Carnival Cruise Cash: Everything You Need to Know

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Understanding the finances of a Carnival cruise, including onboard spending, is an important aspect of planning your journey.

While onboard credit is a versatile option for various amenities, including the casino, Cruise Cash follows a different set of rules.

This article explores the key differences between these two payment methods. We dissect Carnival Cruise Line’s policies to answer whether Cruise Cash an option for the casino.

The vibrant casino on the Carnival Horizon cruise ship, featuring a variety of slot machines and gaming tables, with dynamic lighting and a lively atmosphere.

Maximizing Onboard Credit in the Casino

I’ve found that onboard credit on Carnival cruises is quite flexible, extending its utility to the bustling world of the cruise casino. This means that if you’re like me and enjoy the thrill of gambling, your onboard credit can be a valuable asset for playing slots, table games, and more. It’s an excellent way to engage in casino activities without the need to carry cash.

However, things are a bit different when it comes to Cruise Cash. In my experience and according to Carnival’s policies, Cruise Cash cannot be used in the casino.

It’s important for passengers to understand this limitation; Cruise Cash is reserved for other onboard expenses like drinks, dining, and shore excursions, but not for testing your luck at the casino tables or slot machines.

Related reading: How many carnival casino points for a free cruise?

Understanding Carnival Cruise Line’s Onboard Credit and Cruise Cash

Onboard credit is essentially a prepaid account that passengers on Carnival cruises can use during their cruise. It’s a versatile form of spending power, allowing guests to indulge in various amenities and activities offered on the ship.

Whereas Cruise Cash is a specific prepaid credit system unique to Carnival Cruise Line, which offers guests a convenient way to manage their onboard spending.

It comes in three distinct types: General, Bar, and Photo, each earmarked for different purchases. General Cruise Cash can be applied towards a wide range of expenses, including gratuities, whereas Cruise Cash Bar is exclusively for beverage purchases, and Cruise Cash Photo is for buying photographic memories captured during the cruise.

A laptop screen displays options for 'Carnival Cruise Cash' for general, bar, and photo services on a sleek wooden table, accompanied by a refreshing pitcher of water with citrus slices and a modern home office background.

Avoiding Unused Balances

So, what happens to unused onboard credit? It’s important to remember that onboard credit is non-refundable and non-transferable. Therefore, any unused portion of the onboard credit will be forfeited at the end of your cruise. So, you must plan your spending wisely and utilize your Cruise Cash.

So, before the last night of your cruise, ensure you’ve used all your onboard credit. Whether indulging in a special dinner, treating yourself to a spa treatment, or even purchasing gift cards for future cruises, the goal is to ensure no credit goes unused.

Related reading: How Much Cash Should I Bring on a Carnival Cruise?

Two women relaxing on wicker loungers in a cruise ship's thermal suite, basking in the natural light pouring in from the panoramic ocean view windows. The tranquil setting is complemented by a luxurious mosaic-tiled floor and a golden mosaic wall accent, creating a serene spa ambiance.

Insights and Experiences from the Community

When considering whether Cruise Cash is worth it for a Carnival Cruise, various personal experiences from the Cruise Critic Community forum offer some insights:

1. Non-Refundable Nature

A user expressed frustration with the non-refundable aspect of Cruise Cash. They mentioned that if a cruise is cancelled or changed, any money in the Cruise Cash account essentially becomes a donation to Carnival, which they considered unfair.

2. Change in Spending Habits

Another cruiser noted that due to this non-refundable policy, they would likely keep their money and spend less on board than they used to. This reflects a sentiment that the inflexibility of Cruise Cash could lead to more cautious spending.

3. Concerns About Unused Balances

There’s apprehension that some passengers might not realize that Cruise Cash is a ‘use it or lose it’ deal. A forum user advised keeping cash and then loading it onto the Sign and Sail card once on the ship instead of risking losing any unspent Cruise Cash.

4. Preference for Paying As Needed

A different viewpoint came from a cruiser who prefers spending money as needed and within a budget. They questioned the benefit of giving money to Carnival in advance, suggesting that it might not be financially prudent.

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I'm Hannah and I've been cruising for as long as I can remember.

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