If you haven’t followed the Alaska cruise saga I’ll sum it up:
Basically locals were getting annoyed that lines were sending more and increasing larger ships to their ports. Passengers were overwhelming tiny port towns and ruining the waterfront. The ships were also ruining the environment both above water, exhaust fumes, and below water, legal and illegal discharging.
The solution was a recent tax on every passenger (head tax) that called in each Alaska port. The lines couldn’t afford to pay this for the passenger so they passed it along to the passenger.
Then it was realized last year, the first year of the tax, that the Alaska cruise market was down as lines didn’t send as many ships there and people weren’t booking as many trips up there.
So then came last March when Alaska officials came down to Miami for the annual cruise convention. Cruise executives lobbied the Alaskan government to help them out saying how great the industry was for then economy. Alaskan officials listened, and as of last Friday, AP is reporting that the cruise lines, in a shocking partnership between Carnival and Royal Caribbean, dropped a lawsuit against the state. They said they would drop the suite if and only if the state passed a law that lowered the head tax. Which they did. [See Update]
Is this a win-win? They lines get a lower tax price, and the state gets money to (hopefully if its used right) clean the harborfront and environment. It may seem so. But its is really up to the lines and passengers to be responsible and the state to use the tax money on nothing else other than what needs to be helped out in the fragile environment of Alaska.
An ironic saying goes something like: The lines were polluting the very nature they were selling.
UPDATE: Uber-Cruise-Website CruiseCritic is reporting the details on the law. This just seems like a sketchy deal, but these things happen:
Although the base head tax will only be lowered to $34.50 per person, Terry Harvey, a spokesman from State Rep. Cathy Munoz’s office, says cruise lines will be reimbursed [emphasis CruiseInd’s] an additional amount each time a ship calls in Juneau, Ketchikan or both. Refunds will total $7 per person for calls in Ketchikan and $8 per person for calls in Juneau; if a sailing calls in both ports (which 75 percent of Alaska cruises do), $15 per person will be refunded to the line, thus reducing the amount from $34.50 to $19.50 per person.
source: AP via MSNBC