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Posted (edited)

Afternoon

 

I am going on the Baltic Cruise July 2020, was curious if you can exchange US/Euros money for Russian Rubles on the ship

 

Thank you

Edited by musklatte
Wrong user name

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Posted (edited)

Hi, and welcome to Cruise Critic,

 

Possibly. But it'd be the most expensive way of doing it, because cruise ships' exchange rates are abysmal.

 

Which country are you from? 

And which ship?

Then I (we) can suggest what to do about roubles, and the other Baltic currencies.

And about paying your on-board account if ship's currency isn't the same as your home currency. 

 

JB :classic_smile:

Edited by John Bull

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Hi JB

 

I am from Canada, and sailing on the Brilliance of the Seas July 28,2020

 

Thanks for the reply

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1 hour ago, musklatte said:

Hi JB

 

I am from Canada, and sailing on the Brilliance of the Seas July 28,2020

 

Thanks for the reply

 

 

OK. Can't help with whether / where to get your shore spending-money in Canada or whether it's better to use your debit card in an ATM ashore (not on the ship).

But bear in mind that having to find an ATM in port before you do your own thing is a bind, and there may be a minimum withdrawal of more than you want.

But don't rely on the ship - like all cruise lines they may not have all the currencies and if they do they will screw you royally on the exchange rate. In fact, as a Canuk you'll get double-screwed because it's a USD ship -  so they'll use a lousy rate CAD to USD then a lousy rate USD to local currencies.

 

Plastic is widely used in the Baltic countries, even in the souvenir shops in St Petersburg so use your card  for most purchases

Do you have a credit card which doesn't charge for foreign currency transactions?

If not, do consider getting one - I know there are such cards in Canada, hopefully a compatriot will join this thread with the name of a card or two.

Most credit cards include some sort of perk, like air-miles or cashback. Or no foreign transaction fees.

Credit cards give a much better exchange rate (at, or marginally above the wholesale rate) than any cash exchange bureau.

We have one card with no foreign transaction fees, which we use only for foreign travel. It also helps us to differentiate between our travel spend and our regular spend.

It's always wise to carry two cards (separately) on foreign travel in case one is lost or compromised.

 

BEFORE SWIPING OR SIGNING OR  ENTERING YOUR PIN, ENSURE THAT YOUR CARD IS CHARGED THE CORRECT AMOUNT IN LOCAL CURRENCY(There are exceptions like most Caribbean islands, but there are no exceptions in the Baltic)

Decline an offer to convert to your card's currency, if the card-reader has dual-currency ensure that you press the local currency button, check the card-reader screen to ensure that it's in local currency and get them to change it to local currency if it isn't. Your card issuer will always convert at a much better exchange rate.  

 

In some outlets you might not be able to use plastic for small purchases like a beer, and some outlets like a street-trader or mebbe a local bus won't accept plastic.

And if you don't get a card with no forex fee you need to check if there's a minimum fee which would exceed the better exchange rate for a low-value purchase. In such cases, being charged in CAD might actually be better.

For those reasons it's well worth getting just a few dollars-worth of each local currency - that's likely to include Danish Kroner, Swedish Kroner, Russian roubles, euros, mebbe Polish zloty or Norwegian kroner. Perhaps 20 - 30 CAD-worth per person per shore-day?

And in all ports take ashore your euros - not accepted everywhere and likely to be a poor rate where they are accepted, but  a better emergency foreign currency than CAD or USD. 

 

Ship's tour or local operator's tour in St Petersburg?

Don't be fooled by ship's misleading literature that you need a visa if you don't take a ship's tour - tours pre-booked with local operators have the same visa-free status as ships' tours, you only need a visa if you want to go off exploring on your own.

Browse this forum for St P. tour operator suggestions, but if you just stick a pin in the list you won't go wrong - they're all very good.

 

BTW you shouldn't need roubles if you use ship's or local operators' tours, they're inclusive of entrance fees, meals etc. & you're taken to a souvenir shop that accepts plastic. 

