Carnival Considers Lawsuit Against Alaska

As a last resort, Carnival is considering filing a lawsuit against the state of Alaska over the $50 per passenger cruise tax.

"Our intention is to file the litigation relatively soon," said Micky Arison, CEO of Carnival, during a press conference aboard the new Seabourn Odyssey, according USA TODAY. "I think we've pretty much exhausted all other outlets."

Although Alaskan voters approved the cruise tax three years ago, Carnival has always seen the tax as "illegal and unconstitutional" but steered away from a lawsuit in hopes of settling with Alaskan officials. With the problem unresolved, Carnival’s only option is to file a lawsuit.

"We tried over several legislative sessions to convince the powers that be (it was illegal) and that it also was not in the interest of Alaska economically, (but) we have not been successful," Arison said.

This month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down a tax on oil tankers in Valdez, Alaska, supports the company's position that the cruise tax violates the "tonnage clause" of the U.S. Constitution, Arison said.

"It came down exactly the way we anticipated, (saying) that states do not have the right to charge taxes on ships in that manner," Arison said.

Carnival, along with other cruise lines, suggests that the $50-per passenger tax is linked to the drop in demand for Alaska cruises over the past year. Due to the limited interest, many lines are reducing cruise volume in Alaska in 2010.

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