US line’s overseas bank fee

This item appears on page 14 of the October 2010 issue.

Reading Patricia Russell’s letter about a foreign-transaction fee (May ’10, pg. 14; also see July ’10, pg. 11) triggered my writing about my experience.

My wife, Ofelia, and I booked a 27-day cruise on Oceania’s Insignia from Valparaiso, Chile, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for March 7-April 3, 2010. We booked through Bob’s Cruises (162 - 3105 Dayanee Springs Blvd., Coquitlam, BC, V3E 0C2, Canada; 866/682-2627,

Although we live in Canada now, we have a USA credit card in US dollars through Citibank, so whenever we charge items in US dollars we use this card. Oceania Cruises’ head office is in Miami, so we were sure there would be no foreign transaction fee involved.

Our deposit of $1,500 posted on July 7, 2010, and the only charge on our statement for that month carried with it a “Foreign Transaction Fee Finance Charge” of $45, or three percent of $1,500!

I reported this to our travel agent, Indira Menezes at Bob’s Cruises, and she went to bat for us. Oceania, we learned, is processing their passengers’ credit card payments through a bank in Ireland! A credit for $45 appeared on our Citibank statement the following month.

One would think that Oceania had learned its lesson, but when we made the final payment of $10,668, posted on Oct. 7, we were hit with a “Foreign Transaction Fee Finance Charge” of $320.04 (again, three percent). Again we turned to Indira, and after some haggling a credit came through for that amount, but it was two months later.

If we had not complained about this charge and if Indira had not worked so diligently on our behalf, we would have ended up being overcharged. We very much appreciate Indira’s work at Bob’s Cruises! Oceania should process their charges through a US bank!


Parksville, BC, Canada

ITN sent a copy of the above letter to Oceania Cruises (8300 NW 33rd St., Ste. 308, Miami, FL 33122) and received no reply.