Update: Rising Fuel Costs Spark New Cruise Line Surcharges

November 15, 2007
Cruise Lines Add Fuel Surcharge

Norwegian Cruise Line is the latest cruise line to begin assessing guests a fuel supplement in response to record high fuel prices.

The supplement will be $7 per person, per day, for the first and second guests in the stateroom and $3 per person, per day, for any additional cruisers. The surcharge is effective on all new NCL and NCL America bookings made on or after December 1, 2007.

Silversea Cruises kicked off this week's rash of surcharges when it announced it would implement a charge of $10 per person, per day, joiningOceania; that line will apply a supplement of $7 per person, per day.

It's important to read the fine print to see which passengers are affected; every line seems to have different policies. Silversea, for instance, is assessing the fee on all new cruise bookings for 2008 from this point forward. Those who have already made reservations prior to November 14, 2007, are exempt. The surcharge is in effect through 2008.

On the other hand, Oceania's surcharge affects all passengers who have not paid their fares in full by December 1, 2007; the assessed fee will be applied through April 2009.

Cruise West is another new entry in the fuel surcharge arena. According to a company statement, the charge will be $12 per person, per day and applies to anyone with future cruise bookings that doesn't pay in full by December 7, 2007. Explained spokeswoman Jerrol Golden, "As you know, the world oil market continues to be volatile, so to keep this cost as fair as possible, we have calculated it based on our best current estimates for the cost of fuel. This amount will not increase for the cruise and is applicable to all destinations on all of our vessels."

As we reported last week, the surcharge issue was kicked off when Regent Seven Seas Cruises said it would levy a fee of $7.50 per passenger, per day. Its rules state that the fee applies to all cruises booked after December 1, 2007 -- and to all passengers who have existing reservations but don't pay in full by that same date.

Carnival Corporation said that its U.S.-based Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Princess and Seabourn would all begin assessing a charge of $5 per person, per day. That applies to all bookings (no distinction is made for those who've paid in full) made for cruises on or after February 1, 2008.

Interestingly, there's not much cohesion in strategy from a global perspective. Carnival Corp.'s European lines have had fuel surcharges in place for months, including Germany's AIDA and the Italian Costa (for its Europe-based sailings). On the other hand, Carnival Corp.'s David Dingle, the U.K. chief, released a statement this week saying that the conglomerate's U.K.-based lines -- such as P&O and Ocean Village -- would not be levying any surcharges.

Hanging out on the fence at this point are Royal Caribbean and sister lines Azamara and Celebrity. A spokesman there told Cruise Critic that the company has not decided what to do yet, though it is a topic its chief executives discuss regularly.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief