Originally Posted by Sistermill
I wanted to know all fees associated with the trip Smart Travel offered. So far for the 7 night cruise: $75 deposit; will confirm when get Welcome Package, but when called I was told an additional $99 per person and $159 per person + taxes and a 5% credit card charge for the total of what you pay. NCL said approx. $500 for taxes and fees for 2 people, but this will be more than that. I now understand it is a 'DISCOUNTED CRUISE" but certainly not free. :-/
First, as your mother always told you, "If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is." And then she also said, "Nothing is free." Good advice to live by.
These people are not giving you a free cruise, they're just selling it to you using different charges while not calling it a cruise fare.
So you understand how all this works, the price for a cruise that you get from an agent, from the cruise line, or see advertised is actually made up of two fares; the cruise fare and the port fees. We are required by law to quote these two fares as one price, but most reputable agents will then also tell you it's plus tax and provide that amount as well so you know the total amount for the cruise.
In your case, the $159 is the port fees. So when they say you're getting a free cruise, it's false advertising because you're only getting the cruise fare for free, not the port fees. Then they're adding a $99 processing fee, which any reputable agent will never do, plus they're adding a 5% credit card fee, which again no reputable agent will do.
I always tell people to stay away from agents who are going to charge your credit card for the cruise. They serve as an agent for the cruise line and they have the cruise line charge your credit card. If the agent says they're going to charge your card, run the other way! These are the types of agents who give good agents a bad name because they are the ones who will take your money, not send it to the cruise line, then go out of business and you're left with nothing.
Now, with that said, it's still advisable to book through and agent because they can be invaluable especially if problems arise.
Bottom line is, you may be paying $500 for the two of you to take this cruise, but it's quite possible the cruise is worth a few hundred dollars more or it's also possible you're not getting anything extra. It really depends on the ship, sail date, and type of cabin.
I once had a client call me and said they found a special on an online site that offered free airfare with the purchase of a cruise. I went to the website and tried to book the cruise with free airfare. When I got the total amount, I noticed a $99 service charge on the bottom of the invoice. Out of curiosity, I called the cruise line and found they were have a special offering airfare for $99 from select cities. So while the online site was advertising free airfare, they were charging $99 as a service fee to get the money to pay for the airfare. False advertising at its finest!
Bottom line, have your agent check it our for you so you can get all the details and you'll know exactly what's going on and whether it's a good deal for you or not.