These Cruise Lines Will Be More Transparent About Pricing Soon — Here’s Why

Thanks to a California law, cruise lines will need to include the cost of port expenses, taxes, and other fees in its listed price.

Carnival Cruise Ships

Alessandra Amodio/Travel + Leisure

Cruise prices are about to get more transparent thanks to a new law in California that requires cruise lines to include extra expenses like taxes and port fees in the advertised fare.

The state’s “Honest Pricing Law,” which goes into effect on July 1, will make it illegal for a business to advertise a price without including nearly all the required fees or charges, according to the California Department of Justice

“Our price transparency law is about clear and honest communication with consumers, so consumers can make the financial choices that are best for them and their families,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. “The law is simple: the price you see is the price you pay.”

When it comes to cruises, the law means cruise lines that operate within the state of California will need to include the cost of port expenses, taxes, and other fees in the listed price, according to the Washington Post. This affects major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Princess Cruises, and can often add up to more than $100 per person. 

"Our total advertised price will now include all government-mandated taxes, fees, and port expenses that we previously itemized separately for consumer awareness," a spokesperson for Carnival Corp. confirmed to T+L. “While this is a California state law, we are making this change nationwide to ensure our advertised pricing is consistent no matter where guests shop for our cruises.”

For its part, a Royal Caribbean Group spokesperson told Travel + Leisure the cruise company would update the way it displays pricing across the U.S. 

“Guests booking with Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises will now see pricing that is inclusive of their selected cruise fare and all required taxes and fees,” the spokesperson told T+L. “We are also supporting our travel partners across the country ahead of this upcoming change.”

Some cruise lines, like Disney Cruise Line, already include the extra taxes and fees in the initial price, the Washington Post noted. 

Representatives for Holland America Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line did not immediately respond to a request for comment from T+L. 

While port fees and other required expenses must be advertised, other extras like gratuities (which many cruise lines automatically charge), will not have to be.

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