JUDGE upheld an initiative last week that will allow
voters to decide whether to impose a $50 per-person head tax on
foreign-flagged cruise ships. If approved, cruise ships visiting
Alaska will incur a $50 per-person head tax and a tax on onboard
gambling profits; it also would require ships to obtain discharge
permits and would reinstate an income tax on the lines' Alaska
marine operations. In January 2005 the North West CruiseShip Assn.
and 14 other groups sued the state and its division of elections,
claiming Alaska's lieutenant governor unlawfully certified the
initiative. The initiative is scheduled to appear on the primary
election ballot in August.
CRUISE LINE and ROYAL CARIBBEAN INT'L
each unveiled plans for new shipside activities last week. RCCL
unveiled the latest amenity on Freedom of the Seas, set for a June
debut: a regulation Everlast boxing ring. NCL's next ship, the
Norwegian Pearl, will debut in 2007 with a bowling
LINE became the latest cruise company to put Wi-Fi access
aboard its ships. Two vessels, the Opera and the Lirica, will have
hot spots in various areas throughout the ship, including on the
pool decks and in select bars, cafes and lounges. Wi-Fi access
cards can be purchased onboard.
CRUISES will not call in Libya this May on its Insignia
ship's route from Barcelona to Lisbon. The cruise line has
indefinitely removed Tripoli and Benghazi from its Mediterranean
itinerary citing immigration complications that make it difficult
to guarantee passengers entry into the country. According to the
U.S. State Department's Web site, travelers with an Israel stamp on
their passports are not allowed to enter Libya. The itinerary will
instead include stops on the Italian coast.
CRUISES will offer the first departures from Dubai, United
Arab Emirates, beginning in December. Costa will homeport two of
its ships in Dubai for the winter season and offer 25 seven-day
cruises until April. Itineraries will includes stops in call in
Oman, Bahrain and other UAE ports.