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  #1  
Old April 18th, 2008, 07:41 PM
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Canuker Canuker is offline
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Default Just how much fuel does a cruise ship burn?

I'm trying to get my head around these "fuel surcharges" (for that's what they're called), especially now the Carnival boys have upped the ante to 7 buck per day per passenger.

Bear in mind that one of the key reasons the cruise industry took off in the first place was because the cost to move people from one port to the next, per person, was (still is) peanuts - a tiny component of total costs (why do you think the new vessels are always getting bigger & bigger?)

I've been doing some research on the web and if my numbers are in the ball park, a cruise ship burns about 1.75 gallons of fuel per person per day (that's fuel for travel, generators, the lot) on your typical 7-day port-intensive loop. (I'll stand corrected on this if someone wants to do the math).

A gallon of gasolene (yes, cruise ships burn diesel) runs around $3.50 per gallon, retail (I bet they pay less than retail!). So thats about 6 bucks per person per day for fuel.

Now, even allowing for a 50% error in my research, how on earth does Carnival justify a $7 fuel surcharge?

Help me with this, someone.

Or am I being niaive in thinking this is just (for that's what they call it) a fuel surcharge?

And, if it is more than a mere fuel surcharge, are they lying to us?
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  #2  
Old April 18th, 2008, 08:25 PM
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The QEII burns something like 200 ga/mile or something like that. That's one big reason why the ships of today are more flatbottomed. So they get better mileage. I was on the old Norway 3 times and that used to get like 15 ft/gal. depending on the sea conditions.
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  #3  
Old April 18th, 2008, 08:36 PM
Philip217 Philip217 is offline
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Cruise ships don't burn gallons of fuel - they burn TONS of fuel.

My ship burns about 1200 tons of fuel every 7 day cruise.
Last year the bunker fuel we use cost about $300 per ton.
This year it costs around $650 per ton - and the price is rising fast.
We carry around 3,000 passengers every week.

You work out the math.
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  #4  
Old April 18th, 2008, 09:15 PM
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Assuming a surcharge of $7/pppd, the total surcharge amounts to about 19% of the total fuel cost for the week.

A few ships out there have even switched to cleaner burning blends, which I would guestimate cost twice as much as bunker "C".
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  #5  
Old April 19th, 2008, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip217 View Post
Cruise ships don't burn gallons of fuel - they burn TONS of fuel.

My ship burns about 1200 tons of fuel every 7 day cruise.
Last year the bunker fuel we use cost about $300 per ton.
This year it costs around $650 per ton - and the price is rising fast.
We carry around 3,000 passengers every week.

You work out the math.
There are tables out there that rate ships on gallons per mile. Easier for the average person to comprehend. Of course, one of the cars I own does burn tons of fuel.
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  #6  
Old April 19th, 2008, 09:56 AM
klfrodo klfrodo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip217 View Post
Cruise ships don't burn gallons of fuel - they burn TONS of fuel.

My ship burns about 1200 tons of fuel every 7 day cruise.
Last year the bunker fuel we use cost about $300 per ton.
This year it costs around $650 per ton - and the price is rising fast.
We carry around 3,000 passengers every week.

You work out the math.
That would work out to $260 per person for a 7 day cruise to pay for fuel.
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  #7  
Old April 19th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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That's less than if a person drove for 7 days. That is if one person was in the car. And you get food.
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  #8  
Old April 19th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klfrodo View Post
That would work out to $260 per person for a 7 day cruise to pay for fuel.
I get your math.

Now, show of hands, please..
How many people believe that of what they pay for a 7 day cruise that $260 of it is burned in fuel?

If what Philip217 is saying IS true, then the cruise industry is going broke as we speak.
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  #9  
Old April 19th, 2008, 12:04 PM
Tanker4 Tanker4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuker View Post
I get your math.

Now, show of hands, please..
How many people believe that of what they pay for a 7 day cruise that $260 of it is burned in fuel?

If what Philip217 is saying IS true, then the cruise industry is going broke as we speak.
I don't know much about ships so my show of hands would be just a WA guess. I also know that you can't compare apples and oranges but: my 34' motor home gets around 8mpg (on a good day). It weighs about 10 tons. Most of the ships I've been on that do 7 day cruises are in the 120/150,000 ton class. It must take a heck of a lot of fuel to move them a mile especially through the resistance of the water (and air) as compared to a vehicle moving just through the air. Any Marine Engineers out there that can settle this question?
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  #10  
Old April 19th, 2008, 01:15 PM
Philip217 Philip217 is offline
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Canuker,

There is a really great website called www.google.com.
Don't take my word for the numbers. Check them out for yourself.
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  #11  
Old April 19th, 2008, 04:46 PM
klfrodo klfrodo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuker View Post
I get your math.

