Can someone please explain to me in detail what exactly the sign and sail account is. Do we put money onto it or does it add up and then we pay? How much money do you recommend putting on it? Can we use cash on the ship, or do we have to have a sail and sign account? Also it says that gratuities are included...does that mean each time we use the card it takes out gratuities or does it take out an exact amount each day? Can we change the amount of gratuities it takes out? I'm really confused as to how exactly this card works. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.
The card acts like a credit card for all your charges on the ship. You generally specify a REAL credit card prior to the cruise that the charges will be applied to at the end of the cruise. On the ship you use the card to pay for anything that is not included in the price of the cruise... purchases of t-shirts, alcoholic beverages, sodas, restaurants that might charge a surcharge, etc. At the end of the cruise, you'll get an itemized list of everything you purchased and it will be charged to the REAL credit card you specified at the beginning of the cruise. I think you may be able to settle your bill with cash at the end of the cruise as well, if you prefer that. The card is also used as your ID to get off and on the ship. Tips for bar tab drinks would automatically be added to the price of the drink (15% I think). Room service tips are not put on the card. You should use cash for that. Cabin steward and dining room tips can be pre-paid prior to the cruise to your credit card, or you can arrange to pay them once on board. Or you can leave cash as well. Hope that helps somewhat
-your sign and sail card is your identification to get on and off the ship, it is your stateroom key and your expense account. Most people use a major credit card to back the charges on their sign and sail account. The only time you will use cash on the ship is in the casino or to tip room service, all other charges are added to your card. You can use cash, the ship sets an amount that you must maintain in your account, you can check your account at the Purser's desk, you can add $$ to your account at any time.
As for gratituites - you can have them removed from your card if you like, except for bar gratituitys - 15% automatically added to your bar bill. The pre-paid gratituites are a flat rate per person for the entire cruise.
Sometimes a sign & sail card is also your room key. That depends on the cruise line. With Carnival, we had separate keys. With Celebrity we used the same card for account and to open the door to our cabin.
We went on Carnival 6/6/05 and you used the same card for both. If you are using a debit/visa they will hold 150.00 pp upfront. You can go to the purser's desk and add cash if you like. Or at the end of the ship you can go and pay everything on a credit card or cash. Afterwards since we didn't use all of the money they alotted they just took it out of my checking account about 5 days later.
On the Ecstasy, June 4th we had two seperate cards. One was S%S the other was our door card, like you would see in a motel. We used our credit card, and they never asked how much we wanted to spend. We did use our S&S card to get on and off the ship. If you are using a credit card, don't worry about it. I was so afraid, figured out how much i was going to put on our account as well as my kids, and all for nothing. They never asked, and I worried for nothing.
We use our credit card where they put a hold of 50.00 per person (family of five) where as to put cash we had to put $1000.00 down for family of five. On the last full day of our cruise we were able to go pay cash for our account.
I used cash on my SS and it was like using a gift card, every time I bought a picture, a gift, tips, or a drink, it came out of my 400bucks. Since I only used 300 or so 7am day of the disembark there was a itemitmized bill and carnival check slipped under my door for 100 bucks. I could have either waited til I got home and deposited into my bank or at the information desk. Since everyone was busy leaving the ship the information desk was empty so I stop cashed it got my money back.
You can always settle your bill with cash at the end of the cruise instead of passing it on to your credit card.
Last March on my Celebrity cruise, I used my credit card to back my Sign/Sail acccount, but the last night I made a killing in the casino and in the morning paid my cruise tab in cash. It was nice getting all the on-board expenses for free for a 7-day cruise.
Voyager of the Seas, Western Caribbean
On the newer Carnival ships the S&S card is also the room key. On the older ships you may have a separate key or card. You may also have a separate key for the safe, or a combination which you specify, or use any card which has a magnetic strip on the back.
Also, be aware that if you use cash upon embarkation to cover your S&S account the automatic gratuity charge will automatically be deducted the first day. In other words, if you put down $300 cash for your S&S account and you are on a 7 days cruise, $70 will be deducted from your account on the first day. Therefore before you buy that first drink your account only has $230 in it.
Book me on your next cruise and enjoy your personal punching bag.