New Consumer Law Mandates Clear Pricing for Cruise Lines

Are you frustrated that cruise prices suddenly balloon when finalizing your booking? Starting July 1, 2024, consumer protection legislation will require cruise lines to display the total price, not just the fare.

A cruise ship with a water slide on the deck.

California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) goes into effect on July 1 and requires cruise lines to comply.

It will affect all cruise companies, including major operators like Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard North America, and Holland America Line. Seabourn Cruise Line has already adopted this pricing model, which will influence its refund and cancellation fee policies.

Instead of simply displaying the fare price, cruise lines will have to include several fees that used to be added during the booking process. These include applicable taxes, port fees, and other charges that are typically excluded in their advertising.

No More Hidden Fees

This adjustment doesn’t affect the actual price consumers pay or the commission earned by Travel Advisors. It simply adds clarity and transparency to consumers’ booking processes.

Carnival Corporation has acknowledged the law and written about it to travel agencies. Its recent email explains, “This will provide guests with the clear total price upfront for the cruise selected. Please understand this is only a change in the way the cruise prices are advertised but does not impact the total price consumers pay today or the portion of the cruise fare that is commissionable to travel advisors.”

The price on display will now be divided into two: Government Taxes and Fees, and Required Cruise Fees and Expenses.

So, a fare that used to be advertised for $699 will be shown as $849.

The new rate reflects the total cruise charge ($849), with the $100 in Required Cruise Fees and Expenses and $50 for Government Taxes and Fees added. The cruise operator showed how this breakdown would be displayed.

Two cruise ships docked at a port in the British Virgin Islands with passengers walking along the pier.
Valiant Lady and Norwegian Sky

Cruise companies are not new to adding hidden costs to their guests’ fares. From room service fees to shore excursions and port fees, the various charges easily add hundreds of dollars to their passengers’ final bill.

The enactment of the CLRA is hoped to make comparing and buying various cruise offers smoother for consumers, with fewer unpleasant surprises.

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises will follow the same price listing structure starting in July.

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