We took enough roubles for our guide's tip, because we like the comfort of having local currency anywhere.

At lunch, the meal was included but drinks weren't - and that restaurant accepted only local currency & no plastic. So we had beers while the rest had table water, and we made up the tip shortfall in euros. Everyone happy and no unused roubles.

 

Finally, I don't know how experienced you are at cruising, so apologies if I'm teaching granny to suck eggs.

Ship's currency is USD, and your plastic is CAD.

At some point the ship will offer, usually by a note in your cabin,, to convert your on-board account to CAD "for your convenience" :classic_rolleyes:. That's bovine excrement, it's so that they can use their exchange rate to squeeze more money out of you.

So decline their kind offer - keep it in USD & allow your card issuer to convert at a better rate.

BTW this applies to every cruise line of every country that we've sailed.

 

Sorry - might seem like quite a lot to take in, but pretty simple when you're on your cruise

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

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5 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

 

OK. Can't help with whether / where to get your shore spending-money in Canada or whether it's better to use your debit card in an ATM ashore (not on the ship).

But bear in mind that having to find an ATM in port before you do your own thing is a bind, and there may be a minimum withdrawal of more than you want.

But don't rely on the ship - like all cruise lines they may not have all the currencies and if they do they will screw you royally on the exchange rate. In fact, as a Canuk you'll get double-screwed because it's a USD ship -  so they'll use a lousy rate CAD to USD then a lousy rate USD to local currencies.

 

Plastic is widely used in the Baltic countries, even in the souvenir shops in St Petersburg so use your card  for most purchases

Do you have a credit card which doesn't charge for foreign currency transactions?

If not, do consider getting one - I know there are such cards in Canada, hopefully a compatriot will join this thread with the name of a card or two.

Most credit cards include some sort of perk, like air-miles or cashback. Or no foreign transaction fees.

Credit cards give a much better exchange rate (at, or marginally above the wholesale rate) than any cash exchange bureau.

We have one card with no foreign transaction fees, which we use only for foreign travel. It also helps us to differentiate between our travel spend and our regular spend.

It's always wise to carry two cards (separately) on foreign travel in case one is lost or compromised.

 

BEFORE SWIPING OR SIGNING OR  ENTERING YOUR PIN, ENSURE THAT YOUR CARD IS CHARGED THE CORRECT AMOUNT IN LOCAL CURRENCY(There are exceptions like most Caribbean islands, but there are no exceptions in the Baltic)

Decline an offer to convert to your card's currency, if the card-reader has dual-currency ensure that you press the local currency button, check the card-reader screen to ensure that it's in local currency and get them to change it to local currency if it isn't. Your card issuer will always convert at a much better exchange rate.  

 

In some outlets you might not be able to use plastic for small purchases like a beer, and some outlets like a street-trader or mebbe a local bus won't accept plastic.

And if you don't get a card with no forex fee you need to check if there's a minimum fee which would exceed the better exchange rate for a low-value purchase. In such cases, being charged in CAD might actually be better.

For those reasons it's well worth getting just a few dollars-worth of each local currency - that's likely to include Danish Kroner, Swedish Kroner, Russian roubles, euros, mebbe Polish zloty or Norwegian kroner. Perhaps 20 - 30 CAD-worth per person per shore-day?

And in all ports take ashore your euros - not accepted everywhere and likely to be a poor rate where they are accepted, but  a better emergency foreign currency than CAD or USD. 

 

Ship's tour or local operator's tour in St Petersburg?

Don't be fooled by ship's misleading literature that you need a visa if you don't take a ship's tour - tours pre-booked with local operators have the same visa-free status as ships' tours, you only need a visa if you want to go off exploring on your own.

Browse this forum for St P. tour operator suggestions, but if you just stick a pin in the list you won't go wrong - they're all very good.

 

BTW you shouldn't need roubles if you use ship's or local operators' tours, they're inclusive of entrance fees, meals etc. & you're taken to a souvenir shop that accepts plastic. 

