As a result of the continued rapid escalation of fuel prices, the North American brands of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) have announced they will implement a fuel supplement of $5 per person per day.

The fuel supplement, which only applies to the first and second guests in a stateroom and will not exceed $70 per person per voyage, is effective on all bookings for voyages departing on or after Feb. 1, 2008 on the following Carnival Corporation & plc brands – Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and The Yachts of Seabourn.

According to Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison, the recent spike in fuel prices has dramatically impacted the company’s operating costs, thus necessitating the supplement. The price the company pays for fuel has increased 140 percent over the last three years, with a 50 percent increase occurring in just the last seven months.

“Earlier this year, we implemented a supplement for our European brands. We had hoped to avoid a similar supplement for our North American brands but with the price of oil approaching $100 a barrel this is no longer possible. The implementation of the fuel supplement beginning February 1 for our North American brands will result in consumers paying approximately one-third of our year-over-year fuel cost increases over the first six months of the fiscal year,” he said.

Arison added that the company had been considering a supplement for some time but held off as long as it could. “We are hopeful fuel prices will someday return to a level that will enable us to eliminate this supplement. Until then, we believe that guests sailing on our North American brands will understand the dilemma that soaring fuel prices has caused for our company and industry and that a fuel supplement was needed to enable us to continue offering the high quality cruises our guests have come to expect,” Arison explained.

The fuel supplement of $5 per person per day will be applied to all new and existing bookings for cruises on or after February 1, 2008. For existing reservations, travel agents will receive $10 per booking in administrative compensation for notifying their clients of the new fuel supplement and collecting the additional funds. Carnival Corporation & plc brands will provide additional information on the fuel supplement via their respective Web sites, as well as through various marketing and collateral materials.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Iberocruceros, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.

Together, these brands operate 84 ships totaling 156,000 lower berths with 21 new ships scheduled to enter service between December 2007 and June 2012. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Tours and Princess Tours, the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.