US ex/rate means massive savings on UK list price

Hi all,

If your looking to purchase any big items at the moment, take a look at the US.......

The exchange rate is currently at around 1.86, and many items have lower list prices which easily outstrip the cost of shipping and import duty & tax....


I have just bought an Ovation guitar, an Elite 1778T all black lovely thing.... anyway, if I had bought it in the Uk it would have been 999gbp total cost of ordering from the states....

Guitar $599 USD
Shippping $138 USD
Tax & Duty £88gbp

do the sums on an exchange rate of 1.79 which is what I got at the time.....

So buying something, take a look at the states, massive savings......

hope that helps.....



  • nbown
    nbown Posts: 11 Forumite
    good call ;)
  • lisyloo
    lisyloo Posts: 29,502
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    As I mentioned on another thread, I paid for a cruise with an American company and saved 10% by paying in $s (on top of the 60% off special deal).

    I belive that American cruise ships are in general superior to others and of course they sail all over the world not just America.

    The company I am going with (Holland America) have a new ship out this year (Westerdaam) and they are offering really good prices e.g. 60% off.
    I presume this is because the ship is unknown and doesn't currently have a "following".
  • Splendid guitar.
    How does it sound?
    Was it nicely set up?
    Was the duty etc. what you expected to pay?
  • miken
    miken Posts: 246 Forumite
    Lisyloo i have considered booking a cruise through an American site but have been nervous.
    Which site have you booked through and what was the service like.
  • lisyloo
    lisyloo Posts: 29,502
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Hi Miken,

    I initially tried to book with Holland America online directly, however I got errors when trying to make my booking and got fed up with that after a few times.

    I used a site called

    I have been using their site for a while and they seem to offer great prices.
    One thing in particular that I like about them is that they have an 0800 number that you can use so you can speak to someone whether you want free of charge (as a bonus because it's the US they are always there in the evening because of the time difference which is handy if you work).

    The first question I asked them was about ABTA and ATOL (most travel agents in the UK are ABTA bonded which means you get your money back if the company goes out of business).
    They didn't really know about these schemes (which is not suprising as I think they are a UK thing).
    However the answer to the question is that if you purchase anything on a credit card (over £100 I believe) then the consumer credit act makes the credit card company jointly liable.
    This means that if Holland America go out of business then the credit card company have to pick up the bill.

    I found them helpful and I'm happy that I can speak to someone anytime without having big phone call charges.

    The only downside is that you have to pay $15 if you want the tickets sent to you from the US (you can choose to pick them up at the dock if you don't want to pay this fee).

    Hope that helps
  • miken
    miken Posts: 246 Forumite
    Thanks Lisyloo, I have often looked at their site and the prices look very good.
    By the way we went on Holland America last year (Baltic on Noordam) and really enjoyed it.
  • System
    System Posts: 178,068
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Community Admin
    Just a silly question Miken, but my perception of cruises is big old boats full of pensioners - is this still the case ?
  • lisyloo
    lisyloo Posts: 29,502
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    I know you didn't ask me but.....

    old boats is definitely not true.
    The one I am going on in May is brand new.
    Cruising has expanded in recent years so there are some new ships around and some that have been refurbished.
    The larger ships have ice rinks, climbing walls etc.

    Big is not necessarily the case either.
    The one I'm going on in may is 85,00 tons - that's big.
    It can take 2000 passengers and 1000 crew.
    The advantages are better facilities.
    The disadvantages are more impersonal and waiting times to get off.
    Smaller ships (20,000 tons - about cross chanel ferry size) have fewer swimming pools, jacuzzis etc, but are more personal (with 600 pasengers - you get to meet the same people).

    As for the clientel - I think it depends on which cruise line you go for - they vary.
    Some aim at a younger market with facilities for children etc. whereas some cruises have bingo and jigsaws for the oldies.

    It's important to pick the right one obviously.

    I think in general they are starting to appeal to younger people.

    The cruise we are going on in May (sorry to harp on about it but obviously I'm drawing on personal experience) goes around Croatia, Greece and Turkey.
    Because the ports are close together we spend most days in port and most nights travelling.
    Therefore very little time at sea to indulge in cruising.

    Again it's important to pick the right cruise.
    Do you want to spend 4 days at sea just enjoying the ships facilities? - one mans meat is another mans poison.

    There are specific cruise discussion boards so you can find out about the various cruise lines and ships.
    Obviously some people want foxtrot and bingo and others want discos and climbing walls.

    From what I can tell there is a lot of variety in the market (and the old adage about you get what you pay for is also true).
  • Galstonian
    Galstonian Posts: 1,292 Forumite
    I also think bigger boats are more stable so if you have any tendency to sea-sickness then bigger is probably better.

    Cruising, esp. in the Carribean, is also used by many Americans in a similar way to riverboats used to be - to escape from restrictive gambling laws.

    Disney (and others) now have cruises specifically aimed at families with kids activities and baby sitting making quite a compelling argument.

    Of course there are still plenty of pensioners but you could argue that about nicer hotels anywhere.
  • System
    System Posts: 178,068
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Community Admin
    Please beware if buying from the USA - the bonding is not the same as the UK. Renaissance Cruises has left passengers stranded twice!! There are other cruise lines in not such a healthy position at present. The EU is reviewing credit card liabilities at present. There are several cruise companies with a UK presence that are allowing payment in US$ - the card is passed to their head office in the States. It is saving people substantial amounts of money - AND - clients are still protected by our UK bonding. Check out the Passenger Shipping Association's website for more info. Hope this helps!
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