How do they calculate Port Fees/Taxes?

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#1
Ohio
3,080 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Port fees consist of this mysterious number that gets added to your total and I've always wondered where they come up with such a random number. Is anyone in the know about how they figure it?

I thought there was probably a set amount per port that got added, depending on what the local port authority assessed the cruise line ... I just wasn't sure if that was a cost per passenger or a cost per ship. My guess now is that it might be per ship, and they divide it by number of expected passengers. I'm coming up with that because the port fees/taxes for my 3-day comes to 68.43/pp (2 ports - Colon and Miami), while the 7-day cruise prior to that is just 58.15/pp (4 stops in addition to RT Colon). I'm guessing that's because the 3-day repo isn't selling well, so they have to spread it out among fewer passengers. I'm guessing someone's asked this before, so somebody should have some insight.

Inquiring minds want to know.
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#2
King of Prussia, PA
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Joined Nov 2010
I would think the opposite. I would think that it's by passenger. I'm pretty sure that RCCL pays Haiti around $6 for every passenger that goes to Labadee. I'm sure other ports are the same way. If it were a set amount per ship, there would be no local benefit of the mega ships.
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#3
Middle of the Sahara Desert
11,383 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
The port taxes are determined by a number of things

1 - Tax charged per passenger by port
2 - Docking fee ( determined by moorge charge per Pax)
3 - Fees charged by customs at every port to clear the ship
4 - Pilot-age (Port Pilot) fees
5 - In some ports the cost of the line handlers is extra .

That's all the extra fees charged.
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#4
nj
598 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Trust me on this one. This had been bugging me while back and i found the answer a couple of weeks ago. It actually depend on which port you departing from. That where most of tax fees start. When you arrive to port to dock for the day, it extremely low like $10 to $15. I been credited two times. One for miss port and the other was based on port charge of the day.

Nyc is at $200 start.
NJ is at $100 start.
Puerto Rico is at $60 start.


Here how you can do it. Go to rcl and get a 5 day bermuda trip and look at tax fees and port charges. Then go to NCL for approximately same day and look at their port charges and tax fees. You see a hundred dollars difference.

Also the other thing i learned from all this. It dosent matter how much you paying for the cabins. If you are inside room with $100 port charges and fees while someone else took a presidential suite and still pay just $100 port charges and tax fees.

Pretty weird stuff out there but at least we all understand how.
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#5
Southeast
807 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
I was wondering this myself! Glad op asked! Last two times I've cruised, I've got a small obc, supposedly because port charges were less than expected...its a nice way to start the cruise, with a refund, no matter how small the amount
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#6
Lindenhurst NY
1,043 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
If memory serves, I was refunded about $80 in port fees when we couldn't go ashore in Grand Caymen. That was for two people. It appeared as four separate credits for some reason, two for each person. A seven night cruise with four ports. Not really sure how they calculate it.
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#7
Ohio
3,080 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Originally posted by Gilgo Surfer
If memory serves, I was refunded about $80 in port fees when we couldn't go ashore in Grand Caymen. That was for two people. It appeared as four separate credits for some reason, two for each person. A seven night cruise with four ports. Not really sure how they calculate it.
Interesting ... If Grand Cayman is charging RCI $40 per passenger just to allow people to come ashore and spend money there, doesn't that strike you as odd? I associate the concept of port fees with expenses that the port has to incur to provide facilities to docking ships. The key word there is "docking". There is no pier in Grand Cayman, so they charge $40 per person for a cruise ship to anchor off-shore. What a racket!
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#8
North Port, Fl
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Joined Aug 2008
Might the $40 cover the cost of the tenders?

Originally posted by emeraldcity
Interesting ... If Grand Cayman is charging RCI $40 per passenger just to allow people to come ashore and spend money there, doesn't that strike you as odd? I associate the concept of port fees with expenses that the port has to incur to provide facilities to docking ships. The key word there is "docking". There is no pier in Grand Cayman, so they charge $40 per person for a cruise ship to anchor off-shore. What a racket!
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#9
North Carolina
2,132 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
I've heard Bermuda charges the highest port charges - don't know if that's true. But do they charge per day or per docking, since most ships stay overnight in Bermuda?
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#10
MI, USA
5,962 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Originally posted by emeraldcity
Port fees consist of this mysterious number that gets added to your total and I've always wondered where they come up with such a random number. Is anyone in the know about how they figure it?

I thought there was probably a set amount per port that got added, depending on what the local port authority assessed the cruise line ... I just wasn't sure if that was a cost per passenger or a cost per ship. My guess now is that it might be per ship, and they divide it by number of expected passengers. I'm coming up with that because the port fees/taxes for my 3-day comes to 68.43/pp (2 ports - Colon and Miami), while the 7-day cruise prior to that is just 58.15/pp (4 stops in addition to RT Colon). I'm guessing that's because the 3-day repo isn't selling well, so they have to spread it out among fewer passengers. I'm guessing someone's asked this before, so somebody should have some insight.

Inquiring minds want to know.
I would not take from those figures that it's per passenger, I would take from them that Miami Port charges are really high compared to Colon, and the cities visited on the cruise prior.
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#11
3,480 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Port fees are the fees per person that is charged by the port. They decide the fees. Some places can be as low as $2.50 and others near $100.00. Some ports have tenders, others do not. The fees cover a wide range of items that is associated with the port.
#13
nj
598 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
bouhunter i do agree with you but there was thread awhile ago somebody from europe had post a strange pricing that i wouldn't do. He post a cabin that is $3000 with a $10000 taxes and fees. That is definelty not for me. I rather stick to cruises that had a cheaper port tax and fee is the price is right.
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#14
Ohio
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Joined Sep 2003
Worried? Not hardly.

Curious? Oh yes.

I have to believe there's a great deal of truth in Mark_k's belief that Miami levies higher fees; we've certainly heard plenty about how much the longshoremen make to load the ship. And Miami is a very nicely developed port. I haven't been to Colon yet, but I suspect I'll find it is rather like a freight terminal used for passenger ships on occasion.
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#15
New Cumberland,PA, USA
27,169 Posts
Joined May 2000
Key West is a fun place (we have vacationed there a couple of times) and a great Port of call. But its location is not very convenient to most HAL itineraries, and these days, the cruise lines do not like to add extra miles to any itinerary due to high fuel costs.

For those who have never been to Key West, and who also cruise out of Florida, we recommend coming to FL (or staying) a few days early, renting a car, and driving the fantastic road down to Key West. The drive is half the fun and the views are amazing.

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#16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
4,500 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
emeraldcity, that's a *generous* description of the Colon facility.
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#17
Ft. Worth, Tx, USA
9,771 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
If appears some folks think the port taxes and fees are intended to cover costs.
Can you name one government, anywhere in the world, that collects jsut enough to cover costs?

That is why they are called Taxes!!!!!!!!!!!
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#18
Vancouver, BC & Malaga, Spain
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Joined Dec 2009
The highest port taxes/fees are for Panama Canal and Alaska but there are a few new itineraries on the West Coast that have very high taxes/fees too...

Someone told me that they can add a fuel surcharge in those fees too...not 100% sure, just something someone told me on my last cruise. I have noticed that these fees/taxes have changed during the year...not sure why.
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