Cruise companies would pay a fee of $50 for each passenger sailing Alaskan waters under a bill being considered by the state legislature. The bill, which passed the state Senate by a 14-6 vote and is now under review by the state House, is one of several proposals at the state and local levels to better control the burgeoning cruise ship crowds in Alaska.
Over 600,000 cruise passengers visited the Inside Passage in the state's southeast panhandle last year, more than double the number recorded a decade ago. State Sen. Rick Halford, the measure's sponsor, said the fee was a bargain for companies that reap huge financial rewards selling Alaska tours. The companies pay a $10-per-passenger fee in Vancouver, British Columbia and other ports of embarkation, he said in floor debate.