We took enough roubles for our guide's tip, because we like the comfort of having local currency anywhere.

At lunch, the meal was included but drinks weren't - and that restaurant accepted only local currency & no plastic. So we had beers while the rest had table water, and we made up the tip shortfall in euros. Everyone happy and no unused roubles.

 

Finally, I don't know how experienced you are at cruising, so apologies if I'm teaching granny to suck eggs.

Ship's currency is USD, and your plastic is CAD.

At some point the ship will offer, usually by a note in your cabin,, to convert your on-board account to CAD "for your convenience" :classic_rolleyes:. That's bovine excrement, it's so that they can use their exchange rate to squeeze more money out of you.

So decline their kind offer - keep it in USD & allow your card issuer to convert at a better rate.

BTW this applies to every cruise line of every country that we've sailed.

 

Sorry - might seem like quite a lot to take in, but pretty simple when you're on your cruise

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

As a Canuck, I will chime in with a few suggestions.

 

To get cash rubles I suggest using Calforex. They are in the major cities and I believe will ship to you if you are not. They have good exchange rates, and charge only one fee no matter how many currencies you exchange. (So do them all with one transaction.)

 

There are very few credit cards in Canada that waive foreign exchange fees. The one I use is Home Trust Preferred Visa; no FX fees and 1% back on all purchases. The card is free. My downside has been no contactless payment (although I talked to them just before leaving a few days ago and they have them now). There is also Scotiabank Passport Visa, but at $139 the perks need to be worth it to you. 

 

As to using an ATM, this can be your most expensive option (but not necessarily). I know of no one who waives FX fees. In fact TD just raised theirs from 2-1/2% to 3-1/2%, and I believe some other banks followed. On top of that you pay fees (generally $5) for using a foreign machine (on top of anything that machine’s bank charges) unless you have a package that waives these fees. So for me, my TD package waives the fee, so for smaller amounts it is a better choice than my CIBC card, which only charges 2-1/2% but adds on a $5 fee. 

 

I don’t discuss changing aboard because I have no experience but as JB said, probably a really bad deal. 

 

As to dynamic currency conversion- don’t. Always choose the local currency as mentioned above. I have gone on-line immediately after a purchase, and found the pending amount much lower than the CAD$ option. (Those rates will change when actually posted but not by much.)

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Just use your credit card as most establishments accept them. If you really want to get Rubles I do not suggest getting your money exchanged in the ship but instead just withdraw from the ATM as soon as you arrive in Russia. There are ATMs at the port. 

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If using a CAD credit card abroad, check to see how your bank converts foreign currency charges.  On one of my cards, they first convert a charge in some foreign currencies to USD and then from USD to CAD.  Double whammy!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Freckles_51 said:

If using a CAD credit card abroad, check to see how your bank converts foreign currency charges.  On one of my cards, they first convert a charge in some foreign currencies to USD and then from USD to CAD.  Double whammy!

That is not true for every currency; it says for SOME currencies. I assume it is only for some uncommon ones.

Edited by gnome12

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49 minutes ago, gnome12 said:

That is not true for every currency; it says for SOME currencies. I assume it is only for some uncommon ones.

That’s exactly what I said, “....some foreign currencies...”

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On 7/14/2019 at 7:25 PM, Earl Rosebery said:

There is no need for roubles . Discussed many times.

 

This was certainly my experience.  Tour company took Visa, stores we stopped at (and at the port terminal) took Visa, and guides (gladly) took USD for tips.  Perhaps they'd be less interested in tips in CAD, but you could always get some USD or Euros.  

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On 7/14/2019 at 9:05 AM, John Bull said:

 

 

OK. Can't help with whether / where to get your shore spending-money in Canada or whether it's better to use your debit card in an ATM ashore (not on the ship).

But bear in mind that having to find an ATM in port before you do your own thing is a bind, and there may be a minimum withdrawal of more than you want.

