On-Board Credit/Debit Card Conversion Option Removed

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#1
Sutton Coldfield
40 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Not sure if this is only applicable to the UK Princess passengers but there used to be an option when completing your Guest Check-in Information on-line to opt for wishing your credit/debit card account to either be converted by Princess or your own bank. Having just spoken to Princess, it appears that you no longer have this option on-line but have to inform at Guest Services on-board. Obviously, the conversion by your own bank is always preferable as the Princess rate is not as competitive and a little sneaky of Princess to remove this on-line option don't you think?
#2
South Florida
6,215 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
So what is the default option? Nothing sneaky about it as long as they are not doing the conversion at their rate without your consent.
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Debarking is a cruel procedure done to dogs.
Upgrades, Upsellls and Move Over Offers are completely different things.
As are being denied boarding and being disembarked early.
And don't get me started on Port Charges vs. Government Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses.
The Jones Act is for cargo. The PVSA is "that terrible law" that restricts USA domestic sailings. But without which there would likely be no cruise ships with casinos, duty free shops, and international crew members willing to work fantastically hard every single day.
Lots of people fly in the morning of the cruise and catch crazy early flights home. Why ask us if you can? Just to be harassed by the regulars?
No hotels have free shuttles, free breakfast, free wifi, or free parking. You pay in the rate. And could have found a better deal paying by the piece.
And don't forget: the cruise line is in complete control of the weather, political unrest, medical emergencies, and anything else that delays or re-routes your cruise. Be sure to demand compensation as it is you and only you who were affected.
#3
Sutton Coldfield
40 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Originally posted by fishywood
So what is the default option? Nothing sneaky about it as long as they are not doing the conversion at their rate without your consent.


You actually make a very good point, albeit I was led to believe from my conversation with Princess that the default option was indeed the Princess conversion rate. It would be useful to hear from anyone who has recently travelled as to what rate was used.
#4
UK
516 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by johnsuttoncoldfield
Obviously, the conversion by your own bank is always preferable as the Princess rate is not as competitive and a little sneaky of Princess to remove this on-line option don't you think?
I think you are being quite generous to Princess there. "Not as competitive" is a definite understatement!
#5
midlands, UK
773 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
I to spotted it was missing but just thought I was over looking it somewhere.

i'd also be interested in knowing what sort of rate they charged to, it's been a few years since we were on a Princess ship. I think then we had them do the conversion and didn't feel there was really much in it. Having said that our end bill wasn't very much as I pre loaded the account before we sailed. I knew in advance what that rate that would be for that part.
I've got what I consider to be a good amount of OBC this time and as it's only a 7 day, so I don't this time thinks it's worth putting any on before we go.
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#6
UK
516 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by minikiss
I to spotted it was missing but just thought I was over looking it somewhere.

i'd also be interested in knowing what sort of rate they charged to, it's been a few years since we were on a Princess ship. I think then we had them do the conversion and didn't feel there was really much in it. Having said that our end bill wasn't very much as I pre loaded the account before we sailed. I knew in advance what that rate that would be for that part.
I've got what I consider to be a good amount of OBC this time and as it's only a 7 day, so I don't this time thinks it's worth putting any on before we go.
Going by what you can pre-order in GBP (Gratuities for example) I reckon the rate they were using was about $1.26/£. Currently its sitting about $1.39 so that's quite a mark up!

Edit: The $ rate for gratuities for the 7 day cruise is $94.50. They want £75 for pre-payment
#7
Surrey, UK
1,004 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
I noticed the same. Thought I was just being thick. Has always been an option to opt in/out for as long as I can remember. The default rate I presume is for Princess to use their rate. Will defo change to my bank option when on board and enquire this why this choice has been removed. Won't hold my breath for a straight answer!!!

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#8
Roselle, IL 60172
716 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Hmmm ... last I knew it was a violation of their merchant agreement to force Dynamic Currency Conversion (the industry name for this) on a customer. You must be given the option to have it go through in the merchant country’s currency (I will have to look up how obvious that option needs to be). From what I’ve read, forcing DCC on a customer is grounds for a chargeback (dispute).


