As an Amazon Affiliate, we may earn a commission on eligible purchases made through our referrals. Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FrequentFloaters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.
As of yesterday the price per barrel of WTI crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange was just under $87. Why does this matter? It matters because it may mean if you have a fully paid cruise coming up you may have to pay more and possibly a lot more depending on the length of your cruise.
The reason for this is what cruise lines call a fuel supplement fee and when you signed up for your cruise you agreed to this (even if you were not aware you did so). For example, notice what NCL tells us about this rule:
“What is the Fuel Supplement?
Norwegian reserves the right to charge a fuel supplement without prior notice should the closing price of West Texas Intermediate Fuel increase above $65.00 USD per barrel on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange Index). In the event a fuel supplement is charged, Norwegian will have sole discretion to apply the supplementary charge to both existing and new bookings, regardless of whether such bookings have been paid in full. Such supplementary charges are not included in the cruise fare. The fuel supplement charge will not exceed $10.00 USD per passenger per day.” – Bold Mine
Royal Caribbean has similar rules in place but they are not as explicit in their per day fee you may have to pay up per person and that is even more distressing to me. They post that:
“Can the price of a cruise change?
Royal Caribbean International reserves the right to change, whether via an increase or decrease, any published rates, including cruise rates and airfare charges, without prior notice. We reserve the right to impose on any existing booking or new bookings (whether paid in full or not) a supplement for fuel or other matters without prior notice as provided in our Passenger Ticket Contract. In addition, we reserve the right to pass through any third party imposed fuel or other surcharges, also without prior notice, The guest will remain liable for any applicable taxes, fees or surcharges that may be assessed by any governmental or quasi-governmental agencies.” – Bold Mine
Do these T&C upset you? I mean you think you have saved and paid in full and have budgeted for your shore excursions and such but not for possibly hundreds more to just give to your cruise line? For now we should not stress out but that could change.
A Carnival executive said to Cruisehive recently regarding fuel supplement fees that “It is certainly not off the table” Josh Weinstein, Carnival Corp and would likely extend to all the lines owned by the mega company.
But in the same article he also said they are not planning on implementing any fee in the “near term” but I am sure that could change if oil shoots up north of $100 per barrel and sticks there for an extended period of time.
We should also know these kinds of fees are very unpopular with guests, for obvious reasons, and that is why lines are hesitant to implement them. But the conditions in 2023/2024 are very different than years ago because all the cruise lines have massive piles of debit from the COVID years that they must pay off (they did not get massive bailouts like the airlines did, fyi). Thus I think it is much more likely we do see fuel fees, to some extent, if oil spikes much further.
Is there anything you can do about these fees if they are posted to your bill? Not really no. If your cruise is many months away you could consider canceling the cruise and get your money back but by the time you are ready to sail the fees may be gone if oil, at that point, goes back down. – René
Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FrequentFloaters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities
Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.