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Guest Solent Richard

Shore Tax on board cruise ships.

16 posts in this topic

It's been a common complaint around the bazaars that ships calling at Spanish ports need to add a local Spanish tax to their on board billing.

 

Indeed, so common has it become that most of us now take it in our stride - after all it's not a show stopper.

 

So imagine my surprise when ordering a few beers on Oceania's Riviera while still alongside in Miami two weeks ago I noticed  when I came to sign my chit that an additional 7.5% charge. 

 

Actually I'm still quite mentally alert and usually know what the bottom line will be. This one didn't equate.

 

Again, no big deal, as the figure paled into insignificance with my full onboard account. But in the 'Land of the Free' I thought it a little odd.

 

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Anyone else have a similar experience?

wheels36 likes this

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PS to the above.

 

Shock Horror. To save getting the calculators out the auto- gratuity on Oceania is 18%.

 

ohmy.png ohmy.png

RobBar likes this

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On a similar theme - on our recent cruise to Hamburg vat was added at 20% in the on board shops, photographer etc until we arrived & then it changed to the German 19% but what I couldn't work out was why the on board bookshop closed not only when we were there but also the next day at sea on the way back to Southampton.

wheels36 likes this

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On a similar theme - on our recent cruise to Hamburg vat was added at 20% in the on board shops, photographer etc until we arrived & then it changed to the German 19% but what I couldn't work out was why the on board bookshop closed not only when we were there but also the next day at sea on the way back to Southampton.

Could the reason be that 0% VAT is charged in British Waters for books 

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I wondered if that was the reason but why was the bookshop open from Copenhagen to Hamburg but not crossing the channel on the way home.

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I had originally thought it was imposed in Florida as we sailed from Miami and our next port of call was Key West - hence two consecutive US ports.

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My understanding is that with respect to European cruises there are two scenarios in which VAT / IVA is charged.

 

The first is on food and drink purchases when in the waters of a country - the 10% Spanish IVA to which Richard refers.  

 

The second relates to intra-Europe cruises i.e. cruises that do not call at a non-EU port.  I understand that on these cruises duty free purchases are not possible and VAT can be charged on products bought in the shops according to the rate of the country of departure (e.g. 21% from Spain and 22% from Italy).  The second half of our summer cruise was an intra-EU cruise departing from Rome and so an additional charge was levied on all shop purchases.  I believe that non-EU tax payers can reclaim this tax.

 

This second charge seems to have been more common recently and it affected the second half of our cruise as our non-EU port of call was cancelled.

 

It would be appear that  2torts' cruise was actually considered as 2 cruises - one to Germany, and one from Germany which gave rise to the different tax rates.  The situation with the bookshop may be to do with Germany charging VAT at books albeit at a different rate?

wheels36 likes this

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We did not buy many things in the shops but I do recall that Italian VAT did push up the price of some Pringles I bought for my son - from $5.99 to $7.31.  Never mind, he enjoyed them! 

RobBar likes this

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Thats a great comprehensive answer Shetlander and I must admit to having never given thought to this, it is interesting to see the American one as SR has pointed out and is something to bear in mind for the future. I do think 'Land of the free' is a myth if so why are they so money driven?????

wheels36 likes this

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Thats a great comprehensive answer Shetlander and I must admit to having never given thought to this, it is interesting to see the American one as SR has pointed out and is something to bear in mind for the future. I do think 'Land of the free' is a myth if so why are they so money driven?????

"There's no such thing as a free lunch" (Milton Friedman).

Oldworldtraveller likes this

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When on these types of cruises where 20% VAT is to go on top of the shop purchases, what is the point of buying a watch, etc, if you are going to be paying the same price as at home? The onboard shops must suffer on these cruises.

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That is why there are very few intra-EU cruises out there. No visiting Tunis must have made it more challenging to find a Non-EU port in the Western Med - Gibraltar and Morocco the only places 'currently open'. Croatia joining the EU also poses a challenge with Dubrovnik and Split being the non-EU port pre joining. Have we seen Kotor appearing on more itineraries to fulfil the non-EU role. Further East Turkey fulfils the role.

 

In Northern Europe cruises - Norway and Russia serve this purpose and closer to home Guernsey does.

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Good point zalando, a few of the cruise lines allow you to claim your Norwegian vat back when you reboard as the pricing is so high in Norway this can sometimes be worth doing

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On our Australian cruise in 2011 when we left Fremantle , an area of the coast as we followed it very close , think to Bunbury ?? though we were at sea , the Casino was closed until we got to our next port where it opened up that evening on departure. Australia is divided into different states and I gather have enforced where international exists at sea

example NSW Under state laws it is only legal to run casinos on ships that are at least 12 nautical miles offshore

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Question - When is a 14 day Cruise not a 14 day cruise?

Answer - When it suits P&O.

 

On a recent 14 day trip around the Med which called at Montenegro ( outwith EU) we were charged 22% Italian tax on days 8-14. This information was not imparted to us until late in the evening of the 7th day and it was too late to use some of our OBC which had been earmarked for take-home gifts without incurring this penalty.

We tried several times to get clarification of this from reception who just kept fobbing us of with " we'll look into it". A request to discus it with the HGM was denied.

They did assure us that our booking was a 14 night booking and not 2 seven nights. This was borne out by the fact that our family were denied their loyalty points at the end of the first 7 days as this can only be applied at the end of the entire voyage i.e 14 nights.

When we queried this anomaly on our return we were given various platitudes. One of which was that they are not made aware if this will apply by the Italian Government until after the cruise has departed -yet there is a list on their web site giving the numbers of the cruises to which this will apply over the summer????? Ours is not on that list.

The other excuse was that it was administratively impossible for the onboard systems to distinguish between 14 day and 7 day passengers.This begs the question of how the various loyalty discounts can be applied.

Also that the tax was payable for sailing in Italian waters - we did this on the first 7 days without the tax.. 

 

Letters and emails and phone calls to Carnival House have resulted in stock responses but no satisfactory explanation of why, when we were most definitely booked on a 14 day cruise which called at a non EU port, this ruling was enforced.

I have no doubt that we were not the only passengers to whom this applied.

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