BAR HARBOR — With a distinct paint scheme of bright red lips painted on its bow, the cruise ship AIDAdiva was prominent on the clear water of Frenchman Bay as it made its first visit to Bar Harbor last Friday as part of a 10-day voyage from New York to Montreal.
Operated by the German cruise line AIDA Cruises, a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation, it caters mostly to the German-speaking market.
Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce administrative services manager Keri Conlon and events coordinator Jenny Bishop led a local delegation to welcome the ship and exchange commemorative plaques with the captain.
Built by Meyer Werft, the Sphinx-class cruise ship was launched in March 2007. It can carry 2,500 passengers and more than 600 crewmembers.
Of the 10 ships in AIDA’s fleet, AIDAdiva was the first one of its size.
“She is our old lady,” said port operations manager Alexandra Schmidt. “She’s the first ship, so it’s something special.”
During the exchange of gifts on the bridge deck, Captain Nikos Nitschai was offered fresh lobsters by Bar Harbor Town Manager Cornell Knight.
On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, Nitschai also was presented with a plaque. “This is my first time here, and I really like it. Except for the thousands of lobster pots, it’s unbelievable,” he quipped.
Deborah Dyer of the Bar Harbor Historical Society presented historical walking maps of town. The society has a large collection of plaques from cruise ships’ first visits over the years. “This is to let you and people on board know a little more of the history of Bar Harbor,” said Dyer as she welcomed the ship, its crew and passengers, to town.
On the ship’s bridge, the discussion turned to the experience of the crew, living on the water for months on end. “It is average for a European to be on board for five months,” noted Schmidt, adding that meeting people from different parts of the world was a part of her work she really enjoyed. “It just gives you a totally different perspective of the society and it’s great.”
Knight, who earlier that day visited Maasdam, another cruise ship that was visiting the town, said it was interesting to walk the bridge deck, meet the captain and “see the behind the scenes of it.”
“A lot of work goes into getting passengers through the system and into the ports. It’s quiet interesting.”