Mid-July in Bar Harbor, Maine is usually peak season for cruise ships, but not this year. Tuesday night struck another blow to an already beleaguered industry when the Bar Harbor city council voted to ban cruise ships from visiting through the end of the year.
In a last ditch effort to sway the council, Vice President of American Cruise Lines Paul Taiclet laid out his case for his small-ship cruise line to the council, but to no avail. Safety measures put forth by the cruise line included no more than 25 people off the ship at a time, strict social distancing while on board for guests and mandatory health screenings prior to embarkation.
A Town That Needs Tourism
Bar Harbor has long been a popular tourist destination in the summer thanks to Acadia National Park, gorgeous coastal scenery and some of the freshest seafood dinners you’ll ever eat. The cruise port saw nearly 100 ships last year during a season that lasts from April to September, but this year, that number is zero.
The blow to the local economy is palpable and the city council was cognizant of that, but Maine has some of the lowest COVID-19 rates in the country and the council is clearly putting health and wellness at the forefront.
Not all members of the city council were against the ban and many were thankful that American Cruise Line has brought so much business to the area each summer for a number of years now. However, keeping the number of infections in the Pine Tree State as low as possible remains the top priority and cruise ships represent a risk to that goal, no matter how small the ship.
Have you cruised to Bar Harbor or anywhere else along the coast of Maine? Let us know in the comments below!