Jump to content

A Question of Cash


exiledowl
 Share

Recommended Posts

Good Afternoon Shipmates,

We are embarking on our first world cruise in December and would like the advice of seasoned cruisers regarding currency. 

I'll be taking the usual suspects, GBP/EUR/USD/AUD/ZAR/NZD/CAD on a multi currency card, as well as cash in the 1st 3.

Whilst I've seen through researching the ports that in a lot of the one-off ports where we will dock accept EURO or USD, some don't. 

So my question is, should be try and obtain some of each currency for the places we visit before leaving, or are we generally able to find money changers at the port who give a better rate , especially where we dock at the weekend when the banks are closed?

I'm referring particularly to West Africa,

the Indian Ocean and SE Asian countries here.

Thanks in advance for any advice. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have utilised the same procedure for both World Cruises and all shorter ones.

 

A few weeks prior to departure, we order a small amount of currency for each country we will visit, from our local bank. It can take them up to a week for some of the lesser required currencies. For each country we request the equivalent of about $20 CAD. We will also request more US $, Sterling, Euros, Aus $ and NZ $.

 

Time ashore is generally short and we don't want to waste it by looking for ATM's or currency exchanges. Note - I will not use a private ATM, only those from accredited banks.

 

While most purchases are paid with Visa, some small vendors, especially stalls, only accept cash. My preference is always to provide local currency to both local vendors and tips to guides/drivers, unless another currency is widely accepted.

 

In a number of ports, we may not spend any of the local currency. Not an issue, as we take it home with us, keeping it for another cruise, or exchanging it at the bank. Yes, we lose in exchange, but it is pennies.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

We have utilised the same procedure for both World Cruises and all shorter ones.

 

A few weeks prior to departure, we order a small amount of currency for each country we will visit, from our local bank. It can take them up to a week for some of the lesser required currencies. For each country we request the equivalent of about $20 CAD. We will also request more US $, Sterling, Euros, Aus $ and NZ $.

 

Time ashore is generally short and we don't want to waste it by looking for ATM's or currency exchanges. Note - I will not use a private ATM, only those from accredited banks.

 

While most purchases are paid with Visa, some small vendors, especially stalls, only accept cash. My preference is always to provide local currency to both local vendors and tips to guides/drivers, unless another currency is widely accepted.

 

In a number of ports, we may not spend any of the local currency. Not an issue, as we take it home with us, keeping it for another cruise, or exchanging it at the bank. Yes, we lose in exchange, but it is pennies.

That's brilliant @Heidi13 just the informed and reassuring response I was hoping for. 

Thanks v much!

Jon 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/18/2023 at 1:24 PM, Heidi13 said:

We have utilised the same procedure for both World Cruises and all shorter ones.

 

A few weeks prior to departure, we order a small amount of currency for each country we will visit, from our local bank. It can take them up to a week for some of the lesser required currencies. For each country we request the equivalent of about $20 CAD. We will also request more US $, Sterling, Euros, Aus $ and NZ $.

 

Time ashore is generally short and we don't want to waste it by looking for ATM's or currency exchanges. Note - I will not use a private ATM, only those from accredited banks.

 

While most purchases are paid with Visa, some small vendors, especially stalls, only accept cash. My preference is always to provide local currency to both local vendors and tips to guides/drivers, unless another currency is widely accepted.

 

In a number of ports, we may not spend any of the local currency. Not an issue, as we take it home with us, keeping it for another cruise, or exchanging it at the bank. Yes, we lose in exchange, but it is pennies.

Excellent idea, heidi13.  I usually keep a few Euros and Australian dollars on hand for the next trip so that I have cash on hand when we arrive, but hadn't really considered currency for tipping local guides in some of the more out of way ports that we'll visit.  

 

We don't do much shopping in foreign ports since we don't need more junk and clutter, but we do like to show our appreciation to the guides.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We found that most street vendors in West Africa will take US or Euro. HAL ships typically have foreign currency that you can buy. Their rate is less than the bank rate but it was handy. Before our WC, we got about $50 per port per day in the major foreign currencies. We had too much cash as most places took credit cards. I won’t bother to get as much for our next cruise. Many of our tour guides accepted tips in US or Euros too.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, sandiego1 said:

We found that most street vendors in West Africa will take US or Euro. HAL ships typically have foreign currency that you can buy. Their rate is less than the bank rate but it was handy. Before our WC, we got about $50 per port per day in the major foreign currencies. We had too much cash as most places took credit cards. I won’t bother to get as much for our next cruise. Many of our tour guides accepted tips in US or Euros too.

