March 12, 2008

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises will refund $21 million to consumers who were charged fuel surcharges after they had booked their cruises. The Economic Crimes Division at the Florida Attorney General's office launched an investigation in February after receiving several hundred complaints that the cruise lines were not disclosing the surcharges properly. Both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity signed agreements on Monday promising to refund the full cost of the fees, and they will be giving on-board credits to those passengers who have not yet sailed. The agreement stipulates that all cruise lines legally can levy the extra fees as long as the charges are disclosed "in a clear and conspicuous manner in advertising and bookings." In a release, Attorney General Bill McCollum said he expects other cruise lines to follow Royal Caribbean and Celebrity's example and return the fees.