That depends on a couple of things. The first place you might use cash is your on board account. This is set up during check-in. You can supply a credit card or use cash to establish your account. Your on board expenses will be charged against this account. If you run out of funds during the cruise, you’ll be asked to add more funds. If you have a balance remaining, you’ll receive a check at the end of the cruise.
The next place you would use cash is for tips. The primary tipping for your cabin steward and wait staff will be put on your on board account which you can adjust up or down as you wish. Some folks prefer to give the tips directly to these folks and bring cash for that. In addition, cash would be used to tip direct service providers such as bartenders, spa staff, maitre’d, and room service staff.
We usually carry a small amount of cash in ports for minor expenses and tips. For big purchases, we always use a credit card for the extra protection that provides. Also, remember expenses you may have at the end of the cruise as well that may need cash such as airport parking and tips. Hmm, that tipping thing crops up quite a bit, doesn’t it?
Another place that takes cash, if that’s your preference, is the casino. Actually, that is probably a good idea. That way you can set a limit on your gambling and not have a nasty surprise at cruise end.
How much cash you need is up to you, but at least now you know all the places you might need it and can budget accordingly. And cabins include a safe so you don’t have to worry about keeping cash in your cabin.