Originally Posted by Marc
I disagree. If additional charges are required due to an unexpected rise in fuel after brochures are printed, then there is no choice except for a surcharge. You can't raise "base" prices over the brochure without being guilty of false advertising.
This is a sore point with me. I don't believe in any "surcharges" whatsoever. If you print brochures listing one price, then you honor it. If a fixed cost goes up, then you trash the remainder of your brochures, and raise the prices on FUTURE sailings to make up for it. You don't go back in time and tack on additional charges to make up for an unexpected cost increase.
Believe me, these cruise lines saw fuel prices going up and predicted their direction years ago. Any business that relies so heavily upon fuel tracks the trends very carefully. They have people on their payroll who are experts in the commodities markets and know long before you and I do that prices of certain things are going to go up, and by roughly how much.
If cruise lines did not do their homework properly and were truly caught with their "pants down" regarding the cost of fuel, then they should eat it for now. Raise the prices on future cruises for which they have not yet started taking bookings. Increase the prices sufficiently to cover their losses. At least those people booking those future cruises will know exactly what they are being asked to pay and can make their booking decisions accordingly.
I am opposed to surcharges because they can get out of hand. What next? What if say the cost of food skyrockets in the next year? Do the cruiselines tell us passengers that everyone is going to pay a $50 per cruise food surcharge on all bookings after a certain date? What happens if some other cost goes up ... perhaps a new way of accounting for employees that makes the cruise lines have to pay more in taxes for each employee onboard? Now we have to pay a surcharge to account for that increased cost too?
Every business has expenses associated with the production or delivery of their product. They have to factor those costs in when they arrive at the final price. Well, if a price is listed as $2000 for a new LCD TV and I plunk down my money for it on Sunday, with a delivery date of Tuesday, you don't tell me on Monday that a "surcharge" has been added because factory costs went up and my credit card will now be charged for $2,100. That's not fair. We agreed on Sunday to a price of $2,000. If a price increase is announced on Monday, you eat that amount on my invoice, and raise the price on future sales. That's the only fair way ... and that's exactly how the cruise lines should handle it.
Of course, the cruise lines are smart. They know this relatively small price increase is probably not gonna result in many people cancelling their cruises. I have two booked and while the letter I received about it rankled me, I have to admit that I, too, did not cancel either one of those cruises. In some respects, I'm not proud of that. I think sitting still for these "surcharges" is not a good idea because it can open the door to plenty of abuses down the pike.
Just my humble opinion ...
Blue skies ...