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Drink Taxes within US Boundaries


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Hi all,

 

I remember that on sailings out of NYC there are taxes on the drinks until we're a certain distance out. Understood, not a problem, wasn't a surprise.

 

Just curious though - we are going to be on a Canada/NE cruise, with 2 stops in Maine and 1 in Rhode Island.  Will we have our drinks taxed throughout those last 3 days, too? I suspect that we never leave US waters once we get to Bar Harbor.  

 

 

 

 

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It is not necessarily US waters but city or port areas where the tax is charged. My last Canada/NE Cruise was back in 2016 and we spent all day in port so the only opportunity we had to drink on the ship was in the evening when we were out of range. That was true of all the ports we stopped at. I know that in Boston we were charged tax on our drinks and we were even warned about it by the bartender. 

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3 hours ago, DuckTollerFans said:

Hi all,

 

I remember that on sailings out of NYC there are taxes on the drinks until we're a certain distance out. Understood, not a problem, wasn't a surprise.

 

Just curious though - we are going to be on a Canada/NE cruise, with 2 stops in Maine and 1 in Rhode Island.  Will we have our drinks taxed throughout those last 3 days, too? I suspect that we never leave US waters once we get to Bar Harbor.  

 

 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, DuckTollerFans said:

Hi all,

 

I remember that on sailings out of NYC there are taxes on the drinks until we're a certain distance out. Understood, not a problem, wasn't a surprise.

 

Just curious though - we are going to be on a Canada/NE cruise, with 2 stops in Maine and 1 in Rhode Island.  Will we have our drinks taxed throughout those last 3 days, too? I suspect that we never leave US waters once we get to Bar Harbor.  

 

 

 

 

I am wondering the same thing as I am sailing this route in September. I have definitely been taxed in New York and Florida for sure and probably other US cities.  I was considering doing the upgrade to the premium beverage package, but after quite a bit of thought, I determined that I despise Starbucks and will not get anything there even if it is included,  but figured that I would get things that I normally would never order and get nailed huge taxes on 50 dollar drinks instead of 10 dollar ones that I normally order and have absolutely no intention of getting off the ship in these boring US ports anyway.

Edited by OohLookShinyThings
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1 hour ago, dmdiver said:

Are drinks taxed when in port in Alaska?

 

Not last summer in Juneau, Skagway, or Ketchikan. But if it's RT out of Seattle you're in Washington waters a while and paying the tax until around 8/9pm the first night (and the tax is over 10% so it's over $1 per each drink except a few beers). Also you cross back in on the way to Victoria so you'll have another several hours of paying taxes again the day you're sailing to Victoria. (I don't know if you're on the one-way to Vancouver whether you cross into Washington water or not, haven't been on one of those cruises.)

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Well, first of all you need to be in a cabin that includes free at sea (extra cost) to be offered the beverage package and then you need to pay an additional 20 dollars per passenger per day in service charges in order to use it.  Now I am considering paying another 240 per person to upgrade to the premium package that offers and probably encourages drinks in the 50 dollar range. I always scatter around at least another 100 dollars in cash tips to the bar staff per cruise to ensure that they remember me. Now we all pay port charges for the priviledge of passing through certain port cities. Certain cities with one common denominator that I will not mention here because someone will get all fired up (most of which have already been mentioned) have recently decided to tax cruise ship passengers for no reason other than greed. It kind of reminds me of running into a rickety old toll bridge in the middle of nowhere where some grumpy old guy demands a fee and you ask yourself if this is even legitimate.  I cannot see if paying so much just to have the package that the cruise line can't figure out a way to bake these scam taxes into the actual cost. Being that "port charges "have already been collected it really seems like they are double dipping.  You say that it is only 50 cents here and there,  but in reality if you are constantly pressured into 50 dollar drinks with the new upgraded package,  the tax per drink is more like 5 dollars each in many of these places that add on 10 percent sales tax. 

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Just now, OohLookShinyThings said:

Well, first of all you need to be in a cabin that includes free at sea (extra cost) to be offered the beverage package and then you need to pay an additional 20 dollars per passenger per day in service charges in order to use it.  Now I am considering paying another 240 per person to upgrade to the premium package that offers and probably encourages drinks in the 50 dollar range. I always scatter around at least another 100 dollars in cash tips to the bar staff per cruise to ensure that they remember me. Now we all pay port charges for the priviledge of passing through certain port cities. Certain cities with one common denominator that I will not mention here because someone will get all fired up (most of which have already been mentioned) have recently decided to tax cruise ship passengers for no reason other than greed. It kind of reminds me of running into a rickety old toll bridge in the middle of nowhere where some grumpy old guy demands a fee and you ask yourself if this is even legitimate.  I cannot see if paying so much just to have the package that the cruise line can't figure out a way to bake these scam taxes into the actual cost. Being that "port charges "have already been collected it really seems like they are double dipping.  You say that it is only 50 cents here and there,  but in reality if you are constantly pressured into 50 dollar drinks with the new upgraded package,  the tax per drink is more like 5 dollars each in many of these places that add on 10 percent sales tax. 

