on ship usage math from there). When I was in PR the next day, I saw another hold for what I had spent since the last hold.
At no point did I see a large single hold ... just the few little ones.
I know its a different cruise line, but its a Carnival Corp line, so would think at some point they would standardize on things.
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So if I use cash I will have a shorter line to stand in. This sounds like a good idea to me. Just bring a pile of cash and have fun. This way when the trip is over there is no big bill comming.
That's how it was in Miami in Jan. When you get past security, (and upstairs) you walk straight to the signs that are ' cash only' (they were the middle check in section, so literally straight for us).
It's also nice you can track your purchases on the tv (updated pretty quickly; every hour or so) and see your balance.
edit: also please remember even if you pay cash, they require a debit/credit card on file. we used our debit card, but no hold was put on it.