Princess Cruises Simplifies Booking: Taxes and Fees Now Included in Displayed Prices

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Starting July 1, 2024, Princess Cruises will begin displaying prices that include taxes, fees, and port expenses, aiming to provide clearer pricing for potential passengers.

The change is in response to California’s new consumer protection law, ensuring passengers have a more transparent view of the total cost of their cruise upfront.

Passengers booking cruises on or after July 1 will benefit from seeing the total price at the start of the booking process.

Currently, the displayed prices do not reflect taxes, fees, and port expenses, which include docking fees, security fees, environmental fees, pilotage fees, and customs and immigration fees. Often, these port expenses and fees are passed along to customers and could increase a cruise’s pricing by triple digits.

In a message sent to passengers, Princess Cruises stated, “Our new approach presents the total price upfront for any cruise you select. This doesn’t change the total price you pay but will make it easier to see the total price inclusive of taxes, fees, and port expenses.”

The new requirements in California, known as Senate Bill 478 and referred to as the “Honest Pricing Law,” mandates all cruise lines include all mandatory fees and costs in advertised pricing to ensure that consumers are not misled by initial price quotes that do not reflect the full cost of a trip.

“Our price transparency law is about clear and honest communication with consumers, so consumers can make the financial choices that are best for them and their families,” said Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general. “The law is simple: the price you see is the price you pay.”

Other cruise lines are adopting similar measures. For instance, Royal Caribbean Group, which operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises, has indicated it will follow suit to comply with the new regulations.

Rather than display different prices in California than in other states, the cruise lines will offer the clear pricing to all potential passengers, regardless of state.

Princess Cruises’ parent, Carnival Corporation, announced its additional brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, Seabourn, and Cunard North America, would also adopt the upfront pricing.

According to the new law, legal action, injunctions, penalties, and fines, could be placed on any cruise line that does not adhere to the pricing structure come July 1.

Optional fees and charges, such as gratuities, are not mandated in the California mandate. However, some cruise lines automatically add gratuities onto guests’ bills for services onboard, such as the spa or specialty restaurant dining and drinks.

Princess Cruises, along with other major cruise lines, including Celebrity Cruises, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean, automatically adds a set gratuity amount to a passenger’s onboard account. These are often done on a per-person, per-day basis.

Princess Cruises’ “Crew Appreciation” policy is meant as a convenience and distributes the collected gratuities evenly to stewards, housekeeping, baggage handlers, servers, and bartenders. Guests are charged $16 per day per guest in interior, oceanview, and balcony staterooms.

For passengers in mini-suites and Reserve Collection staterooms, the per day per guest total increases to $17, and those in suites pay $18.

Read Also: Cruise Gratuities – Guide to Tipping on a Cruise Ship

As the gratuities are at a passenger’s discretion, guests have the right to adjust the total and even choose to not tip at all. Guests must adjust the daily charge while onboard and it is final once a passenger has disembarked.

Princess Cruises also applies an automatic 18% service charge to beverage packages, drinks, specialty dining, private group functions, and other services, products, or amenities that are not a part of the original cruise fare, such as spa services and corkage fees.

The gratuities and service charges on elective purchases are not part of the Honest Pricing Law and do not need to be disclosed when marketing and booking.

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