Carnival Corp. is refunding $40 million in fuel surcharges to some passengers, but raising the fee on people who make new bookings.
Under the pressure of an investigation from the Florida attorney general’s office, Carnival agreed March 31 to refund surcharges it imposed retroactively last November on bookings that had already been made. The attorney general’s office said that Carnival and other cruise lines violated an earlier agreement to disclose all fees in advance.
Carnival kept the surcharges on bookings made after the fee was announced Nov. 7. And now Carnival is disclosing an increase in the fee. The charge for the first two passengers in a cabin will increase on bookings made after April 21 from $5 to $7 per passenger per day and a new charge of $2 per guest per day will apply to additional passengers in the cabin.
I’m not entirely sure why cruise lines (and airlines) have fuel surcharges, or supplements as they like to call them. It would seem simpler, ultimately, to raise the fare to cover the cost of doing business.
One factor might be that fuel surcharges are usually not considered when figuring out a travel agent’s commission. And I guess there’s the idea that, with fuel surcharges tied directly to the price of oil, they’ll go away if the price of oil goes down.
I won’t hold my breath.