Understanding the Onboard Charge System on the Iona Cruise Ship

by Paul Hadley

When setting sail on the magnificent Iona, embarking on a scenic tour through the Norwegian Fjords, the last thing you want to fret over is the hassle of handling multiple payment methods or different currencies. Fortunately, P&O Cruises has introduced a seamless onboard charge system that’s not only easy to use but also eliminates the need for juggling cash or cards. Here’s a deep dive into how this efficient system works, with a sprinkle of personal experiences from my own voyage in September 2023.

Getting Your Onboard ID

Upon boarding the cruise at Southampton, after the customary passport control, my wife Kim and I were handed what looked very much like a credit card. This card isn’t for shopping sprees at sea, though! It’s a unique ID that lets you onboard and offboard the ship with ease. But more importantly, it becomes your de facto wallet for the duration of the journey. Our cards had our names printed on it and details about the cruise.

How Transactions Work

Imagine exploring the majestic decks of the Iona, maybe trying out one of their gourmet meals or grabbing a souvenir. Instead of reaching for your wallet, you simply flash your ID card. The charge gets added to your cabin account, hassle-free. Every evening, these transactions are processed, and the amount is set to be debited from your bank within the time frame permitted by your bank.

For those tech-savvy sailors among us, the P&O My Holiday app provides a transparent view of all transactions. This was particularly useful for Kim and me to keep tabs on our spending without any surprises.

Billing at the End

On the penultimate day of our cruise, just as we were mentally preparing to disembark at Southampton and step back into reality, an itemised invoice was delivered to our room. This comprehensive receipt showcased all the payments made throughout the journey. Got a query? You can easily clarify it on the ship or once you reach the dock.

Benefits of the Onboard Charge System

  1. Simplicity: No fumbling for cash or calculating conversions. One card does it all.
  2. No Foreign Currency: Skip the hassle of exchanging money or figuring out local currencies, especially if your stops include different countries.
  3. Tips Included: No need to ponder over tipping etiquette. It’s all taken care of.
  4. Safety: With only one card to handle each, there’s no need to worry about misplacing your wallet or purse.
  5. Transparency: With the P&O My Holiday app and the itemised bill, you’re always in the loop about your spending.

In Conclusion

The onboard charge system on the Iona Cruise Ship is more than just a payment method; it’s a testament to the vessel’s commitment to ensuring passengers like Kim and me have a relaxed, uncomplicated journey. Whether you’re on your way to the picturesque Alesund or soaking in the tranquil sights of Olden, it’s heartening to know that, in the backdrop, there’s an efficient system making your voyage a little smoother and a tad more enjoyable. And if the winds play spoilsport, like they did on our scheduled stop at Stavanger, at least you won’t have to worry about payment hassles on your unexpected sea day! Safe sailing and happy shopping!

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