Yes, you ‚ were told about the "gratuity tax" but skipped over it buried in the fine print. You should have been aware that you can opt to pay your gratuities conventionally with the front desk removing the charge. Fortunately, cruise lines are not in the business of running parking lots. If they were, you'd pay even MORE for parking. As for shore excursions and their prices, it's easy to beat their deals with a little research and preparation. I booked this Cooking with Josefina Luigi and market trip with a trusted agency, ‚ and it was fantastic. They threw in a tour of the chocolate factory for dessert! To see for yourself, check out my video I shot with my daughter on our cruise.