Bar Harbor getting new cruise pier

Most large ships must tender guests to port in Bar Harbor. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

Voters in Bar Harbor, Maine, approved a zoning initiative that allows a larger cruise pier to be built in the quaint New England town.

Bar Harbor has been an increasingly popular stop on Canada/New England itineraries, which some cruise lines have expanded from the traditional autumn season into the summer. It is the gateway to Acadia National Park, one of the only waterside national parks on the U.S. East Coast.

But most large ships can’t dock at the existing downtown pier and so must tender guests to port.

Voters by 945-658 approved a plan to redevelop a disused ferry terminal somewhat removed from downtown. Proponents say it will ease congestion and allow for growth of the cruise industry.

Opponents backed an alternate initiative that would have limited ship length at the pier to 300 feet and allowed voters to approve caps on passenger arrivals.

Currently, there are daily limits of 3,500 passengers in July and August and 5,500 passengers at other times. Bar Harbor officials said they expect to keep those limits after the ferry terminal is renovated.

About 180,000 cruise passengers visited Bar Harbor last year.


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