Over the years, Royal Caribbean has been sued by the State of Florida for antitrust violations for its confusing advertisements. The cruise line previously agreed to end its misleading advertised cruise fares, including failing to reveal hidden fuel supplements. An agreement signed by cruise executive Adam Goldstein is attached. Royal Caribbean and sister company paid a settlement of $21,000,000.
But it doesn’t seem like Royal Caribbean learned its lesson.
The Tampa Bay Times has exposed shenanigans between Royal Caribbean and the former and present Florida Attorney Generals which suggest that the cruise line is still trying to conceal the true price of a Royal Caribbean cruise fare.
Royal Caribbean hired former Attorney General Bill McCollum last year to meet with his successor, current Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Royal Caribbean’s general counsel Brad Stein in an effort to conceal the true costs of its cruise fare.
The Tampa Bay Times writes: "Royal Caribbean’s advertised rates would no longer have to include fees for services like baggage handling and loading cargo. The fees, which can inflate a trip’s cost by more than $100, could be listed separately from the company’s advertised rates."
The Times explains that McCollum didn’t register himself or his client Royal Caribbean with the state "which is a requirement for anyone who lobbies the executive branch."
McCollum claims that as a lawyer he’s exempt from registering as a lobbyist.
McCollum’s firm contributed $650,000 to Bondi’s re-election campaign over a two year period.
In my view, it seems that the Republican controlled Florida Attorney General is open for secret business for her friends and corporations lacking transparency like Royal Caribbean.
Earlier this year the Miami Herald reported that John Fox, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ vice president for government relations, met with the chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission and voiced the cruise line’s opposition to a proposal to build a new soccer stadium next to the cruise company’s headquarters at the Port of Miami.
Miami-Dade rules require company principals to register if they are going to discuss items pending before the county with government officials.
Royal Caribbean called the lack of registration an "oversight."
Photo Credit: Rick Flagg, Florida Broadband News