Many business owners were happy to see the NCL Pearl become the first ship to call on Bar Harbor this season.
When the Norwegian Pearl dropped anchor, practically hidden from sight for its call to Bar Harbor, most business owners were happy to see the guests arrive. However, among the residents, many had hoped never to see a cruise ship again.
Eben Salvatore, director of operations for Bar Harbor Resorts, said, “It’s nice to see stores and restaurants that weren’t open yesterday open today as passengers arrived at the company’s Harborside Hotel marina. It’s the last piece of the puzzle to recover from the pandemic.”
And while the majority of residents polled would like to see fewer ships visit, it will be at least 18 months before that will happen. During the past winter, town officials considered reducing the number of ship calls but were advised to wait until current contracts expire or possibly face legal action.
CLIA, the Cruise Line Industry Association offered some financial reasons why cruise ships should stop in Bar Harbor and other ports in Maine. According to CLIA, pre-pandemic, the cruise industry contributed $68m in direct spending and created more than 1,000 jobs in Maine, amounting to $36m in wages.
Kelly Craighead, President of CLIA added, "Maine is a marquee New England destination offering spectacular scenery, recreational opportunities and terrific cuisine, and also serves as the gateway to the United States and a port of call along the way to and from destinations in Canada, the Caribbean and beyond for oceangoing cruise ships."
For now, because of reduced capacity during the pandemic and lingering fears about cruising, the streets were not crowded with cruise ship guests as the Norwegian Pearl was sailing half full. One guest on the Pearl told Bangor Daily News, “There’s so much room in there. They treat you like kings and queens.”