Friday, February 8, 2008

Jones Act Starting To Draw More Attention

I have to say that this may become one of the biggest topics in 2008 in cruising. Suggested changes or interpretation changes in the Jones Act, a 120 plus year old law, would have a major impact on the U.S. economy well beyond cruise passengers just not getting to visit Alaska or Hawaii. I just read that Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles takes in about $119,000 each time a cruise ship is in, bringing in millions of dollars a year. That would all go by the waste side. If you are not familiar with what is going on. There is a proposal that would cause any cruise ship that visits 2 or more U.S. ports to spend a specific amount of time in a foriegn port. That time could be required to be as long as 48 hours. For ships that tend to spend no more than 8 to 1o hours in a port, this would cause major hiccups. Small towns in Alaska, Catalina Island, Hawaii, and some Eastern U.S. cities would be affected with loss of taxes, port fees, hotel revenue etc... With cruising increasing yearly, this could create an interesting outlook. One option, which is the most obvious is for the cruise ships to abandon these ports and only make trips to foriegn ports and back. The other option which does not sound smart would be to increase time in port, but that does not make money for the cruise lines but costs money and could easily discourage people from booking such cruises. The best option is for the people that are responsible for interpretation of this law to really sit down and think about what it really means. But at the rate the government moves, it may be a while before we find out what happens.

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