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#9
4,563 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by lstone19
Hmmm ... last I knew it was a violation of their merchant agreement to force Dynamic Currency Conversion (the industry name for this) on a customer. You must be given the option to have it go through in the merchant country’s currency (I will have to look up how obvious that option needs to be). From what I’ve read, forcing DCC on a customer is grounds for a chargeback (dispute).
Those were exactly my thoughts when I read the first post. I am boarding a ship in Sydney on Saturday and will definitely pay attention to this. I always do pay attention to details like this (had a heck of a time with a car rental company in Corfu that didn't ask me but automatically converted it last fall). It was a major hassle to get it straightened out.
#10
Roselle, IL 60172
716 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
I've only been nailed by DCC once and that was because I hadn't heard of it before. But the merchant didn't ask; they just put it through in Pounds and the first I understood what had happened was when I looked at the receipt to see a dollar amount and words similar to "Cardholder has chosen to pay in US Dollars ... My choice is final." Uh, no I didn't. I could have raised a stink but as this was an under 10GBP transaction, it wasn't worth it. I quickly learned about DCC and how much it costs. Merchants want you to think it's about convenience - you have the "convenience" of knowing right then and there what it will cost you in your home currency. Thanks but I can wait - if I didn't already know approximately, I wouldn't be buying.

I found https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/downlo...001.MAR.16.pdf via a Google search - a Visa document specifically about hotels and cruise ships. It's two years old but the relevant language from page 17 is:
"The cardholder must be offered a choice to accept or decline DCC and must actively choose the DCC option prior to the merchant processing the transaction."

More detail follows that sentence including disclosure requirements. On the next page, it states "The cardholder must be able to actively choose DCC. Active choice is defined as the cardholder taking an action to indicate his or her choice to accept DCC. DCC must not be offered by default or as an “opt-out” option."

So based on that, there should be no defaulting to DCC.
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-- Larry
(screen name is "el"-stone19, not "eye"-stone19)







Coral Princess 7/11/18 Voyage of the Glaciers S/B
Ruby Princess 4/27/18 One-night Vancouver-Seattle repositioning
Regal Princess 9/9/17 British Isles and Norway Passage (Transatlantic)
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#11
UK
516 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Thanks Istone, that is very interesting.

I have just emailed them about it and I will be very interested to see what they say about the legal position of having to "Opt in" to DCC . No doubt I will just be fobbed off with something like "you can go to Guest Services to get it changed" ignoring the actual legal principle.

It really ticks me off when I have to give up some of my hard earned holiday to queue at GS (and, there is ALWAYS a queue!) when it shouldn't be necessary. I've got better things to do on a cruise than join that line!

Also, while I'm taling about registered Credit Cards, the online process wouldn't let me exclude my daughter from making onboard purchases against my credit card. I have never allowed this in the past and I'm annoyed that Princess are forcing me in to doing so! I don;t mistrust my daughter but she could easily purchase something "by mistake" as she may have assumed that something that would be included on a previous cruise line was chargeable on Princess.
#13
Sydney, Australia
8,762 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by Burgmeister
Going by what you can pre-order in GBP (Gratuities for example) I reckon the rate they were using was about $1.26/£. Currently its sitting about $1.39 so that's quite a mark up!

Edit: The $ rate for gratuities for the 7 day cruise is $94.50. They want £75 for pre-payment
If it's anything like how the AUD conversions work then the rate for online purchases (gratuities, OBC etc) is set for that booking at the time you book, and it doesn't change. Sometimes that can work in your favour (I had a Princess AUD/USD rate of .90 when the current rate was around .76 once. Very nice!) but at other times it's best not to prepurchase. For payment of accounts I think they use dynamic currency conversion which is usually 3% or more worse than the actual foreign exchange rate at the time.
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#14
essex uk and calabria italy
1,176 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by johnsuttoncoldfield
Not sure if this is only applicable to the UK Princess passengers but there used to be an option when completing your Guest Check-in Information on-line to opt for wishing your credit/debit card account to either be converted by Princess or your own bank. Having just spoken to Princess, it appears that you no longer have this option on-line but have to inform at Guest Services on-board. Obviously, the conversion by your own bank is always preferable as the Princess rate is not as competitive and a little sneaky of Princess to remove this on-line option don't you think?
Hi,Ryanair are the same for expats.We have to pay in Euros when we fly back to UK.Our credit card is a UK zero card,which is better for us to pay in Euros with no fees and the current market rate.The Ryanair system always converts to GBP at their rate.There is a tiny link to reverse this,you,d need a magnifying glass to see it.I wonder if there is such a link on Princess,cheers,Brian.
#15
League City, TX
42,369 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by OzKiwiJJ
For payment of accounts I think they use dynamic currency conversion which is usually 3% or more worse than the actual foreign exchange rate at the time.
And on top of that they add another 3% convenience fee for overcharging you in the first place.
#17
Toronto area, Ontario, Canada
1,013 Posts
Joined Sep 2001
Originally posted by Burgmeister
Thanks Istone, that is very interesting.

