Do All Cruise Lines Refund Port Charges & Taxes If You Cancel Your Cruise?

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#1
748 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
I would assume the answer is "yes, they are refundable", because you wouldn't be taking the cruise. However, many people tell us that the Port Charges & Taxes are non-refundable.

I'm not a travel agent and I've been trying to find this answer for months, but I can't find the right answer.

The reason I want to know the answer is because if you buy trip cancellation travel insurance and want pre-existing medical condition, financial default & Cancel For Any Reason / Change Your Mind coverage, many plans require you to insure 100% of your prepaid, non-refundable trip cost.

Trip cancellation travel insurance plans are priced in trip cost ranges (ie - $3001 - $3500, etc). If you have to include the Port Charges & Taxes you may be pushed into a more expensive price bracket.

For example, you take a cruise where the cost is $3350 and another $175 for Port Charges & Taxes.
  • If you are age 61 and you insure in the $3001 - $3500 range, you will pay approx $215 - $260 for a good plan.
  • However, if you have to include the Port Charges & Taxes, you'll have to insure in the $3501 - $4000 range and you will pay approx $245 - $295 for a good plan.
Therefore, you will end up paying more for the policy than the increase in the trip cost.

It doesn't matter to me what the answer is. I just want to know what the right answer is.

Thanks in advance,

Steve Dasseos
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Steve Dasseos
#2
New Mexico
14,359 Posts
Joined May 2004
Steve,
When I had to cancel my cruise, Princess kept 50% of the full cost, (fare including port fees plus taxes). Insurance paid for the other half.

I think, but am not 100% certain, that the only time they refund the port tax is if the cruise goes ahead, you are on the ship, but they miss that port. And even then not all cruiselines refund that port tax.
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#3
1,060 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
No cruise line that I have been on and experienced cancelled ports refunded any money to us because of missing ports. Every trip I have insured has been for the full purchase price. Every trip insurance claim I have ever filed required a copy of my paid invoice, so they knew the full amount I paid for the trip was the same as the amount I insured.
#4
Florida
7,388 Posts
Joined May 2008
Here's my input wrt Princess (and Carnival and Royal Caribbean).

Government Taxes and Fees (as distinguished from Port charges that are included in the CruiseFare) are not subject to Cancellation penalty and are refundable, based on the Princess Passage contract:

From Princess Passage contract:

Section 1 Introduction “Cruise Fare” means the amount payable by You to Carrier for Your Cruise. It covers the Cruise, scheduled meals and accommodations while on board, air programs and/or other travel components that Carrier may add to Your Cruise Fare and charge to Your stateroom account and/or credit card. The Cruise Fare does not include beer, wine, spirits, sodas or other bottled beverages, or charges for other incidental items, activities, excursions, transportation or personal services during or in connection with the Cruise; or any Government Fees or Taxes, airline or other carriers’ services or baggage fees, for which a separate charge may be imposed. Carrier may collect any fare increase or fuel supplement in effect at the time of sailing, even if the fare has been paid in full

6. CANCELLATION BY YOU, REFUND AND YOUR TRAVEL AGENT.
…….. The following cancellation policy applies with respect to Your Cruise Fare, Cruisetour Fare, air addons, Shoreside Excursions, and Pre-Cruise and Post-Cruise Package charges (identified as “Total Charges” in the Cancellation schedule ):



Similar language appears in the Carnival Cruise contract and in the Royal Caribbean Cruise contract.

ken
#5
North Carolina Coast!, USA
5,768 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
When we have been ON Carnival and a port was missed, (Grand Cayman twice & Grand Turk after hurricane), we recieved a letter in our cabin saying our account would be credited with $25 for each missed port.
Once when we were bumped and moved (two cruises turned into one) I had to keep demanding we get the port charges back and finally did. The port charge, I think, is for each passenger on the ship. If you're not on the ship, you shouldn't pay for it.
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#6
105,189 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
We had to cancel a cruise once -- got everything back -- cruise price, port and tax charges.
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#7
Aiken, SC
274 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Maybe this will help...
According to my travel agent friend, a cruise fare is made up of three parts: a commissionable fare, a non-commissionable fare (port charges) and taxes. On Carnival, for example, the cruiser's guest confirmation shows two items: cruise rate and federal taxes/fees. She recently had clients with insurance who had to cancel 2 days before their cruise. The cruise line refunded the taxes to them and the insurance reimbursed them for the cruise rate.
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#8
Steel City
140 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Did anyone find this to be true if you didn't have insurance?

