I paid $2.59 yesterday! Welcome to Western New York, home the taxed and over-taxed!
Check out this Cruise Mates article. It put my mind at ease:
There seems to be buzz with the other cruise media that cruise lines are considering reinstating fuel surcharges.
The cruise lines originally started charging fuel surcharges back in November of 2007 and said the fuel surcharges would remain until the price of oil dropped to $70 per barrel. The rules for taking the surcharges away said the price of oil had to trade below $70/barrel for 30 continuous days. Within the next 50 days the price of oil went over $70 for one day, but that set the date back for revoking the fuel surcharges by about 21 days.
Now that oil is creeping back up to $65/barrel my cruise press colleagues are asking if fuel surcharges will suddenly reappear. The answer is NO. Not just because oil hits $70 anyway.
In fact, the day most cruise lines invoked the fuel surcharges back in 2007 the price of oil was well over $100/barrel and had been rising daily for months. That is not what is happening now. Now we are seeing oil prices fluctuate in the low $60s/barrel.
When Carnival and other cruise lines invoked these surcharges they said the charges would be applicable to any cruise sailing on February 8th or later. They asked the travel agents to collect the fuel surcharges, even from cruisers who had already made their fnal payments. The result was several official complaints to the Florida Attorney General who said the cruise lines had to give several millions of dollars in surcharges BACK to people who had paid them after already agreeing to and paying a final price. In other words, it was a public relations disaster.
The travel agents didn't like it one bit either - since they were put in the uncomfortable position of having to ask the customers to cough up the extra dough. All in all, putting on fuel surcharges was a strategic blunder by the cruise lines as far as customer and sales channel (travel agent) relations were concerned. It would not be a welcome development by anyone right now.
Another thing was very different back then - which we had no inkling about at the time, we were about to enter a severe recession with extremely low consumer confidence that still shows no real signs of recovery other than some Wall Street speculation which could evaporate in a heartbeat.
So, the answer, in the humble opinion of this editor, Paul Motter, is that the pricing and economic environment of selling cruises right now is far too delicate for the cruise lines to even think about invoking fuel surcharges. That could change, but only if oil coninues to rise far above $70/barrel, which is not likely at all, and it remains there for a long period of time.
In other words, don't get your pants in a knot about fuel surcharges yet. It isn't even close to happening.