In the Caribbean, the islands have a patchwork of official currencies. Some islands, including St. Lucia, use the Eastern Caribbean dollar. Some use the currencies of their sovereign nationals: for example, Guadeloupe uses the euro and the U.S. Virgin Islands use the U.S. dollar. Other islands – such as Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica – use their own currencies. However, you’ll find that the U.S. dollar is widely accepted throughout the Caribbean, even when it isn’t the official currency.
Mexico has tightened its currency policies in recent years, and some tourists find that they need pesos in order to do business with local merchants. Still, because U.S. currency is accepted by many businesses in Mexico’s cruise ship ports, you may not need to exchange much, if any, cash.
In both the Caribbean and Mexico, Canadian currency is not as widely accepted as U.S. currency. Canadian travelers might consider changing some cash to U.S. dollars before leaving home, or to the local currency when you go ashore.
If you are taking a European cruise, it’s unlikely that either U.S. or Canadian currency will be accepted on shore. A majority of the countries in the European Union use the euro, and that’s what you’ll want in your wallet for stops in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, The Netherlands and Finland. However, some popular European cruise destinations – including Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom – are members of the European Union but use their own currencies.
Remember that you can change cash into the currency of your destination before you leave home; at the airport; at a bank, currency exchange or automated teller machine on shore; and sometimes on the ship itself. Be sure to ask for smaller bills, which will come in handy for tips and small purchases.
Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, can give you more advice on the best ways to get the currency you need for a smooth onshore experience.