I got stuck in "Snowmageddon" this weekend and spent the first 2 nights of my cruise on the airport floor only to find out it would be another 2 days before they could get me on a flight South. Needless to say, I had to cancel the cruise. I didn't buy travel insurance.

When I called Princess, they said I will get nothing back and would not let me transfer it to anyone else.

While it makes sense to me that I shouldn't have to pay any taxes & fees (probably 1/3 of my cost!), I am skeptical they are going to voluntarily return them.......
#9
901 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by iamtrustworthy
I would assume the answer is "yes, they are refundable", because you wouldn't be taking the cruise. However, many people tell us that the Port Charges & Taxes are non-refundable.

I'm not a travel agent and I've been trying to find this answer for months, but I can't find the right answer.

The reason I want to know the answer is because if you buy trip cancellation travel insurance and want pre-existing medical condition, financial default & Cancel For Any Reason / Change Your Mind coverage, many plans require you to insure 100% of your prepaid, non-refundable trip cost.

Trip cancellation travel insurance plans are priced in trip cost ranges (ie - $3001 - $3500, etc). If you have to include the Port Charges & Taxes you may be pushed into a more expensive price bracket.

For example, you take a cruise where the cost is $3350 and another $175 for Port Charges & Taxes.
  • If you are age 61 and you insure in the $3001 - $3500 range, you will pay approx $215 - $260 for a good plan.
  • However, if you have to include the Port Charges & Taxes, you'll have to insure in the $3501 - $4000 range and you will pay approx $245 - $295 for a good plan.
Therefore, you will end up paying more for the policy than the increase in the trip cost.

It doesn't matter to me what the answer is. I just want to know what the right answer is.

Thanks in advance,

Steve Dasseos
Hello Steve.

I, too, am looking for the correct answer but in my case I already know what the cruiseline is doing. A friend had to cancel an Oceania cruise due to an upcoming open heart surgery. He, too, had been advised by his travel agent to only insure the actual cabin cost as all taxes and government fees, according to law, must be refunded. He received this information from a lawyer friend. Oceania will only refund taxes. He did not purchase insurance on port charges. He is now out the cost of the port charges.

So, bottomline, the cruise lines are saying "we will not refund port charges, this is part of the penalty amount you lose when you cancel after payment has been made."

I guess long way of saying, they will refund taxes, but not anything else.

Hope this helps.
#10
Greenville, SC, USA
51,264 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We had to cancel a crusie last month about 20 days before sailing. We got the refund of the port charges as a separate transaction from the partial refund from Princess. Waiting for the rest from the insurance company
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Paul
#11
GTA, Ontario, Canada
32,716 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
This thread is 4 yrs old but I will play because I am bored

Last yr we had to cancel our Oceania cruise we received the port taxes back

We insure for the total price of the trip ...air, pre paid hotel, cruise including taxes & fees (since Oceania bundles)

Insurance will pay the amount you have insured for less any refunds you get

I insured for a total of $7500 each
Insurance paid for the total insured which was $7500 pp
I lost about $300 for the air line seats I had upgraded to the night before we had to cancel......my fault for not calling & upgrade the insurance
#12
Arizona
3,676 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Been booked on 2 Carnival cruises that we did not go on and got back all taxes and government fees~ and in some cases, with a good rep from Carnival was able to get back my OBC~! NO travel insurance so lost cruise fare~

Opps didn't notice that this was an old post~
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#13
3,656 Posts
Joined Jan 2000
There is confusion about this because (for almost all of the large cruise lines) there is no longer such a thing as "Port Charges." The cruise line doesn't charge you for them as a separate item so there's noting to refund.

What is paid is broken down twp different ways:

For the cruiser the cruise line breaks your total cost into (1) cruise fare an (2) taxes and fees.

If you're a travel agent you will receive an agent's copy showing (1) commissionable fare, (2) non-commissionable fare and (3) taxes and fees.