 

1 hour ago, Landl cruiser said:

 

Not trying to start an argument or anything, but if you are spending thousands of dollars to go on the cruise, why are you concerned about 50 cents on a drink.  just curious.

 

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1 hour ago, Landl cruiser said:

 

Not trying to start an argument or anything, but if you are spending thousands of dollars to go on the cruise, why are you concerned about 50 cents on a drink.  just curious.

Not concerned.  Curious, as my original post said.

  

Wasn't expecting that on our first cruise and it wasn't much at all.  Always good to know which charges are real and which might not be.

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8 hours ago, DuckTollerFans said:

Not concerned.  Curious, as my original post said.

  

Wasn't expecting that on our first cruise and it wasn't much at all.  Always good to know which charges are real and which might not be.

As others have said, it is not a US federal thing, it is a state or local tax, so it can vary as to when it is applied.  US jurisdiction goes out to 12 miles from shore, but state jurisdiction only goes out 3 miles, so any time more than 3 miles from shore, any state or local taxes don't apply.  Maine does have a 5.5% sales tax, so any purchases in port or within 3 miles of shore will be taxed.

 

How do you know when you are going to be taxed?  The passengers might not know, but the bridge will inform the purser's office when the ship leaves 3 mile limit, and the POS registers all over the ship are reprogrammed to eliminate the tax.

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4 minutes ago, Jerl4738 said:

And how does one know when they're "out of the taxing zone?"

Also, in most cases when the casino is open the ship is in international waters and out of the zone.

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9 minutes ago, alrose251 said:

Does anyone know if Hawaii charges this tax?

Hawaii has a GET (general excise tax) rather than a sales tax (it can apply to services as well as sales), that is 4% minimum, but can vary by city up to 4.5%.  And, yes, it is charged on the ships.

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4 hours ago, Jerl4738 said:

And how does one know when they're "out of the taxing zone?"

 

They're usually pretty good about having signs up at the bars on board mentioning it. I will say they were much more noticable on Bliss out of Seattle than any of the ones out of Miami. I don't know if that was ship specific or because state waters extend out so far from Seattle (since it's "inland" in Washington and not on the edge of the coast like Florida ports).

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Interestingly, I've only noticed this local drink tax on NCL (with a drink package).  Must be built in to the cost of the drinks packages on other lines.  Anyone been charged these taxes on any other cruise line?

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1 hour ago, C Dog said:

Interestingly, I've only noticed this local drink tax on NCL (with a drink package).  Must be built in to the cost of the drinks packages on other lines.  Anyone been charged these taxes on any other cruise line?

 

Not on Royal, but like you said that just means it's built into the cost of the drinks (not just the drink packages). So you pay a portion of it whether you have any drinks at all. 

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Wait they charge the passengers with drink packages the tax?  How can they do that?  The package was already paid with your final payment. 

I can see the tax if you go over the $15 limit, but the charge should be "0" if below the $15 limit.

Am I missing something?🤷‍♂️

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1 minute ago, alrose251 said:

Wait they charge the passengers with drink packages the tax?  How can they do that?  The package was already paid with your final payment. 

I can see the tax if you go over the $15 limit, but the charge should be "0" if below the $15 limit.

Am I missing something?🤷‍♂️

 

The way the receipt shows, if you get one, is a credit after they ring up the price. So $10 drink plus $0.70 tax minus $10 credit. 

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On 3/1/2020 at 11:14 AM, DuckTollerFans said:

Hi all,

 

I remember that on sailings out of NYC there are taxes on the drinks until we're a certain distance out. Understood, not a problem, wasn't a surprise.

 

Just curious though - we are going to be on a Canada/NE cruise, with 2 stops in Maine and 1 in Rhode Island.  Will we have our drinks taxed throughout those last 3 days, too? I suspect that we never leave US waters once we get to Bar Harbor.  

 

 

 

 

We were on a similar cruise and the only place drinks were taxed was in Boston on embarkation day, never at stops at other US ports.

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59 minutes ago, alrose251 said:

Wait they charge the passengers with drink packages the tax?  How can they do that?  The package was already paid with your final payment. 

I can see the tax if you go over the $15 limit, but the charge should be "0" if below the $15 limit.

Am I missing something?🤷‍♂️

 

 You have paid gratuity on the package with final payment... not taxes. There are no taxes on the drink package, unless you are within a certain number of miles of a city/state that requires those taxes be paid (have seen it in the US, but not in other countries in the caribbean). So there's no way for them to pre-include that since a vast majority of your drinks won't incur the tax. Some cruise lines will just eat those small tax costs in port but Norwegian does not.

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