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Crazy High HAL Taxes


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Hal's taxes have really gotten crazy with no explanation. A few years ago a weeks cruise had taxes of $25-50. Now it's upwards of $100-140! Alaska is even more because of the state tax and Glacier Bay intineraries. The Nieuw Amsterdam 14 day cruise to Caribbean Oct. 21 has taxes of $280 vs Princess 14 day Oct. 28 taxes of $170. Makes no sense and, of course, they never seem to have to justify their taxes, fees and port expenses.

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There are a variety of reasons for differing taxes, and more importantly, the fees.

 

First, HAL ( or the other cruise lines) have little to say about them. The cruise lines are charged these in order to do business in the given areas and ports. So their are definitely not "HAL's taxes and fees".

 

Second, typically the fees are for things like pilots, tugs, water purchased in ports, the shore based rope handlers, waste removal, etc. How they are charged may depend on the number of pax, or the size of the ship, or previous arrangements with the port, like where Carnival has built certain ports (Grand Turk and Puerto Chiapas are good examples).

 

Third, you say "they never justify them". They don't have to, as the port sets them, not the cruise line. HAL doesn't get to keep them...they go to the port. If it weren't for a court decision to require they be listed, you wouldn't even see them! They would just be blended into your fare.

 

HAL is not ripping you off. They are passing along the cost of doing business in each port.

Edited by CruiserBruce
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Try paying your fare in Canadian dollars! $325 CAD per person for 7 night cruise to Alaska with Glacier Bay from Vancouver. Sucks but I just consider it part of the price of our vacation. Now if only the Canadian dollar would get closer to par like last time we cruised (vacationing in the US is expensive right now). :(

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Hal's taxes have really gotten crazy with no explanation. A few years ago a weeks cruise had taxes of $25-50. Now it's upwards of $100-140! Alaska is even more because of the state tax and Glacier Bay intineraries. The Nieuw Amsterdam 14 day cruise to Caribbean Oct. 21 has taxes of $280 vs Princess 14 day Oct. 28 taxes of $170. Makes no sense and, of course, they never seem to have to justify their taxes, fees and port expenses.

 

By the way, the comparison of taxes between the two cruises is apples and oranges, unless you can say for sure the two cruises stop at exactly the same ports. Then you need to explain if one ship or the other took services or support that the other one didn't.

 

All this over about $7 per day...

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By the way, the comparison of taxes between the two cruises is apples and oranges, unless you can say for sure the two cruises stop at exactly the same ports. Then you need to explain if one ship or the other took services or support that the other one didn't.

All this over about $7 per day...

 

Spot on, CruiserBruce, except for your "apples and oranges" comparison comment ... IMHO the comparison is one of apples and road apples!!! More popular ports often charge higher taxes and fees than less desirable ports because they can ... and HAL has no control over that.

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I would exclude "water purchased in port" from the list of fees and taxes. That is a HAL operating cost (same as buying food) and they have the option of making their own fresh water.

 

igraf

 

 

 

There are a variety of reasons for differing taxes, and more importantly, the fees.

 

First, HAL ( or the other cruise lines) have little to say about them. The cruise lines are charged these in order to do business in the given areas and ports. So their are definitely not "HAL's taxes and fees".

 

Second, typically the fees are for things like pilots, tugs, water purchased in ports, the shore based rope handlers, waste removal, etc. How they are charged may depend on the number of pax, or the size of the ship, or previous arrangements with the port, like where Carnival has built certain ports (Grand Turk and Puerto Chiapas are good examples).

 

Third, you say "they never justify them". They don't have to, as the port sets them, not the cruise line. HAL doesn't get to keep them...they go to the port. If it weren't for a court decision to require they be listed, you wouldn't even see them! They would just be blended into your fare.

 

HAL is not ripping you off. They are passing along the cost of doing business in each port.

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If there are two ships on two different lines, both with roughly same number of passengers, traveling the same route, but one has "Taxes & Port Fees" of $55, while the other has "Taxes & Port Fees" of $161, I genuinely question how truthful the lines are being about the fees.

 

While I'm sure many will jump to defend their beloved cruise line, I've not seen any researched analysis of what could possibly cause such a wide disparity in "Taxes & Port Fees" if, as we are being told, the fees are going straight to the port & government.

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I would exclude "water purchased in port" from the list of fees and taxes. That is a HAL operating cost (same as buying food) and they have the option of making their own fresh water.

 

igraf

 

Then, of course, you could argue that they should also exclude waste removal costs - it all could be kept on board, perhaps in unsold cabins.

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If there are two ships on two different lines, both with roughly same number of passengers, traveling the same route, but one has "Taxes & Port Fees" of $55, while the other has "Taxes & Port Fees" of $161, I genuinely question how truthful the lines are being about the fees.

 

While I'm sure many will jump to defend their beloved cruise line, I've not seen any researched analysis of what could possibly cause such a wide disparity in "Taxes & Port Fees" if, as we are being told, the fees are going straight to the port & government.

 

You raise a valid question; that is IF, of course, you can identify those two ships of different lines carrying the same number of passengers on the same (meaning IDENTICAL port calls) itinerary, charging such different "Taxes & Port Fees". Otherwise, your question suggests paranoia on your part as much as skullduggery on the part of a cruise line.

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First, the court decision in a class action suit was not to have the cruise lines disclose port taxes and fees, as these were always broken out from the fare (in order to lower the fare), but to limit what the cruise line could include in the taxes and fees (they were putting operating costs like garbage and water into the fees, again to keep the advertised fare lower). Now, the definition of what is included in "port taxes and fees" is pretty tightly regulated.

 

Even two ships of the same size, with the same passenger capacity, calling at the same ports can have different port taxes and fees. Many times a ship contracts with a port for a guaranteed berth so many times a year, and this contract can run for several years. Now, the next cruise line comes along a year later, and wants some guaranteed berths, and the port sees that they are in demand, and charge this line a higher port fee than the first line. It's all about supply and demand. And a ship or line that only makes occasional calls at a port will pay a higher port fee than an identical ship that calls there regularly.

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First, the court decision in a class action suit was not to have the cruise lines disclose port taxes and fees, as these were always broken out from the fare (in order to lower the fare), but to limit what the cruise line could include in the taxes and fees (they were putting operating costs like garbage and water into the fees, again to keep the advertised fare lower). Now, the definition of what is included in "port taxes and fees" is pretty tightly regulated.

 

Even two ships of the same size, with the same passenger capacity, calling at the same ports can have different port taxes and fees. Many times a ship contracts with a port for a guaranteed berth so many times a year, and this contract can run for several years. Now, the next cruise line comes along a year later, and wants some guaranteed berths, and the port sees that they are in demand, and charge this line a higher port fee than the first line. It's all about supply and demand. And a ship or line that only makes occasional calls at a port will pay a higher port fee than an identical ship that calls there regularly.

 

 

Thank you for this, chengkp75. Your explanation sounds far more plausible than when I wrote to HAL about it.

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If there are two ships on two different lines, both with roughly same number of passengers, traveling the same route, but one has "Taxes & Port Fees" of $55, while the other has "Taxes & Port Fees" of $161, I genuinely question how truthful the lines are being about the fees.

 

While I'm sure many will jump to defend their beloved cruise line, I've not seen any researched analysis of what could possibly cause such a wide disparity in "Taxes & Port Fees" if, as we are being told, the fees are going straight to the port & government.

 

Is this hypothetical, or is it a real example? If real, giving the ships/dates, etc would be helpful to figure out the issues.

 

As to the possible reasons for different fees and taxes, perhaps reading chengkp75's comments would be easier than a "researched analysis"...but what does he know, besides many years on ships? But one would have to stop looking for black helicopters.

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The ship with the $55 port charges may have a long term contract with a specific port and receive a favorable rate. The ship with the much higher fee may not have the same arrangement. St. Maarten is a good example. Multiple cruise lines invested many millions of $$$ towards the construction of the dual piers to accommodate their larger ships, and also the terminal. They invested again to rebuild the terminals after hurricane Irma. I'm sure that Carnival and RCI didn't make those huge investments in a foreign port's infrastructure just to be nice guys. They received a very favorable rate for pilot services, stevedore services, supplies, immigration fees, etc. Other cruise lines who have not made such generous investments will pay the regular port charge rate that is considerably higher. Airlines have the same arrangements for the landing fees at airports where they make big investments in the terminals.

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The ship with the $55 port charges may have a long term contract with a specific port and receive a favorable rate. The ship with the much higher fee may not have the same arrangement. St. Maarten is a good example. Multiple cruise lines invested many millions of $$$ towards the construction of the dual piers to accommodate their larger ships, and also the terminal. They invested again to rebuild the terminals after hurricane Irma. I'm sure that Carnival and RCI didn't make those huge investments in a foreign port's infrastructure just to be nice guys. They received a very favorable rate for pilot services, stevedore services, supplies, immigration fees, etc. Other cruise lines who have not made such generous investments will pay the regular port charge rate that is considerably higher. Airlines have the same arrangements for the landing fees at airports where they make big investments in the terminals.

 

Thank you TAD2005 for this information. This is a very good point.

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Second, typically the fees are for things like pilots, tugs, water purchased in ports, the shore based rope handlers, waste removal, etc.

 

Bolding is mine... For the record, the proper nautical terminology is 'line handlers'.. ;):)

 

Just sayin' and coming form a 25 year Navy veteran.

 

Now, please carry on! :D

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Do factors like time in port count? I'm thinking of charges for port employees, like security who check ID in the terminal. The longer the ship is in port, the longer those folks work. Or is that operational cost?

 

Some of that is dependent on the line's contract with the port, whether it is a flat rate or an hourly rate. Sometimes it is based on a pre-set number of hours (6-8) and then additional for extra hours. It also depends on whether the berth is in demand or not, sometimes they let you sit extra hours for free if there isn't anyone coming in until after you leave.

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Hey I like HAL as much as the next guy. But not when they do something like this. And unlike the "never can they do any wrong" fans I speak up. Princess and HAL are both part of the Carnival family so should be getting the same breaks. HAL is going to the same usual ports in their East/West Caribbean, back to back, combined 14 day cruise. $280 is nuts!

 

More people should be complaining instead of taking it like lemmings in a line. Taxes and fees are not regulated by Sunshine rules. We really don't know what's included and if the cruise line is just bumping it up to keep advertised prices lower. Before they changed it a few years ago, the port fees were included in the cruise price and travel agents were not paid on that portion of the cruise price. The cruise lines now pay travel agents on the "commisionalble amount" of the cruise price, still leaving the old port fees in there as uncommisionalble and charging for port fees again in the taxes. A greedy move is a greedy move.

 

Wouldn't everyone love seeing one price that included taxes and fees, especially since they've grown so much in the last 5 years? Does anyone really want to get excited about a 7 day $599 fare to Alaska and then learn that the taxes and fees are over $200???

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So, I am guessing you know more than the cruise line employee who has posted here? Who has been, now and historically, very open and transparent about how cruise lines function, good and bad.

 

I would not expect that, for example, Carnival, Princess and HAL all have the same arrangement in every case, because they are in the same corporate family. You have not offered any proof...just conspiracy theory.

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