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Giantfan13

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We are really starting to get into our planned Baltic cruise, and reading evrything we can about the different stops. Which brings me to my question, how does one go about paying for things at each stop??

We are doing a 5 day pre cruise in London, should we convert all our spending money into Euro's, into pounds, set aside some money for each stop and convert it before hand, convert it when we get to each stop, use American dollars or just charge everything??

I am completely confused by each counties individual monies, and are they the only coin of the realm that is used.? Since we have limited time at each port, it doesn't seem to make sense to change money when you arrive there, (or does it). Can any of this be done on the ship, before hand???

WE have always charged things when we travel to a different country, as they have told us that gives you the best rate of exchange, but you still need some 'cash' in each port.

 

Thanks for any and all info.

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Which brings me to my question, how does one go about paying for things at each stop??
Top advice: charge as much as you can, because it saves you the hassle of worrying too much about changing money.

 

Second piece of advice: Don't bring cash with you. Use ATMs when you get to each destination. By definition, they will give you the correct currency for where you are.

 

Apart from that, much depends on where you are going. You might only need sterling for the UK and Euros for the stops on the Continent. It's easy to find out.

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We are really starting to get into our planned Baltic cruise, and reading evrything we can about the different stops. Which brings me to my question, how does one go about paying for things at each stop?? I am completely confused by each counties individual monies, and are they the only coin of the realm that is used.? Since we have limited time at each port, it doesn't seem to make sense to change money when you arrive there, (or does it).

 

Globaliser covered some key and correct points. Last summer, we did England for five wonderful days based in the Kent area (with lots of sun and blue skies, lucky us!!). Then, it was six different Baltic countries with six different currencies. Only Finland used the Euro. We had some Euro's from an earlier trip. Clearly in England we needed and got Pounds from the ATM's. For the rest of the trip we got by without needing to get local currency in each different country.

 

In some places, such as Estonia, the prices were also marked in Euros and we paid that way. Most places take credit cards and we had ship connector buses or set tours to lessen the need for extra cash for a local bus, etc.. In Russia for three days, our guide and/or the other couple with us had some Rubles. If we had to change and get seven different currencies, it would be too, too much. With a little luck and effort, things worked fine, saving having too, too much spare and confusing currency/coins.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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If I amy ask, HOW did you get by?. If we want to do most of the Baltic stops on our own, do our own tours and eat at restaurants, buy some souveniers, are we paying for everything with credit cards?. I would think you would need SOME of the local money--NO??????????

 

Is that the best bet, as Globaliser say, just hit the ATM as you get to each port???

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If I amy ask, HOW did you get by?. If we want to do most of the Baltic stops on our own, do our own tours and eat at restaurants, buy some souveniers, are we paying for everything with credit cards?. I would think you would need SOME of the local money--NO???????? Is that the best bet, as Globaliser say, just hit the ATM as you get to each port???

 

If you are mostly going to do it all "on your own", including riding local buses and eating more in the smaller, walk-up places, etc., then you are much more likely to need local currency in each port. In Stockholm, as an example, most of the cabs take credit cards. Better, nicer dining places will take credit cards in most all of these port cities. You're facing trade-offs! Getting the different local currencies involves hassles and difficulty in "guessing" how much money you should pull out when going to each ATM machine. It's not like a multi-day stay in one country where after a couple days, you can hit that machine again and you will be more knowledgeable on how to balance those needs on how much more to get out of the ATM. There are pro/con factors on doing a basic ship's tour in the am that gives you an overview on the town and allows some admissions to a few places, also making it easier to get by without having local currency.

 

Depending on the port city, where you dock and how you like to "play things", you might get by with little or no local currency. But, trying to do that in all ports would be inefficient with your time and your chances to learn and enjoy the key highlights for each area. Your time and enjoyment are worth real money. Don't waste too much time by being too frugal in an inefficient manner. Balance the trade-offs properly to fit your needs and budget.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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We did most Baltic ports on our own and also faced the issues of 6 different currencies. The only tour we took was in Russia. These ports are easy to do on your own and if you do your research you can actually see more than on a ship's tour.

 

You will need local currency for public transportation (e.g., local bus, ferry to Vasa in Stockholm, etc) and any museums, at a minimum. We found most restaurants and shops do take credit cards, unless you are planning to eat from a street vendor (not a bad option in Copenhagen, by the way....)

 

Your best bet is to figure out as close as you can what things you'll need local currency for. The internet is your friend; 19 times out of 20 I was able to find the info I needed online. Then hit the ATM when you arrive and take out just slightly more than you figure you will need, in case the museum/ferry has raised its prices since you checked. Yes, you may have some left over at the end of the day, but not so much as to be a big loss (and probably not more than you would use changing money aboard the ship, which usually has an atrocious exchange rate).

 

To this day I regret not having the few coins I needed in Talinn to visit one of the local churches with a small mandatory "donation". I didn't want to take out any more money as I knew I wouldn't need it again......but I really wish I'd done it, looking back.

