Bar Harbor could break cruise ship visit record | News

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Bar Harbor could break cruise ship visit record

BAR HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- May is the unofficial start of cruise ship season.

A handful of the vessels bringing tourists from all over the world have already docked at Maine ports. Bar Harbor could even set a record for the number of cruise ship passengers expected to visit this year.

If there are few changes to the 2015 schedule, 170,000 people from the ships could visit the town.The largest of the cruise ships set to dock this year, Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas carries over 3600 passengers.

According to Cruise Maine, cruise ships brought roughly $45 million to Maine's economy in 2013.

Not every business gets an equal share of visitors when the passengers get here though.

Catherine Higgins, who manages three shops in Bar Harbor, said businesses closer to the docks benefit more from the increase in foot traffic. She's also noticed that many of the passengers come back to Bar Harbor after the cruise.

"They get a taste of Bar Harbor, a taste of the island, they want more, she said. "They book vacations for a year down the road, two years down the road, three years down the road. That's when I get them as customers in my stores."

The visitors are just happy to be in Maine, at least while it's warm out.

"I Ioved it until I found out what your winters are like," said Lamonte Lovering, visiting from San Mateo, California.

It will take a few months to find out if Bar Harbor breaks it's 2014 visit record.

This year's cruise ship schedule runs through the end of October.