Hi Robin....Here's some info about "on-board accounts/spending"...hope this helps!
When you go through the check-in process to board ship, you will need to have a credit card or debit card or cash available...they will put a $420 "hold" on your credit or debit card...or you can give them $420 cash...this is used as your "on-board" account (they "allow" $60/day for on-board expenses). Anything you purchase on-board ship, i.e. drinks, sodas, sourvenirs, pictures, paying for excursions, etc., will be charged against this account. You will use your Room Key Card to pay for your purchases on-board. At the end of the cruise, you will receive a bill for all your on-board purchases for you to check for accuracy (some check their account daily to see what they've spent; you should be sure to check your bill for accuracy before you leave ship - mistakes can be made!). Whatever amount you actually spend will then be charged against your credit card or debit card. So, if you only spend $298...that is all that will go against your card. Now, when you go into each port you can use either cash or credit cards. Also, it's a good idea to set aside a little cash to tip your room steward or others on-board who you may feel went "above and beyond" in serving/helping you (even though "gratuities" are covered in your Olivia price, it's always good to leave a little "something" for those who you feel deserve it). Also, don't forget to set aside money for the porters at the airport and port terminal who help you with your luggage.
One thing you should be sure to do a few weeks before the cruise is to contact the credit/debit card companies for whichever cards you plan to take and use on vacation and let them know you will be on a cruise and that Holland America Lines will be putting a $420 hold on your card to be used on-board ship and that you may be having charges on your card from Vancouver and ports of call in Alaska. Otherwise, you may have trouble using your card in those ports. You may want to check to see if there are any extra, or international charges, if you use your credit card in Vancouver.
Hope this helps a little! Get ready to have the time of your life! Once you experience an Oliviacation, you probably won't want to vacation any other way!