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Cruises to Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor (Photo:Romiana Lee/Shutterstock)
Bar Harbor (Photo:Romiana Lee/Shutterstock)

About Bar Harbor

Acadia National Park -- one of the smallest National Parks in the country -- is the biggest draw in Bar Harbor, Maine. The 41,000-acre park is also one of the most heavily visited, drawing more than two million travelers per year.

The park offers stunning mountain, sea and lake vistas and craggy cliffs that plunge to the surf, as well as an estimated 125 miles of trails for hiking and biking. Additional highlights include the 1,532-foot-high Cadillac Mountain and the Thunder Hole waterspout. Beyond the park, Bar Harbor (or as locals say: "Bah Hahbuh") has the charm of a quaint New England fishing village with all the attractions of a major port, and its touristy downtown area is hard to resist. Watch the lobstermen work, browse the souvenir shops, explore a museum and, of course, enjoy a Maine lobster bake.

The town is nestled on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by Frenchman Bay and surrounded on three sides by the mountains of Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor welcomes more than 100 ships annually, with close to 175,000 passengers going ashore. The cruise season spans from May well into October, when the fall foliage is at its brilliant peak.

Long before Bar Harbor was a popular port on Canada/New England cruise itineraries, it enjoyed a reputation as a playground for the rich and famous. In the late 1800s, frequent visitors -- such as the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Vanderbilts and Fords -- grew tired of hotel living and built summer "cottages" (in reality, opulent estates). Many also bought and donated additional land on the island to protect it from development, leading to the creation of Acadia National Park. In 1947, a fire burned nearly half of the eastern side of Mount Desert Island and destroyed many posh estates, permanent homes and more than 10,000 acres of Acadia National Park. The surviving homes have been converted to inns, guesthouses and B&Bs. Today, Bar Harbor has a population of approximately 5,000 Downeasters (a term that refers to residents of coastal Maine who live north of Penobscot Bay). That number swells drastically in the summer, as the town continues its centuries-old tradition of attracting vacationers to its charming shores.

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DAY 1: Montreal

14 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Montreal
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Quebec City, Saguenay Fjord ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Boston

7 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Boston
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Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: New York

7 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
New York
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Portland, Bar Harbor ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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164 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Los Angeles
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Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
New York
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Bar Harbor, Saint John ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Quebec City
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Charlottetown, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Boston
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Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Boston
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Charlottetown, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Portland, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Boston
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Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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53 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Saint John ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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94 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Martha's Vineyard, Boston ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Newport, Boston ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
Quebec City, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Charlottetown, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Quebec City
Visiting:
Charlottetown, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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35 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Red Bay ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

24 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Boston, Bar Harbor ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
Newport, Boston ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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15 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Quebec City
Visiting:
Saint John, Bar Harbor ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Quebec City
Visiting:
Saguenay Fjord, Sept-Iles ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
Portland, Boston ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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14 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Charleston, Newport ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Bar Harbor

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
Quebec City, Saguenay Fjord ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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Why go to Bar Harbor?

Pros:

This quaint New England town is located very close to the port and perfect for strolling

Cons:

If you cruise offseason, you won't be able to grab the free bus to Acadia National Park

Bottom Line:

If changing leaves, lobster lunches and cute shops are your thing, make a point to visit

Bar Harbor Cruise Port Facilities?

The Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center is located at the Town Pier, where you can pick up free copies of "Acadia Visitor" and "Acadia Weekly," containing maps and lists of attractions and restaurants. Within steps of the visitor center are shops, restaurants, museums and tour operators -- many on West, Mount Desert, Cottage and Main streets.

Good to Know?

Black flies are a nuisance from mid-May to mid-June. Unlike mosquitoes that tend to draw your blood, these pesky insects have teeth that can take a bite out of you. Although you won't be bothered in downtown Bar Harbor or close to the ocean's shoreline, be aware if you are exploring the wooded areas of Acadia National Park. To prevent being bitten while visiting the park, wear light-colored clothing, and use a DEET-based insect repellent.

Getting Around?

On Foot: The town of Bar Harbor is easily navigated by foot. If you want to explore Acadia National Park, you will need some form of transportation -- either bike, bus or car.

By Bus: Explore the area independently with the Island Explorer, a free shuttle bus with routes that link the village center to attractions in Acadia National Park. To get to the park entrance and visitor center, take the Campground route (No. 1) bus, which departs Village Green every 30 minutes. The ride takes 10 minutes. To visit Cadillac Mountain or Jordan House, you'll need to take the Loop Road route (No. 4) from the Visitor Center at the park entrance. The Sand Beach/Blackwoods route (No. 3) departs Village Green every 30 minutes and takes about 20 minutes to get to Thunder Hole. The shuttle is free, but you'll pay a small per-person fee to enter the park.

By Trolley: For a 2.5-hour narrated trolley tour, Oli's Trolley takes passengers on a red and green trolley through Acadia National Park, visiting Cadillac Mountain and Thunder Hole. A running commentary addresses topics like the area's mansions, geology and more. (Tours daily June through October at 10:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Adults, $16; children under 12, $11; children under 5, $6)

By Bike: Rent bikes from Bar Harbor Bike (141 Cottage Street) or Acadia Bike (48 Cottage Street) and cruise along the motorist-free, gravel carriage roads, located about 1.5 miles from downtown. You can either bike from Bar Harbor to the trails, or take the Island Explorer shuttle (bicycle express route) from Village Green to the Acadia National Park carriage road system at Eagle Lake.

By Car: No rental car agencies are located in town. Hertz and Enterprise are represented at the Hancock County Airport in Trenton, a 45-minute ride away on the Island Explorer bus (Campground Route). But, given how long it will take you to travel between the cruise port and the rental car office -- and considering the fact that the free Island Explorer bus goes most places you'd want to visit -- we don't really recommend the rental car option.

By Taxi: Taxis line up on the street by the pier. At Your Service Taxi Company is Bar Harbor's oldest and largest taxi service. They also provide custom narrated tours (207-288-9222).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

You'll find numerous ATMs and banks within a five-block radius of the harbor. One of the closest ATMs is located at Bar Harbor Bank and Trust (82 Main Street). Another convenient ATM is at Camden National Bank (43 Cottage Street). Both locations, open Monday to Friday, exchange other currencies into U.S. dollars.

Language?

English is spoken everywhere.

Where You're Docked?

Ships anchor in Frenchman Bay and tender passengers to the Town Pier, located in the heart of downtown, off West Street and Main Street in Bar Harbor.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2016 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations

Bar Harbor Cruise Reviews

MSC Meraviglia
skyestrega47
Sail Date: Oct 2019
I walked about Bar Harbor on my own and totally enjoyed this port of call.... Read More
Caribbean Princess
jamanko
Sail Date: Oct 2019
After narrated City and Cadillac Mountain tours with Ollys Trolleys, we set out on foot to enjoy the sites and tastes of Bar Harbor. Beautiful city. Great day ashore.... Read More
Norwegian Gem
TGlonek
Sail Date: Oct 2019
The tour guide was great, he being born and raised in Bar Harbor, was able to give LOTS of insight to the area... Read More
Norwegian Dawn
baybeach11
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Bar Harbor is now very touristy but you can still find some gems of local shops if you get off the main street. We found Side Street Cafe, ordered their lobster roll, which had eight ounces (and full claw meat) of... Read More
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