Just inquiring, we are going to the Med. in June 05 on the Millie, and wondering if you take travellers cheques, either U.S. to pay the ships credit or Euros, can you cash them on the ship, or do you need to go to a local bank.
I lived in Israel for 10 years, and have travelled thruout Europe and Asia.
I dealt with tourists most of that time in Israel, and only about 1 person in 100 even offered Travelers Checks. We did not like to accept them, because of the extra fees, and the terrible exchange rate at our Israeli bank to accept them. For awhile, we even charged an extra fee to the customer to partially recover the extra costs.
The best way (in my opinion) is to carry a ATM card, with Cirrus, NYCE, etc logos on back. Then simply go to an ATM and follow the directions on the screen. Usually your card will trigger the ATM to display English.
Check with your bank if they make an added charge for use outside USA. Mine did not.
I used my ATM for 10-years. It worked in Israel, Turkey, Greece, all thru Europe, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia (even found an internet cafe there!) and Russia.
The exchange rate is usually much better than buying foriegn currency at your home bank. Usually the exchange rate at the ATM at Israeli banks was the "Rep" rate, This rate is about halfway between the buy and sell rates.
Just be familiar with the exchange rate, and only get enough foreign currency to get you by. Remember, many merchants will take US dollars without quibbling.
Before leaving a country, get rid of as many of the local coins as possible. Currency exchange is exactly that. Currency only. Coins are too heavy to move back and forth.
Sometimes, if you have some foreign currency left over, and are flying back to USA on the airline of that country, they will take your excess foreign currency for duty-free purchases.
Long winded. I used an ATM in Istanbul a number of years ago, and was amazed to get Turkish lira with 1,000,000 in the corners!
I haven't used TC's in years either--in any currency or anywhere. ATM cards work great to get Euros. For other currencies, I just simply drop by the money exchange before leaving home and pick up $20-$50 worth, depending on how many stops and what we plan to do.
You pay your shipboard account in US dollars, no matter what the itinerary, and by far the easiest way to do that is with a credit card. Since shore excursions that you take through the ship are charged to the shipboard account, you don't have to worry about changing money to use for those.
I plan on taking some EURO Travellers Cheques only because our Private Tour Guides take them. I'm also taking some US Travellers Cheques to pay a chunk off the ship board account. We like starting with a credit And I know I could do that ahead of time, but we've had an issue with that so now I'll just take the Travellers Cheques.
You can cash the travelers checks on board the ships but they do charge a fee. If you prefer to deal in cash or travelers checks, it is your decision but using a credit card (with an appropriate amount of available credit) will give you greater flexibility and get the current exchange rate and avoid any additional charges. The ships exchange rate is usually not the current, or most favorable, one.
Whatever you decision is I hope you have a wonderful cruise.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
Biggest problem with using CC is the new charge I think they are all adding. I had heard about this and sure enough;we have been notified, in the past 3 weeks about the extra charge. One of our cards is adding a 1% charge for using CC in foreign countries, 2 others are adding a 3% charge. Bummer!!!!! NMnita
We are in the process of checking out credit cards that have been suggested on www.fodors.com that don't charge the 3% conversion rate..We have never had an ATM card but are signing up with our credit union, It's really a rip off isn't it..