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The Impact Of The Cost Of Fuel…?

The price of oil fell to $36.51 on Friday, far from when analysts were speculating it might go as high as $200. The national average for gasoline in the U.S. is now below $2 per gallon for the first time since the horse and buggy, it seems.

Cruise experts like our pal Phil Reimer say cruise prices are on the rise. Cruise lines are reporting enormous profits in their financials…how enormous is Carnival’s $2.1 billion net profit for 2015?

Are we missing something here?

A major cost for cruise lines is going down and the cost of cruising is going up?

Some airlines still include fuel surcharges in the price of tickets. While none we know of have that audacity, some cruise lines still have the option of doing the same thing. Some government postal services still add it to the price of shipping.

When will it end?

Probably when the people speak with actions…by not using the services of companies that adopt such ridiculous policies — or at least by using them less.

In the news…

• Carnival’s fees for room service to go fleet-wide after three-ship test

Today at portsandbows.comThe Harmony-ous fall from 10 stories

Ruby Princess
7 nights
June 19, 2016
Seattle (return): Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $128

About Fuel Friendliness…

In going through an old AARP magazine that was heading for recycling, an item caught our eyes because it included a cruise ship. It put a spin on fuel consumption that we’d never heard and, perhaps, neither have you.

The measurement was called “passenger miles per gallon” to determine the “fuel-friendliest” way to go: car, plane, train, ship. This calculation is determined by the number of miles per gallon multiplied by the number of passengers. So, if your car gets 30 miles to the gallon when you’re driving alone, adding a passenger makes it 60 ”passenger”  miles to the gallon. Three passengers, and it’s 90.

Highest score wins.

Off the top of our heads, we thought cruise ships would do well, just given the number of passengers.

Using the Environmental Protection Agency, Royal Caribbean, Boeing and Amtrak as information sources, here is what AARP determined the four passenger miles-per-gallon were:

Train (passenger) — 63
Plane (747-400) — 61
Car (Corvette) — 38
Cruise ship (Oasis of the Seas) — 36

You can debate the choices of vehicles but the bottom line is that trains are the “fuel-friendliest” mode of transportation. In this study, cruise ships are last.

Today at portsandbows.com: Oceania's new website

Norwegian Pearl
10 nights
March 6, 2015
Miami (return): St. Kitts, Martinique, Roseau, Antigua, St. Thomas
Inside $459
Cost per day: $45

The Skinny On Cruise Fuel Surcharges

Travelers who subscribe to Travel Weekly — billed as “The Travel Industry’s Trusted Voice” — may have noticed that cruise lines are experiencing an unexpected drop in fuel prices despite that turmoil in many oil-producing countries. As a result, cruise lines are enjoying better bottom lines.

For example, Norwegian is paying less for fuel this year than last even though it has added the Getaway to its fleet. Carnival’s comparative fuel expense is down $28 million from last year. Royal Caribbean has experienced a more modest saving, according to Travel Weekly.


The tendency is to think that cruise lines should drop the price of cruising that reflects the drop in cost of fuel, because when the price of oil rises sharply they implement a surcharge.

Not true.

Cruise lines have a fuel surcharge that they can add to the cost of your cruise ticket. That doesn’t mean it’s a given that it will happen.

We’ve been cruising regularly for the last five years. During that time, here is what the per-gallon cost cruise lines pay has done:

May 2010 — $1.67
May 2011 — $2.39
May 2012 — $2.52
May 2013 — $2.24
May 2014 — $2.26

In other words, with the exception of 2013, it has gone up every year. Not once during that time have we experienced the dreaded “fuel surcharge.”

Today at portsandbows.com: Internet deals from Oceania

Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas
7 nights
November 8, 2014
Venice (return): Dubrovnik, Ephesus, Santorini, Olympia
Inside: $628
Cost per day: $89

Even Cleaning Standard Cruise Ship Fuel Comes with a Price Tag

The good news on the weekend is that Carnival is going to try and make a cruise ship's fuel cleaner, in order to meet environmental standards going into effect in two years, rather than simply burn cleaner fuel.

Cleaner fuel costs more. That means the cost would trickle down to North American consumers…the Environmental Protection Agency emission standards apply to the coasts of this continent. By cleaning existing fuel, cruise ships will not have to pay more for it.

The bad news, of course, is that while cruisers won't have to pay to cover more expensive fuel, there is a cost attached to cleaning the old stuff so that its exhaust is less of a polluter.

How does $180 million sound…and you think that cost will filter down to your cruise fare?

According to the Miami Herald, which publishes in Carnival Corp's home port, that's what is being invested in new technology to clean up on exhaust. While it's being tested on 32 of the corporation's ships, the EPA will let Carnival to continue using standard (cheaper) fuel. That means it's going to take at least a couple of years before the technology gets the EPA stamp of approval.

Hopefully, it will work.

There is a question or two:

Why did not just Carnival but all cruise lines need to have its collective feet held to the fire by the EPA before getting serious about reducing fuel emissions? If the EPA hadn't given them a deadline of 2015, would cruise ships have just continued to pollute the atmosphere?

Carnival Valor
7 nights
October 20, 2013
San Juan (return): St. ThomasBarbadosSt. LuciaSt. KittsSt. Maarten
Inside: $359
Cost per day: $51


Alaska on Verge of Another Crisis

There's an interesting law being enacted in Alaska (yes, another one) this year that could impact the cruise industry. Specifically, it could impact how much your cruise costs to visit the 49th state.

It has to do with clean (and more expensive) fuel, and it can get a bit complex, so we'll give you the quick and dirty (no pun intended) version:

1. Since last August, cargo carriers and cruise ships must use low-sulphur fuel within 200 miles of U.S. and Canadian shores (the first full cruise season since then has just begun for Alaska).

2. Further emission cuts will kick in over the next seven years.

3. The Cruise Lines International Association says: "the increased costs translate into fewer cruise-ship visitors" who are initially having to pay an average of $88 more per ticket.

4. The Environmental Protection Agency says the CLIA complaints are like "having a houseguest who leaves all of his trash in your yard and then complains when you ask him to pick it up."

5. The state is suing to prevent the restrictions from being enforced.

6. Offsetting the $3.2 billion it will cost to implement the process, the EPA estimates the health benefits could be up to $110 billion by 2020.

Now all of this sounds like a legitimate case of two sides agreeing to disagree on the pros and cons…until you get to the last point.

Health benefits of $110 billion?

How does anybody come up with that?

Ruby Princess
12 nights
August 4, 2013
Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Olympia, Athens, Mykonos, Ephesus, Santorini, Naples, Rome
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $66

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