But don't rely on the ship - like all cruise lines they may not have all the currencies and if they do they will screw you royally on the exchange rate. In fact, as a Canuk you'll get double-screwed because it's a USD ship -  so they'll use a lousy rate CAD to USD then a lousy rate USD to local currencies.

 

Plastic is widely used in the Baltic countries, even in the souvenir shops in St Petersburg so use your card  for most purchases

Do you have a credit card which doesn't charge for foreign currency transactions?

If not, do consider getting one - I know there are such cards in Canada, hopefully a compatriot will join this thread with the name of a card or two.

Most credit cards include some sort of perk, like air-miles or cashback. Or no foreign transaction fees.

Credit cards give a much better exchange rate (at, or marginally above the wholesale rate) than any cash exchange bureau.

We have one card with no foreign transaction fees, which we use only for foreign travel. It also helps us to differentiate between our travel spend and our regular spend.

It's always wise to carry two cards (separately) on foreign travel in case one is lost or compromised.

 

BEFORE SWIPING OR SIGNING OR  ENTERING YOUR PIN, ENSURE THAT YOUR CARD IS CHARGED THE CORRECT AMOUNT IN LOCAL CURRENCY(There are exceptions like most Caribbean islands, but there are no exceptions in the Baltic)

Decline an offer to convert to your card's currency, if the card-reader has dual-currency ensure that you press the local currency button, check the card-reader screen to ensure that it's in local currency and get them to change it to local currency if it isn't. Your card issuer will always convert at a much better exchange rate.  

 

In some outlets you might not be able to use plastic for small purchases like a beer, and some outlets like a street-trader or mebbe a local bus won't accept plastic.

And if you don't get a card with no forex fee you need to check if there's a minimum fee which would exceed the better exchange rate for a low-value purchase. In such cases, being charged in CAD might actually be better.

For those reasons it's well worth getting just a few dollars-worth of each local currency - that's likely to include Danish Kroner, Swedish Kroner, Russian roubles, euros, mebbe Polish zloty or Norwegian kroner. Perhaps 20 - 30 CAD-worth per person per shore-day?

And in all ports take ashore your euros - not accepted everywhere and likely to be a poor rate where they are accepted, but  a better emergency foreign currency than CAD or USD. 

 

Ship's tour or local operator's tour in St Petersburg?

Don't be fooled by ship's misleading literature that you need a visa if you don't take a ship's tour - tours pre-booked with local operators have the same visa-free status as ships' tours, you only need a visa if you want to go off exploring on your own.

Browse this forum for St P. tour operator suggestions, but if you just stick a pin in the list you won't go wrong - they're all very good.

 

BTW you shouldn't need roubles if you use ship's or local operators' tours, they're inclusive of entrance fees, meals etc. & you're taken to a souvenir shop that accepts plastic. 

We took enough roubles for our guide's tip, because we like the comfort of having local currency anywhere.

At lunch, the meal was included but drinks weren't - and that restaurant accepted only local currency & no plastic. So we had beers while the rest had table water, and we made up the tip shortfall in euros. Everyone happy and no unused roubles.

 

Finally, I don't know how experienced you are at cruising, so apologies if I'm teaching granny to suck eggs.

Ship's currency is USD, and your plastic is CAD.

At some point the ship will offer, usually by a note in your cabin,, to convert your on-board account to CAD "for your convenience" :classic_rolleyes:. That's bovine excrement, it's so that they can use their exchange rate to squeeze more money out of you.

So decline their kind offer - keep it in USD & allow your card issuer to convert at a better rate.

BTW this applies to every cruise line of every country that we've sailed.

 

Sorry - might seem like quite a lot to take in, but pretty simple when you're on your cruise

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

This is great info thank's. 

Coming from Australia but still all very relevant to me.

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My trips have been more extended there and I have gotten around $100 in US converted to rubles and then used an ATM when in Russia.

 

I had to order the rubles a few days in advance.

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