Royal Caribbean Cruises has admitted it cannot rule out further increases in fuel supplements charged to passengers.
The cruise company announced last week it is almost doubling fuel supplements, introduced in December, from May 1. For first and second passengers in a stateroom the supplement is increasing from £2.50 per person per day to £4 on Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises.
At this weekend’s launch of Independence of the Seas in Southampton, Royal Caribbean International president Adam Goldstein said: “Fuel is a terrifically difficult challenge for us. We hope it doesn’t go inexorably higher. We are conserving it in every way we can but we cannot rule out supplements going up.”
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line managing director for Europe Robin Shaw said customers were understanding about the supplement increases but added: “If fuel prices go up another 20 to 30 US dollars the answer will probably be yes [supplements will go up]. It’s a function of the raw material cost which is fuel.”
Meanwhile, Shaw added that the global economic downturn had yet to hit the company.
He said: “The leading indicator should be the US market and to date we have not seen that materialise significantly on activity or pricing.
“The belief is that people will still not sacrifice their one or two week holiday. We have not seen any material slowdown in the UK – the last six to eight weeks have been very buoyant.”
Around 4,000 agents are this week experiencing the company’s latest ship Independence of the Seas, which will be named on Wednesday.
It is currently the world’s largest cruiseship and will sail out of Southampton for its first summer season this year to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands, and Ireland.