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When we cruised East Asia, we had to deal with 8 different currencies! Thankfully, we actually wanted to save a few notes/coins from each country as souvenirs, so we weren't too disappointed when we ended up with a few leftovers. However, we were in a lot of less-developed places, so credit cards were rarely an option. In some places we could find an ATM on shore, but in others, we ended up just using the ship's exchange. In fact, it turned out that in a few cases, the ship's exchange rate was actually better than the exchange shops in port!

 

We're typically low-budget port explorers, so we aren't dealing with huge amounts, and we didn't feel that the few extra percentage lost on a mediocre exchange rate was really worth the effort of trying to plan around it. Obviously we used ATMs when we knew we could, but we also used the ship's exchange when we needed it.

 

At each port, we just made our best guess about how much money we'd use, and exchanged some first thing in the morning. Usually around $50-100 US, depending on what we had planned for the day. If we needed any more, we'd try to find an ATM, and if we had a lot left at the end of the day, we'd usually just exchange it back on the ship. Yes, we lost out on the exchange rates, but since we weren't using too much money, it wasn't a huge expense. And compared to the cost of the cruise and our ship account balance by the end of the trip, etc. it was probably one of the smallest expenses of the cruise! ;)

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You will need local currency for public transportation (e.g., local bus, ferry to Vasa in Stockholm, etc) and any museums, at a minimum. We found most restaurants and shops do take credit cards, unless you are planning to eat from a street vendor (not a bad option in Copenhagen, by the way....)

.

 

I can understand the need for local currency for public transport and street vendors (and maybe small shops), but do you (or anyone else) know about use of credit cards for entrance to museums? I see that Vasa is 95 Swedish kroner per adult (about $11.50 USD), but can you pay for that with a credit card or do you need kroner. The Vasa Museum web site doesn't say.

 

I haven't checked the museums in other ports of interest for our cruise (Helsinki, Talinn, Copenhagen). We are using private tours for StP and Berlin.

 

Thanks,

 

Sam

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I can understand the need for local currency for public transport and street vendors (and maybe small shops), but do you (or anyone else) know about use of credit cards for entrance to museums? I see that Vasa is 95 Swedish kroner per adult (about $11.50 USD), but can you pay for that with a credit card or do you need kroner. The Vasa Museum web site doesn't say. I haven't checked the museums in other ports of interest for our cruise (Helsinki, Talinn, Copenhagen). We are using private tours for StP and Berlin. Thanks, Sam

 

The Vasa Museum is super great and we enjoyed it greatly. Our admission was taken care of as a part of our ship's introductory tour of Stockholm. BUT, in checking both the Eyewitness Stockholm book and several other web sites, it confirms that credit cards are accept there at the museum, plus in most other places in Stockholm. The only credit card exception noted was for charging at liquor stores. This capital city is very tech savvy and "with it" in so many ways and areas. They get lots of tourist there and they are very focused on making things easy and quick. I especially liked some of the history at this museum on how such large ships were constructed in that era without the modern power tools and heavy cranes. Not easy or quick. It is a large ship with a short, unique and sad history.

 

Below are four pictures from our visit there from this unique and fascinating museum in August 2008. Fortunately, I had a new extra wide angle lens that allowed better visuals on the large ship and the digital camera worked well in such a low-light situation.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

1C-Stockh-V4.jpg.639661f373e8c2442994de821b8b2ff8.jpg

1C-Stockh-V.jpg.738565de639f76073ada20413857a775.jpg

1C-Stockh-V2.jpg.90b1a160064ce4acce8974d7add7c79e.jpg

1C-Stockh-V3.jpg.4bf2efcf90b614cd507141410cb9430c.jpg

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Russia: Most places take and want USD some restaurants may want rubles

 

Germany: Takes Euros

 

Tallinn Estonia: Takes Estonian Kroon and some places take Euros

 

Denmark: Takes Danish Krone

 

Norway: Takes Norweigian Krone

 

Finland: Takes Euros

 

Sweden: Takes Swedish Krona

 

Poland: Takes Polish Zloty

 

I hope this answers everyone's currency concerns. If you wish to check for yourself go to http://fx.sauder.ubc.ca/currency_table.html

Da Bear

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My DW and I were on a northern cruise that stopped in a few different ports with different currencies. I ordered a small amount of currencies for each so that I could get some slmall things like a drink. I uses credit card for everthing else. I then changed anyhthing that was left on the ship.

I find this easier than having to worry about getting cash at each port. It's all done before I go.

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What do you mean, you ordered it??. This was before you departed?? on ship??

 

Just curious

 

Some banks offer this service. If you bank with one of the biggies (Bank of America, Wachovia, Chase) check their website. You can generally order whatever currency you need (with a few exceptions) in advance and they will either ship it to you or to a local branch where you can pick it up. I believe Wells Fargo will also do this even if you don't have an account there -- just check online.

