BAR HARBOR — The published schedule of cruise ship visits for 2015 shows the town on track to set a new record this summer with 140 scheduled port calls. That’s up three from 2014 which set the previous record.
Several vessels will be making their maiden voyages to Bar Harbor including the Regal Princess, the Liberty of the Seas, the AIDAdiva and Albatros. And, one of the perennial favorites, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, is slated to visit again in September.
In all, approximately 170,000 passengers and more than 100,000 crew members will be aboard those ships. According to a cruise industry study, approximately 73 percent of the passengers actually come ashore in any given port. Those that do come ashore spend an average of $220 although much of that can be on pre-packaged excursions.
Bar Harbor caps the number of cruise ship passengers that can be in town on any given day at 5,500 in June, September and October. The number, which is based on a ship’s lower occupancy limit, is lower in July and August – 3,500.
The size of ships vary from the 161-foot American Glory, which carries 49 passengers and ties up at the head of the municipal pier, to the massive Liberty of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean. The Liberty of the Seas is 1112-feet long, and can carry 3,634 passengers and a crew of 1,360. It is among the 20 largest ocean liners in the world.
Port calls to Bar Harbor began last Saturday with the arrival of the Maasdam, a Holland America ship that is no stranger to Frenchmans Bay.
She, and her sister ship, the Veendam, will stop off Bar Harbor a total of 38 times.
Several ships will be making their inaugural visits to Bar Harbor. The include the Liberty of the Seas as well as the Regal Princess which is operated by Princess Cruise Lines. The Princess is 1079-feet long and can carry 3,600 passengers and a crew of up to 2,000.
Also making its first stop is the Albatros, operated by Phoenix Reisen Company. She is 583-feet long and can accommodate 812 passengers who are tended to by a crew of 300.
The AIDAdiva, the newest vessel in the lineup offered by AIDA Cruises, is slated to drop anchor for the first time on Sept. 25. At 816-feet long she can carry up to 2,050 passengers and a crew of 646.
Several days are scheduled to have more than one large ship in port at the same time. When that happens vessels are often assigned to anchorage “B” that is located north of Bar Island in the bay.
Two ships are expected on May 24, June 21, July 12, July 19, August 2, Sept. 5 and 6, Sept. 10, Sept. 23 and 29, 30 and Oct. 1, 2, 4, 9, 11, 14,16,21, and 27.
Three ships are expected on June 7, July 5, Aug. 30, Sept. 6, 13, 20, 25, and Oct. 7, 8, and 13.
Four ships, including the Veendam, Peal Mist, Independence and Maasdam, are scheduled for June 14.
Except for the smaller American Cruise Lines vessels that tie up to the head of the pier, all ships rest at anchor and passengers are brought ashore in smaller tenders. Most arrive and depart from One Harbor Place adjacent to the town pier.
Bar Harbor is the busiest cruise ship port in the State of Maine. Rockland and Eastport log a handful of stops each season. Portland, which has a pier where large ocean-going vessels can tie up allowing easier shore access for passengers, logged about 60 cruise ship visits in 2014.