I love to cruise and we will be going on our 3rd cruise in 6 months in April. And this is really my only gripe I have about cruising. I am in my mid 30's and have seen this on Holland, Celebrity, RCCL, Carnival. I completely understand not everybody has a credit card and must do the cash deposit thing and I like the cashless system don't get me wrong but.... What gets me is everyone else has to wait until the purser tracks down the people who have not paid up when your waiting to disembark on the last day. Don't you think they can come up with a system that once the cash deposits are used up the computer cuts them off until they add more money to their accounts to avoid the delay on the last day?
If people can afford to cruise, they should not be doing it on maxed-out credit cards. Why should anyone use cash when they can use the bank's money for a number of days? Of course, that requires an "empty" credit card. But if someone has decent credit, there are three or four offers a week for a new card. Go figure.
I thought that was crazy too. People were being paged for hours on the last day. Those using the cash system, don't they have an idea of where their accounts stand? What if there was a mistake? I would hope everyone checks their account periodically even if you're using a credit card.
Hotel's won't let you spend more than you've put down, why do cruiselines? The whole system is strange.
I love the credit card system. Not only do you have 25 to 55 days of grace period to earn interest on your cash before any finance charges are applied, but there's cash back bonuses, miles, credits for other purchases. And of course there's the security factor.
If you do carry a balance on your credit cards, taking a vacation probably isn't a good idea, but if you do, take all that cash and put it towards your credit card balance before you leave home. At least it brings down the average daily balance on which they calculate the interest. They won't charge your credit card until the end of the trip. Or pay cash up until the last 2 days and use a credit card for any remaining charges. It beats having to settle up at the last minute and holding everyone up.
I agree that this can be a problem but many people do not use credit cards. Sometimes it is their choice or the choice of Equifax,and TRW.
I personally have an issue with people who have heard stories of "Credit Fraud" and credit card theft and people were left with thousand's of dollars in credit card bills. So they elect not to have one. My in-laws fall into this group. BTW this is a myth. You are only liable for $50 in charges made by someone else on a stolen credit card. It may be more in other states but $50 is the max in Minnesota.
I know I could not function in the business world without a credit card. The key is to show restraint and not use it as a "free money" card.
Who's frugal wife considers "Thou shall pay all credit card bills in full each month" The 11th commandment.
We sat and sat in Tampa waiting for 3 people to show up to the pursers desk and pay on my last cruise. There were some real nervous people who had early flights.
How to adults function in this world without at least one credit card? You can't book a hotel room or reserve a rental car without one, some rental car places will not let you rent without a card imprint even if you plan to pay in cash at the end.
Even people with really bad credit get multiple credit card offers every week.
I use my credit card for everything to get the frequent flier points. I still don't charge things I can't afford to pay off (I understand it is real money) but I like my money earning interest in the bank until the end of the month when the CC statement comes. Then I write one check instead of twenty throughout the month.
Pamda's answer seems strangely out of touch and insensitive given her duties as "first time cruise editor."
Gripe about chair savers. Gripe about people stiffing their waitstaff out of tips. Gripe about passengers who drive up the price of photos by shoplifting them (they'll only be thrown out anyway, right?). But don't grip about people who either cannot - or choose not - to carry a large credit line.
We've paid up our entire Explorer cruise in cash/travelers checks, and plan to like usual, give the cruise more than we intend to spend and use that for our sail and sign. We use credit cards for initial bookings, hotel rooms, rentals, things like that, but prefer to use real money otherwise to avoid potential interest charges and such. I can guarantee you that our names are NEVER called the last day, and yes, it IS annoying to here Mr and Mrs Jones from cabin such and such please report...... Some of the people called may not be cash customers though, some may have cards that got rejected when they went to put them through with the final price. The one time we did use a card, we were told they make sure there's $500 available on it. Now, someone with ONLY $500 available, that charges $1000, (more reasonable on a 7 day cruise), is going to be paged. Either which way, people who are stupid with money, cash or credit, deserve the embarrassment. Its just a shame that they keep everyone else waiting. They should just check ids as passengers depart, and people who haven't paid up should THEN be pulled to the side. Cruise lines give account statements to the cabin every other day it seems. You can also request a statement at any time. There's no excuse.
