Has Bar Harbor, Maine dealt itself out of the cruise business by approving a huge raise in passenger fees?
According to the Bar Harbor Times and the Mount Desert Islander, starting July 1, 2009, ships will be charged $4 per passenger based on ship capacity, compared to the current flat fee of $2,220 per call. The new fee structure will result in the 1,250-passenger Maasdam, paying $5,000 instead of $2,220. Holland America’s Maasdam is the most frequent caller. Another caller is the Caribbean Princess, which will be paying $12,400 instead of $2,220.
Cruise ships anchor and tender passengers in.
Only smaller ships such as 100-passenger Grande Caribe can come alongside. The fee for small ships will grow from $900 to $1,000 plus a $1.50 per passenger port development fee (which is included in the $4 per passenger charged to the big ships).
One councilman was quoted by the Bar Harbor Times as saying that he had bounced the fee increase off somebody who represents 6o to 70 percent of the calls and that there was no radical pushback once the fees were justified.
Bar Harbor has a total of 104 calls scheduled this year.
The official minutes from the Town Council meeting approving the fee hike were not available from the council or the Cruise Ship Task Force.