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Your instinct serves you well. Get currency before you go - Marks & Spencer are always competitive and accessible! However, if you are doing the full world cruise, that will be a complicated transaction and currency may have to be ordered. Therefore consider travelling with the major currencies and then change those for the local currency locally but be prepared for a poor exchange rate in those circumstances. So I would have sterling/US dollars/Euro and a major credit card. However, for a better idea, doesn't your cruise information pack tell you about that sort of thing? Cannot advise you about that as I have not been lucky enough to do a world cruise!
Take US dollars and open a nationwide account. Put in holiday money then you can use the debit card at the ATMs around the world for NO charge. Also get a Nationwide credit card at the same time for purchase protection and buy everything on that. Doing this ensures that your normal account is never exposed to possible fraud. Use your normal credit card to pay your on board account and top up your nationwide account by transferring from your normal account. Make sure you have telephone/online banking facility with the banks so you can call them/go online, to check on amounts in accounts and check for unusual transactions on your nationwide account. Tell your bank you are travelling. Last but not least. Think of the worst case scenario and mitigate against it. If you lose your credit/debit card, in my suggestion you are left with a replacement. Do not take an expensive pre paid card. Make copies of all your documents (passports) and leave them at home with someone you trust. Set up a third party mandate on your account so that should you lose or have stolen your cards/documants, someone at home has access so they can arrange money transfers and get new cards sent to you as banks will NOT post to anywhere other than your account address. Having done all that you should have a trouble free journey. Yes it is more expensive to change money on board. Yes, the advice I give is from personal experience and working for a bank ! Have a wonderful time on a lovely ship - i'm jealous.
Thank you, that is extremely helpful. My situation is further complicated by the fact that I live in Kefalonia and have now arranged to fly to San Francisco via Athens/Gatwick/Heathrow and so will not be in England long enough to make any arrangements. I do already have a Nationwide account, through which we draw on our pensions. I am unclear as to why I need a Nationwide credit card in addition to my normal one. Do they offer additional protection? If so I will try to apply online. I have a banking address in England that I use. All of the helpful answers I have received seem to go for the US dollars option. We have three days in San Francisco prior to boarding the ship so I will purchase my currency there. I had thought about accessing ATMs ashore, but just didn't want the scenario of steppng ashore and frantically searching for an ATM before I could even begin to enjoy my day out!! Thanks to one and all for their useful advice.
No, we have always found that on board exchange rates have always been as competative as the high street with P&O. There is no ATM on board.
ATM machines on board???? I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole even if P&O had them, but ATM's are available on shore throughout the world. Personnally if the locals don't take the currency I have in my pocket, then I take money from an ATM as I need it, otherwise you end up buying a load of junk money you may not ever need again. Regards Wilba.
I use the onland ATMsat the ports, give good exchanges. Also take a combination of British Pounds and American Dollars to exchange into local currency.