We just returned from Southern Carribean cruise first part of March, 01. We took "0" traveler's checks with us. We were a little nervous about doing this but everything worked out fine. We took about $800 in cash, split between the two of us. Make sure you keep the cash in your purse or wallet or your carry on. Of the $800, $600 of it was in small bills, lots of $1 and $5 bills. We found that almost every vendor in the islands (Aruba, Dominica, Grenada) took the small bills NO PROBLEM. For our larger purchases, we just used our debit card from home, which worked just fine. We just made sure we had ample $$ in the account before we left home and kept a small ledger book with our purchase amounts. We also took a backup credit card just in case. Of course, your onboard purchases are done via a cruise card, which is set up when you board the ship. You end up charging all of your onboard purchases, bar tab, etc. on this card. I would suggest that you check your account balance at the purser's desk at least halfway though the cruise as these charges can add up and you do not want any surprises on debarkation day. They normally slip a final bill under your cabin door the night before debarkation. Hope this info was helpful.
We also took cash only. We wanted to be sure there would be no problems with Travelers checks. I had read that some places don't take Tchecks. We always had the cash on us at all times. We didn't have enough $1's and $5's so this time we will take more of them. They are easily spent for porters, taxi's, and purchases. In Dunn's River Falls, we gave 1 guy a $20 bill and it was like pulling teeth to get him to give us cash back. That was on a purchase. Even lots of $10's will help.