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Will I be charged VAT and can I claim it back?

Will I be charged VAT and TAX?

Passengers are advised that during intra EU cruises (when all of the ports you visit are inside the EU) government regulations prohibit the sale of duty free items. This means that EU VAT at the appropriate rate will be added to goods purchased in the shops and boutiques. Prices displayed in the gift shop are exclusive of VAT. The VAT charged will be identified on your receipt.  For example, if you are on a Round Britain cruise that only visits England, Ireland Scotland and Wales, duty free items will not be available. If your cruise takes in another port (such as St Peter Port or Gibraltar) then duty free items will be available and VAT will not be applied.


Can I claim VAT on duty free shopping?

You can speak to the gift shop operator on board as they may operate the retail export scheme for goods purchased on board by International residents during Intra-EU cruises. On an international cruise, tax will not be added on board and there is no tax to claim back. For goods purchased in intermediate EU ports where local tax is charged passengers will need to discuss the scheme with local retailers to understand that countries claim procedures before they leave the country. You cannot claim in the UK for tax paid in another country.


Can I claim back VAT?

Each Terminal in Southampton has a TAX refund post-box where guests can drop in their claims.

All receipts need to be fully completed with all details and then dropped in the box in an unsealed envelope. Customs clear the box several times a week, stamp all receipts and they then get sent on for reimbursements to the credit card details provided on the claim.

Here is a picture of the box in the Ocean Cruise Terminal where guest will embark.


Tax Box Vat


The boxes are located between security screening and the air bridge. Therefore you must have the envelope ready when going through check-in and security.

P&O have no involvement in this process. You should ensure that all parts of the form are correctly completed (it’s always best to check with retailers when purchasing goods to confirm they participate in the scheme) as corrections cannot be made afterwards. Any issues arising must be taken up directly with HMRC. We cannot help with enquiries on completed forms that have been posted. 

Our on board retailers have their own arrangements in place for purchases made on taxable cruises and they can assist guests with these specific queries.

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