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rtread

Use of debit card for onboard expenses?

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2 minutes ago, rtread said:

Thanks for the good response I'm getting here. One thing I'm still not clear about....I put cash into my account and I want to spend money around the ship....like a BAR or something😁, do they give me a card to pay with or how do I actually make a purchase?

You are given a keycard, which opens your cabin door, gets you on and off the ship and is used to make purchases which are charged to your cabin account.

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3 minutes ago, rtread said:

Thanks for the good response I'm getting here. One thing I'm still not clear about....I put cash into my account and I want to spend money around the ship....like a BAR or something😁, do they give me a card to pay with or how do I actually make a purchase?

 

Yes. You get a ship card linked to your shipboard account. Usually, that account is linked to a credit card. It can be linked to cash as well.

 

During check in, you receive the card. After you board, go to guest services to deposit cash to your account.

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4 minutes ago, debgreg said:

On Royal Caribbean I always set up a cash account and you don’t have to put any money down. I then pay the final bill at the end with my fee free debit card , is this not an option on NCL ?

No.

 

You have to either have handed over the cash to cover your purchases or have opened an account with a card.

 

The card works just like in a hotel where you set up an account. They swipe the card at checkin to put a hold against an amount of money to cover your expenses.

 

I'm surprised that RCL allow you to do this without handing anything over.

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Cardinal rule of travel is NEVER use a debit card for check in for cruises or hotels.   OK, I get it, there are those out there who swear on using one.  Depending on the hold, your bank, your account could be unavailable for up to 10 days or more after you get home.  Rules must have changed since I first started cruising, it was either a card or cash or you didn't spend.  I haven't heard of a "cashless" account, and paying up at the end.  I learn something new everyday.

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2 hours ago, rtread said:

Thanks for the good response I'm getting here. One thing I'm still not clear about....I put cash into my account and I want to spend money around the ship....like a BAR or something😁, do they give me a card to pay with or how do I actually make a purchase?

Your room key is your credit card. For any purchase you hand over your room key and then usually they get you sign a receipt.

 

Note on services like the bar or spa an 18 or 20% gratuity is automatically added to your check. There is no need to tip cash again or on the receipt they leave a space to add an additional tip. I usually draw a line through this space.

 

Of course you can leave an extra tip if you think the service is exceptional.

 

Also everyone can be set up on one account or each person can have there own account.

 

This means that you can use cash on your account and your travelling companion can use a credit card to set up their account. The accounts are completely separate.

I don't know if you are travelling with children but you also will need to decide if they will have charging privileges.

 

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12 hours ago, Nola26 said:

Stop it NCL is taking an interest free cash float, they don't have to do this and certainly not tho that amount. 

 

 

LOL what bizarre and absurd thinking.  First off NCL does not HAVE TO require passengers to put down ANY form of payment to establish an on board account.  It is smart and prudent of them to do so, but they do not HAVE TO do it.  As far as using a debit card goes, it is just like when you use cash to fund your on board account and you put down cash up front, they put a hold on your debit card to establish your account.  Then when that is spent (just like when the cash is spent and your account is locked until you go put down more cash) they put another hold on your debit card.  There is no 'free interest', or grubbing (whatever that even is)  involved.  Stop with the silly drama.

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5 hours ago, debgreg said:

On Royal Caribbean I always set up a cash account and you don’t have to put any money down. I then pay the final bill at the end with my fee free debit card , is this not an option on NCL ?

 

Hi

 

I find this hard to believe. If you have a "cash" account, you are only allowed to make onboard purchases up to the amount that is in your account. If there is no money in your account you will not be allowed to make onboard purchases. I don't believe that any cruise line does it differently. 
 

