How to Avoid Sales Tax on a Cruise

By The Cruise Web, Inc.

Everyone wants that special souvenir from their trip. Sometimes souvenirs are the $1 key chains at the t-shirt shop on an Alaskan cruise and sometimes they can be the thousand dollar jewels from Cartier on a river cruise in France or original artwork from a local artist on a South American cruise in Argentina. Whatever it is, you want to get the best deal you possibly can.

Here are some tips on where to go to take advantage of  taxes:

Duty Free

This is when a store sells certain products that don’t include taxes because they are expected to sell to travelers who will be taking the product outside of the country. Cruise ships sell duty-free products as do many shops in ports.

No Sales Tax

Places like the Bahamas, The Cayman Islands and The British Virgin Islands have no sales tax. This doesn’t mean things are cheaper there, it just means you don’t have an extra 5 to 10% more added on.

Tax Refunds

Many foreign countries (especially in Europe) have a built-in tax on products, but the governments have allowed tourists to deduct the cost of the tax from the item via a refund. Each country has several different rules associated with the refund. For instance, in Argentina you have to spend at least $17 on an item and that item must have been made in Argentina to receive the refund.

After purchasing the item you must follow these steps to get your refund:

  1. Ask the clerk for a the tax-free form and fill it out in the store.
  2. When leaving the country where you made your purchase, take your purchases, your receipt,  your passport and the form to the customs desk and have your form stamped.
  3. Show this form to one of the tax-free operators to receive the refund in cash, on your credit card or added to your bank account.

These refunds are available in participating stores across the globe. To find out what stores are participating visit these sites:


The Cruise Web, Inc.
The Cruise Web, Inc.


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