Regent Seven Seas Cruises operates small to medium-size luxury ships such as the Seven Seas Mariner, one of my personal favorites.
by Wendy Perrin
Remember my warning Don't Get Ripped Off When Buying a Cruise? Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, says I misstated the problem and overstated its scope. So let me attempt to set the record straight while also giving some crucial advice to anyone who is considering snapping up one of the many cruise deals flying around these days.
As you may recall, I wrote that when you charge a cruise to your credit card, a few cruise lines--including Regent Seven Seas--may charge a currency-exchange fee of 3 percent, even though you're paying in the U.S. in
U.S. dollars. I quoted veteran travel agent and Travel Weekly columnist Richard Turen, who reported this on his Travel Truth blog:
Cruises has been running U.S. bank-issued credit cards through a financial institution based in Dublin, Ireland. This has resulted in scores of Oceania passengers, many of them unaware, being charged an
additional fee of up to 3% on their cruise deposits and final payments. In the last year, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas were both sold to the cash-rich Apollo Investment Group. Now there are reports that
Regent Seven Seas guests are also being charged additional fees on payments made on some Visa, MasterCard, and American Express Cards . .
According to Regent Seven Seas president Mark Conroy:
* I was incorrect to state that the cruise line may charge a 3% fee since, technically, it's the credit card issuer--not the cruise line--that is levying the fee. The fee goes into the pockets of the card-issuing bank, not the cruise line. "If anyone is 'ripping off' the guests, it is their credit card issuer," he says.
* The fee is levied on fewer than one percent of bookings. "I think that Richard has seen more than his fair share of these fees
because the AAdvantage Cards issued by Citi Bank are some of the most
aggressive at collecting this fee from their cardholders," he says.
"There are a large number of Visa- and MasterCard-issuing banks, as
well as American Express, that do not charge foreign-currency fees for
Regent Seven Seas Cruises charges."
* If a passenger is charged the 3% fee, and he/she contests it with the credit card issuer, and the bank refuses to reverse it, then Regent Seven Seas will reimburse the amount of the charge either by check or in the form of shipboard credit.
Richard Turen, always thinking about the consumer, makes some important points in response: