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Author: gmechoc

Joined: 5/19/2011
Posts: 27
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2011

August 22, 2011

How much money should we take for a two week river cruise? 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 22, 2011

Do you mean how much cash should you take?

Everything on the cruise is paid for, cabin and meals.  Other purchases, i.e., drinks at the bar, purchases in the gift shop, are charged to your cabin.  You give an imprint of your credit card at the reception desk and at the end of the trip you get a print-out of the charges for you to verify.

Optional tours are paid for by credit card.  Almost every shop you may go into on the shore excursions will accept credit cards.

So that, basically, leaves tips.  The information booklets from GCT will give you suggestions for tips.  Those amounts haven't changed in the 10 years I've been traveling with GCT, and I find them on the low side.  You tip the crew and staff on the ship; they pool tips.  You tip your guide and driver on shore excursions.  And you tip your Program Director.

Other needs for cash could be when you buy something for a small amount like postcards or stamps, or book marks.  Or to tip a restroom attendant somewhere (although I can't remember any outside of China).

Author: dgevry

Joined: 9/4/2010
Posts: 65
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2010

August 23, 2011

Pauline is right. You don't need a lot of cash because many things are paid for by credit card. We took far too much cash on our lst trip, and brought a lot home.  We found that many people got cash at ATM's and got a better exchange rate by doing so. You can exchange up to $50.00 per person per day on the boat, so that you always have a few euros for small purchases. It is helpful to have some small change inyour pocket, for those places where you have to pay to use the WC - there were a few places- Vienna, Heildelberg & some other town where we used a public WC where a matron collected the fee before being allowed into the stall. It was usually 0.5 euros, sometimes a little less.

Author: gmechoc

Joined: 5/19/2011
Posts: 27
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2011

August 23, 2011

So what actual amount would you recommend?

Author: almaruth60

Joined: 1/2/2011
Posts: 10
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2011

August 24, 2011

How much $ depends on how you spend.  I am the worst tourist and support all the gift shops! I brought Euro's with me in Apr. when I did The Tulips cruise.  I remember taking about 300 E and spent it all. I feel more secure when I take extra money with me also.  I took cash for the tips for the crew and for the tour director so I didn't have an extra burden at the end. I found that some very small ports/villages that we went to, didn't take CC's and Euro's was the only choice. Some tour guides took US dollars. I had taken lots of dollars just in case.  Don't forget, you can get $50.00 a day on the ship.

On board the ship, just sign for everything, including post cards & stamps. I was given a final tab at the end of the trip and paid with my debt card.  I didn't even have to leave the ship once I saw the little gift area on the ship. Sign Sign Sign!   Just have a good time, it's only money!

Author: hootie

Joined: 3/7/2010
Posts: 133
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

China, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Chech Republic, Slavakia, Bratislava, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Istanbul, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Tahiti & French Polynesia/Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Bermuda, Alaska, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Panama Canal, Caribbean (extensively), Canada/Nova Scotia, Canary Islands, Gibralter, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Vatican City, France, Holland, Belgium, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia.

Traveler Since: 2001

August 24, 2011

$$$...

I shop like almaruth60...much to my husband's dismay!!!

On the conservative side, I'd say $500.  (NOT including ALL the tips you will need to pay)  It depends on your shopping habits and whether you like/collect anything from the places you are visiting.  For example--we went on another Caribbean cruise just for the new ship and not the itinerary which we'd done many times before and since my house is not decorated in a tropical theme, I knew I would not being buying alot.  If you like the street vendors (I DO), munching your way through towns, eating at cafes and all the shops, bring money.  If it's a place you've never been, you don't know what my catch your eye.  We tend to take alot of cash (NOT RECOMMENDED) because we had issues using our debit card at ATM's in China so, now, I'm paranoid.

The comment about getting $50 a day from the ship...we exchanged U.S. dollars for euros on the european river boats and depending on how many passengers used this service, you could exchange more. I don't know if you can do this on all the boats.  (Russian???)

Just take what you can afford and guard your money...where ever you are!

Author: uofmich77

Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 43
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2005

August 24, 2011

 I know this is an ongoing debate but we've done a lot of traveling and only use ATM's. We never ever take cash from home. Too much to lose or have stolen. We can budget as we go that way and never have too much cash on us. In all the years we've been traveling and all the places we've been we've only had one or two problems. On a European River Cruise you shouldn't have any more of a problem than you would expect here. That went for China as well.

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1999

August 24, 2011

I have been using ATMs to get foreign currrency for many years and have never had a problem.  However, there is always the possibility that my card could be lost or stolen.  So I also take some American cash (usually $200 or a little more) even though I'm not likely to need it.

Author: hootie

Joined: 3/7/2010
Posts: 133
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

China, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Chech Republic, Slavakia, Bratislava, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Istanbul, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Tahiti & French Polynesia/Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Bermuda, Alaska, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Panama Canal, Caribbean (extensively), Canada/Nova Scotia, Canary Islands, Gibralter, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Vatican City, France, Holland, Belgium, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia.

Traveler Since: 2001

August 26, 2011

$$$...

