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 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.
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