Cruise NewsWe Want Cruise Passengers: Maine Businesses Sue Town Over Cruise Cuts

We Want Cruise Passengers: Maine Businesses Sue Town Over Cruise Cuts

Local shop owners in Bar Harbor, Maine are tired of cruise passengers being told they aren’t welcome in their town.  They are fighting back against a local ordinance.

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cruise ship docked in Bar Harbor Maine

The ordinance which was recently implemented, aims to reduce how many cruise passengers can visit their establishments.

It states that no more than 1,000 cruise passengers can visit the port per day, hampering the ability for these shops and storefronts to cash in from the summer cruise traffic.

According to news reports, business owners in Bar Harbor are now suing the town.  They are saying that the restrictive ordinance hurts the entire local economy.

The Association to Preserve and Protect Local Livelihoods (APPLL) is a non-profit that filed an injunction against the limiting ordinance.

Ocean Properties Director of Operations, Eben Salvatore, helped organize the group of local citizens to take the town to court.

More than 90% of our visitors annually come on ships larger than that. And as you can imagine, if you’re a cruise ship, to have to pick and choose who you would like to come ashore and who would have to stay on board, it’s not something that you will do, so they’re just not coming. It’s harmful to the taxpayers, it’s harmful to the businesses and the owners and their employees and families, etc.,” Salvatore stated.

New England and Canada cruise stops at Bar Harbor Maine
Aerial view of Bar Harbor, Maine in the autumn. Photo 52268073 / Bar Harbor © Joe Sohm | Dreamstime.com

These small businesses rely on tourism and cruise traffic for revenue.  On top of this the port fees help stimulate economic growth.

The injunction that was filed would prevent the ordinance from being enforced until a court can decide on the matter.

Cruise season has begun in Bar Harbor

Cruise ships just started calling at Bar Harbor as the warmer months have opened cruise sailings in the region.

This month Norwegian Gem and Holland America cruise ship ms Volendam have made visits to the Maine port.

These vessels have a passenger capacity of 2,394 and 1,432 respectively.  This means that neither of the cruise ships would be able to let every cruise passenger off the ship if the ordinance were enforced.

However, there was a condition in the ordinance when it was passed two years ago.   Ships that made reservations for the cruise port before the vote were allowed to stop in Bar Harbor without any restrictions.

Any ships that made reservations after the vote would be limited in how many travelers could get off the ship.

The ordinance faced resistance from the onset, but a federal district court ruled in February that the town was allowed to impose the restrictions.

The recent lawsuit now puts everything back in question.

Local residents speaking out

Speaking with WABI, Susan Stanley of Seagrass Gallery stated that Bar Harbor has always been a tourism town.

“It’s not just the cruise ships. It’s the fact that they bring people back,” Stanley said.

“We do receive well over a million dollars in cruise ship fees, and that money is able to go to our town parks, our bathrooms, our sidewalks, our streetlamps.”

The shop owner then gave a warning about the lack of cruise ship revenue being compensated in other ways.

“The only way to make up for the missing revenue is going to be raising our property taxes again. It’s got to be figured out somehow, and I think APPLL is more than willing to work with, you know, the other side about this, and I just hope that happens before it’s too late,” Staney concluded.

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise NewsWe Want Cruise Passengers: Maine Businesses Sue Town Over Cruise Cuts
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