Taxes, fees, port charges - why so much variation?

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#1
Dallas
11 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I'm in the process of researching our first cruise, gathering and comparing prices. I'm a little confused as to what is falling under the "taxes/fees" area of the quotes. I will get a lower price on the cabin from Agent One, but a higher total than Agent Two once these are added in. And there's not a complete line-by-line listing of what's in that category. What would cause the taxes/fees to be $8 from one agent and $50 from another agent on the same cruise? (And can that even be right? How are taxes/fees only $8? How can they only be $50 for that matter? No local sales tax?)

Susan
#2
South East PA
6,916 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Are you using online websites or a local TA? You will not be able to compare cruise prices until you get a total price with taxes, fees, and port charges. Dont have them add in the price of insurance either. Charges can vary from port to port and cruise to cruise. Compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
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Darlene

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#3
Dallas
11 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I'm looking at the total amounts, which includes the taxes and fees. And I don't understand how the taxes/fees added to the base rate can vary so much. Shouldn't taxes and port fees be the same for everyone? How can they be so much more with one agent, making the lower base price actually not a better deal after the taxes/fees are added in? These are all on the exact same cruise.

I'm looking at various online agencies to compare prices - 14 so far.
#4
Spring, TX
7,388 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Sounds like they are discounting the "listed" price and adding that discount back in the fees to give an apparent low price which it is not. People that do not check the total price will get caught in this trap.
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Bill D

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#5
South East PA
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Joined Dec 2004
I agree with Bill. Which cruiseline are you looking at and at what sites?
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Darlene

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Fascination - Cozumel - February 2002
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#6
Vancouver, BC
834 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
I strongly suspect that taxes, fees and charges can be a scam in some cases. If you buy an airline ticket, all the taxes are spelled out for you. I have asked on cruise tickets and can not get a breakdown. I have also noticed big differences between cruise lines. With roughly the same sort of itinerary, how could one be well over two hundred bucks and the other only sixty?

Anybody in the business can shed some light?
#7
Dallas
11 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
After looking again, it's not the taxes and fees that change - it's the fare!

Example:

Agency One
  • Web rate - $823 per person
    • however ... when you go to the page for the total include the fee, it shows
  • Total Cost - $661.50 per person (add the $165 in fees to get the total of $827.30)
Agency Two
  • Web rate - $823 (same quote as the first)
    • however ... when you go to the total page
  • Total Cost - $684 - taxes and fees are the exact same, but now the total is $849.80.
After looking closely, the fare quoted on the first page is fare + port charges, but not taxes. So the total fare is fare, port charges and taxes. That doesn't explain how these sites could come up with the same web rate when their base fares weren't the same.

Man, this is confusing!! I'm trying so hard to make sure I get a good deal that I'm imagining conspiracies!! I'm beginning to see the value of having someone else do the looking! (Plus, I'm getting tired of putting that I'm a Texas resident in order to get a quote.) Even cruise compete is looking good although my experience there is that TAs can't follow directions. They keep giving me quotes for something other than what I asked for. Sigh.

Thanks for your patience everyone!
#8
South East PA
6,916 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
How about if you tell me what ship, date and itinerary you are looking at. I will see what I can find too. Hang in there, once you get booked it will be worth the headache.

I have a feeling that each agency has its own booking fees. The tax should be the same because it depends on your state. The port fees will stay the same too.
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Darlene

Crown Dynasty - Bermuda - June 2000
Fascination - Cozumel - February 2002
Horizon - Bermuda - May 2004
Voyager of the Seas Repo/Thanksgiving - November 2005
Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean (Hurricane Dean) August 2007
Enchantment of the Seas - Western Caribbean - January 2008
Explorer of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean - January 2009
Liberty of the Seas - Western Caribbean - January 2010
Dream - Eastern Caribbean - August 2010
Glory - Bahamas (Hurricane Sandy - cruise to nowhere) October 2012
NCL Breakaway - Bermuda - June 2014
NCL Sky - Bahamas - September 2014
Land Vacation - Puerto Morelos - Mexico - May 2016
Carnival Legend - Alaska - April 2017

Next
Anthem of the Sea - Bahamas - November 2017
Carnival Pride - Caribbean - January 2019