 

For rtead… your cabin card double on the ship as currency. During the check in process you are photographed and it is linked to the card. Whenever you make a purchase, your card is scanned, they can see your picture so the ships crew can see that it is your card. They will also give you receipts, which you can use to track your spending. As I mentioned, if you go below your deposited amount your purchase will be refused and you will need to go to guest services and top up. Try to do that before you run out of money. In case this is your first cruise... you will see that the guest services counter is very often, very busy. One thing to realize is that they are open 24 hrs. a day. So if there is an unreasonably long line, come back late at night or early in the morning. You also need to carry this card when you get off and on the ships at all ports, typically you will also need another picture I.D. card (for security at the ports). This is how they track who is on the ship and who is not. 

 

have a great cruise

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Royal lets you charge a few hundred before they freeze your account and ask you to put cash on your account. I think it's between 300-500? I always use a credit card so I don't remember exactly.

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I would recommend pre-paying your DSC, which can you use your debit card for thru myncl.  If you have some idea of how much you're going to purchase on-board, then add some amount of that as on-board credit.  You can also do this thru myncl.  You can then set your account up as a cash account.  You wouldn't actually have to put any cash on the account in the beginning since you'll have credit already on your account (and you won't get any daily service charges added to your account).  If you notice your balance getting low, you can then go to guest services and add more cash to your account.  You can settle up your account on the last night.  the lines get pretty long.  I waited to about 4AM on the last night to get my refund on my last cruise.

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8 hours ago, KeithJenner said:

No.

 

You have to either have handed over the cash to cover your purchases or have opened an account with a card.

 

The card works just like in a hotel where you set up an account. They swipe the card at checkin to put a hold against an amount of money to cover your expenses.

 

I'm surprised that RCL allow you to do this without handing anything over.

Been on 5 RCI and 3 Thomson/ Marella always set up cash accounts never handed over one penny. Half way through they send you a bill but as we pre pay everything we hardly spend anything 😎 I have just applied for a no charge credit card so when it comes I will switch it to that . 

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3 hours ago, Nic6318 said:

 

Hi

 

I find this hard to believe. If you have a "cash" account, you are only allowed to make onboard purchases up to the amount that is in your account. If there is no money in your account you will not be allowed to make onboard purchases. I don't believe that any cruise line does it differently. 
 

 

For rtead… your cabin card double on the ship as currency. During the check in process you are photographed and it is linked to the card. Whenever you make a purchase, your card is scanned, they can see your picture so the ships crew can see that it is your card. They will also give you receipts, which you can use to track your spending. As I mentioned, if you go below your deposited amount your purchase will be refused and you will need to go to guest services and top up. Try to do that before you run out of money. In case this is your first cruise... you will see that the guest services counter is very often, very busy. One thing to realize is that they are open 24 hrs. a day. So if there is an unreasonably long line, come back late at night or early in the morning. You also need to carry this card when you get off and on the ships at all ports, typically you will also need another picture I.D. card (for security at the ports). This is how they track who is on the ship and who is not. 

 

have a great cruise

Well as hard as you find it it’s true 😊 5 RCI and never handed over a penny. We always pre pay and have the DP and Dining package so we don’t really spend much anyhow, but they let you charge several hundred dollars before they ask you to pay anything 😎

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A good strategy would be for you to prepay as much as possible.

 

  1. Daily services charges - You can see the total on your online account or call NCL to get the amount, pay when it is convenient prior to the cruise
  2. Any prebooked excursions that you will take with NCL. If you book on ncl.com you'll pay when you reserve so not an issue. If you're using the $50 per port shore excursion perk you can call to book the excursions and you're not charged until you board the ship. You can either prepay some or all of those ( you can pay for 1, call back and pay for another, etc. to match your cashflow).
  3. Specialty dining - if you have a plan you'll have already paid for those items unless you book a restaurant with an upcharge, then that will be paid onboard.  If you don't have a dining package you'll just pay for those meals as you enjoy them, just like eating out at home.
  4. Tip: you don't have to buy specialty meals to eat well on NCL, the main dining rooms offer wonderful meals too. I have had one specialty meal in 7 cruises with NCL and I have always eaten well.
  5. How much cash? I would put down several hundred and add to it as needed throughout the cruise. 
  6. If you plan to make a large purchase in one of the shops you can always have them hold the product while you go top off the account to cover the purchase, no need to put so much cash in the account if you're not going to spend it.
  7. Kids - not sure if you'll have kids with you, but you can block charging on their cards. I have generally done this with my nephew. There really isn't much beyond the arcade they need to buy. Meals, snacks and drinks are easy to get from the buffet or any bar. There are some horror stories about kids going crazy in the arcade. NCL only checks the cards every 4hrs, so kids can do big damage before it is caught. With my nephew he used the teen club and there are free games there so the arcade wasn't even of much interest with him. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/18/2019 at 8:48 PM, Shoppie124 said:

