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Bar Harbor is a port town on Mount Desert Island (Hancock County, Maine USA), with population around 5,000. It is a very popular tourist destination in Maine's Down East region. The small town is nationwide famous with its MDI Biological Laboratory (1898-founded independent nonprofit biomedical research facility), The Jackson Laboratory (JAX - large research facility specializing in mammalian genetics, nonprofit with over 2100 employees), College of the Atlantic (COA - private liberal-arts college).
However, Bar Harbor is best-known for Acadia National Park, which includes ~1/2 of Mount Desert Island (Cadillac Mountain) plus adjacent smaller isles. The town is served by Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (in Trenton ME), located approx 15 km (9 ml) northwest of downtown Bar Harbor. The county-owned airport serves regularly scheduled domestic flights (carriers Elite Airways, Peninsula Airways, Cape Air, PenAir) connecting to Boston MA, Newark NJ and Vero Beach FL. Regularly scheduled ferries connect to Canada (Yarmouth Nova Scotia)
In close proximity to downtown, Acadia National Park offers numerous outdoor activities, such as hiking, trekking, biking, mountain climbing, bird watching. Tourists interested in island's marine life can visit the yacht marina (at the end of Main Street) and sign up for boat tours for wildlife viewing (puffins, whales, seals, lobster, pelagic seabirds) or harbour cruises.
In 2016, the port handled 105 cruise ship calls and around 169,000 passengers. During season 2016, cruise tourists spent at Bar Harbor around USD 15 million, with total economic impact USD 20,2 million (based on an University of Maine study). To these figures must be added passenger fees (USD 0,7 million) paid to the city. Also additional is spending by crew and cruise companies themselves. The study team handed out surveys to cruise passengers arriving at Harbor Place or Harborside Dock. Tourists returned 2231 surveys by mail (47% response rate). According to the study, 138,285 passengers disembarked in the cruise port in 2016. This was 87% of vessels' combined passenger capacity (163,000 pax). Note: passenger fees are based on ship's capacity. The study also showed that in 2016, around 2 million tourists visited Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, of which cruisers were around 10%.
During season 2017, the cruise port handled a total of 171 ship calls (40% increase over 2016) and over 225,000 passengers.
Bar Harbor cruise terminal
Bar Harbor ME is a tender cruise port, which means cruise liners anchor in Frenchman Bay and their passengers are transported to the pier via ship's tender boats.
After the ship drops anchor, cruise passengers are ferried back and forth to one of port's 2 docks in downtown. From there, they can connect (with trolleys and buses) to local attractions, including Acadia National Park.
(NEW) Bar Harbor cruise terminal "Marine Atlantic"
As tendering passengers increases cruise companies' costs, there is a plan for conversion of port's old international ferry terminal (on Eden Street) to a combined ferry-cruise terminal facility.
The town voted on June 13, 2017 (Article 12) to re-zone the old ferry terminal. Following the vote (945 to 658), the town purchased the state-owned Marine Atlantic property (former ferry terminal) from Maine Department of Transportation. This facility currently serves two Bay Ferries ships (The Cat, The Bluenose) connecting Bar Harbor with Nova Scotia Canada (Yarmouth).
- In February 2019 was signed a 5-year lease deal (until 2024) with annual rent CAD 264,000.
- By the lease agreement, Bay Ferries started a major terminal renovation project that includes demolition and rebuilding of Customs Plaza, as well as renovation of outbuildings and portions of terminal building's interior.
- Customs Plaza's renovation also includes installing new equipment (required by US Customs and Border Protection), repairs to the existing docking pier, installing a new fixed bridge section (adjacent to the pier), transfer of the floating ferry ramp from Portland to Bar Harbor.
- Nova Scotia contributed to the cost of ferry terminal's border services. Since the Maine-Nova Scotia ferry service was resumed (2015-2018), the NS government spent CAD 32 million in subsidies.
Article 12's zoning change allows cruise (and other) vessels to dock at the ferry terminal. Several lawsuits (filed by locals) were against this port development project. As of 2019, Ferry Terminal Visioning Committee has approved the state-owned property to be used as multi-use terminal. The current deal includes a 5-year lease for the CAT ferry providing daily connections Bar Harbor-Yarmouth. Other terminal uses could include a possible yacht marina, boat storage, overflow parking (for tourists), cruise ship tendering.
The town has a webpage dedicated to materials developed by consultants and the local committee process. More information can be found at barharbormaine.gov/393/Ferry-Terminal. Anyone interested in this issue could follow port developments on the website.
Port Bar Harbor cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Bar Harbor, Maine. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|5 May, 2019|
|10 May, 2019|
|12 May, 2019|
|15 May, 2019|
|20 May, 2019|
|Grandeur Of The Seas||08:00||18:00|
|22 May, 2019|
|24 May, 2019|
|26 May, 2019|
|27 May, 2019|
|Adventure Of The Seas||07:00||18:00|
The Bar Harbor cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Bar Harbor, Maine.
If you lose the Bar Harbor location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
- Cruise Industry
The 2019 cruise ship season in Maine began with Bar Harbor getting its third cruise ship visit on Friday, May 10, and Portland which got its first...May 13, 2019
- Cruise Industry
Bay Ferries will lease part of Bar Harbor ferry terminal for at least CAD 264,000 per year for the next 5 years as part of line's Yarmouth-Maine...February 20, 2019
- Cruise Industry
A new residents association formed in Bar Harbor trying to block the proposed transition of the former ferry terminal into cruise ship berthing...September 16, 2017
- Cruise Industry
Maine is on track to boast a record cruise ship season this year. The state is expecting a total of 423 vessels with more than 380,000...September 10, 2017
- Cruise Industry
A cruise ship sailed through the Northwest Passage for the first time in history. Before reaching her final destination, yesterday ...September 14, 2016
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