Getting local currency on Northern Europe cruise?

ruadisneyfan2

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 20, 2006
We don't usually do many DCL-sponsored excursions but to keep this short I'll leave out our reasons why but our excursions are booked through DCL for 3 out of 4 ports. We'll be flying into London, sailing from Dover. There it will be easy to get a small amount of GBP for tips for our driver. (We'll also be spending another night in London post cruise before flying home so it will get used eventually.)
First port is Copenhagen which uses the Danish Kroner, then 3 stops in Norway which uses the Norwegian Kroner. (The 2nd port in Norway is the one we're doing on our own.)
We usually tip our excursion guides and I know Europe doesn't tip nearly as much as we do in the US but it's hard for us to just walk away and tip nothing.
Since the DCL-sponsored excursions usually meet somewhere on the ship and disembark together, we won't have an opportunity to stop at ATM. Of course if we have some free exploration time and we pass an ATM, I'd get some local cash but that's not something we can count on.
From what I read it's only the big, nationally-known banks that offer foreign currency and I'm not about to start banking at one just for this trip. The Med cruise was so easy with 2 nts in Barcelona to get plenty of Euros out and we could use them in France & Italy too.

It's these little things that stress me out. I am used to booking much further in advance and having much more planning & research time.

What would you do?
Thanks!
 

Marc D

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 27, 2016
Just tip in Euros or US dollars. Guides in those countries know full well their currency is now widely available and they do not expect you to have some. A small post-tour tip is not worth finding an ATM for. You would probably need to get change in a store since the machines only distribute big bills.
 

Ladybugx87

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
We did the 11 night Iceland and Norway cruise a few weeks ago and only had US dollars with us. We had larger bills for appropriate tips when it made sense. Everywhere else took cards. I was a bit concerned I’d need a quick ATM stop somewhere bit never did.
 
  • ruadisneyfan2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 20, 2006
    Thank you! We use cards for everything and since it's all prepaid anyway, tipping is the only reason we'd need cash. I guess US$ it is!
    Even considering the recipient's need to exchange it for their own currency, it will still be a much bigger tip than what Europeans would tip anyway so that relieves my guilt. ;)
    It's times like this that I realize that tips are such a huge part of American culture. I'll never forget during a walking tour of Paris 2 yrs ago, we stopped for lunch and our guide saw me getting around 10 Euros out (maybe 50-60E lunch bill) for the tip and he was like "What??!! Here, we do this!!" and left a few coins. Probably around $0.40. :eek:
     

    Rob1872

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2015
    Any tour guide contracting with DCL will be quite happy to be tipped in US dollars. Heck, in Cozumel the videos of our helmet dive were priced in dollars for the ease of tourists.
     

    BadPinkTink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2015
    You should also be able to get money at airports. TBH I wouldn't give US dollars , in the Caribbean it's different, their local currency is worth very little, so US dollars are welcome. In Europe, it's not like that. I would see it as an insult by arrogant Americans who can't be bothered using the local currency and assume everyone wants US dollars. That's not your intention, I know but that's how a European would feel.
     
  • Naeher

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 21, 2019
    Bad Pink, you can not speak for every European. It is how you would feel. If the OP was on an non DCL excursion then perhaps giving USD isn’t the best idea, but it’s a trip organised by Disney.

    OP, you’re on a DCL Excursion. They will understand USD is the currency of the ship and would have no problem getting a few bucks as a tip.

    You mention you’re be in London. Currency can be purchased at travel money exchange bureaus that are located in many tourist locations throughout the city. The airport will sell currency, but the exchange rate will be dreadful. Honestly, if there is no easy way for you to get the local money, don’t worry about it and just tip dollars.
     

    aggiedog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2012
    You may be able to change limited money at the desk on the ship, for a poor rate. For the little you need, it might be easier. You are right, that except for tips, you really don't need cash anywhere. Some Scandinavian countries are purposely going cashless, and we saw on restaurant on a trip that advertised "no cash, CC only." I do agree you're a better traveler if you can pay in local currency.
     

    MillauFr

    Buzz & Woody
    Joined
    Aug 5, 2011
    I never carry US dollars in the US or Canadian dollars when we go to Canada. I doubt if I would bother to get any local currency if I visited Europe. There is always the hassle of getting rid of it when you leave the country.
     
  • JaimeInParker

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 26, 2014
    We don't usually do many DCL-sponsored excursions but to keep this short I'll leave out our reasons why but our excursions are booked through DCL for 3 out of 4 ports. We'll be flying into London, sailing from Dover. There it will be easy to get a small amount of GBP for tips for our driver. (We'll also be spending another night in London post cruise before flying home so it will get used eventually.)
    First port is Copenhagen which uses the Danish Kroner, then 3 stops in Norway which uses the Norwegian Kroner. (The 2nd port in Norway is the one we're doing on our own.)
    We usually tip our excursion guides and I know Europe doesn't tip nearly as much as we do in the US but it's hard for us to just walk away and tip nothing.
    Since the DCL-sponsored excursions usually meet somewhere on the ship and disembark together, we won't have an opportunity to stop at ATM. Of course if we have some free exploration time and we pass an ATM, I'd get some local cash but that's not something we can count on.
    From what I read it's only the big, nationally-known banks that offer foreign currency and I'm not about to start banking at one just for this trip. The Med cruise was so easy with 2 nts in Barcelona to get plenty of Euros out and we could use them in France & Italy too.