I take small bills in US-$ and everyone accepted them, we were even able to buy souvenirs in Madagaskar. As long as it is bills, they are able to exchange it at a bank. To many currencies for a World Cruise to carry. The only place I wasn't able to use US$ to purchase something was in Japan. I wouldn't try to use US$ in Europe, but most of these Asian, Pacific or South American countries I would also not be able to get the currency here from any bank.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, BVILady said:

I take small bills in US-$ and everyone accepted them, we were even able to buy souvenirs in Madagaskar. As long as it is bills, they are able to exchange it at a bank. To many currencies for a World Cruise to carry. The only place I wasn't able to use US$ to purchase something was in Japan. I wouldn't try to use US$ in Europe, but most of these Asian, Pacific or South American countries I would also not be able to get the currency here from any bank.

Also, we were told to bring newer bills without any tears or writing on them. In Chile, our guide asked us to swap out a $5 bill he received in the past that had a corner missing. His bank wouldn’t accept it to exchange. 
 

I also found that in some West African countries, they wouldn’t accept $1 bills. They said the exchange rate was lower than on $5 bills. Of course the item I wanted was $13 so they wanted me to give them a five and a ten. I combined my purchase with a friend’s purchase so we didn’t have to pay extra. The guide told me the story about the exchange rate was true so I didn’t think the vendor was trying to rip me off.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, BVILady said:

I take small bills in US-$ and everyone accepted them, we were even able to buy souvenirs in Madagaskar. As long as it is bills, they are able to exchange it at a bank. To many currencies for a World Cruise to carry. The only place I wasn't able to use US$ to purchase something was in Japan. I wouldn't try to use US$ in Europe, but most of these Asian, Pacific or South American countries I would also not be able to get the currency here from any bank.

Sounds like the plan would be to take some crisp, new US dollars and some euro bills instead of fretting about local currencies for a one time visit to a country on the itinerary.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/18/2023 at 7:24 PM, Heidi13 said:

We have utilised the same procedure for both World Cruises and all shorter ones.

 

A few weeks prior to departure, we order a small amount of currency for each country we will visit, from our local bank. It can take them up to a week for some of the lesser required currencies. For each country we request the equivalent of about $20 CAD. We will also request more US $, Sterling, Euros, Aus $ and NZ $.

 

Time ashore is generally short and we don't want to waste it by looking for ATM's or currency exchanges. Note - I will not use a private ATM, only those from accredited banks.

 

While most purchases are paid with Visa, some small vendors, especially stalls, only accept cash. My preference is always to provide local currency to both local vendors and tips to guides/drivers, unless another currency is widely accepted.

 

In a number of ports, we may not spend any of the local currency. Not an issue, as we take it home with us, keeping it for another cruise, or exchanging it at the bank. Yes, we lose in exchange, but it is pennies.

We picked up a sprinkling of different SE Asian currencies today, along with a wad of small USD denominations to use as tips or to change into local cash for

1 day in 1 country visits.

It really added to the build up and excitement to see all these exotic bank notes for the first time!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely don’t buy exotic currencies at home. Besides the often extremely bad exchange rates and the question whether I really will need them many countries simply ban import of own currency. It is just not worth it getting into troubles for the convenience of the trader, guide, whatever. Countries with a strong economy and relatively little tourism tend not to accept Dollar or Euro, try to pay in Toronto with Australian Dollars. But they accept cards. Of course never use coins, only bank notes. I myself have changed Euro coins into bills for a guide who got them as a tip. Of course here comes the Dollar handy, because the paper is used already for as little as one Dollar, while it takes 5 € for the smallest bank note. However, it can be hard to get them. Which tourist seriously exchanges such a small amount into Euro? And if they are available they are not fresh, but look a bit like toilet paper. No wonder that a lot of people don’t accept them. And at the end remains the question, whether it is really a higher valuation if one gives local currency instead of a hard foreign one. There are countries where Euros buys simply more than local currency, just because of extreme inflation, limits to exchange own currency, whatever. Foreign currency can be a treasure to those who have a lesser currency than I have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We took about $300 in cash, a lot of smaller bills.  The rest of the time, we just hit an ATM when we got into port.  In every country we hit (that we were staying more than a day), either DH or I took out the equivalent of about $100.  We split the cash, between us.  Every ATM we used, there were no huge conversion costs or foreign fees.  If an ATM charged us, it got refunded.  The costs were very comparable to what the current exchange rate was.  
The last stop in that country, we tried to use up cash and we’re only left with coins at the end.  As DH went scuba diving a lot of places, that did a good job of getting rid of cash.  
 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...