High Maine port votes to restrict cruise ships after residents complain about crowds

It is official: The largest cruise vacation spot in Maine will restrict the variety of cruisers that may arrive in any given month.

The city council of Bar Harbor, Maine, on Tuesday formally accepted an settlement with the cruise business that locations caps on cruiser arrivals throughout the vacationer season of between 30,000 and 65,000 a month beginning in 2023.

The settlement additionally bans cruise ship arrivals throughout the shoulder-season tourism months of April and November.

“We’ve had a transparent message from the general public that they need cruise ships decreased,” Bar Harbor city council member Erin Cough mentioned Tuesday upfront of a five-to-two vote to log out on the settlement. “At this level, we have been requested by our neighborhood to do one thing, and that is our greatest effort at doing one thing that’s cheap, and we should always go for it.”

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The vote came about throughout a televised city council assembly after a rigorous debate over whether or not the city council ought to first maintain a public listening to on the specifics of the settlement. The council determined to not maintain a public listening to earlier than approving the settlement however voted to carry a question-and-answer session with the general public in October to elucidate the settlement.

The settlement limits cruiser arrivals to 30,000 per thirty days in Might and June; 40,000 per thirty days in July and August; and 65,000 per thirty days in September and October. These are the six months when cruise ships have historically visited Bar Harbor.

In the course of the dialogue, Bar Harbor metropolis supervisor Kevin Sutherland famous the capability of cruise ships at the moment booked to go to Bar Harbor in each September and October of 2023 already exceeds the brand new limits.

Sutherland mentioned the surplus ship arrivals can be allowed in 2023 as a result of they have been booked earlier than the settlement was accepted. Nevertheless, he mentioned town had already begun telling cruise traces that shifting ahead it would not take any new docking reservations for ship arrivals throughout these months.

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As of now, there are cruise ships with a mixed capability of round 70,000 and 80,000 passengers scheduled to go to Bar Harbor in September and October of 2023, respectively, Sutherland mentioned.

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“Different boats which have requested [dockings in September and October] usually are not being honored, and there are a number of of them,” Sutherland mentioned. “I’ve already had a couple of conversations with a few of the traces [to tell them that additional calls they are requesting] will not be accepted for 2023.”

Along with month-to-month caps on cruise ship arrivals, Bar Harbor has additionally applied every day passenger caps that vary from 3,500 to three,800 individuals a day, relying on the month.

U.S.-flagged cruise vessels that carry fewer than 200 passengers, such because the coastal cruise vessels operated by American Cruise Strains, are exempt from the every day limits.

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Bar Harbor’s city council pursued an settlement with cruise traces to restrict cruiser arrivals because of rising unease within the city about hovering numbers of cruise guests. Some residents have known as for a whole ban on cruise ships, whereas others have wished to see important cutbacks in ship arrivals, citing rising congestion within the city.

Cruise ship arrivals to Bar Harbor have grown quickly lately, excluding 2020 and 2021, when the COVID-19-related shutdown of the cruise business induced ship arrivals to fall again.

In 2019, Bar Harbor welcomed 157 cruise ships that carried 250,164 passengers. This 12 months, projections have known as for 174 cruise ships to reach carrying 292,212 passengers.

In a 2021 survey of Bar Harbor residents and enterprise homeowners, 55% of respondents mentioned they seen cruise ships as having a destructive affect in town.

Bar Harbor is only one of a rising variety of locations together with Key West, Florida, and Venice, Italy, the place residents have been calling for brand spanking new limits on cruise ship arrivals, citing congestion and different detrimental results.

Bar Harbor residents can have an opportunity to vote on an much more restrictive coverage towards cruise ships in November. A citizen’s initiative that will restrict cruiser arrivals to 1,000 passengers per day is scheduled to be on the poll.

Cruise traces that function voyages with stops in Bar Harbor embody Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Oceania Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Windstar Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

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