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New Spanish VAT for Cruise Drink Packages

by John the Wanderer
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a colorful tiled wall with a tall tower in the middle of a city

This article is New Spanish VAT for Cruise Drink Packages. It is about a new tax while ships are in Spain or Spanish waters.

Spanish VAT

Barcelona city scene

Spain recently passed a new law that extends the Value Added Tax to cruise purchases while in Spanish Ports or in Spanish Waters.

Guests who buy items onboard a cruise ship in Spain now may have to pay a value added tax of 21%. In addition, food and beverage purchases on cruise ships in Spain or in Spanish waters will be assessed a 10% VAT.

Norwegian Charging VAT on Cruise Drinks

Norwegian Jade in Cyprus
Norwegian Jade

With the new law in Spain, Norwegian Cruise line noted that it will be adding a 10% VAT to all drinks ordered while in Spanish ports.

Beach in Barcelona
Beach in Spain

The tax will apply to guests who have a beverage package as well. So that means that when guests with a beverage package order a drink in Spain, the actual cost of the drink will be taxed at the 10% VAT and added to the guest account. The drink will be included in the drink package but not the tax.

Barcelona City
Barcelona City

Norwegian informed guests departing from Barcelona about this new tax in a letter.

Value Added Taxes

Spain is not the only place where passengers on cruises have to pay value added taxes. It is fairly common and that is why cruise lines typically close all stores and other things except for food and beverage in ports.

In Florida, sales tax is added to all drink purchases including ones where people have purchased the beverage package.

While the amounts are generally small, they continue to add to the cost of the cruise.


Taxes are used for various purposes by the countries that impose them. Sometimes they are used to just generate additional revenue for the government. Other times they are used to fund specific projects.

The Spanish VAT for Cruise Drink Packages is another additional cost cruise passengers will have to pay on Barcelona sailings.

Just yesterday I wrote an article about Royal Caribbean adding additional port charges to US Virgin Island Sailings. You can read about that here.

Based on what has been happening lately, it is likely that more and more countries or cruise ports will begin to add taxes to generate additional revenue.

What are your thoughts on the new Spanish Value Added Tax?

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