I have just emailed them about it and I will be very interested to see what they say about the legal position of having to "Opt in" to DCC . No doubt I will just be fobbed off with something like "you can go to Guest Services to get it changed" ignoring the actual legal principle.

It really ticks me off when I have to give up some of my hard earned holiday to queue at GS (and, there is ALWAYS a queue!) when it shouldn't be necessary. I've got better things to do on a cruise than join that line!

Also, while I'm taling about registered Credit Cards, the online process wouldn't let me exclude my daughter from making onboard purchases against my credit card. I have never allowed this in the past and I'm annoyed that Princess are forcing me in to doing so! I don;t mistrust my daughter but she could easily purchase something "by mistake" as she may have assumed that something that would be included on a previous cruise line was chargeable on Princess.

Unfortunately the only way to stop onboard spending on a card is to visit guest services. They can block onboard spending easily.
Depending when you get onboard - we find that the earlier you go the line is shorter. Otherwise its hit and miss. I agree - not fun to stand in that line.
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#18
UK
516 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Well, still no reply from Princess.

I found this on a very well known UK Based consumer website...

European law states the currency that customers are charged in must be agreed before the transaction, and if currency conversion is offered the customer must know all charges and the exchange rate beforehand too.
Mastercard and Visa, which facilitate the majority of consumer global payments, also say a customer must always give permission for a company to bill them in their own home currency rather than local currency. This means any business, wherever in the world you are paying, should not be overriding or changing your choice after you enter your PIN.
Mastercard and Visa say the onus is on the retailer's bank to enforce these rules, as it is the bank that is providing the access to the Mastercard and Visa networks. So if, for example, a restaurant or shop overrides the customer's choice, it would be the responsibility of that company's bank to make it stick to the Mastercard and Visa rules.
Mastercard says it has a dynamic currency compliance team which can step in, in such cases, to contact the company's bank, and in turn ask the bank to retrain employees from the retailer that is breaking the rules.
A spokesperson said: "Mastercard's direct relationship is with the acquiring bank. Where a retailer/business does not follow our DCC rules it is the acquirer [bank] who in turn is responsible for ensuring the business follows Mastercard's rules. If the terminal is at fault the acquirer is also responsible for ensuring any service provider they use for their DCC service fixes the noncompliance problem."
A Visa spokesperson told us: "Dynamic currency conversion transactions are allowed only when the merchant gets express permission from the customer before the transaction is authorised... Transaction amounts, applicable exchange and fees, [a] statement that [the] merchant provided currency exchange and proof of choice must be included in the transaction receipt."

I guess I need to fire the question off to Princess again.
#19
UK
516 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
I have just received a very helpful response from Princess, so I thought I would share.(as I promised)

"Thank you for your email.

I have noted your concerns and can advise that due to a recent change in our third-party credit card processor, Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) is no longer available for your cruise. We are currently working on a solution and expect to have DCC available in a short period of time. In the meantime all charges will be made to your card in the onboard currency and the conversion will be made by the card provider.
"
#20
Roselle, IL 60172
716 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
That's good to hear. But expresses the usual cluelessness of front-line people who assume people want DCC (for the alleged convenience) rather than really being about increasing profit from doing foreign exchange at rates that are unfavorable to the consumer.

Remember, unless you like spending more than you need to, just say NO to DCC in your foreign travel.
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-- Larry
(screen name is "el"-stone19, not "eye"-stone19)







Coral Princess 7/11/18 Voyage of the Glaciers S/B
Ruby Princess 4/27/18 One-night Vancouver-Seattle repositioning
Regal Princess 9/9/17 British Isles and Norway Passage (Transatlantic)
Regal Princess 10/22/16 NYC/Canada 5-day
Regal Princess 6/14/16 Baltic
Coral Princess 12/23/03 Panama Canal partial transit
Coral Princess 12/24/02 (cancelled - ship delivery delayed )
Dawn Princess 6/01 Voyage of the Glaciers N/B
Sky Princess 5/93 Voyage of the Glaciers N/B
Southward 12/92 Pacific Coast 3-day
Seaward 12/90 Western Caribbean