The Governor of Alaska, Sean Parnell, signed into law a bill that reduces the state head tax on cruise passengers that will lower the head tax from $46 to as little as $19.50 per person. The tax hike had caused cruise lines like Royal Caribbean to send their ships elsewhere to avoid paying the higher costs. Loss of business as a result of the withdrawal is estimated at $25 million for Juneau alone this year.
Last month, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell proposed the agreement to persuade several major cruise lines -- which claimed the tax was unfair and possibly illegal -- to drop a lawsuit they had filed against the state to contest the tariff, which was passed in a 2006 vote by Alaska residents as part of a larger initiative.
The new tax law comes into effect in October 2010, but it will be 2012 at least before ships can be re-routed as 2011 itineraries are already planned.
We reported earlier today of a Pennsylvania man that was arrested by the FBI for fondling a young boy on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Royal Caribbean has issued a statement to USA TODAY newspaper regarding the incident.
"Royal Caribbean maintains a zero tolerance policy regarding any criminal activity onboard our ships. Any allegation of a crime is treated seriously and reported to law enforcement.
On December 18, a guest onboard Liberty of the Seas brought Mr. Stevenson's alleged inappropriate behavior to the attention of a crew member. Royal Caribbean's onboard security immediately responded and preserved information and potential evidence that could be helpful to law enforcement. The incident was immediately reported to the FBI and the Miami-Dade police department, and Mr. Stevenson was confined to his stateroom.
On December 20, the ship was met at the Port of Miami by the FBI and Miami-Dade Police Department officers who conducted an investigation onboard. We will continue to support law enforcement agencies during their prosecution of this allegation."
A 71 year old man from Clinton, Pennsylvania was charged with with traveling with intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct after he admitted he took a December 2009 cruise on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas so he could have a sexual encounter a child.
Authorities say Stevenson went into the children's area during a December cruise and fondled a 6-year-old boy in a hot tub. The FBI says surveillance footage shows Stevenson putting his arm around the boy and pulling him onto his lap.
A trial date has not been set yet for the case.
HeadsUp Entertainment International Inc., operators the Canadian Poker Tour, announced that they will hold a "Poker Super Cruise" on the Freedom of the Seas launching March 23, 2011 from Port Canaveral, Florida. The event will span two weeks and two cruises, covering a Western and Eastern itinerary. In addition to holding the event on the ship, HeadsUp announced that a major television deal is currently being finalized that will allow for broadcast of the event and allow for sponsorship revenues to increase dramatically from previous events.
HeadsUp is also scheduling dates for additional cruises departing from other ports and anticipates ultimately hosting up to 6 cruise events annually.
"The expansion of the poker vacation market has become a major focus for the Company as revenues are maximized in this event structure," commented HeadsUp President and CEO Kelly B. Kellner. "The event earlier this year was testament to a growing demand in the Canadian and international marketplace and building this proprietary revenue model will be a substantial move to increasing shareholder value."
Christopher Elliott has written up some really interesting aspects of the cruise industry that you might want to look into before going on your next cruise to avoid these pitfalls. Some you may know and others are less well known but the article as a whole is a good read. These are definitely good to know about to safeguard yourself against a potential problem on your next cruise. There are seven of these, but here's just one.
Royal Caribbean has partnered with RLJ Companies, Global Building Solutions, LLC and Haiti-based WIN Group, to build two structured insulated panel manufacturing facilities that will provide construction materials for building housing and critical infrastructure in and around key business centers in Haiti. Royal Caribbean, the second largest investor in Haiti, is helping to rebuild a nation devastated by natural disaster.
"While the situation in Haiti is extremely challenging, our team was very encouraged by President Preval's leadership, his commitment to political stability, openness towards the international business community, and desire for further investment," said Johnson. "We had a very constructive visit, and I've no doubt that bringing together international and local businesses with a broad range of expertise will allow this project to help meet the country's crucial housing and infrastructure needs."
Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean hopes that the new plan will further assist in rebuilding Haiti and work in nicely with the initiatives Royal Caribbean has already undertaken to help the area, "Since the devastating earthquake earlier this year, we have been assisting Haiti in its recovery by providing basic life necessities: medical supplies, water, food and education. Royal Caribbean is currently building a model school in Labadee. What better way to help rebuild a country than by contributing to a strong education for its children? We will be acquiring materials from GBS and are using local Haitian labor to build the school. We are pleased to join with The RLJ Companies, GBS, and the WIN Group, in furthering our commitment in Haiti" .
A Miami-Dade County Jury awarded Steven Pavone $1.7 in damages against Royal Caribbean for a fall Pavone suffered dating back to August 2001, where Pavone claimed he slipped and fell due to oil on the ground from a fog machine. He claims that the shoulder injury, due to the fall, ended his trumpeting career.
Pavone's lawsuit claimed the shoulder injury ended a beloved trumpeting career, since he is only able to lift the instrument for about an hour at a time. The Miami Beach resident now works part-time as an usher at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center. ``This whole thing has turned his life upside down,'' said Pavone's lawyer, Luis Perez.
In a statement by Royal Caribbean after the jury rendered their verdict, Royal Caribbean "feels the amount awarded is not supported by the evidence and are currently evaluating our appellate options".
Royal Caribbean has announced that Dominic Paul will become the managing director for the UK and Ireland. Paul, who is now chief operating officer at bmi will join the cruise giant in September 2010. In addition to his other duties, Paul will be responsible for the management of Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s year-round UK and Ireland dedicated ship.
Southampton, England is called the cruise capital of the United Kingdom and for good reason. The BBC is reporting that business here is booming with lots of cruise ships calling the port home as well as making stops here. Royal Caribbean is no different, having Independence of the Seas and Vision of the Seas call this port home. With steady business from Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines, the people of Southampton are reaping the benefits of having so many cruisers come through their city.
"Every cruise ship brings in the average of £1.2m per ship, so you're talking in terms of £350m benefit to the local economy."
It's no secret that Royal Caribbean has been favoring sending their ships from North America to Europe to help quench the demand for cruises that many Europeans have been seeking. This seems to be just one of many popular ports in Europe that is benefiting from an upswing in Europeans' desire to go on a cruise vacation.