Now, show of hands, please..
How many people believe that of what they pay for a 7 day cruise that $260 of it is burned in fuel?

If what Philip217 is saying IS true, then the cruise industry is going broke as we speak.

I don't know where you got your research. My research indicated that it takes 15 gallons to move a cruise ship 1 foot.

However, I've also read a lot of Phillips posts. He seems to be very knowledgable about the industry and has never given me any reason to question his integrity. Therefore, my vote goes with Philip.

Besides, your last statement validates why the cruiselines are instituting a fuel surcharge.
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  #12  
Old April 19th, 2008, 04:50 PM
Betsy's Mom Betsy's Mom is offline
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A gallon of fuel moves the QM about 80 feet. I'm with Phillip. Pay the charge and enjoy the cruise!
B.
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  #13  
Old April 19th, 2008, 09:09 PM
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Just back from our cruise.
Our cruise director told us that HAL Zaandam burns 150 tons of diesel fuel per day.

FYI--- HAL reimbursed us for the fuel charge.

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  #14  
Old April 20th, 2008, 05:33 AM
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It depends on the type of engine, but a medium speed diesel engine, which is what most of the cruise ships use the consumption is around 180 grams per kilowatt and hour. I don't have any info here on the power to tonnage relation, but I found a typical figure of 37 MW. So, asuming an average usage of 30 MW, this would make a total of around 900 tons of fuel for a 7 day cruise.
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  #15  
Old April 20th, 2008, 07:12 AM
Philip217 Philip217 is offline
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Curro and SassyRed Hat both got it right.

An older ship like Zaandam burns more fuel - even though she is small. 150 tons a day would put her at 1050 tons per 7 day cruise.
Her younger and slightly larger sisters burn a bit less; around 900 -1000 tons per 7 days.

The much larger ships - even though new - tend to burn a bit more.
The large RCCL Ships and QM2 are in the 1300 ton range, depending on itinerary and weather.
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  #16  
Old April 20th, 2008, 08:35 AM
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Fascinating subject, have always wondered how much money in fuel is spent on a single voyage. If a typical 3,000 passenger vessel is burning 1,000 tons or 2,000,000 pounds of fuel a week, figuring diesel weighs around 7 pounds per gallon @ $4.00/gal, that would be about 1 million dollars spent on fuel for a 7 day cruise or approximately $300 per passenger. The new fuel surcharge's would pay for about 15% of this total fuel charge. I guess that's not too bad considering diesel as gone up much more than that.

Looks like up to half of our cruise fares goes right to fuel costs. No wonder they want these ships full at the time of sailing. Wouldn't take too many open cabins to have a ship sailing at a loss.
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  #17  
Old April 20th, 2008, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooter-n-GB View Post
Assuming a surcharge of $7/pppd, the total surcharge amounts to about 19% of the total fuel cost for the week.

A few ships out there have even switched to cleaner burning blends, which I would guestimate cost twice as much as bunker "C".
Not sure many ships still burn "bunker C". In my youth I used to take a barge out to fuel them with this heavy black oil but they were mostly older ships.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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Carnival Corp was paying $499/metric ton in fuel costs for the 1st quarter 2008 (last bullet on page 1): http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_...L_Earnings.pdf
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  #19  
Old April 20th, 2008, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keyguide View Post
Not sure many ships still burn "bunker C". In my youth I used to take a barge out to fuel them with this heavy black oil but they were mostly older ships.
I think most of them use now marine diesel oil. I am not sure about cruise ships, but most of the medium speed engines use this type of fuel. Heavy fuel oil is often used for low speed engines, wich are more efficient, but are too large and heavy for cruise ships. Also, using a number of medium speed diesel (or gas turbines) for both power generation and electrical propulsion is a more versatile system wich allows for backup in case of failure.

Any way, I've got the feeling that Philip217 will be able to confirm this for sure.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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Carnival usually gets a much better volume deal than the rest of us.
It also depends on which country you are in when you refuel. Taxes on fuel vary considerably.

Carnival is primarily also burning the low cost high-sulfur fuel that is still allowed in the Caribbean.

If you cruise in Canada, California, Alaska, Hawaii, and some parts of the Mediterranean, the governments there force the ships to burn a much cleaner - and much more expensive - diesel fuel.

And for those ships (like mine) with gas turbines; each turbine burns an average of $60,000 in jet fuel every 24 hours.

Last edited by Philip217; April 20th, 2008 at 12:02 PM.
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