290,000 guests expected in 2022 and residents say it is too many.
A survey of Bar Harbor residents and business owners found that more than half of the respondents felt that cruise ship tourism had a negative impact overall on the town.
Fifty-five percent of the 1,378 people who responded to the survey indicated that they perceive cruise ship tourism as more negative than positive for the town, while 35 percent felt the opposite, according to a summary of the results. Fifty-three percent of the respondents rated the impact of cruise-ship tourism as an overall negative on the quality of life for Bar Harbor residents. Sixty-three percent of respondents felt that the 2019 cruise ship season, the last season that had a full schedule, included too many days with cruise ships, and 66 percent felt that the average number of cruise ship passengers was “too many” in 2019.
The Bar Harbor Town Council is aggressively looking into keeping both the resident and business owners happy. At its last meeting on December 7th meeting, the council asked Mike McGarry, senior vice president of global government affairs for the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), to address the issue of overcrowding that has made the residents so angry. McGarry explained that CLIA would be willing to work with the town, however, he was unable to offer specifics to ease concerns. “I hear the feedback coming out of Bar Harbor,” he said, adding that “we want to be constructive partners with the town.”
McGarry said that cruise line bookings for the 2022 season are well underway and “continue to be marketed” and that any changes to the schedule at this point would be “disruptive to guests and service providers up and down the coast.”
In other words, don't look for the cruise industry to make changes. It will be up to the town council and that will probably require a referendum so the ships should be safe for one more year.