Carnival made headlines last week for voluntarily agreeing to refund the fuel charges levied on guests who'd booked their cruise prior to the implementation of the fuel charge policy. What the line neglected to mention then was its plans to up the surcharge on new bookings.
Effective for all new bookings made on or after April 21, Carnival's fuel surcharge will increase from $5 to $7 per person per day, based on double occupancy. In addition, a fuel supplement of $2 per person per day will apply to third, fourth and fifth guests in a cabin. Total fuel charges are not to exceed $98 per person per voyage for the first two passengers and $28 per person per voyage for any other passengers sharing the cabin. The fee increase applies to six of the Carnival Corporation's cruise lines: Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Costa, Cunard and Seabourn.
In early March, Royal Caribbean was the first company to voluntarily remove fuel surcharges on guests who'd booked cruises without being informed of the new fees. The change in policy was due to pressure by the Florida Attorney General's Office, which had been investigating the fuel surcharges. At the end of last month, the Carnival Corporation followed Royal Caribbean's lead and reversed its charges as well. At that time, no announcement was made that the line intended to raise the fees on future bookings.
The price hike actually does not make Carnival's fuel surcharge the most expensive in the industry -- Cruise West charges $12 per person per day. However, Carnival can no longer be counted among the cruise lines with the lowest fuel taxes -- that territory now belongs to Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara. Disney is still one of the only major cruise lines to not charge a fuel supplement.