The townspeople have spoken! In a move that the town council is calling “a clear message from the public,” local officials have approved an agreement that will limit the number of cruise passengers to 30,000-65,000 per month during tourist season. This agreement also mandates a full elimination of cruise passengers during the months of April and November.
Specifically, the agreement states that the maximum number of passengers allowed for may be 30,000. For the months of July and August, 40,000 will be the max, and for September and October, the passenger count will cap at 65,000.
Cruise lines schedule their ship’s itineraries years in advance. Upon looking at the numbers for the 2023 season, those numbers have already been surpassed. Local representatives are saying that 2023 is being looked at as a transition year and since the bookings were made prior to the agreement being finalized, they will be honored. Since they are already over the limit, no new reservations can be made. The same concessions are being offered for April and November, therefore the full ban will have to wait until 2024.
In addition to the monthly number, daily limits of 3,500-3,800 (depending on the month) were also put in place as part of the agreement. Flags that are registered in the United States that carry fewer than 200 passengers will be exempt from these limits. Another vote will be held in November that could result in even further restrictions to cruise ships in the area.
While the local and state government are happy to receive the sales tax revenue generated from the waves of cruise passengers spending money at the local shops, bars and restaurants, the local community has applied enough pressure to force their representatives to do something about the alleged overcrowding. This seems to be a long term conundrum that is only partially resolved for the time being. We will keep you updated on the results of the November vote.