 

The downside of doing this is that the rate of exchange is generally poorer than you get by using ATMs. However, if you are only ordering small amounts, it may be worth it to you.

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I can understand the need for local currency for public transport and street vendors (and maybe small shops), but do you (or anyone else) know about use of credit cards for entrance to museums? I see that Vasa is 95 Swedish kroner per adult (about $11.50 USD), but can you pay for that with a credit card or do you need kroner. The Vasa Museum web site doesn't say.

 

I haven't checked the museums in other ports of interest for our cruise (Helsinki, Talinn, Copenhagen). We are using private tours for StP and Berlin.

 

Thanks,

 

Sam

 

For our Baltic cruise in 2005, I ordered the Oslo Pass, Copenhagen Card, Stockholm Card, etc. before leaving home. Most of the attractions I wanted to see were already included in the price of the card, and we needed very little local currency. We paid in US dollars for our 2-day Denrus tour in St. Petersburg, and that involved carrying a lot of cash - which we kept in our safe until needed.

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What do you mean, you ordered it??. This was before you departed?? on ship??

 

Just curious

 

My wife and I figured out what we needed for each country at a bare minimum. My wife went to the bank and ordered up the currency. The total cost was about 20 bucks and 10 bucks to convert what we didn't spend back into greenbacks.

Da Bear

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My wife and I figured out what we needed for each country at a bare minimum. My wife went to the bank and ordered up the currency. The total cost was about 20 bucks and 10 bucks to convert what we didn't spend back into greenbacks.

Da Bear

 

We looked at getting these currencies through our bank in Ohio. They'll do it, gladly. BUT, the "real cost" was both what fees they charged you, PLUS a highly unfavorable exchange rate. Maybe it's worth the added cost, maybe not. That's why we looked to use the credit card and/or avoid needing to have all of the various local currencies while being in most of these Baltic capitals last summer. Lots of options with many direct and indirect cost options.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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I have a crazy ATM question -

If I put my card in and punch 20 - will I get the equivalent of $20US but exchanged to the country's currency (and $20 taken from my account) or will I get 20 of the foreign currency and then the US exchange taken from my account?

Does my question make sense?

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I have a crazy ATM question -

If I put my card in and punch 20 - will I get the equivalent of $20US but exchanged to the country's currency (and $20 taken from my account) or will I get 20 of the foreign currency and then the US exchange taken from my account?

Does my question make sense?

 

 

If you select 20, you will get 20 of whatever the currency for the country is (20 euro, 20 kroner, 20 pesos, etc). The equivalent amount in US dollars will be debited from your account.

 

There is usually a transaction fee (charged by your bank, not the ATM you use), so it's better to take out a larger amount of cash at a time rather than a smaller amount. For example, if the fee is $5 per transaction, it's smarter to take out 100 euro in a single transaction ($5) rather than 50 euro each in 2 transactions ($10).

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Another tip about credit cards: if you have more than one, check and use the one that does NOT charge an exchange fee. I believe most do, but a few do not.

 

Notifying banks and credit cards of travel plans is IMPERATIVE and make sure to find out what to do if you do encounter a problem. Don't accept just a 1-800 number as you cannot call them from Europe. If the bank suspects fraud activity, they'll deactivate the card and then you're really sunk.

 

Bring 2 different credit cards, Visa and Master Card for example. Some places take one and not the other.

 

My observation is that scandinavians totally have it together regarding card purchses, I was surprised to see how little cash was actually moving around in a pub.

 

And then there's the chip card problem, US cards don't have them which means that a person can run your credit card manually, but you'll be out of luck at, say, a fare kiosk.

 

Personally, handling all the different currencies is fun. I like the efficiency of the euro --- the smallest bill is a fiver, worth $6.60 - $8-something pending exchange rate, smaller transactions are all coins which just goes faster. Danish money is my favorite, the bills have beautiful design and the coins, which are confusing at first, have their own logic if you line them up by denomination.

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We cruised the Baltic last summer, and took the apparently unusual tactic of getting each country's currency through Travelex. I have travelled in Europe a lot, and usually use ATMs, but felt with the limited time in each of the cities and so many different currencies, I'd rather have cash in hand and just get off the ship and go!

 

We did almost all of the cities on our own, and I love to go to farmer's markets and street vendors, where local currency is the only thing accepted. The only place local currency was not needed was Russia, because we'd taken a tour and the prices street vendors quoted me were always better in Euros or dollars than in Rubles. Most museums took credit cards.

 

If you purchase over a certain dollar amount at Travelex (and I don't remember what that was), there is no fee and you can return any unused money at the same exchange rate you purchased at. If we needed more money, we used ATMs, but we'd done a pretty good job of anticipating our expenses. It was probably a little more expensive, but there was great freedom in being able to jump right into sightseeing without looking for an ATM to be able to get on a bus.

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