Does anyone know what the hold amount is?

They incrementally authorize based on what you are spending onboard. If you spend a lot, they authorize a lot. Then they bill the total balance on your onboard account at the end of the cruise. 

 

So, if you spend $15 per day per person on daily service charges and $1300 on shore excursions and $500 on dining, round up to $2k. Throughout your cruise, they will incrementally authorize up to $2k. At the end of the cruise, they will debit $2k. 

 

YOUR BANK is probably not smart enough to clear the incremental authorizations with the final bill. So, YOUR BANK will place a hold of $4k on your account. 

 

That authorization hold will be released in accordance with YOUR BANK’s policies. 

 

Rule of thumb 2 times what is on your onboard account. 

Edited by BirdTravels

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Posted (edited)

I agree with those recommending cash VS debit card.

 

I usually set my account up with a credit card, but there have been times when I've used cash instead. If I go the cash route, I usually "deposit" $500 (for two of us), and then if I start to approach the $500 mark, I'll go to guest services and add more money. Like others have said, if you can, you're better off pre-paying for as much as possible ahead of time, so you're less likely to rack up a higher balance. The one annoyance with going the cash route is that the line at guest services is generally long on the last morning and you'll have to wait in it so you can get your unused funds back. Alternatively, you can go to guest services the night before to get your unused funds back, but, then you can't use your card the next morning unless you add money. 

 

I would avoid using your debit card unless you definitely have enough money in your checking account and you won't be caught short on money while waiting for the holds to be released. I can't remember which cruise line I was on (I think NCL, but not positive) and I used my debit card. By the time the cruise was over, I had around $700 in actual on-board expenses but the hold on my account was almost $1400. Then I had to wait around a week for the hold to be released. The cruise line isn't responsible for the hold, your bank is, so the amount of time it takes for the hold to be released depends on your banks' specific policies. 

Edited by ADH912

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I wonder how many people have used a debit card on their cruise, only to return home and run to the store to get bread, eggs and milk --only to be declined at the register--BUT they have Plenty of money in their account...embarrassing for sure.

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rtread,

This is what a keycard looks like.  It is the same size as a credit card.  They will scan the card whenever you make any purchase.  They also scan it even if you have the drink package or the dining package to make sure you are "eligible".

 

1 keycard pic.jpg

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16 minutes ago, myfuzzy said:

I wonder how many people have used a debit card on their cruise, only to return home and run to the store to get bread, eggs and milk --only to be declined at the register--BUT they have Plenty of money in their account...embarrassing for sure.

Over the years, despite warnings from businesses and banks .... probably 10,000s have shot themselves in the foot.  Gas stations used to hold $75 on your debit card even if you only spent $10..... Restaurants hold approx 25% above your bill to account for tip (EVEN if you left the tip in cash)...... using a debit card to secure a purchase is just too risky (not to mention if the business accidently puts a decimal point in the wrong spot.... 100.00 instead of 10.00) 

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On 5/19/2019 at 1:53 AM, rtread said:

Thanks for the good information and advice. I went back and edited my payment preferences to CASH. They recommend $100 per person per day so for a 7 day cruise I may add to that a bit and deposit $2,000 for the two of us (just so I won't have to mess with having to go replenish it).....they said we would get the excess refunded at the end of the cruise. Has anyone ever had a problem getting this refund?