ATM's really are the most convenient way to get money.  They work well the majority of the time with no problems.  However, I would still recommend taking a few hundred in cash with you.  As I have previously posted, we had problems all throughout China at the ATM's with our debit cards.  We do not know why.  It worked maybe twice, in larger cities & only at Bank of China banks.  We checked with our bank before we left & were told it would work.  Our bank knew our travel dates.  Yes, we had plenty of money in our account.  We only use the card when traveling so it was in very good shape.  We knew how to work the ATM and even had our PD try in several locations.  We had to resort to using our credit card for a cash advance.  It took a very long time to accomplish this.  We had to show our passports, driver's license, etc....even our travel itinerary.  Then we had to go to 3 different tellers & show everything again and be interigated by each of them.  We had to sign so many forms, written in Chinese, we were glad our PD went with us.  He said that it's rare, but sometimes there are problems with the cards.  (Our PD--Albert Ruan--was fantastic.)  When we got back home, I informed the bank of what happened.  They didn't know why (or care) we had the problem.  We have traveled extensively & only had one other problem in Poland at an ATM.  You just never know.  We certainly didn't expect all the issues we had in China, and it only takes being stuck one time in a foreign country without money to scare me.  It all worked out in the end...but it wasn't easy.  And like someone else mentioned, what if your card gets lost or stolen?

Author: uofmich77

Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 43
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2005

August 29, 2011

 Hootie,

 

I wonder if the size of the home bank has anything to do with it. We use Bank of America but before that a local credit union so that's probably not an explanation. That's really a shame about having to get cash advances. Pretty expensive I imagine.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 29, 2011

I only had problems twice, and they were very small and easily solved.  Nothing like Hootie's problems in China.

Once, Bruge I think, the ATM didn't like my card.  At least, it didn't eat it.  So I went into the bank itself, but the teller said she needed to see my passport.  I don't usually carry it around with me, but leave it in the safe at the hotel and carry a copy.  But they wouldn't accept that.  Before I walked back to my room, I decided to try the ATM again and this time it cooperated.

In Dublin in June, I went to an ATM for just a small amount since it was the end of the trip.  The first ATM said that I had already drawn all I could that day.  I hadn't used an ATM for a week!  There were people behind me in the line, and they said to try again.  I did, and the same thing happened.  So I walked down the street to an indoor mall and saw a sign that said ATM.  Went in and everything worked fine.

One of the problems with exchanging dollars for local currency is that people are worried are counterfeit bills.

Author: dondaro

Joined: 6/10/2010
Posts: 21
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 1999

September 01, 2011

Funny. We came back from China in June and had no trouble using the ATM with our Visa pre paid card. If you are a Bank of America customer you can go to China Construction Bank which is affiliated with BOA. They're all over the place in Shanghai and Beijing. Also, you pay a smaller transaction fee. There were ATM machines near the hotels in Bejing and Shanghai within walking distance and everyone on our trip used them with no problem. The prepaid card is a card that you can fill up with a certain amount of money and it has no connection with your bank account.  AAA offers them for a small fee and you can re use them for a couple of years. You can cash them in when you return home or use them in the USA. We've been using them for many years and it sure beats carrying a lot of cash or travelers checks which are useless.

Author: dondaro

Joined: 6/10/2010
Posts: 21
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 1999

September 01, 2011

In addition I emailed Arthur Frommer the travel expert while he was doing his radio show and asked the question regarding money in China. He and his daughter recommended using ATM machines. Totaly against travelers checks. Another advantage is at the end of the trip when you have to tip the PD and bus driver and you don't have enough money left you can withdraw the amount of money you need for the tip from the ATM.. The PDs prefer local currency.

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 242
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1995

September 06, 2011

All of t hese comments are just about gospel as far as being "the way it is" with money.  How much you need depends on how much you like to shop, how big items are that you shop for, who you're buying for, etc.  Me, I only buy magnets for myself and some small size souvenirs for my two grown "kids", with the exception of the magnet, a small set of earrings, or other very small item, I use credit cards in Europe.  Vending stands in the market square for the most part want cash.   As far as ATM's, we always take some cash because sometimes ATM's don't work.  Not sure where we were, maybe in Lucerne, my husband tried to get cash from an independent ATM machine, it wouldn't work.  He used my card, th e same bank's, and mine worked.  He was not over  his limit for that day as he hadn't used an ATM in a few days.  Another time his visa card wouldn't work at the train station in Lucerne so I used my check card (as a credit) and it worked.  The VISA was acceptable to slide at that machine, but it kept getting rejected.  This was the same credit card we used at other stores and on the ship, and never rejected--plenty of money, no balance, so it was just maybe a dirty strip on the card.  For these reasons we always have a few hundred $$/local currency  on us.  For local guid and bus driver tips, we collect $5 and $1 bills before we leave home and use these in the amounts recommended or a little more.  We kind of figure how many local tours we will have.  If we have more US $$ on hand than local currency, we tip PD's in US$; if we have a large amount of Euros left, we tip in Euros.   Recently it was more convenient to charge crew tips to our bill--didn't have to convert $$ for tips that way.

 

 

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