Deja Fuel: More Cruise Lines Reinstate Dreaded Fuel Supplements

May 4, 2010
Fuel Supplements (2:15 p.m. EDT) -- The fuel surcharge dominos are beginning to fall. Just a week after the U.K.-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said that it would reinstate fuel surcharges, British lines P&O Cruises and Cunard Line have announced that they will follow suit.

Cunard and P&O, both part of the Carnival Corp. family of brands, will be introducing a fuel supplement of $3.85 (£2.50) per person, per day, up to a maximum of $154 (£100) per person -- in other words for up to 40 days. The supplement will be added to all new bookings for either brand made from 10 May 2010 for departures taking place from 1 November 2010. It applies to cruisers of all nationalities.

The supplement will apply to every paying passenger travelling, including third and fourth person fares and paid children's rates.

According to a spokesperson from Cunard, a refund clause is not in place at this point. When fuel surcharges last appeared in fall 2007, the majority of lines stipulated that if specific conditions were met, surcharges would be refunded in the form of onboard credit. An example of one such condition would be if the price of crude oil fell to a certain point on a certain day.

Like Fred. Olsen, both Cunard and P&O Cruises offer an abundance of fuel-intensive global itineraries covering thousands of nautical miles. All three have cited the global increases in oil prices as the reason for reinstating the surcharges.

So will U.S.-based cruise lines join the fuel fee brigade? As they've done for some time, spokespeople from Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL all confirmed that their lines don't have any plans to re-adopt surcharge policies at this time. All three, however, reserve the right to do so if certain preconditions are met.

Stay tuned.

--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor