Cruise lines will pay new tax on private islands in the Bahamas

Your next cruise may cost more as officials in the Bahamas want cruise lines to pay more taxes on their popular private islands. 

Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and many other cruise lines all have private islands in the Bahamas, and now the local government wants a piece of the profit.

"Look, this is a money grab," said cruise expert Stewart Chiron, known as The Cruise Guy.

"At some point, the consumer will probably feel that," added president Anthony Hamawy

Cruise industry experts are starting to weigh in on the potential impact of a new 10% Value Added Tax in the Bahamas. The cruise lines have been exempt from paying the tax for years, but that changes next month. 

Officials say cruise lines will have to pay a tax on all goods and services provided on their private islands. That includes shore excursions, renting cabanas and chairs, or visiting the water park, to name a few. 

"If you are planning to get married, and you want to use a facility on one of these islands, they’re going to charge for that as well," Hamawy said. "It will ultimately reach the consumer; it’s just a matter of time."


Others say the new tax could end up pushing cruise lines away from the country.

"The countries are either going to be very friendly with them and work with them, or the cruise lines are going to look towards other new destinations that may provide a more positive experience," said Chiron. 

Chiron says the industry is still trying to figure out what the new tax really means. He says the Bahamian government needs to clarify what will be included in the new fees.

"What about the stuff that’s purchased beforehand?" he asked, noting how many purchases are made before people ever step foot on the island. 

FOX 35 asked these experts why the changes would happen now and what sparked the new tax. 

"Frankly, the cruise lines have been making a lot of noise about their private islands the last few years," Hamawy concluded. 

That noise is now translating into new fees for the industry and possibly passengers down the road. Cruise lines will have to foot the bill for now because the new tax starts on March 1.