When checking in for the cruise on your arrival to the ship, the first you get is a cruise card. The cruise card represents a plastic card with a magnetic strip that serves as the key to your cabin. In this regard, it does not differ from a key used in any modern hotel. When entering your cabin you need to unlock the door lock by inserting your card in the slot of the reader device.
This is what cruise cards of various cruise lines look like.
Your name and the family name are usually written on such a card, as well as the date of the beginning and the end of your cruise, the name of the restaurant where you will have dinner, and the number of your table and seating at the restaurant. It also has an identifier of the assembly station for safety exercises and in case of emergencies.
The cruise card will serve as well as your pass to the cruise ship. During the first boarding, every passenger is photographed and entered into the database. Subsequently, when boarding or disembarking, the security service of the ship will identify your personality using your card by comparing your face and your photo from the database. Thus, if you have your cruise card, your passport is not needed for entering or leaving the ship.
Means of Payments on Board
The cruise card has another important function: it represents the payment means allowing you to pay for all the services rendered onboard. It should be noted that paying by cash or by credit card is not available onboard. Each passenger is provided with a personal onboard account where your means are guaranteed with the cash deposit or the bank card linked to it. All the payments are made from the onboard account through the cruise card.
All this seems a little bit unusual and yet it is very convenient. Being onboard, you do not have to carry around all your documents, cash, and bank cards. You can keep your wallet in your cabin in the safe deposit box. All you need onboard is your cruise card.
Would you like to drink a cocktail in a bar? No problem! All you have to do is just make your order and give your cruise card to a waiter, and the amount of your order will be debited from your onboard account. In addition to your cocktail, the waiter will bring you the bill which you will have to sign. Do you need to buy an excursion or have a massage? Just take your cruise card. The status of your onboard account can be always monitored either through special machines or using interactive TV located in your cabin as well as through the mobile App. If the card is lost you should contact reception. The lost card will be blocked, and you will get another one.
As I have already written above, your onboard account is guaranteed by either a cash deposit or a credit card depending on your choice. Both variants have their pros and cons.
A bank card linked to the onboard account is more convenient because it is not needed to monitor your onboard account, whether there is a lack of funds or not. Whereas in the case of a cash deposit, you will have to refill your onboard account if your money is spent from it during your cruise. If by the end of your cruise, not all the money from your onboard account has been spent it will be returned to you.
Some Pieces of Advice from Personal Experience
You should always check whether it is your card that a waiter returns to you or not as the personnel always confuse cards, and as a result, you can have another passenger’s card instead of yours. In this case, you will have to contact reception to block your card.
When your cruise is ended your cruise card won’t be taken from you, it will remain with you, and it is a good idea for creating a collection, especially if you recognize that you have been struck with the “cruise fever” and this completed cruise is far from being the last one.