Cruise card, Sea Pass, Sail & Sign Card - All You Need to Know

Cruise card?

Sea Pass?

Sail & Sign Card?

Same-Same, But Different!

Call it what you like but the Cruise card is the KEY to your cruise experience. Your GOLDEN TICKET!

Past cruisers will be familiar with the vocabulary, but for the first-timer here is some all-important information about that all-important item you will be presented with when you board your ship!


Cruise Companies have neatly packaged the essentials into one small card.

Your Cruise card looks a lot like a credit card.  It will have a few things printed on it, for example your name and the dates of your cruise.

When you check in for your cruise you will be presented with your very own card (kids included). 

cruise card princess 



  • The key (literally) to your stateroom:

Just like a hotel door, insert your cruise card to unlock your door.

There is no reference to your room number on the card (for security) and your card can only open the door of the stateroom you have been registered for. So, learn and remember your stateroom number before you board to avoid the embarrassing possibility of having to call guest services to find you your room after the excitement of the first night on-board.

  • Welcome to Cashless Cruising:

Put away your wallet, everything you want to pay for onboard is done with your cruise card!

When you board or during on-line check-in you will be asked to link a credit/debit card or deposit cash funds to your cruise card.  Your cruise card is then used for ALL transactions on-board.

Take Care – when you are not actually using your own cash or cards it can seem like you’re not spending real money!

  • Fashion Accessory:

You may wonder why your cruise card has a hole punched in one end?

Enter the Lanyard!  Not just a fashion accessory, a lanyard is an easy practical way to always have your card with you. Personalise your lanyard so you stand out from the crowd if you want, you can buy all sorts before you board the ship, or pick up a ship-branded one when you board.  One thing is for sure, you want to keep your cruise card with you wherever you go so the lanyard/card combo is THE fashion accessory to have on-board.

cruise card as fashion accessory 

  • Check yourself:

You can access your spending records from your Cruise card using the self-serve kiosks at any time. It is a good idea to check your account each day so that you can check what you have spent and make sure there are no charges that shouldn’t be there (yes it happens sometimes but guest services are always very good at sorting these out).  Just remember that whatever you have charged to your cruise card during your holiday, you WILL have to pay for on the day of departure!

(More about how Cruise card accounts work next week)

  • Who are You?

It’s easy to forget yourself on a wonderful cruise holiday, but the ship needs to know. They can keep tabs on you (so you don’t have to do it yourself!) via your Cruise card.

This is primarily used to monitor movement on and off the ship at your ports of call.  You MUST take your Cruise card with you to scan on and off the ship.  You don’t want them to forget about you, do you? 

Your Cruise card is embedded with a photograph of you - remember the photo they took as you checked in? It is not actually visible on the cruisecard, but when staff scan your card they will see your face to confirm you are you!

You can also use the Cruise card at guest services to make enquiries, staff will scan the card to bring up your details so they know who they are talking to.

  • Safety First:

You will find printed onto your Cruise card your “Muster Station”.  This is very important safety information and it is where you must go to in the event of an emergency.  This is a holiday, so the staff will help you every step of the way IF there is any emergency.  The only thing you must know is what your Muster Station is – and your Cruise card tells you!  Easy.

  • Another Drink?

If you have purchased a drink package your Cruise card will have a little sticker attached to show you are a member of the All-Inclusive Drinks Club. Once again, the Cruise card makes your holiday effortless.

cruise card package sticker 

  • Colour Matters (or does it)?

As you watch the parade of lanyards pass by, you may be wondering why some Cruise cards are different colours?  Why doesn’t everyone have the same colour card?  On some cruise lines this is a way of telling how many cruises a passenger has been on.  Various loyalty programs are available where status is gained as you accrue cruising days.  Your reward – a different coloured card!

Seriously, some programs do offer various perks for loyal passengers which is a great way for companies to reward good customers, but we probably don’t really need to have it flashed around our necks as a badge of honour, do we?

  • I left my brain at home?

If you do happen to misplace your Cruise card, head straight to guest services and report it missing.  They can cancel that card so someone else doesn’t rack up charges against you, then issue you with a new card. Don’t dilly-dally if you lose your card, get off to guest services immediately!

  • Brave New World:

Very new to the cruising market, but no doubt to overtake the humble Cruise card in the years to come is some new technology: Ocean Medallion (from Princess), WOWband (from RCI).  A wearable wristband or pendant that is loaded with all your essential information like the Cruise card but also so much more!


So that’s it – all you ever needed to know about the Cruisecard!

Be sure to have a lanyard ready to attach it to, sling it around your neck and your holiday has started!


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