Double port charges for singles and Princess's response
I wrote Princess and my travel agent included a cover letter because of my dissatisfaction with paying double on these "so-called" port charges when I travel as a single. I cruised with them for 10 days last October, 15 days in April and have booked a 10 day cruise for December plus I have money on deposit for a future cruise. I obviously like Princess, but I do not like this extra charge!
"Your dissatisfaction regarding our exclusive occupancy pricing policy has been noted. As you are aware, our fares are based upon double occupancy rates. Because exclusive occupants are traveling alone in a stateroom where two berths or more may be sold, we charge a single supplement for the unused berth. (I am well aware of this policy and don't dispute it.) This supplement varies, depending on the type of stateroom the passenger booked and the product area in which they are sailing. (I know this, too - it varies from 150% to 200% of the fare.) Further, effective Fall 2001, the charges for ports on the itineraries were reflected for exclusive bookings based on the exclusive occupancy rate. In essence, non-commissionable cruise fare is no longer charged separately. (And, that of course is another way not to give the travel agents their commission.) This has been incorporated as a part of the total cruise fare. (Does anyone know if this is true on other cruise lines?) Therefore, there would be no separate "port charge" amount. Although we are sorry for your disappointment with our pricing policy, rates based upon double occupancy are standard in the cruise industry and our policy is not meant to offend or discriminate. As a result, we must respectfully deny your request for a partial refund (that would be $199) of your Coral Princess sailing in December."
This "exclusivity" really makes me feel special - in that the only thing it does is give them an extra $199. I am paying 200% for the cabin which I understand.
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012
Re: Double port charges for singles and Princess's response
It sounds like the bottom line is that Princess has decided to eliminate "Port Charges" as a separate line item and include the port charges in the base fare. It's an interesting change in policy, especially given the industry trend toward separate charges for just about everything else. Nonetheless, it raises a couple interesting questions.
>> 1. To what extent is this change a response to the recent intensification of demands from consumer advocates for itemized breakdowns of the specific port charges?
>> 2. Which other lines are doing likewise?
My suspicion is that most major line probably are making a similar shift in policy -- an interesting development since, in the past, the theory was that cruise lines could pass any increases in port charges through to the consumer if the bill showed port charges as a separate item. By incorporating port charges into the base fare, the cruise lines will lose the ability to charge passengers for any increases.
BTW, the same is true of government fees and taxes.