Price of a Cruise Could Rise on Costlier Fuel Post-2020

Thursday October 11, 2018

The cost of a cruise could rise for passengers on the back of higher fuel costs from the IMO2020 sulfur cap change.

While the extent of the price rise remains uncertain, recent history suggests that cruise goers will be asked to pay more for their trips.

The rising cost of oil in 2008 saw cruise lines pass on some of their costs to customers by increasing their fuel supplement up to $130 per cruise, according to trade news provider Cruise Passenger.

Strong demand for compliant low sulfur fuel oil is expected to push up bunker fuel price levels from the start of 2020 when the low sulfur cap comes into force.

"Obviously there will be a far greater demand after 2020 so nobody really quite knows where the price point will be. But there's an expectation that the greater demand [for compliant fuel] will have an effect on elevating the price," Cruise Lines International Association senior vice president of maritime policy, Brian Salerno, told ship-technology web site.

Cruise ships, which act like a hotel when in port with the concomicant need for power, will be paying more for compliant fuel unless they have emissions abatement technology equipment installed.

While the supply of compliant fuels in the major bunkering hubs should be unproblematic, smaller ports might not find the change so easy to manage.

In Australia, for example, where pollution from cruise ships has come under the spotlight in the capital Sydney and Tasmania's capital, Hobart, a shipowner has recently raised the prospect of not being able to secure compliant fuel for his ships.

Meanwhile, environmental pressure on cruise operators is mounting.