|Less than a week after Royal Caribbean announced it would eliminate fuel surcharges on new bookings and offer refunds to passengers already booked on certain other sailings, Norwegian Cruise Line has jumped on the bandwagon -- and its policy is strikingly similar.|
Like Royal Caribbean, NCL has announced it will drop its fuel supplements on all new bookings made on or after November 10, 2008 for sailings that depart on or after January 1, 2010. And, like Royal Caribbean, NCL has established very specific guidelines for the refund of fuel supplements paid by booked guests.
For those booked prior to November 10, 2008 for sailings that depart on or after January 1, 2010, and those booked on sailings that depart in 2009 regardless of booking date, the criteria for refund will be determined on a quarterly basis. Simply put, if the closing price of West Texas Intermediate fuel is below $65 per barrel two weeks prior to the beginning of the calendar quarter during which your cruise sets sail, the company will refund whatever fuel supplements you paid in the form of an onboard credit.
Calendar quarters and relevant closing dates are as follows:
On December 18, 2008, NCL will note the closing price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate fuel. If that price is below $65, passengers departing on cruises between January 1 and March 31, 2009 (first quarter 2009) will earn a refund in the form of onboard credit.
On March 18, 2009, if the price is less than $65, passengers departing on cruises between April 1 and June 30, 2009 (second quarter 2009) will earn a refund in the form of onboard credit.
The June 17, 2009 price will determine whether passengers departing on cruises between July 1 and September 30, 2009 (third quarter 2009) will get the onboard credit.
The September 17, 2009 price will determine whether passengers departing on cruises between October 1 and December 31, 2009 (fourth quarter 2009) will get the onboard credit.
The same dates apply for potential 2010 refunds. Also, the December 17, 2010 price will determine whether passengers sailing during the first quarter of 2011 receive an onboard credit.
The new fuel supplement policies apply to all guests regardless of country of residency. And, of course, the line could reinstate surcharges at any time, depending on the price of oil.
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor