Royal Caribbean is threatening the tiny town of Rockland, Maine after it decided to increase its cruise ship fee to $6 per passenger.  Royal Caribbean wants the fee to stay at $1.

The AP is reporting that Rockland (population 7,000) increased its head tax to help reasonsbly compensate the community for the substantial costs imposed on town’s infrastructure by cruise ship visits.

Royal Caribbean Cruise - Tax - Rockland MaineRoyal Caribbean told the Maine Public Broadcasting Network that the fee increase "is excessive and ill timed given current economic conditions."

The giant cruise line is threatening that the higher fee will jeopardize a port of call by the Jewel of the Seas, which is scheduled to arrive in October. 

Other ports in Maine charge higher fees, such as Portland, Maine which charges $9 per passenger.  Alaska charges $34.50 per person, down from $50.

Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean pay zero federal taxes on the $6,000,000,000 (billion) in cruise fares from mostly U.S. tax-paying citizens – by flagging their cruise ships in foreign countries.  And there is no doubt that the cruise lines are making money hand over fist.  Forbes announced three cruise tycoons as some of the richest people in the world – "Cruise Line Fat Cat Billionaires."

So just $1 a person?  Or Royal Caribbean will pull its Jewel of the Seas out of Rockland?  

Rockland should call the city managers in Norwich, England whose facilities have been inundated with sick passengers returning from the norovirus contaminated Jewel of the Seas for the past month, and ask them about the real costs associated with entertaining such huge cruise ships. 

Scare tactics.  What a basis for a meaningful relationship.

The so-called "Alaska Cruise Association" (more properly called the Miami Cruise Association) has been caught exaggerating the effects of Alaska’s $50 per person "head tax." 

The Juneau Empire reports in an article by Pat Forgey entitled "Attack On A Tax" that the cruise industry is misleading the public.  Cruise lines claim that cruise prices have dropped as low as $300, and the $50 tax is driving passengers away from cruising to Alaska.

The newspaper reports that cruise passengers actually pay around $2,000 a cruise. Also, most passengers believe that a $50 tax is negligible and has no have an effect on their decision to book a cruise.

The most revealing and disturbing part of the article is that cruise industry spokesman, John Binkley, considers financial information regarding cruises to Alaska to be "proprietary and confidential."  The cruise industry keeps the information secret notwithstanding the fact that both Carnival and Royal Caribbean, which carry 80 percent of the cruise ship passengers to Alaska, are publicly traded companies which are required to report financial data to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This is business as usual for the cruise industry.  Its credibility for facts is historically dubious. Cruise lines are the least transparent industry by far.  As I have reported in previous articles, the non-tax paying and polluting cruise industry’s real motivation to to punish Alaska for its strict pollution regulations

Another newspaper in Alaska reported on the cruise industry’s big lies. The Alaska Daily News calls the $300 cruise ticket a "myth" perpetuated by the cruise industry.  The two comments to the story sum up the truth about the cruise industry’s attack on Alaska:

  • "Multi-national cruise ship hirelings in Alaska beat this big lie about the $50 head tax and its impact on passenger decisions to death and lost all credibility as a result . . .  Alaska’s regulations are a model for other places and this scares the industry."
  • "No surprise here, other than the cruise industry got caught telling tall tales."

 

 

Photo credit:

Polluting cruise ship     www.ecollo.com