|Cruise travelers to Europe this summer -- taking that 10-countries-in-a-12-day whirlwind itinerary -- easily are among the primary visitor to benefit from this first “all-Euro” summer. The new currency, which became official (i.e. participants completely retired their individual monies) January 1, 2002, involves 12 participating nations: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland. These, with the exception, perhaps, of Great Britain, which is still arguing over whether or not to participate, represent the best of European cruising’s hit parade.|
The obvious advantage: There’s no need to worry about converting money each time your ship stops in a new port. The currency is easy enough to get in traditional ways -- banks, cruise ship purser’s desk -- but the cheapest and most cost effective way to obtain euros is through ATM machines that are networked to your bank (look for either Cirrus or Plus on the back of your ATM card).
Euros come in notes and coins. Notewise, there are seven; denominations are represented in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Coins come in 8 denominations, from 1 and 2 euros, then 50-, 20-, 10-, 5-, 2- and 1-cent(s). The coins may be fun collectibles; unlike the paper notes, which are identical, nations can adopt individual designs for one side of coins they issue.
At press time, the Euro was equivalent to, roughly, one U.S. dollar.