Some think that "non-commissionable fare" is just another name for "port charges". It's not. It's whatever the cruise line doesn't feel like paying a commission on. Could it be related to expenses incurred at a port of call? Yes, but it doesn't have to be. Maybe the weekly cost of recycling garbage is $10K. The cruise line might say that a travel agent doesn't deserve a commission on recycling garbage so that cost will go into the "non-commissionable fare" category. Another cruise line might feel that the recycling is just a part of doing business and include that cost in the commissionable fare. Both are perfectly acceptable.

But either way, the cost paid for recycling will be part of the total fare quoted to the client and subject to the normal penalty procedures.
#14
901 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by LHT28
This thread is 4 yrs old but I will play because I am bored

Last yr we had to cancel our Oceania cruise we received the port taxes back

We insure for the total price of the trip ...air, pre paid hotel, cruise including taxes & fees (since Oceania bundles)

Insurance will pay the amount you have insured for less any refunds you get

I insured for a total of $7500 each
Insurance paid for the total insured which was $7500 pp
I lost about $300 for the air line seats I had upgraded to the night before we had to cancel......my fault for not calling & upgrade the insurance
I'm dealing with Oceania and they claim they do not charge for port charges even though my travel agent says her copy indicates port charges as "non-commissionable" so they will not refund anything other than taxes. Would you mind letting me know how did Oceania refund the port charges and how did you find out what they were?

I'd appreciate hearing from you. Thanks so much.
#15
3,656 Posts
Joined Jan 2000
Originally posted by Luvsailing
Would you mind letting me know how did Oceania refund the port charges and how did you find out what they were?

I'd appreciate hearing from you. Thanks so much.
I think you're going to find that what was refunded was "port taxes" NOT "port charges".

Originally posted by LHT28
] Last yr we had to cancel our Oceania cruise we received the port taxes back
Port taxes are not the same as "port charges" which, as your TA has told you is an unused term with Oceania. Oceania subjects ALL of the cruise fare (commissionable or non-commissionable) to the published penalties. They are never 100% refunded unless you are cancelling your cruise in the time period where there is no normal penalty.
#16
GTA, Ontario, Canada
32,716 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
I do not recall the exact wording of the refund it did have taxes in it
We cancelled the cruise the day before the cruise yes were were in the no refund stage of the cruise fare

My invoice read cruise fare ...period no breakdown on taxes etc
My TA will have on her copy the the commissionable portion of the fare

The point I was trying to make was you will get a small portion refunded taxes fees or whatever they want to call it

CRUISECO My TA told me nothing... it was on my invoice from Oceania for the refunded amount
Years ago travel wholesalers & cruise lines use to break everything down but I think now they just bundle everything together ..easier for people to understand


LUVSAILING
I will see if I still have the paperwork I submitted to the insurance company with the details from Oceania
#17
GTA, Ontario, Canada
32,716 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Luvsailing
Would you mind letting me know how did Oceania refund the port charges and how did you find out what they were?

I'd appreciate hearing from you. Thanks so much.
I checked my CC statement we received about $550 refund for the 2 caribbean cruise we had to cancel ..total of the cruises was about $14000 to $15000.
So if you got something in that range it may be close
still have to look for my refund invoice from O for the wording of the refund
will look tomorrow on my other computer

Lyn
#18
Monticello, NY
1,905 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
I called our TA earlier this week to update our insurance to a higher amount since we had now booked our airfare to our cruise. He had us go one $500 category lower than I thought it would be because he said the port taxes are totally refundable. We were actually $11 under the next $500 bump up.
#19
GTA, Ontario, Canada
32,716 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Ok I lied
On my invoice for the cruise last year it did have the breakdown
Government fees & taxes for one cruise were $123 pp

On the cancellation invoice $246 total was refunded to my CC


On my current invoice for my 2015 cruise no breakdown in the prices

On O's website they say in the small print*
Fares are per person, based on double occupancy and reflect all savings. Cruise-related government fees and taxes are included.

Hope this helps

Lyn
#20
748 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Thank you everyone for continuing to add information on this thread. Since I originally wrote the post, I've known more than a few people who have received the prepaid taxes back from the cruise line when they cancelled their trip. However, some cruiselines didn't willingly give the refunds until the passenger pushed it.

I've also seen that the River Cruise companies tend not to refund them while the Ocean Cruise companies tend to refund the taxes.

What I've been telling people for the last nearly 5 years is to ask the cruise line.

Steve Dasseos
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Steve Dasseos