Actually, Mickey, you'd be amazed at how much tax you may have been paying as a nonresident visitor to many different places. Most major cities in the U.S. have high hotel taxes, many of which are used to fund sports stadiums and other tourist-dependent projects. Similar situations exist with rental cars too.
What bothers me about this tax is that it is such a large hit all at once, and has some onerous requirements of the cruise lines. As you mentioned, it's aimed at one specific group, namely cruise passengers, as opposed to a tax on all visitors to the state. It was pushed by a group of environmental organizations, and was opposed by virtually all businesses connected to tourism in Alaska. The referendum passed by a fairly slim margin, as I recall.
What bothers me, the Tax was passed in Aug, The Cruise lines continued to sell tickets thru the fall at the lower rate.. knowing full ware that they were going to tack on another $50.00 pp in January. Why not just be honest about it?
The tax was voted in by the Alaskan voters in August. It for some reason still had to be approved through channels. The cruise lines had to wait until it was approved, so they aren't being dishonest in asking for the tax now.
From this link it sounds like it was a done deal ia Aug.
I have been a business man all my life, I have passed on the needed increases, but have never had to back charge for something I knew in advance. They knew this was coming, they should have adjusted their prices, but choose to keep them lower for the fall market. That is not honest.
My understanding is that the tax takes effect for cruises which enter Alaska starting in May 2007. The vote had to be certified, challenges addressed in court, yada yada yada. I assume this is the reason for the delay in charging the tax.
I am not saying it is not worth another $50., I just do not like the way it was done, be upfront and do not keep selling cruises for a price when you know you will have to increase the price.
For the record I will probably cruise there again, but have a few other ports I want to hit again.