A Few Thoughts on the New Fuel Surcharge

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Most of the major cruise lines, including Carnival (and all of their North American brands: Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Cunard, Costa and Yachts of Seabourn), Royal Caribbean International (and some of their brands: Roayl Caribbean, Celebrity, and Azamara), Norwegian Cruise Line, and Oceania have recently implemented a fuel surcharge of between $5 and $7 per person per day. The lines have said that this has been in response to recently escalating fuel prices.

I understand the need to recover costs related to increased energy prices, but increasing prices on passengers who have already booked their cruise could possibly backfire. Most passengers pick cruising because of the overall value of the entire cruise experience when compared to other vacation options. However, there may be some passengers who just haven’t budgeted for the additional expense and will either have to cut back in other areas or cancel their cruise. Others will take it all in stride and not even bat an eye at the extra expense.

I just wonder if this fuel surcharge will be here to stay? Will the extra charge go away when oil prices go down? If fuel prices drop drastically will they drop the fuel charge? If fuel prices stay steady in relation ship to inflation and cruise prices go up, will that fuel charge still be there? I think passengers will have to vigilantly watch the fuel charge and make sure that it goes away when fuel prices are no longer increasing. The other side is that if prices continue to increase, the cruise experience may become too expensive for the current average cruiser, and the cruise lines will have to figure out a way to keep passengers on board at higher prices.