Carnival to refund $40M in fuel fees


Carnival Corp. and PLC and its five subsidiary cruise lines are voluntarily refunding $40 million in fuel supplement fees to customers who booked before Nov. 7.

Under the settlement with the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Miami-based cruise company agreed to fully reimburse passengers who already had booked their cruises when it announced the fuel surcharges on Nov. 7.

The AG’s office said the settlement will affect more than 1.1 million bookings at Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard and the Yachts of Seabourn. The settlement came after the AG’s office said it received several hundred complaints about the charges, which were implemented across the cruise line industry. Customers said the companies retroactively charged the fees after cruises had been booked and deposits had been made.

Carnival’s (NYSE: CCL and NYSE: CUK) $5 per person, per day fuel charge, which cannot exceed $70 a voyage, will still be applied to bookings made after Nov. 7.

The company said the settlement will not impact its previously reported first quarter results or its second quarter and full-year 2008 guidance since the company did not recognize fuel supplement revenue associated with bookings made prior to Nov. 7 while the AG’s office was conducting its review.

A similar settlement was reached last month between Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises and the AG’s office, resulting in $21 million in consumer reimbursement.

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