Cruising-It is the most exciting vacation experience anyone could have. Cruising is not just about mega-size ships and all the great activities included. There is a whole lot more than meets the eye. There are the shore excursions, nightly shows, and most important-duty-free shopping. Further, the stateroom key card becomes very hot. Everyone should get the point.

During any cruise, guests are known to spend tons of money on alcohol, duty-free souvenirs, and shore excursions. No matter what cruise line travelers enjoy sailing on, what port city they sail from, or the length of cruise, the same issue remains. Onboard charge accounts are a serious subject. A cruise is much more than a vacation. It is also a monetary responsibility. Here are the five golden tips for onboard charge accounts. Once taken into consideration, the stresses of onboard spending can be reduced considerably.

5. Registering a credit card/debit card online: When setting up onboard charge accounts, it is strongly recommended that guests register a credit card or debit card online. Passengers must be careful when entering onboard charge information. They must be mindful of whose name they place the credit card/debit card under. The name on the credit card/debit card and the guest responsible for the account should match up. This is extremely important. It is a must so that supplementary guests (if applicable) can be added. There have been scenarios which a guest’s credit card/debit card was entered under the wrong name. This has resulted in the paying guest leaving the subsequent guests completely off the account. Guests should not rush through this process. It is a tedious process-a process which attention to detail is paramount. No one wants to be left off their onboard charge accounts due to an error.

4. Bringing a back-up credit card/debit card: Upon arrival at the cruise terminal, guests must have the following items ready for the check-in agent: cruise tickets, travel documents, and any additional documentation (depending on the scenario). In addition, the credit card/debit card registered for onboard charge accounts must also be in hand. Even though guests registered a credit card/debit card for their onboard charge accounts, they should have the same card in hand. The check-in agent may ask for the card to verify the numbers in the system. For security reasons, only the last four digits on the credit card/debit card appear in the system. There have been times when guests provided the wrong four digits. It is vital for guests to have the same credit card/debit card in hand for two reasons. First and foremost-it’s to help the check-in agent. Secondly, it conveniently expedites the check-in process.

Aside from bringing the registered credit card/debit card, guests should bring back-up cards. With the ongoing threat of cyber and identity theft, guests must keep their guard up. With credit cards and debit cards having been compromised in the past, guests have done their due diligence by bringing backup cards on their cruise. Cardholders are easy theft targets nowadays. It is best for guests to carry a backup credit card/debit card on a cruise. Taking a backup card is the best habit any guest could have. They would be eminently fortunate having done so.

3. Being mindful of cash accounts: Not all guests are comfortable with registering a credit card/debit card online. Some prefer to leave their onboard charge accounts blank and provide a credit card/debit card when they check in at the terminal. There is absolutely no harm in doing so. Many guests prefer setting up cash accounts. There is still some confusion amongst guests concerning cash accounts. The check-in agent WILL NOT accept money at check-in. The check-in agent will activate the guests’ cash accounts in the system, and then the guests can set up their cash balance onboard at guest services. Cruise lines also accept travelers checks. Travelers checks are also handled onboard at guest services.

2. Monitoring account activity daily: Throughout the voyage, not only is it crucial for guests to maintain communication with members of their party, but also imperative to keep “tabs” on their onboard charge activity. Whether they registered a credit card/debit card or set up cash accounts, monitoring their on board charge activity is vital. Some guests shop until they drop. Some have the tendency to be frugal and don’t spend much at all. Regardless of spending habits, guests should keep an eye on their onboard charge activity. Guests can use their stateroom TVs and keyboard to look up their onboard account. Should they need to tone down their spending, they will easily notice. By getting in the habit of monitoring onboard charge activity on a daily basis, no surprises will arise come disembarkation day.

1. Managing children’s spending: There is the famous expression, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” On a cruise vacation, that tree goes bare quickly. When a family goes on a cruise vacation, the parents have to keep their children on a tight leash. That tight leash refers to keeping them under control in reference to their onboard spending. Children, especially those under the age of eighteen, will spend money on anything, anywhere they go. They will spend money on souvenirs and soft drinks. They will spend money endlessly in the game room. A New York pier supervisor once referred to the game room as the “kiddie casino”. Keeping children under control regarding onboard charge accounts is paramount. Believe it or not, it is not difficult. When setting up onboard charge accounts online, it is best to leave children under eighteen off the account. If they wish to add them upon check-in, they can always let the check-in agent know. Should parents need their youngsters removed, they can do likewise. At the check-in counter, guests should not be afraid to leave their children off the account. Leaving children off onboard charge accounts tremendously cuts down on uncertainty.

How important is keeping children under control regarding onboard charge accounts? To be honest, it is EXTREMELY essential! Yes, it’s great to be on vacation. However, there is no break from being the boss. Not too long ago, a family checked in for a Royal Caribbean cruise. On the very first night, one of the youngsters ran up a $500.00 tab in the game room. The parents had no idea why their onboard charge balance was through the roof. Disney Cruise Line makes life easier for adults regarding onboard charge accounts. Disney Cruise Line guests under the age of ten are automatically defaulted as inactive. They can only use their stateroom key cards as their identification and stateroom keys. For guests between the ages of eleven and eighteen, parents should use their discretion.

A cruise vacation-it’s considered to be the most exciting traveling experience of all. There is much to do and see. From tasting exotic cocktails, to eating at specialty restaurants, to getting pampered at the spa, and purchasing exclusive duty-free souvenirs, a cruise ship has it all. Apart from the fun and excitement comes the vitality of managing onboard charge accounts. From setting up onboard charge accounts online, to monitoring onboard charge activity on a daily basis, to keeping control of children’s onboard spending, there is much to keep in mind.

Guests should never rush when setting up their onboard charge accounts. It makes life a whole lot easier come embarkation day. It becomes far easier throughout the cruise. Keeping track of onboard charge activity on a daily basis is a plus. Most of all, parents should use their discretion and common sense concerning their children’s onboard spending. Guests should return home from their cruise vacation feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and refreshed…not broke. These five simple hints are not only intended for promoting a sense of organization and peace-in-mind, but keeping “tabs” on onboard charge activity. Cruise vacations, cheap or expensive, are meant to bring waves of excitement; not tidal waves of chaos. Ultimately, these five hints promote the importance of cruising and spending responsibly.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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