Thursday, November 5, 2015

Noise in Boutique Hotels

I love boutique hotels and will stay in them if the location, reviews and price is right.

But expect boutique hotels to be noisy.

Often they have a great location, right near the center of town. Which means the traffic noise can be deafening. Add to that the simple street noise of people talking and cars passing by.

Then there is the issue of sound proofing between rooms ... which very often doesn`t exist. Plus rolling suitcases bouncing over the cobblestones.

And they may not be up to date as far as room temperature control is concerned. Want to cool off the room? Open the windows and be bombarded with the street noise.  :(


Monday, November 2, 2015

Cruising? Beware the Sales Tax

I have done a lot of cruising but I just learned something new. If you buy something while the ship is docked you will be charged the local sales tax. If you are buying a beverage, that tax is charged on top of the 15% service charge the ship charges.

A cruiser discovered this while the ship was docked in San Pedro, CA when they looked at their shipboard account and saw an additional 8% on their tab for the purchase of a bottle of wine.

I'm not a drinker so didn't know this. But tax is charged on all purchases when in a U.S. port including Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.

And this is not only in the U.S. Apparently Spain charges 25% for alcoholic drinks purchased while in port.

There is some question as to whether or not the tax is charged if you buy a beverage package when boarding ship. If your cruise card is swiped, the guess is probably. If the charge slip is handwritten, maybe not, as the thought is the purchase is not entered into the system until the ship is in international waters.

To avoid this possibility on a beverage package, suggestion is to pre-purchase it at home.