Each passenger is issued a cruise card for charges to your shipboard account. This card is also used when you leave or re-enter the ship. There is no money exchanged on the cruise, except in the Casino. All purchases for shopping, shore tours, drinks, etc. are placed on your shipboard account. At any time during the cruise, you can visit the Purser’s Desk and request a copy of your account. Most passengers register a credit card before boarding. If you do not have a credit card, I believe you will be required to put up a cash deposit.
A statement of your account will be placed in your mailbox directly outside your stateroom door early on the last morning of your cruise. If everything is in order, you need to do nothing; the charges will be placed on your credit card. I went to the Purser’s Deck on Friday afternoon and requested a copy of our bill. If anything was wrong, I could handle it then, instead of waiting until the next morning. I found no errors in our account.
All cost of dining, accommodations, activities, entertainment aboard the cruise ship is included in your Princess fare with the following exceptions:
Alcoholic Beverages (except as noted during Art Auctions, and specials in the Casino)
Sodas: On Princess, if you order a Coke, Sprite, etc. you will be charged $1.50 plus 15% gratutity (same as an alcoholic beverage) for a 10oz glass of soda. This is true everywhere on the ship. However, Princess offers a "soda fountain program". We purchased a "coke" stamp for $20.00 that was placed on our cruise card. We received unlimited sodas for the entire cruise. Not a bad deal if you are a soda drinker.
Ice cream: purchased at the Ice Cream Shop. However, if you crave ice cream, it is offered on the lunch menu and the dinner menu in the Dining Rooms every day at no cost. You can also ask for several toppings such as chocolate sauce, caramel, or strawberries. Several times I saw "build your own Sundae" on the dinner menu.
Tipping-Food Service: I was surprised after reading the fine print before the cruise that a $6.50 per person per day would be added to my bill for "food service tips". That amounts to $91.00 per couple for a seven-day cruise. When I asked about this, I was told that I could go to the Pursers Desk on the first day, have this charge removed and tip at my own discretion. Now, don’t get me wrong - I am a generous tipper - but I do object to being "charged" this BEFORE the service is even rendered. All the funds are "pooled" and divided between all the food service providers in all restaurants.
Tipping- Room Steward: Most cruise lines "recommend" a tip of $3.50 per person per day for your room steward. This tip is paid in cash or can be charged to your shipboard account. If you put in on your shipboard account, the Purser’s Office will give you a receipt to place in the envelope for the Steward. An envelope for this tip will be found in your stateroom on the last full day of your cruise. Just place the cash or receipt in the envelope and leave it in your room or you can give it to your Steward in person.
Drinking Water: One large bottle of drinking water will be furnished in your Stateroom. If you require another bottle, the cost is $3.95 plus 15% gratuity. Simply complete a form provided and leave it in your stateroom for your room Steward.