Fueling the Fire

Fuel Surcharges continue to rise as cruise lines revise their charges.
The first news came when several cruise lines refunded fuel surcharges after complaints to the Florida Attorney General. The problem was twofold. Passengers felt that it was a hidden cost that they weren’t made aware of, and the surcharge was added after the passengers had already made a booking and put a deposit on their cruise. Adding the cost after the booking and deposit was unfair.

Passengers would have been aware of the charge if they had booked with a knowledgeable agent. Although nobody wants to hear of additional costs for a vacation, it is better to know about them upfront than to later have extra charges show up on the final bill. This is a prime example of why using a GOOD travel agent is a smart idea. While the general consumer may not be aware of such industry changes, the conscientious travel agent is.
The cruise lines now make sure that the additional charge is made known to booking customers. The price of fuel has increased dramatically and cruise lines are asking passengers to help defray the expense.
Now, the same thing is happening in the airline industry. Ticket prices will now include a significant increase for fuel. “Give you a ride if you chip in for gas.” Will this be the new slogan for transportation providers?
The crux of the matter is our total dependence on oil and the unwillingness of our leaders to release us from the strangling hold of big oil companies. Why would they? Certain of them have too much at stake. While oil companies are raking in record profits, the rest of us have to pay to insure that they will continue to maintain their profits. We are all at their mercy.

Surveys say that Americans will cut back in other ways to save their vacations. But as soon as they save to pay for the fuel surcharge on their cruise, they find that the cost of getting to port will increase. After May 1, 2008, Royal Caribbean and its brands will raise the fuel surcharge to $8. On a seven day cruise that’s an additional $112 to add to the bill. NCL seems to have the highest surcharge currently at $9 per day. Rather than buying drinks or shore excursions, passengers will be spending their mad money on gas. It’s truly a sad situation.
Now, back to my idea about solar powered ships…

Next time: Ways to Save

Sail Away

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