Jim & Janelle Willard Were Not Happy with the Lobster Bake at 58 Fore Street.
By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,703)
Early yesterday morning Amethyst Lot on the Munjoy Hill waterfront was packed with people vying for a rock spot from which to watch a huge cruise ship docked for its first ever visit to Portland Harbor. The 1,141 ft. long, Anthem of the Seas, carrying over 4,000 passengers and a crew of about 1,000 is one of the largest cruise ships in the world.
All day, Commercial Street was packed with passengers and crew enjoying the Maine ambiance – eating in seafood restaurants, snapping up souvenirs from gift shops as well as the city’s newly created Marketplace for local entrepreneurs. One of the successful Marketplace ventures was the Bike Rental business. “Summer Feet Cycling” began the day with 38 bikes to rent and was rented out well before noon. It was even necessary to turn some patrons away.
However, not all on-shore tourist attractions were this successful. Passengers were given the option of signing up for a Traditional Maine Lobster Bake Dinner and Narrow Gauge Railroad Road. along the waterfront. Sixty-one (61) people signed up for the event held under a large white tent beside the marina at 58 Fore Street and owned by the property developer. MHN.com could not find one guest who was satisfied with the lobster bake – most terming it a “rip-off.” “This definitely did not fit the description of the event we read about,” said Jim Willard, of Minnesota. “We are thinking of cancelling on-shore events in Bar Harbor because of this experience. We paid $109. each for this. That didn’t include a ride on the Narrow Gauge Railroad that was $10. extra,” Willard said.
All of the passengers aboard this luxury ship that mhn.com spoke with had been passengers on cruise ships prior to this nine-day cruise. (The cruise goes up to Nova Scotia stopping at Bar Harbor, St. John and then to Nova Scotia. It had already stopped in Boston before arriving in Portland. It returns to New Jersey, its port of origination, with no stops on the return voyage.)
While all of them praised the “bells and whistles” aboard the ship built in 2015, some of them said that the size of the ship prevented the intimacy they were accustomed to on smaller ships. Smaller ships are more friendly was the opinion of many aboard the massive luxury liner that MHN.com spoke with. “This is a smart ship,” said Bang Warren, from Maryland, who has cruised numerous times aboard Royal Caribbean ships. Warren cited the advances in sensory design. She also cited the “bionic bar” – where drinks are mixed by robots on roller skates – (that’s what she said!)
Meanwhile, the Willards from Minnesota were looking happier as they returned to the mother ship at the end of the day. They had found their way into the Old Port on foot where they discovered several gift shops and the popular Holy Donuts on Exchange Street, purveyor of donuts baked from Maine potatos. “We are going to take that tour of Victorian mansions in Bar Harbor after all,” Jim said looking happier than earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, spectators crowded Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Promenade late in the day to watch the dramatic exit of the ship from Portland Harbor. The ship was scheduled to leave at 5:00 pm. But it did not leave until shortly after 6:30 pm when most of the spectators had given up the watch. (See below left photo for dramatic exit from Portland Harbor.)