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How much cash to bring?

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I'm interested in knowing how much cash to bring on our cruise. We are doing a 7 day Caribbean excursion on Allure out of Ft. Lauderdale and stopping at Philipsburg, San Juan, and Labadee. I know San Juan will take American dollars. Family of two adults, one six-year-old.

Between tipping porters, cash for shopping in port, other cash (do we need cash at the casino? - not that we expect to spend a lot there), what is a reasonable amount to have on hand and in what denominations? Do shops in port usually use cash or credit? Should we take out local cash using ATMs in port instead? We will not be drinking alcohol or soda, and expect to be buying little tchotchkes and small gifts as opposed to big ticket items.


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It's a tough question because we all have different spending habits.

I try to use a credit card whenever possible, but there are definitely instances you need cash. I'd say it's safe to say you should bring $4-500 to cover your bases.

2 minutes ago, Durham Mama Bear said:

do we need cash at the casino

Yes, although you can always get cash from ATM (service fee) or cash advance from cashier (service fee as well).

3 minutes ago, Durham Mama Bear said:

Do shops in port usually use cash or credit?

Depends on the shop.  50/50 chance

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As far as the porters go, the rule of thumb is $1-2 per bag that they haul for you or load into the carts for boarding. When disembarking I tend to tip more than embarking since they're actually lugging your stuff around while guiding you out of the terminal, and often haul it to where you will be getting your ride to the airport or post-cruise hotel. Plus, they have a special line to get through customs more quickly, which is worth whatever tip money I give out all on its own.

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For tipping depends on your preference. I hardly ever tip porters as we just carry stuff ourselves and then for disembark we do the self carry off so we don’t have to wait. So I don’t personally carry cash around for tipping. But I will carry a couple 20s for any shopping that we do in port where the shops might for some reason not accept credit cards, but I try to use CC or debit cards for everything. Personally I carry about maybe 100 in cash for a week cruise but that’s just me. 

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There are ATMs on the ship. However the one in the casino was down and I believe the only other one on board and that was working was down near Guest Services. The fees are on the high side. I bring plenty of cash and it goes directly into the safe in the cabin and then taken out as needed. While moving from place to place (plane, cab/lyft/uber/ embarkation/disembarkation) the cash goes in a pouch on my lanyard with passport and goes inside my shirt. This one is similar to the one I have. Once onboard you can use it for seapass, cruise compass, little cash, etc., especially when leaving the ship in port.

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