Also, for the 7 day Hawaii cruise, does $2,000 sound excessive, about right, or what? (No casino on POA)Thanks!

I used cash on my 7 day Bliss cruise ..it is super easy, just go to guest services when you board the ship and you can monitor your balance on your phone app during the cruise.  Your last night of the cruise then go back to guest services and they will give you back any cash remaining on the account.  Very easy. 

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23 minutes ago, esm54687 said:

Over the years, despite warnings from businesses and banks .... probably 10,000s have shot themselves in the foot.  Gas stations used to hold $75 on your debit card even if you only spent $10..... Restaurants hold approx 25% above your bill to account for tip (EVEN if you left the tip in cash)...... using a debit card to secure a purchase is just too risky (not to mention if the business accidently puts a decimal point in the wrong spot.... 100.00 instead of 10.00) 

Oh wait, that was me, back in the day when I first started cruising...either paying cash or debit card.  Didn't have credit cards back then.  Luckily  I learned the hard way.  I had booked the NCL Norway, had it booked and paid on my "new " credit card, when it had it's unfortunate accident.  Almost immediately the paid monies were returned to my card.  If cash, it would have taken a couple of weeks, we were able right away to book a different cruise, because we had already booked our air.  We also stayed at a prominent hotel in Ft Lauderdale near the cruise port, I always use my American Express to secure my reservations.  This dimwit desk agent screwed up the hold and put ours plus my sons reservation hold in it...$1500... OH there's nothing we can do she said.  Luckily it was on my AE and my other accounts were free and clear.  Along with we were in Hurricane Sandy in NYC.  We ended up jumping from hotel to hotel until the ship was able to dock in Manhattan.  Again, luckily the AE came in handy for all those hotel holds.  Funny though, my DIL did mention one time she had a hold issue getting gas, maybe that's why I always use my CC and pay that off at the end of the month.

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Yes, it is easy to get the refund...Just go to guest services and they give it right back to you. The only downside to this is that once they've refunded your money, you can't use the card for any last minute things unless you add more money. So just make sure there isn't anything else you need to buy (coffee). 

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On 5/18/2019 at 8:44 PM, rtread said:

"Norwegian does not recommend the use of a debit card as payment for your onboard folio." and it goes on to explain the "hold" up to 30 days based on onboard purchases. 

 

I'd like to hear opinions on this as I plan to use a bank debit card on an upcoming Hawaii cruise. Any pros, cons, experiences?

 

NCL tells you exactly why not to do it. You will get a hold and then they will also take your charges out of your account. The hold eventually comes off, but unless you keep a large balance in your checking account don't do it.

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On 5/18/2019 at 8:48 PM, Shoppie124 said:

Does anyone know what the hold amount is?

 

It depends on your spending and it could cause NSF fees to be incurred which NCL is NOT responsible for.  Holds are released at the bank's discretion and may stay in place for several weeks.

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On 5/23/2019 at 5:16 PM, Noworkforme23 said:

I used cash on my 7 day Bliss cruise ..it is super easy, just go to guest services when you board the ship and you can monitor your balance on your phone app during the cruise.  Your last night of the cruise then go back to guest services and they will give you back any cash remaining on the account.  Very easy. 

 

Or just use a credit card and never have to go near guest services. Even easier. 

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A hold issued does not debit money but it does freeze it. So you will only get overdraft fees if you spend other money and don't have enough to cover that plus the hold.

There is nothing wrong with using your debit card if you have enough money in the bank.  Always "process as credit" and don't use your PIN# for best protection of your account from fraud.  Debit cards issued by big banks are trouble free.  Mine is from Chase and I have had two fraud cases.  Money was restored immediately and my card re-issued. It was all handled by the same department as the credit cards.

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