Posted January 20th, 2017, 07:44 AM
each time I sail the port charges taxes and fees go up and the savings disappear. I understand they can vary greatly and maybe 450 per person is not that high- but how can I be assured these are legitimate and not including commission fees and they are collecting charges that were not levied? for example, what is panama canal charges, and seattle, LA or Miami charges vs acappoco or costa rica?
Just the fact that you are talking about "port charges" in addition to taxes and fees, means you are booking with a travel agent. The reason travel agents show discounts and savings is that they take the "commissionable" portion of the fare the cruise line charges, and calls this the "fare". They then call the non-commissionable portion of the fare "port charges". If you take the TA's "fare" + "port charges" + taxes and fees, you will find they come out very close to the cruise line's fare + taxes and fees. The cruise line basically determines how much of the fare they are willing to pay the TA a commission on, and the rest is "non-commissionable". There is no rhyme or reason to the amount of commissionable fare, it is what the line says it is, so the TA's have to deal with it, and many will use it to advertise "cut rate" deals.
As far as what taxes and fees are per port, that depends on the cruise line, the ship, and what services the ship uses in a given port, so that can vary between ships of the same line for the same port. Because of a class action suit a few years back, the cruise lines are strictly limited in what they can call port fees and taxes.
As for the Panama Canal, the tariff for the ship is based on the maximum occupancy of the ship, and if even one passenger is being transported, the ship is charged $142 per possible bed at capacity. If the ship sails under capacity, the total tariff is divided between the number of actual passengers to get the port fees and taxes, so this can vary from one cruise to the next on the same ship.