I tell people all the time in the bank I work at to avoid credit cards. I have made tons of money on people who take out home equity loans to pay off their credit card debt. How people use the word power when refering to credit cards I don't know. I paid up my last four cruises and airline tickets using cash. Many of these young fools don't realize that when you go for a mortgage, the amount of intrest you pay will be partly judged by how much your debt to income ratio is. Having a credit card is not a measure of financial success. The amont thats in your 401k and IRA is! Most people can't have everything in life. Don't use a credit card to fill the gap!
That's why I would prefer to have the option to use cash instead of the S/S card on board. Pay as you go. There are NEVER any mistakes in billing and you always know how much you've spent. When you're out of money, you're out of money ! !
On my last cruise (Carnival Pride) I met a gentleman who paid a $100 deposit on the S/S card with cash upon check-in and when he first went to the bar to get a drink with his S/S card he was told the card balance was over the deposit. He asked how that could be given this drink was his first purchase. He found out the cruise lines had already charged his tips to the card and he was actually $25 over. He had to go down to the Purser's desk and deposit more in the account before he ever got his first beer !!
All it takes is some responsibility regardless of the method of payment. Those who are being paged on the last day are the ones this gripe is targeting.
Pamda's remark may have seemed insensitive, but it was solid advice for 1st time cruisers or ANYONE. If you're going to have credit cards, be responsible and pay it off or do what Pamda mentioned, take advantage of the credit card offers to pay off others with new ones providing more free float.
Nobody has to play the credit card game; go ahead and use cash but be responsible and keep track of your account and pay it off without holding up the other cruisers.
There are many reasons people may not secure their S&S card with a credit card... last year a certain Mr. Suave Gentleman shared our table for dinner, and in the course of general chit-chat he mentioned that hadn't used a credit card but had left a cash deposit instead. He also, during the cruise, left a string of "conquests" (for want of a better term) among certain female passengers - think "lounge lizard" and you pretty much have the idea of his general behavior. He was short at the end of the cruise, he was paged, and he took his own sweet time to settle up - eyebrows WERE raised when he finally appeared.
End of story. Almost.
Three weeks after the cruise, I joined other staff members from my office to have drinks with our new boss. She let us know that her husband, who worked nearby, may be joining us. He did, too, and I found myself being re-introduced to Mr. Suave Gentleman, who apparently had new name and a very, very red face.
So to all the other reasons for not using a credit card, you can add "not wanting to leave a paper trail"!
If my comments appeared to be insensitive, I apologize.
If you follow the boards, you know that I do my best to be (a) sensitive to individual situations (b) factual and (c) accurate. I also try to offer the best advice I can based on my experience. And if I don't know an answer, I usually know whom to ask.
I agree completely with aj's gripe. And, truly, having a credit card is less hassle on the individual who is probably already grumpy because the cruise is coming to an end.
If a "cash customer" doesn't come forward after a certain amount of time to pay off the "under" the cruise line will, so I have been told, simply write it off and disembark the ship rather than annoying the majority of the passengers. There are also people whose credit card companies "bounce" the ultimate charge because it exceeds the line of credit.
Another reason to have a credit card is offshore purchases. If you pay cash for something of significant value (gemstones come immediately to mind) you have absolutely no recourse. If you use a credit card, you have the issuing bank or agency to stand between you and the vendor.
Even people with perfectly awful credit can get a cash-secured credit card. In addition to convenience, it's a lot safer.
When in Cozumel last year, we ONLY brought a credit card, figuring it was safer than cash. I bought a pair of earrings that I was quoted $15 US dollars for. They seemed hesitant to take the credit card, but assured me that it would be $15 charge. I didn't have a calculator with me, so I was in a rush and just charged it. Any ATM that we tried to get money out of in Mexico just offered pesos. Well, my card was charged about $25, not $15. In some ports, esp in places with different currency, carry cash! They'll take USDs in the stores, but if you charge, you won't know what you paid till you get the bill, and its a pain in the @$$ to fight. For $10 I didn't feel the fight was worth it.
