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Old 06-23-2013, 03:44 PM   #706
Evad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilpooh108 View Post

BTW (and just random babbling here), I noticed that there were alot less purchases onboard than normal (people browsing, etc). That 20% VAT really was horrendous. My $76 D&B wristlet came out to be $94. Of course I get home log on to Disneystore.com and it's there for $76 plus I can get 10% w/Disney Visa.

Good luck!
It seemed everything was more expensive from drinks to merchandise. It cost me over 30 dollars for a t shirt that was selling for 24.95
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Old 06-23-2013, 04:06 PM   #707
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Originally Posted by valbob89 View Post
When we went to Europe a few years ago we went to our local bank and got Euros. I had heard that it was easy to find and use ATMs in Europe and so this time we didn't bother.

We just got back from the 6-1-13 Magic Med cruise and: I wish I had brought my check book (I empty my wallet of almost everything when I cruise) because I could have purchased $200 Euros from Guest Services if I had had a check. Their exchange rate was ok. At the end of the cruise you can exchange the Euros, up to the amount purchased back to them at the same rate (no coins). That would have been very convenient and cheaper.

At the ATM's on shore, I used our Bank of America card. In Barcelona, the Vatican and Funchal we got $200 Euro. One ATM would not accept our card because it didn't the have the chip. In all three cases, we were charged a $5.00 withdrawal fee, a $2.65 international withdrawal fee and a $5.00 balance inquire fee (I didn't ask for the balance but got a message "balance is not available" on all three receipts) - $277.80 to get $200 euro - $12.65 in fees the rest due to the poor exchange rate. How much of this is BofA and how much is the ATM I don't know.

When I used my Chase Disney Rewards Visa. The merchants weren't happy that the cards didn't have a chip because they had to print out receipts and have us sign for them and manually process them. I think that may have been an issue when negotiating the prices. Chase charged a 3% transaction fee.

What I learnt: bring euros from home, bring my check book for getting euros from guest services (save your receipt for returning any remaining euros) and get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees (Capital One is one and it has no annual fee).

The fees were all BofA. There's a reason I don't use them.

However, for anyone who hasn't gone yet. In lots of countries BofA has "partner" banks which cuts down dramatically on the fees. They are indicated on thier website. I can't remember Spain, but in France it's BNP.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:14 PM   #708
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No tax free shopping on the ship? Sad I know when we were in the Baltic we didn't pay any taxes on items we bought on board...or if there was tax it was added to the price and I didn't see it as a separate item.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:25 PM   #709
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilpooh108 View Post

. . . I found I needed cash mostly for:

1. Restaurants in Italy
2. BATHROOMS
3. Vending machines for waters
4. Entrance tix
5. Tips
6. Any unpaid tours
Nice list.

I just returned from Europe, and would add:

7. Public transportation (metro, buses, trams)
8. Souvenirs
9. Snacks
10. Postage stamps

Woody
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:14 PM   #710
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One vote for BofA

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCountyCommuter View Post
The fees were all BofA. There's a reason I don't use them.

However, for anyone who hasn't gone yet. In lots of countries BofA has "partner" banks which cuts down dramatically on the fees. They are indicated on thier website. I can't remember Spain, but in France it's BNP.
We are long time BofA account holders and I was so nervous after reading negative stuff about using their cards overseas. However, I have to say our experience was PERFECT. I ordered euros online before the trip and there was no fee if you ordered $1000 worth, came in varied denominations and the branch called me when it arrived within 48hrs. We did not need cash in Spain then.

Prior to the trip I had called to tell them we would be using the card abroad, no problem, they took down all my info over the phone and gave me a 24 hr emergency number in case I needed it (I didn't).

I looked up that BofA participates in the Global ATM network for no fee transactions. In France this is BNP Paribes, and in Italy it's BNL d'italia. Both logos/insignias are white stars on a green background. This ATM was all over Nice so once we saw one we took out 200 euros and my bank charged me $260. Then near Pisa (I think) I saw the BNL d'italia logo and while we didn't need more cash so soon, I figured, what the heck, might as well have some in case we don't see more ATM's. And we took out 250 euros (BNL doesn't require 20 euro increments) and my bank charged me $327. If you look online at a conversion chart online, this reflects no fees. We don't have any fancy account or anything either, checking with interest but no overseas plan or anything.

