The Alaska Cruise Association, a group that Royal Caribbean is part of, has dropped its lawsuit against the state of Alaska over a cruise ship passenger tax. The bill passed by Alaska lawmakers this past Friday cuts the head tax from $46 to $34.50 and allows deeper offsets for ships stopping in at least one of two ports. It was signed by Governor Sean Parnell last week, and hailed as both as a way to settle the litigation and attract more ships and tourists.
In addition, cruise lines will be reimbursed an additional amount each time a ship calls in Juneau, Ketchikan or both.
The cruise association had placed at least partial blame on the tax and Alaska's regulatory climate for an expected loss of ships, and about 140,000 passengers, this season.
The tax was voted into law by Alaska residents in 2006 and was highly unpopular among the cruise lines and even argued to be illegal as it discriminates against the larger ships that carry more than 250 passengers. Experts blame much of the relocation of cruise ships away from Alaska stemming from the tax increase.