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Home > Cruise News Archive > MSC Cruises Latest to Drop Fuel Surcharges
Date Published: December 16, 2008
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MSC Cruises Latest to Drop Fuel Surcharges
Despisers of fuel surcharges, this is your moment. As the price of a barrel of oil continues to fall, a multitude of lines, including Carnival, Oceania Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have all announced plans to eliminate fuel surcharges.

Today, Italian line MSC Cruises joined the group.

Carnival Corp. was the first to reveal that it will suspend fuel surcharges for cruises on six of its lines departing on or after December 17, 2008. Carnival Corp.'s lines include Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Prestige Cruise Holdings (owners of luxury lines Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (consisting of Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean), Star Clippers, Windstar, MSC and Crystal have followed suit, all suspending fuel supplements for voyages departing on or after January 1, 2009.

Surcharges were first established in fall 2007, then increased, then increased again as the price of oil skyrocketed. But the barrel fell significantly during summer 2008, prompting lines to announce the demise of surcharges, with most targeting 2010 as the year when surcharge-free cruises would begin again. Most lines also enacted byzantine protocol for refunding fuel surcharges (in the form of onboard credit) if the price per barrel reached a certain value and stayed there for a certain amount of time.

For Carnival at least, no one will have to ponder the convoluted refund system anymore. Plain and simple, if you're cruising prior to December 17, you won't be eligible for any fuel surcharge refunds. Cruising after that date? You'll get a refund. Likewise for NCL, RCCL, Prestige Cruise Holdings, Star Clippers, Crystal, MSC and Windstar, but the dates are slightly different. If you're cruising before January 1, 2009, you're ineligible for potential surcharge refunds. Cruise any time in 2009, and you'll get a refund.

More specifically:

MSC Cruises

If you're already booked on a 2009 cruise with a fuel supplement, you'll get a shipboard credit identical to that amount.

Those who have not yet made final payment will see the amount of the fuel supplement deducted from their final bill.

For MSC sailings taken before January 1, you'll be paying, or have already paid a fuel supplement of between $6 and $8 per person, per day.

Crystal Cruises

The follow stipulations apply to U.S. and U.K. passengers.

Passengers booked on a cruise on or after January 1, 2009 who are paid in full will get a refund in the form shipboard credit (in the amount of the fuel surcharge).

Those who have not yet made final payment will see the amount of the fuel supplement deducted from their final bill.

For Crystal cruises taken before January 1, you'll be paying, or have already paid a fuel supplement of between $7 and $12 per person, per day.

Star Clippers

Effective December 15, 2008, Star Clippers is suspending fuel supplements on all new bookings on the line's three tall ships that depart on or after January 1, 2009. The surcharge suspension applies to passengers from North and Latin America only.

Passengers from North and Latin America already booked on sailings that depart on or after January 1, 2009, will receive a refund of any fuel supplement paid as follows:

If you're paid in full, you'll get the supplement refunded to you in the form of an onboard credit.

Passengers who are not yet paid in full will have the amount of the supplement deducted from their outstanding balance.

Windstar Cruises

Windstar's fuel surcharge applied only to sailings through March 31, 2009. So Windstar will automatically refund the fuel surcharge to passengers departing between January 1 and March 31, 2009 in the form of a shipboard credit.

Oceania Cruises

The follow stipulations apply to U.S. and U.K. passengers.

Effective December 8, if you are paid in full on a cruise that departs on or after January 1, your fuel supplement will be refunded to you in the form of onboard credit. This applies to U.S. and U.K. passengers.

If you have an existing booking for a cruise departing on or after January 1, but have not paid in full, the amount of the fuel supplement will be removed from the final payment total due.

All new bookings made on or after December 8, 2008, for cruises departing on January 1, 2009, or beyond will not be assessed a fuel surcharge.

For Oceania voyages taken before January 1, you'll be paying, or have already paid a fuel supplement of between $7 and $15 per person, per day.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

The follow stipulations apply to U.S. and U.K. passengers.

Effective December 8, if you are paid in full on a cruise that departs on or after January 1, your fuel supplement will be refunded to you in the form of onboard credit.

If you have an existing booking for a cruise departing on or after January 1, but have not paid in full, the amount of the fuel supplement will be removed from the final payment total due.

All new bookings made on or after December 8, 2008, for cruises departing on January 1, 2009, or beyond will not be assessed a fuel surcharge.

For Regent voyages taken before January 1, you'll be paying, or have already paid a fuel supplement of between $7.50 and $15 per person, per day.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

The follow stipulations apply to U.S. and U.K. passengers.

Effective December 8, if you are paid in full on a cruise that departs on or after January 1, your fuel supplement will be refunded to you in the form of onboard credit.

If you have an existing booking for a cruise departing on or after January 1, but have not paid in full, the amount of the fuel supplement will be removed from the final payment total due.

All new bookings made on or after December 8, 2008, for cruises departing on January 1, 2009, or beyond will not be assessed a fuel surcharge.

For Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises taken before January 1, you'll be paying, or have already paid a fuel supplement of between $5 and $10 per person, per day for the first two passengers in a cabin and between $3 and $5 per person, per day for additional passengers in a cabin. For Azamara cruises taken before January 1, you'll be paying, or have already paid a fuel supplement of between $5 and $15 per person, per day for the first two passengers in a cabin and $3 per person, per day for additional passengers in a cabin.

Norwegian Cruise Line

The follow stipulations apply to U.S. and U.K. passengers.

If passengers are within the "final payment period" on a cruise that departs on or after January 1, a refund will be issued in the form of onboard credit. In other words, if you're paid in full, you'll get shipboard credit in the amount of the fuel surcharge.

If your booking is outside of the final payment period for departures on or after January 1, the amount of the fuel supplement will be removed from the final payment total due.

For NCL cruises taken before January 1, you'll be paying, or have already paid a fuel supplement of between $7 and $11 per person, per day for the first two passengers in a cabin and between $3 and $5 per person, per day for third and fourth passengers in a cabin.

Carnival Corp.

The follow stipulations involve Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Princess and Seabourn, and apply to U.S. and U.K. passengers.

If passengers are within the "final payment period" on a cruise that departs on or after December 17, a refund will be issued in the form of onboard credit. The final payment period varies depending on line and when you've booked your cruise; Carnival's standard final payment period begins 75 days before departure date, for instance.

If your booking is outside of the final payment period for departures on or after December 17, the amount of the fuel supplement will be removed from the final payment total due.

For all Carnival Corp. lines but Seabourn, if you're sailing before December 17, you'll be paying, or have already paid a fuel supplement of between $5 and $9 per person, per day for the first two passengers in a cabin and between $2 and $4 per person, per day for third, fourth and fifth passengers in a cabin. Seabourn's surcharge is between $5 and $15 per person, per day.

Want to see what other lines are doing? Check out our At Your Service: Fuel Surcharges.

--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor

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