So I have to say, while some people adamantly hate BofA, our experience with them could not have been better. I'm sorry to hear of other people's bad experiences, hopefully they've listened to their customers' feedback and maybe it's working since it was smooth sailing and smooth spending for us!
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:15 PM   #711
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Originally Posted by woody73 View Post
Nice list.

I just returned from Europe, and would add:

7. Public transportation (metro, buses, trams)
8. Souvenirs
9. Snacks
10. Postage stamps

Woody
..street performers..............
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:34 PM   #712
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Bathroom Roundup I was a little concerned with finding bathrooms along the way during our excursions b/c I have a baby (diaper change) and a toddler (4YO). It turned out to be fine, although we did stop alot. Some bathrooms were harder to find than others. Here are where we found clean bathrooms for the places we visited. If there is a fee, I noted it.

Monaco (Villefranche)
In the "alleyway" near the Palace Square. If you are facing the Palace, look to your left towards the gift shop & restaurants. There is a fee of 0.50 Euro.

Eze (Villefranche)
At the visitor center. Must go up the steps just above the parking lot. There is a fee of 0.50 Euro. (Pretty clean.) There is a lady collecting money here, and she means business.

Portofino (La Spezia)
This one was hard to find. If you are in the town square with the marina behind you, walk down the main "road" towards the taxi stand. At the taxi sign, look to your right and there are public bathrooms. (Not that clean, but passable). There is a fee of 0.50 Euro, but no one was collecting it.

Santa Margherita (La Spezia)
We ate at the Pizzeria recommended by our guide. Yucky bathroom. It's the only pizzeria in the town square near the church and next to a gelateria.

Roman Forum (Civitavecchia)
We entered from Via dei Fori Imperiali. There is a bathroom here at the book shop/gift shop but it appears to be only accessible from the outside before you enter. I'm not totally sure, b/c its a long uphill walk from inside the forum. Just noting it for those entering. Go before you walk down the hill.

The CLEANEST bathroom I found in Europe was inside the Roman Forum, towards the very back near the Temple of Castor & Pollux. If you look on this map, it's between #6 & #8. This bathroom appeared to be brand new and was super clean. Yay clean bathrooms. No charge.

http://www.wanderingmoments.com/wp-c...p_IMG_6200.jpg

St. Peter's Square (Civitavecchia)
Tricky, because I arrived right after the Papal Audience dispersed. There is a bathroom within St. Peter's square next to the gift shop and post office area. However, if you can't enter the square (closed during the Papal Audience), there is a "better" bathroom option (learned this tip from Fodors).

Go to Galleria Savelli to the left of St. Peter's Square. There are 2 sets of bathrooms here. The 1st is the one actually inside the Galleria Savelli gift shop. Walk in the front door and turn immediately to your right. Clean bathrooms.

The 2nd set of bathrooms is inside the snack bar of Galleria Savelli. The snack bar is called Il Colonnato, which has it's own entrance. The bathrooms for the snack bar are in the basement. There is a man who stands there and collects 0.50 Euro. If you see a LONG line...it's usually for women's. The men's bathroom has no line. Walk past the line of glaring ladies and go down the stairs for the bathroom. (Only moderately clean)

According to Google Maps, Galleria Savelli is located at Via Paolo VI, 27,Rome, Province of Rome, Italy.

***There are TWO Galleria Savelli's near St. Peter's. The one I'm referring to is to the left of the square, outside of the Colonnade.

Pompeii (Naples)
There are bathrooms at the entrance and inside the grounds. At the exit, turn left immediately and there are also public bathrooms (pretty clean) for 0.50 Euro.

Positano (Naples)
I'm sure there are public bathrooms, etc., but we had gelato (3 Euro) and espresso (1.5 Euro) at a super cute little cafe called Positano Paradise Lounge.

It has a sea view and it's self-service so you don't have to make a big fuss about sitting and tipping or service charges. They also gave us "free" ice waters with our espressos so it was a really nice break with the gelatos, espressos and water. Clean bathrooms.

Hope that helps!!

Last edited by lilpooh108; 06-24-2013 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:39 PM   #713
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It seemed everything was more expensive from drinks to merchandise. It cost me over 30 dollars for a t shirt that was selling for 24.95
Yea, I agree. I bought that shirt, the Med 2013 shirt. That and the Med pin (with VAT) were pricey for what they were.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:00 PM   #714
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VAT question

I was wondering what is being taxed? Is everything purchased subject to VAT or just some things? I am particularly interested in knowing if spa treatments are subject to VAT...
Thank you so much!
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:18 PM   #715
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Value added taxes typically apply to most goods and services. Usually essentials such as groceries are not but most everything else is.

I am going to have to spring for a T-Shirt. I bought an Alaska one for myself and would not let my wife get one because she only wanted the one I got and I won't wear the same clothes as her. LOL.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:24 PM   #716
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According to Wikipedia it applies to all goods and services except.

This general rule for the place of supply of services (the place where the supplier is established) is subject to several exceptions. Most of the exceptions switch the place of supply to the place where the services are received. Such exceptions include the:

supply of transportation services,
supply of cultural services,
supply of artistic services,
supply of sporting services,
supply of scientific services,
supply of educational services,
supply of ancillary transport services,
supply of services related to transfer pricing services,

and many miscellaneous services including

supply of legal services,
supply of banking and financial services,
supply of telecommunications,
supply of broadcasting,
electronically supplied services,
supply of services from engineers and accountants,
supply of advertising services, and
supply of intellectual property services
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:25 PM   #717
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thanks for the info...I may just have to cancel my spa appointment...
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:28 PM   #718
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thanks for the info...I may just have to cancel my spa appointment...
Unless it is a sporting service. Possible I suppose.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:11 AM   #719
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A large number of vendors located in the city squares waive the VAT if you are non EU on the spot. You can also haggle with the price. My SIL bought a beautiful leather coat in Florence without VAT and at a much lower cost than advertised. Use Euro cash not credit cards. The price of wine is inexpensive though and does help you "swallow" the high VAT tax. Also take note that in food establishments a lot of the time the "tip" is usually included on the bill. Check to see if it is listed so you don't tip twice. They LOVE Americans when that aspect of European life is overlooked.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:22 AM   #720
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Originally Posted by kikids View Post
We are long time BofA account holders and I was so nervous after reading negative stuff about using their cards overseas. However, I have to say our experience was PERFECT. I ordered euros online before the trip and there was no fee if you ordered $1000 worth, came in varied denominations and the branch called me when it arrived within 48hrs. We did not need cash in Spain then.

Prior to the trip I had called to tell them we would be using the card abroad, no problem, they took down all my info over the phone and gave me a 24 hr emergency number in case I needed it (I didn't).

I looked up that BofA participates in the Global ATM network for no fee transactions. In France this is BNP Paribes, and in Italy it's BNL d'italia. Both logos/insignias are white stars on a green background. This ATM was all over Nice so once we saw one we took out 200 euros and my bank charged me $260. Then near Pisa (I think) I saw the BNL d'italia logo and while we didn't need more cash so soon, I figured, what the heck, might as well have some in case we don't see more ATM's. And we took out 250 euros (BNL doesn't require 20 euro increments) and my bank charged me $327. If you look online at a conversion chart online, this reflects no fees. We don't have any fancy account or anything either, checking with interest but no overseas plan or anything.

So I have to say, while some people adamantly hate BofA, our experience with them could not have been better. I'm sorry to hear of other people's bad experiences, hopefully they've listened to their customers' feedback and maybe it's working since it was smooth sailing and smooth spending for us!

You are luckier then me.

I spent almost an HOUR on hold to put the travel alert on. Got to Europe and my debit card didn't work. Called. "opps we forgot to do what you asked"
Hmm.. Well my response was to "Forget" to give them any more of my money LOL!
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