Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator, plans to give $40 million US in refunds to customers across the U.S. who were assessed a fuel surcharge after they booked their trips.
It’s the second cruise company to reach an agreement with the Florida Attorney General’s Office, which received more than 300 complaints about fees added by several cruise operators last fall. Customers said the charge was tacked on after they made their reservation.
The Carnival settlement, announced March 31, affects more than 1.1 million bookings, but the precise number of people affected was not available.
Carnival is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and the Yachts of Seabourn.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., another industry leader, announced in November they would start billing passengers to offset rising fuel prices — $5 per person, per day — for voyages beginning Feb. 1. After the attorney general launched its investigation, Royal Caribbean announced in early March it would refund eligible customers about $21 million.
Carnival said it will contact customers who booked trips before the fuel surcharge was announced on Nov. 7. People who travelled on or before April 4 will receive a refund in whatever payment form they used for the booking. Those on trips departing April 5 to June 23 are to receive an on-board credit. For trips after that, customers’ bookings will be adjusted to remove the surcharge.
Both cruise lines also agreed to clearly disclose the charges in the future in advertisements and while reservations are being made.