Royal Caribbean's Ki>Anthem of the Seas, which suffered damage from high winds and waves while cruising off the East Coast this week, is slated to visit Bar Harbor this summer. FILE PHOTO

Anthem of the Seas to highlight cruise ship season



BAR HARBOR — The world’s third-biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, which sustained damage from winds and waves in a severe winter storm this week, is slated to make its maiden voyage to Maine this summer.

The ship, which was sent back to its New Jersey home port for repairs, should be good as new in plenty of time for her inaugural visit to Bar Harbor, set for Aug. 29. Three more visits are planned after that, on Sept. 12, Sept. 26 and Oct. 10. Anthem has a passenger capacity of 4,180.

The first cruise ship visit of 2016 is only two months away. A total of 121 ship visits are planned for the April thru October season, fewer than last year, but Anthem and other ships have larger passenger capacities.

No changes are recommended to the fee structure or passenger caps, Cruise Ship Committee Chairman Eben Salvatore said in an annual report to the Town Council last week.

Per-passenger fees were increased in the current budget for fiscal year 2016, Salvatore said, and the committee believes they should stay at the same level for 2017.

Councilor Burt Barker asked whether the town may be “reaching a saturation point” with the number of cruise ship passengers visiting.

Salvatore said the town’s current passenger caps, which are lower in the summer when more visitors arrive by land, are working well.

“I don’t think we’ve changed it in five years,” he said. “The last change we made gave [Harbormaster] Charlie Phippen a little more flexibility in what he books.”

University of Maine Professor Todd Gabe plans to conduct a study this summer on the economic impact of cruise ship visits, Salvatore said. Gabe and students did a similar study in 2002, concluding that cruise ships have a $12.5 million annual economic impact on the town.

“We get some valuable information from these studies,” Salvatore said, “and they basically won’t cost us anything.”

Gabe is set to meet with the committee March 11 to discuss the methodology of the upcoming study. A copy of the 2002 study is available in the town planning office.

In the 2015 season, there were 23 ship cancellations due to fog, wind or other weather conditions, Salvatore said. The cruise companies do not pay passenger fees to the town if they cancel a port visit. Cancellations in 2015 resulted in an estimated $67,000 in lost revenue.

The cruise ship committee has been updated regularly by Ranger John Kelly at Acadia National Park about the park’s transportation study and work towards a new transportation plan.

“The park and the town have different approaches on the impacts of the Route 3 rebuild project and the ferry terminal project,” Salvatore said.

Martha Searchfield and Melanie Graten of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce also reported to the council on the chamber’s informational services to cruise ship passengers.

Tour buses that pick up passengers near harbor place now drop them off at reserved parking slots on Mount Desert Street at the Village Green, giving businesses farther from the waterfront the potential benefit of more foot traffic. That bus drop-off point is one of the chamber’s visitor information locations, along with a kiosk on West Street and the visitor center at the corner of Cottage and Main streets. Last season, 161,713 visitors were assisted at one of these locations, Graten said.

Following Cruise Ship Committee requests, police have been available to help get buses back into traffic from these traffic stops. The buses now turn off their engines during drop-offs.

Bar Harbor Cruise Ship Schedule

Spring/Summer 2016

April 29      Veendam     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.     Harbor Place

May 13       Veendam     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.     Harbor Place

May 16       Saint Laurent        7 a.m. – 7 p.m.     Harbor Place

May 17       Marina        8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Harbor Place

May 18       Pearl Mist   7 a.m. – 5 p.m.     Harbor Place

May 29       Veendam     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.     Harbor Place

May 30       Grandeur of the Seas      8 a.m. – 6 p.m.     Harbor Place

May 30       Independence        7 a.m. – 3 a.m.     Town Pier

June 5         Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

June 10       Veendam     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.     Harbor Place

June 12       Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

June 19       Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

June 26       Veendam     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.     Harbor Place

June 26       Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

June 27       Grandeur of the Seas      8 a.m. – 6 p.m.     Harbor Place

July 3          Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

July 7          Insignia       8 a.m. – 8 p.m.     Harbor Place

July 8          Veendam     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.     Harbor Place

July 10        Veendam     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.     Harbor Place

July 10        Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

July 17        Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

July 18        American Glory    7 a.m. – 4 a.m.     Town Pier

July 21        Rotterdam   10 a.m. – 8 p.m.   Harbor Place

July 22        Veendam     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.     Harbor Place

July 24        Veendam     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.     Harbor Place

July 24        Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

July 25        American Glory    7 a.m. – 4 a.m.     Town Pier

July 29        Grande Caribe     7 p.m. – 11 p.m.  Town Pier

July 31        Independence        7 a.m. – 3 a.m.     Town Pier

Aug. 1         American Glory    7 a.m. – 3 a.m.     Town Pier

Aug. 5         Veendam     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.     Harbor Place

Aug. 7         Veendam     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.     Harbor Place

Aug. 7         Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

Aug. 8         Grandeur of the Seas      8 a.m. – 6 p.m.     Harbor Place

Aug. 8         American Glory    7 a.m. – 3 a.m.     Town Pier

Aug. 14       Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

Aug. 15       American Glory    7 a.m. – 3 a.m.     Town Pier

Aug. 19       Veendam     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.     Harbor Place

Aug. 20       Grande Caribe     8 a.m. – 5 a.m.     Town Pier

Aug. 21       Veendam     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.     Harbor Place

Aug. 21       Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

Aug. 28       Independence        7 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.          Town Pier

Aug. 29       Anthem of the Seas*       7 a.m. – 6 p.m.     Harbor Place

*Maiden voyage to Bar Harbor

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Liz Graves is managing editor of the Islander. She's a California native who came to Maine as a schooner sailor.lgraves@mdislander.com
Liz Graves

Latest posts by Liz Graves (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *