Bar Harbor Says Yes To Pier For Mega Cruise Ships

Bar Harbor, Maine held elections yesterday. Voters decided to say yes to the cruise industry and no to those opposing the mega ships docking in this tiny New England town of town of 5,235 citizens.

The cruise industry has brought a tourism boom to an otherwise missed Maine travel destination town located far from Maine cities.

It was fought by residents from other Maine towns and cities outside of Maine who own  property in Bar Harbor, but only use or lease out their property in the summer. They are largely absentee property owners.

Bar Harbor is 174 miles from the cruise ship port of Portland, Maine, 47 miles from Bangor,  Maine and 132 miles from the nearest Canadian town traveled by road,  in Saint Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada.

Voters approved a zoning plan by 945 to 658 votes in favor of Article 12, a zoning plan proposed by the town that allows the development of an abandoned ferry terminal and possible pier outside of downtown Bar Harbor.

Town cruise ship passenger statistics show 180,000 cruise passengers came to Bar Harbor in 2016.

A competing citizen referendum, Article 13, would have imposed a 300 foot limit on ship length that could dock at the terminal. It resulted in a vote of 925-679 against the legislation.

That length would rule out all cruise ships other than  local tour boats such as Bar Harbor Whale Watch, Acadian Boat Tours, Lulu Lobster Boat Ride, Rachel B Jackson Schooner, 151-foot Schooner Margaret Todd and the 195-foot-long American Cruise Lines’ Independence to use the pier. But, it would not allow full-size cruise ships, which we reported before the election.

Without the pier, cruise ships would have to continue to tender into port, a process which reduces time for exploring the town, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole and Jordan Pond or dining on fresh caught Maine lobster in local restaurants.  The time reduction also hindered a visit  to the very popular Acadia National Park if other local exploration was on a passenger’s port call agenda.

Cruise ships calling at Bar Harbor can be found on our Bar Harbor Cruise Port Schedule.

We also have live, real time cruise ship weather radar for Bar Harbor, Maine and Portland, Maine.