Carnival Corporation & plc (CCL), operator of Carnival Cruise Line and other cruise brands, has recently implemented significant price increases on several types of services and offerings on board its cruises. The price surge comes as costs of essential commodities and fuel have increased and as Carnival and other cruise operators continue to work to relaunch operations following shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carnival's price increases affect on-board gratuities, WiFi, specialty dining, and related services.
- Carnival increased prices for several on-board services and gratuities as of May 1.
- Costs associated with certain beverage programs, specialty dining, on-board WiFi, and gratuities have all increased, in some cases by up to 25%.
- At the same time, Carnival has recently relaunched its 23rd and final ship following suspension of operations due to COVID-19.
Increased Services Rates
Carnival's popular CHEERS! beverage package includes up to 15 alcoholic and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks per day for a flat daily fee. The price of the package increased by $8, or just over 15%, to $59.95 (plus an additional 18% service charge) per guest per day as of May 1. The company's Bottomless Bubbles unlimited non-alcoholic beverage package has also seen a price increase.
Gratuities charges have also increased, to $14.50 or $16.50 per guest per day, depending upon the type of accommodation. Carnival's gratuities charges are distributed to the shipboard staff and crew.
Specialty dining charges also increased on May 1 at a rate of 8% to 24% per person, depending upon the restaurant service. Likewise, some WiFi charges have increased by 8% to 25% as well, depending on the level of service.
Implications for Travelers
Carnival, like other cruise operators, significantly curtailed operations early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The company began resuming cruises from the U.S. in July 2021, and on May 2, 2022, Carnival announced that it had become the first major cruise line to resume operations with all ships.
While Carnival and other operators hope to entice customers back on board following highly publicized COVID-19 incidents early in the pandemic, they still face reluctance. On May 5, Bloomberg reported on an alleged COVID-19 outbreak aboard Carnival's ship the Carnival Spirit, also indicating that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was investigating 53 ships across the cruise industry for reported cases. A sharp increase in on-board prices may further deter customers who are already hesitant to get back to the cruise experience.
What Prices Are Increasing on Carnival Cruises?
Carnival increased prices for on-board services like WiFi, beverage programs, and specialty dining, as well as gratuities, as of May 1, 2022.
How Much Did Prices Increase?
Prices for these services increased by varied amounts, but up to 25% in some cases.
What Do the Price Increases Mean for Investors?
Carnival's price increases could help the company recoup costs for commodities and fuel, which have grown substantially in recent months. On the other hand, the price surges may deter some customers.