Alaska’s new rules to reduce cruise port retail rip-offs

On board cruise ship port lecturers sailing to Alaska will now have to disclose that they are paid to promote certain stores after complaints were made that they were misleading passengers and discrediting other local shops.

The announcement follows a US$200,000 settlement between the state and three Florida-based companies that pay cruise lines to have their port lecturers on board, Onboard Media, Royal Media Partners and the PPI Group, Associated Press reported.

Although the companies were not required to admit to any wrongdoing, they did have to agree to notify passengers that port lecturers do not work for cruise lines and are hired to promote certain stores and products.

The agreement also forbids them from criticising stores that are not involved with the program.

Assistant state attorney general Ed Sniffen explained that the programs had received complaints from passengers that they were being ripped off, spending up to US$20,000 for a two-karate diamond, which was really only worth US$5,000.

A statement from Onboard Media explained that the settlement just formalised policies the company was already following.

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