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Pre-purchased OBC used for purchasing drinks and the VAT ?

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Hi All


Please forgive me if this question may have already been asked, but does anyone know if OBC purchased online pre-cruise can be used to purchase alcoholic beverages in bars / restaurants around the ship – and in doing so is this a way to avoid having to pay the additional Italian VAT ?



If this is possible can someone let me know how this works? From memory drinks purchased at bars automatically have the 18% gratuity and then the VAT % added to the receipt they provide you which then gets added to my onboard account. So if my plan works how is the VAT not added? Or is there a card issued for whatever OBC is purchased and then this is used to pay for drinks (like a credit card)



Would be interested to find out.



Thanks in advance.


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I assume that you are talking about buying drinks one at a time, not buying a drinks package.


There is no way to avoid the VAT on drinks purchased one at a time.


If you buy the whole drinks package ahead of the cruise, no VAT would be charged.


The fact that you are using on-board credit is immaterial to the VAT issue.

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Pre-purchase OBC is like a gift card credit. Individual purchases will still have any applicable tax applied. They will just apply the OBC to the balance before they charge your credit card.



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When does Celebrity charge VAT? I thought being in international waters they would not be subject to VAT for onboard purchases. Is this for only certain cruise itineraries, such as for cruises starting and ending in Italy? Would it apply to all onboard purchases, including specialty restaurants, shops, shore excursions purchased onboard?

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VAT is charged on some Mediterranean cruises where there is no non-EU port visited. Turkey served as a non EU port for some cruises out of Italy but when Turkey was dropped now VAT is charged on those cruises.

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any money in your onboard account is still your money.. just an on board bank account as opposed to having celebrity charge your CC. If you don't spend it transfers back to your land bank account

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This just in.... on boarding Reflection on a r/t Rome Med cruise we were given info that celebrity has now partnered with Glibal Blue. This means that you may be eligible for partial refund of VAT for purchases of goods from shops, photo gallery, etc.


You cannot get refunds for VAT paid on food and drinks, only for items you remove from EU.


This is only available if you do not reside in the EU.

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