Yes, credit cards are good and necessary, but carry cash too.
For $15 I certainly agree with you. And it's a lot easier to bargain with cash. Once on Cozumel I saw a necklace I HAD to have (about $250 US) and the negotiations began. My husband left to have a beer, he knew I would be a while.
Once we were in the range that I was thinking of, I reached into my secret financial resource area (my bra) pulled out a hundred dollar bill and give the guy the eye. He took the money, I took the necklace.
For significant purchases, though, a credit card is worth it.
Cindy's story is probably very common. When I go to Mexico, I try to have dollars, pesos and a credit card on me because each restaurant and shop has their own exchange rate. It is so confusing. I ask what it would be in dollars and in pesos and then decide if one option seems like a rip-off.
At Pat O'Briens, they brought us the tab and it had both the dollars and pesos on it. They wanted $100 or pesos that calculated to about $90 because their exchange rate was different than what the hotel gave me when I cashed in the dollars. I didn't have enough pesos so I paid using the credit card. The charge was only $81 after the bank calculated using their exchange rate. I got lucky. But the opposite is happens too. Many places give the best deal if you pay with american dollars. I guess they can hang on to the dollars and cash it in whenever the exchange rate is best.
Exchange rates change daily, but if you get the rate from the paper before you leave home, it should be very close to what will be used if you use a credit card. You can save money if you pay close attention. If you don't feel like dealing with all the confusion, stay with one method of payment if possible. Some will be good deals and some won't.
People who travel without credit cards are NUTS!!!! And if you're paying with cash and get injured or ill and run up $2000 bill in the medical center - just EXACTLY how do you intend on paying for it? I live by credit card alone. I pay off the bill IN TOTAL each and every month. I also get frequent flyer miles and get 2 to 3 free plane tickets per year. Saying that you pay with cash because you don't want the debt is a cop-out. Just budget yourself and pay off the bill when you return home. Believe it or not, credit cards TEACH discipline. Cash does not - either you have it or you don't - there's no discipline about that, only deprevation. My 8 yo son used his sail and sign card on the Golden last week as "his" credit card - he knew how much money he had given me and how much he could "charge" - he did NOT go over his limit. There was one more purchase he wanted to make and asked me how much "credit" he had left - I told him (which was not enough) - he looked at it, the card and put the item back. Lesson learned.
I guess that I misunderstood, "My 8 yo son used his S/S card as a credit card....he knew how much he had given you and how much he could "charge"" Is your 8 year old son the breadwinner of the family?? I can understand teaching children discipline, as I wish more parents would do that....was your son paying for his expenses out of his saved allowance, or did you set a spending limit for him, or how did you do this?
please explain your reasoning that credit cards, not cash, teach discipline.
if i have $500 cash and a credit card with $1000 available credit... i KNOW when to stop spending the cash.
i think maybe you meant credit tends to FOSTER discipline.
as for spending, with cash there is an intimate relationship involved.
$50 dinner, you say a sad goodbye to U.S. Grant. or you can sign it away and not check the details because with credit, it's more like a "ball park" transaction (I spent around $50 on dinner) but with cash, you know what you paid.
Also, studies have shown that even the people who pay off their credit card bill every month end up spending about 12-18% more on purchases -- the result, again, of the "intimate relationship" with cash and the "ball park" calculating with credit cards.
I know this is an older topic, but boy did it make me laugh. On our last cruise, we had, as usual, periodically checked on our account throughout the week and everything was always in order. On the last morning, our bill was under our door marked as paid and approved by our credit card, which no doubt it should have been. As we were waiting to get off the ship, there were the usual announcements for people to report to the purser's desk. Then, incredibly, we heard OUR name! I went into panic mode, wondering how our account was marked paid but then mysteriously developed problems. I practically ran to the desk, ready for a fight. My, was I surprised when they handed me a tote bag filled with goodies (cups, cards, etc). as a raffle prize for filling out the comment card! But I know everyone else was looking at us thinking we hadn't paid up!