When booking a cruise, especially for the first time, the words “onboard credit” can be a bit confusing. You already have a beverage package, maybe you even have a specialty dining perk, and then you have onboard credit. Here’s how it works. Onboard credit that has been applied to your booking automatically shows in your shipboard expense account by the second or third day of sailing. You can check your expense account on the TVs that are in each of the cabins onboard or by going to Guest Services at any time. At the end of your sailing, you will be able to see a final bill showing all of your charges while onboard plus the onboard credit that you have.


Here are some of our favorite ways to use onboard credit when cruising.

  1. At a specialty restaurant. While many dining options onboard are included in your cruise fare, there are specialty dining restaurants onboard that have an additional cost. Some of these restaurants are al la carte, meaning you pay a different amount depending on what you order, others have a cover charge. Regardless of which type of restaurant you are visiting, it is a great way to spend onboard credit.
  2. On shore excursions. When cruising, you can choose to book all of your shore excursions prior to boarding, however most cruise lines require that you then pay for the excursions prior to boarding. If you wait until you are onboard the ship to book your shore excursion, you can use your onboard credit to pay for some, or all, of your shore excursion cost.
  3. In the spa. Treat yourself to the ultimate relaxation and get a spa treatment as you stare out into the ocean or overlooking your cruise port. Spa treatments are always great but there’s something about enjoying one while you sail that is even better.
  4. In the shops. Onboard most ships there are a variety of different shops to choose from. Whether you are looking for jewelry, souvenirs, gifts for loved ones back home, clothing, etc, you are likely to find many options onboard.
  5. Internet minutes. We understand that in many cases, you just want to get away while traveling and leave the outside world behind while you sail. However, we also know that sometimes, you have to be connected. Depending on the cruise line, onboard credit can be used for the purchase of internet packages once you board the ship.
  6. Specialty coffees and treats. If you are looking for a delicious and warm cappuccino or mocha and it is not included in your beverage package, you can certainly use your onboard credit to cover the cost of the beverage.

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