Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cruise lines ending fuel supplements

The sharp downward trend in oil prices is leading a number of cruise lines to drop the fuel supplements they implemented in the past year. Fuel supplements typically averaged $7-$9 per day, usually up to a maximum of $70 to $120 per passenger per cruise, depending on the cruise line. This is good news for cruise-goers, who can scratch at least one unexpected added fee to the cost of their voyage. Not having to pay a fuel supplement, for example, essentially cancels out the cost of tipping for many cruises.

Here are two of the most recent announcements:

**MSC Cruises eliminated fuel surcharges for all new bookings for 2009 beginning December 16, 2008. Passengers who have already booked for 2009 cruises will receive a shipboard credit equal to the amount of the fuel supplement. If fuel supplements are re-imposed in the future due to newly rising oil prices, anyone who books with a deposit prior to that decision will be protected from having to pay it.

**Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines eliminated fuel surcharges on all bookings made on or after December 17, 2008. Passengers who have already paid fuel surcharges will receive shipboard credits for the full amount of payment. (Bookings for Fred. Olsen in the U.S. are handled by Borton Overseas; call 800/843-0602 and press 6 at the prompt).

Photo of the Fred. Olsen ship Balmoral by Peter Knego.

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