Alaska and the Cruise Industry Go to Court
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 09.29.09 | 2:12 PM ET
With several major cruise lines headed into the courtroom to challenge Alaska’s $50-per-cruise-passenger “head tax,” Rob Lovitt takes a broader look at the uneasy relationship between the cruise industry and the state. Here’s his take on a return visit to Skagway after a 20-year absence:
I was gobsmacked by the changes. Instead of one ship, there were three, each of which probably carried 2,000-2,500 passengers. With 6,000-plus cruisers unloading simultaneously, Broadway was more or less impassable, and while the Sweet Tooth and Red Onion were still there, they were joined by the likes of Del Sol, Tanzanite International and other absurdly out-of-place outposts of Caribbean kitsch.
And it’s not just Skagway. A recent editorial in the Juneau Empire bemoaned the “yuck factor” created by the dozens of jewelry stores and trinket shops along the city’s main tourist drag. Written, surprisingly enough, by a local economic development booster, the piece didn’t single out the cruise industry, but it doesn’t take an advanced degree in tourism management to realize that cruise ships and curio shops go together like buffet lines and bulging waistlines.