In 2007, cruise agencies and clients were blown away when the cruise lines added fuel surcharges to existing bookings. We all understood that the cruise lines fuel costs had went up dramatically, but were taken back when they added up to $140 per person to existing bookings.
After the price of oil dropped to $35 a barrel, the cruise lines removed the fuel surcharges with the stated policy that they reserve the right to add the fuel surcharges back when the price of oil is above $65 – $70 a barrel. The Cruise Lines wanted to protect themselves by being open that they will pass on exuberant fuel costs to their customers. When you book a new cruise today your agent is supposed to let you know that the total you are paying for you cruise can increase at a later date because the cruise line can add on fuel surcharges.
The difference between the first time the cruise lines tacked on fuel surcharges and now is that this time the cruise lines are warning you that they can add on fuel surcharges when oil hits a certain price. One Cruise Line goes as far to say that they will even charge fuel surcharges at the pier at the time of boarding. The $65 – $70 per barrel mark that has been set by the cruise lines has been surpassed. The Price of oil recently hit $74 a barrel. Thanks to the ever increasing US debt, announced to hit $9 Trillion, the US Dollar will continue to weaken which will cause continued inflation. Inflation will cause the price of all commodities including oil to continue to go up. For more on Inflation, read my post on Hyperinflation and Cruise Prices from May 2009.
Booking your 2010 Cruise early will get you the best deal because of the potential of continued inflation. You need to be realistic when booking your cruise and budget in the extra $10 per person per day that may be added to the booking as a fuel surcharge as a result of the inflation. Booking early is still the best way to get the best 2010 deal.
Do you have thoughts on Fuel Surcharges? Do you think we will ever see them again in the cruise industry? Did you have an existing booking last-time they added fuel surcharges?
You have a 2010 Cruise Booked? We will be tracking Oil prices and Fuel Surcharges very closely. Subscribe to CruiseSource.us to stay ahead of the news that will impact your cruise vacation.