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farjar

Is $60 a day pp pre-cruise credit card charge typical?

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We will be taking our first HAL cruise in a few months that we booked using a travel agent for the first time. Yesterday we started filling out our cruise profile information.  Near the end HAL requested our credit card number so they could charge us $60 a day per person on our credit card for expenses we may or may not incur on our trip.  Apparently any remaining balance will be credited back once the cruise is complete and all expenses have been subtracted.  We are Platinum on NCL and never have we had to pre-approve such an amount.  Our credit card was charged for what we spent only after the cruise was over.  Is this typical with HAL or because we used a travel agent instead of booking directly with them?  We think it is outrageous and, if we have to do it, will wait until just before sailing to do so.

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It should be a hold, not a charge. I would be very surprised if NCL didn't do something similar. Even hotels often do something similar. I can't confirm the actual amount but it sounds as though it is right.  

It is just reserving a part of your credit limit to ensure you will be good for the bill at the end of the cruise. Neither unusual nor unreasonable. 

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7 minutes ago, farjar said:

We will be taking our first HAL cruise in a few months that we booked using a travel agent for the first time. Yesterday we started filling out our cruise profile information.  Near the end HAL requested our credit card number so they could charge us $60 a day per person on our credit card for expenses we may or may not incur on our trip.  

I thought the pre authorization amount was higher... but i digress,  it is not unusual for HAL to preauthorize monies just to be sure they get theirs!! 😁😁

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As mentioned above, it's not a charge, it's a hold. Sort of a test to see if your credit card is valid and active. No money is taken from your card.

 

Not only is it common for HAL to place a hold, it is common for MANY other businesses besides cruise lines ( many do, OP may not be aware a hold has been placed), but hotels, rental car companies and a number of others. 

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That hold will not take place until you are officially signed in at the pier.  But do make certain that you credit limit is high enough for that hold so that if you use the same card for shopping in the ports, etc., you can do so.

 

Every hotel and car rental we have done also puts a hold on my credit card.

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From 2019 WHAT  YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

 

The day you board, Holland America Line places an initial hold on your credit or debit card for $60 per person* per cruise day.  Once you’ve spent the initial hold amount, we will authorize your card for the total of your onboard purchases to date plus an additional $60 per person per day for the remainder of your cruise.  Please note that there may be multiple authorizations throughout your cruise, and that some banks may keep the hold in place for up to 30 days.

Edited by kwb101

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Actually NCL does the same thing. https://www.ncl.com/faq#!#onboard-expenses

 

It's just a hold. Even gas stations pre-authorize a hold amount when you swipe a card at the pump. Your card does not actually get charged for your actual spending amount until the account is settled. And like NCL, HAL allows you to always use the equivalent in cash to cover your account when you board.

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We are Platinum on NCL and never have we had to pre-approve such an amount.

 

https://www.ncl.com/nz/en/faq#!#onboard-expenses

 

NCL FAQ -

How do I pay for onboard expenses?

For your convenience, all shipboard expenses are charged to your Onboard account. Sign up when you check in, establishing your method of payment with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB Card, Diner's Club. You may also use your debit card however please be advised that we obtain pre-authorisation, as we do for all Credit Cards, and some banks hold these funds for up to 30 days

Edited by colbe
Addition

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42 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

As mentioned above, it's not a charge, it's a hold. Sort of a test to see if your credit card is valid and active. No money is taken from your card.

 

Not only is it common for HAL to place a hold, it is common for MANY other businesses besides cruise lines ( many do, OP may not be aware a hold has been placed), but hotels, rental car companies and a number of others. 

 

Yes, it's a lot more common than people think. It's just that many businesses don't tell you that they place a hold on the card. I know that hotels do it, but I think only 1 or 2 of all the hotels I've stayed in actually told me they would place a hold. 

 

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Thanks everyone for the information.  They say you learn something new everyday and today I have.  Since we always book NCL through a PCC they have our credit card number.  I was unaware they were putting a hold on it for expenses.  Since we paid a travel agent for our HAL cruise I understand the reasoning behind HAL needing the number prior to sailing.  I love the way Cruise Critic members step up to help clear up matters and questions other cruisers have.  Much appreciated. :classic_smile:

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The credit/debit card hold is $60 per person, per day for cruises from 1 to 25 days on HAL ships.  Cruises 26 days and up, the hold is $30 per person. per day.   We have used various credit cards for our past cruises, and the hold usually hits the night after your embarkation.   In all of our cruises, the hold has dropped off of the card by the 5th or 6th day.   The hold does reduce the total available credit on your card for as long as the hold is in place.

Credit/Debit card holds are almost universal in a purchase where the actual total charge is unknown.   All the way from a simple gas station to a cruise.   When you slide your card into that gas pump, the station has no idea if you will be pumping $5 or $500 into your car/truck or boat.   So the station puts an authorization hold on your card for some crazy amount, to make sure you have sufficient funds on the card.   As soon as you put the nozzle back into the pump, the station knows exactly what your purchase is, so they drop the hold and charge the actual amount of gas pumped.   Very easy for a gas station.   But for something like a rental car, hotel or cruise, you can keep adding more and more items onto your account and your final balance is unknown.  So, to protect themselves, these companies put a guestimated hold on your card that the average person charges.   Cruise lines, in particular, were left holding the bag in years past, when people would pay their basic fare, with little or no reserve.   They would provide a credit card number, but when the cruise line hit the card after they left the ship, they would find that the charge was declined.   The unpaid balances were in the area of $500, so it was not worth going to court to collect it, but during college spring break season,  there would be a considerable number of unpaid balances.   To fix this, all cruise lines started the authorization hold process, or requiring an equivalent amount to be deposited in cash when you board the ship.   

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3 minutes ago, TAD2005 said:

When you slide your card into that gas pump, the station has no idea if you will be pumping $5 or $500 into your car/truck or boat.   So the station puts an authorization hold on your card for some crazy amount, to make sure you have sufficient funds on the card.   As soon as you put the nozzle back into the pump, the station knows exactly what your purchase is, so they drop the hold and charge the actual amount of gas pumped. 

One gas station in our area would always put a $100 hold on our card which stayed until the actual charge was posted to the bank, often 2 days later. This didn't happen at other stations, so it wasn't our bank that was doing it. It annoyed me so much that we stopped buying gas there.

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13 minutes ago, catl331 said:

One gas station in our area would always put a $100 hold on our card which stayed until the actual charge was posted to the bank, often 2 days later. This didn't happen at other stations, so it wasn't our bank that was doing it. It annoyed me so much that we stopped buying gas there.

That is annoying.   For some strange reason, that gas station or company is not doing the "settlement" on that day's transactions in a timely manner.   They delay the settlement for a few days, so the initial hold sits on your account until they run the settlement.

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You may also pay in cash, which is what my son does.  The Front Desk accepts his amount ($60 per day just like a credit card).  At the end of the cruise, they return any cash to him that he hasn't spent.  Same difference, only he's dealing with actual cash. 

 

The Front Desk ladies/gentlemen always remind him that if he begins to run out of cash, they will notify him, so he can place more money into his "account."  He's never had this happen, since he normally pays for everything before leaving home.  I asked him once what would happen in an emergency such as having a visit to the infirmary.  His reply?  "Mom, that's why you have credit cards."  LOL.  My response?  "Yeah, and that's why you have a savings account with me as joint name on the account!" 

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We are first timers with Hal too after crushing with Azamara, Celebrity, Princess and Cunard. I’ve seen holds before in the region of $200 and then whatever you spend over that but I can honestly say I was astonished to see they would put a hold on my card for $1680 for my cruise, it’s not a problem at all for me and will just be a pending amount but seems to be excessive and I was surprised.

 

I agree that a hold on your card won’t be debited but it will affect your spending power on that card. What happens to people who don’t have a card with enough balance or enough cash for that matter? I didn’t find out about this amount until I checked in for the cruise, what would HAL do for someone on a tight budget who couldn’t do that amount I wonder?

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3 hours ago, TAD2005 said:

That is annoying.   For some strange reason, that gas station or company is not doing the "settlement" on that day's transactions in a timely manner.   They delay the settlement for a few days, so the initial hold sits on your account until they run the settlement.

I wish they would put a larger hold when filling my motorhome. I always have to run the card two or three times. 😂😂

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1 hour ago, DebbieMacG said:

What happens to people who don’t have a card with enough balance or enough cash for that matter? I didn’t find out about this amount until I checked in for the cruise, what would HAL do for someone on a tight budget who couldn’t do that amount I wonder?

This is going to sound callous, but people whose finances are that tight shouldn't be doing things like taking premium cruises.

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1 hour ago, iceman93 said:

This is going to sound callous, but people whose finances are that tight shouldn't be doing things like taking premium cruises.

Of course they should! They could have saved up for a long time to enjoy a special holiday perhaps to celebrate an anniversary, it could be a once in a lifetime thing. We aren’t talking seabourn prices here anyway! £500 for a weeks cruise is not expensive.

 

I won’t have a problem with it but that doesn’t stop me being concerned for others who might have.

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HAL notifies everyone in advance so you can prepare for it.  If you don't have a high enough limit, most credit card companies will provide a temporary credit line increase if you just call and ask.  Many even make the temporary increase permanent.

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I think you could also make an appropriate deposit to your card before you leave so it has a positive balance. 

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On 9/11/2019 at 12:09 AM, DebbieMacG said:

Of course they should! They could have saved up for a long time to enjoy a special holiday perhaps to celebrate an anniversary, it could be a once in a lifetime thing. We aren’t talking seabourn prices here anyway! £500 for a weeks cruise is not expensive.

 

I won’t have a problem with it but that doesn’t stop me being concerned for others who might have.

 

I completely agree with you. I think the hold amount is very high and haven't experienced that amount with other cruise lines - usually $200-300 total for the week with the final charge at the end for what we actually spend. I asked a similar question on cruise critic the other day about the holds but my question was if they also charge the hold for kids or just the adults. Like you, the hold isn't a problem for me since it's just my daughter and I sailing in our room, but my brother and sister in law are sailing with their six kids so charging that kind of hold for 8 people would seem beyond excessive to me. I too have wondered what would happened for those on a tight budget and don't have the available cash/credit to cover the hold amount. I can't imagine them being turned away but who knows? 

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Yes I agree it seems unreasonably high. They should set it lower and then add if the charges exceed the hold at any point in the cruise.  

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1 hour ago, john2003 said:

Yes I agree it seems unreasonably high.

It is high except for people who book HAL excursions once on board. Most excursions start at around $75 and many go up considerably higher.

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1 hour ago, catl331 said:

It is high except for people who book HAL excursions once on board. Most excursions start at around $75 and many go up considerably higher.

 

You're right. If I'm planning to take a ship's excursion, I usually book in advance, so the hold is higher than I will spend. I suppose it's possible for HAL to look at your pre-spending and adjust the hold, but that's just more work than it's worth. And considering their computer skills it could create a real mess.

 

I'm always surprised at how many people wait until they're onboard to book excursions. I had to go to the exc desk on embarkation day to cancel a tour a year or two ago, and the line was long and slow. I could hear some of the conversations with staff. "What's a good tour in such-and such?" They hadn't even thought about what they wanted until they got to the counter. So there are enough people spending at least $60 per day on average to justify the hold. 

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Oops, I had forgotten about excursions. We so seldom use a ship excursion. 

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