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Best/cheapest way to get euro's on a cruise.

What is the best way to get euro's before our cruise in Greece. Buy them here in the states, get them at the airport in Greece, or hope someone has change for something we buy?

Thanks in advance for all your collective knowledge.

Rick Hanes

Got it! ATM is the way to go. Thanks everyone.

Posted by
3130 posts

Use a debit card at an ATM in the Athens Airport. Greek banks don't charge any transaction fees, so if you have a debit card with a bank that has no ATM transaction fees you'll get the best exchange rate. There will be currency exchange booths at the airport as well but their commissions are usually sky-high.

Posted by
15644 posts

I can't speak about Greece, but I never had trouble getting local currency at ATM's in cruise stop towns. If the rates are fluctuating a bit, keep an eye on what the ship's exchange rate is. Often the exchange rates are set at the beginning of the cruise and if there's a significant change, the ship's rate can be a little better.

Posted by
16894 posts

From this advice, you should have gotten the idea that we don't really recommend buying euros at home, nor just expecting a Greek vendor to take dollars. Any who accept cash dollars do so at whatever exchange rate they want to apply. See more tips at https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money.

Posted by
975 posts

Have only been on Holland America ships in the Med/Black sea; their front desks had currency exchange IF you paid a processing fee - IMO the fee was not reasonable when ATMs are in every cruise terminal I have seen.
Get some euros at the Airport, put that in your and your companion's money belts, then at first port get more. You can lock the extra in your in cabin safe. The best ATM I ever met was in Tallinn, where the machine actually gave a mix of small bills-- loved that & circled back to use it again late in the day just before returning to the ship.

Posted by
23428 posts

The cheapest and most convenient way to obtain euro is via a debit card at a bank owned ATM where ever you are. This is a very old refrain.

Posted by
3335 posts

Everybody recommends using the ATMS.... but no one so far has pointed out that it makes a BIG difference what bank card you are using. If you draw from accounts at the "biggie banks" (Chase, BankAmerica, Citi, Wells Fargo, TD etc), you may get "sticker shock." The Greek ATMs charge NOTHING for their use, but your home bank may! If you have a Plain Vanilla card at one of the "biggie banks" you will be charged $5 for each transaction and 3% of Amount Withdrawn. Thus, getting $300 worth of Euros will cost $5 + $9 = $14. Highway robbery. Why?? Because they Can. Only reason. And if you use a Plain Vanilla CC from these robbers, you'll pay 3% of the amount charged. Again, just because they can. if you have an "elite" card (based on $$$$ in account, or paying annual fee) this may differ, but I'm talking about Ordinary folks. Save the CC for important purchases you want back-up on, i.e. jewelry.

To save on just getting cash, you can go 2 ways. (1) open an account online (Capital One etc) just for your travel use -- these usually charge NO fees or % or (2) if there's time before your trip, open an account at a Credit Union, these usually have minimal fee, like $2 & no %. There are now credit unions in most states u can just join, don't have to work for a special place. Google your state.

It is ALSO important to notify the issuing institutions for your ATM and your Credit Cards that you'll be using the card abroad. Othewise the first time you try to use it, they'll freeze the account as protection against fraud. Also, one rookie mistake is to tell the Bank you'll be using the card in Greece. Then on the way over, you change planes in Frankfurt, and decide to get some Euros there... and whoops! Account locks up. Just tell the bank "abroad" and give the dates.