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Cruz Bay
Tuesday, September 27, 2022


Several months ago we did a little story on the fact that the cruise ship industry, in general, pays almost no taxes in the United States due to loopholes in the tax laws that the cruise lines take advantage of. And now they tell us, albeit with veiled implications, that if we try to increase the passenger fee for coming into St. Thomas, they will reroute ships or pull back on their scheduled visits.
We think they're bluffing. And we're not alone.
Furthermore, our fees are well within the industry stand for Caribbean ports, even with the $2.50 increase being considered on top of the existing $7.50. Many ports of call charge far more. Some charge less, but considering the popularity of St. Thomas, the range of services offered here and the pressing need for infrastructure improvements to serve those cruise passengers effectively, we think the increase is completely reasonable and in line.
Since the cruise lines will merely pass the $2.50 increase onto their passengers, we think they are just posturing — and that is to be expected. No one wants to pay more in fees or taxes.
But we need the fees to support the infrastructure that supports the cruise lines. We need to maintain and upgrade our roadways, provide better police protection and beautify many of the areas that our visitors enjoy if we are to remain the No. 1 cruise destination in the Caribbean.
We urge the senators who have supported the head-tax increase to have courage and not be strong-armed by an industry that needs us as much as we need it.
Remember the National Park fee issue on St. John? The cruise lines haven't stopped coming and that was a $4 increase. We hear, actually, that some of the lines turned the $4 into $8 when they passed it on to their passengers.
We're worth it! At least that's what the passengers think.

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