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January 26, 2018

Bar Harbor cruise ship number continues to rise

Photo / Peter Van Allen
Photo / Peter Van Allen
The former Bay Ferries Ltd. terminal is under consideration by the town of Bar Harbor for purchase and use as a cruise ship terminal.

The number of cruise ships scheduled to arrive in Bar Harbor the 2018 season is 14 more than 2017.

The Mount Desert Islander reported that 180 ship visits are scheduled. That brings an estimated 6,000 more passengers. The season will also last slightly longer: beginning April 20 rather than last year's April 23, and ending Nov. 4 instead of Nov. 1.

Cruise Ship Committee Chair Eben Salvatore told the Town Council that lengthening the season is good for business in Bar Harbor.

"We have a world-class opportunity and resource," Councilor Gary Friedmann said. "I think Bar Harbor is a leader in the state, and we're an economic driver, and we need to start looking at ourselves that way."

In 2016, Bar Harbor was rated No. 2 among U.S. and Canada destinations by Cruise Critic, a cruise review and information site. Bar Harbor was rated No. 3 in 2017.

To alleviate congestion at the downtown wharf where passengers are tendered in, and where tour buses meet them, the town of Bar Harbor has been considering the purchase of the former CAT ferry terminal on Route 3, a mile-and-a-half from downtown Bar Harbor, for $3.5 million, in order to split cruise ship traffic.

A committee recommendation also includes turning the terminal into a multi-use marine facility that includes not only cruise ship tendering but also public transportation, recreation and commercial fishing.

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