BAR HARBOR, Maine — It is rare that a real monarch comes to town, so officials are making plans to give a royal reception when Queen Victoria visits at the end of the month.
The cruise ship, named after the queen who ruled the United Kingdom for more than 60 years, is making its first visit to Maine’s busiest cruise ship port on Sept. 30.
The 964-foot vessel is one of the few ships that make up the famous Cunard fleet, which also includes the larger Queen Mary 2. The former Queen Elizabeth 2, which Cunard retired last year, is expected to be converted by a Dubai-based development firm into a floating hotel. The Queen Elizabeth, which Cunard expects to launch next year, will be roughly the same size as Queen Victoria.
To mark the cruise ship’s inaugural stop in Bar Harbor, officials plan to have live music in Agamont Park, which overlooks the harbor, and to close off the eastern end of Cottage Street to vehicular traffic. Events are expected to begin at 8:30 a.m. and to last through much of the day while the ship is anchored in Frenchman Bay.
There also will be a cake-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in Agamont Park, an antique car show along Cottage Street, a juggling act and exhibit displays, and representatives from Abbe Museum, Acadia National Park and the University of Maine Lobster Institute. Live music will include The Swallowtail Fiddlers, Native American drumming group Sukulis and the Mount Desert Island High School Band.
The overall event is expected to be similar to a celebration held in downtown Bar Harbor in 2004, when Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 made its first visit to the scenic port.
Bar Harbor is expected to have 97 cruise ship visits between mid-May and early November this year. Forty-six of those visits are scheduled to occur over the next six weeks.
Area businesses also plan to offer special services and events to commemorate the Queen Victoria visit. More information about the celebration schedule may be found at the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s Web site, www.barharborinfo.com.