    It's these little things that stress me out. I am used to booking much further in advance and having much more planning & research time.

    What would you do?
    Thanks!
    It's always easier to have EUROS with you before you get there - if you have a Chase Credit Card you can go to any Chase Bank branch and they will provide foreign currency exchange with no FEES and a great rate (the awesome thing is they will buy back any foreign currency bills (no coins) you have left over)
     

    hrhdhd

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 9, 2010
    It's always easier to have EUROS with you before you get there - if you have a Chase Credit Card you can go to any Chase Bank branch and they will provide foreign currency exchange with no FEES and a great rate (the awesome thing is they will buy back any foreign currency bills (no coins) you have left over)
    None of the countries the OP is visiting uses the Euro.
     

    mab2012

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2012
    I think USD (or whatever other currency you have on hand) is fine in this case. I mean, it's a wholly optional gift. I think it would take something pretty special in the way of entitlement for the receiver to look poorly on the giver for not having local currency, particularly when the tour operator will be fully aware that the customers are coming off a cruise ship and likely haven't had much opportunity (or reason) to obtain local cash.

    Having said that, if someone really does want to carry local currency, I would suggest finding a local currency exchange shop (NOT at an airport) and picking up what you need before leaving home. Or even most banks should be able to do it, though you might have to give them some notice. It'll be more convenient than trying to find an ATM near a port, and most likely cheaper too.

    Someone upthread mentioned exchanging money at guest services. I wouldn't count on that. I tried it once and they weren't able to do it. Can't remember now if it was Euros or Mexican Pesos I was looking for, but it wasn't available, even in small quantities.
     

    tankin

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2013
    @ruadisneyfan2 Don't be an ugly American. If you have an opportunity, hit an ATM and get local currency. If not, apologize to the guide and ask them if they'd prefer [fill-in-blank] or wait while you run to an ATM. If its no big deal, they'll take the currency now (and up it because they'll lose a chunk exchanging it). If it is, they'll wait while you run to an ATM. Either way, they'll appreciate that you asked.

    FYI... Make sure you contact your bank before you leave to let them know where / when you'll be travelling. You'll almost always get far better exchange rates thru standard (not the ones in the airport) ATMs than anywhere else.
     

    jenmiller114

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2011
    I really don't think it's fair to shame someone into feeling bad because they can't get local currency to give someone a gratuity. The fact that they are giving the gratuity at all should be appreciated because many people don't. We have been in London and Canada and only had USD to give tips to our taxi driver and hotel bellman before we had a chance to get to an ATM machine. They didn't seem to mind, presumably because they would prefer that than have us give them nothing at all simply because we didn't have their particular currency. If you are paying for an excursion or meal, that's a different story.

    I think we all agree that we would prefer to give someone the currency from the place we are visiting but we shouldn't be forced to pay a premium for it when it's the gesture that counts.
     

    aggiedog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2012
    For a sense of perspective, we live in a very small town, 90 minutes from the nearest large city where I'd be able to get any sort of foreign currency. Our bank will get it for us, but only in large amounts and over a long period of time (it took months for them to build up the Chinese Yuan we needed for our adoption.)

    If someone is going on a DCL excursion, there may not be an opportunity to run to an ATM in each country, since each country on that trip uses a different currency. Everyone walks out to the bus together, rides together, unloads together.

    I think it's also ok to not tip. I've had some locals from that area comment on the US tipping culture with disdain "I make a good wage, why do you think I need money?" Not saying it wouldn't be appreciated at least some of the time, but it really is not like the US where if you don't tip its the height of rudeness.
     

    Coss

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 7, 2017
    I am back from my Northern Europe cruise a few weeks ago, I have 6 currency in my wallet still
     

    kiford

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2012
    None of the countries the OP is visiting uses the Euro.
    True, but when we did our Baltic cruise, a lot of the shops had prices in both the local currency and Euros or offered an exchange rate for Euros (not to your benefit but it's also a fairly common practice in Canada with cities near the US border and is convenient for people who don't visit often or who only spend a short period of time here). We only used cash for the very rare occasion in northern Europe - we nearly always used our credit card for purchases. It's also very easy for them to exchange Euros for local currency in much the same way as we exchange US dollars in Canada for Canadian dollars. It's a pretty routine transaction at the bank in both directions and the same is true in most of Europe.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates

    Book your Disney Cruise through Dreams Unlimited Travel and receive a Shipboard Credit and an Exclusive Gift Basket!



    CASTAWAY CAY PHOTOS

    DECK PLANS


    STATEROOMS


    ITINERARIES


    Top