Not one of your points below leads me to a conclusion that the town does not like cruisers. The Sheraton - geeze, it is a freaking Sheraton! I just stayed at the Holiday Inn in Solomon's MD this past weekend, for the same rate!!! Did you expect reasonable rates? Instead of complaining about the rate, did you ask for a lower one, nicely? I do this, and you would be surprised how often the answer is yes. Hotels all around are raising their rates, as the corporate traveler has dropped off of the face of the earth.
The ticket, well, that sucks for them, but was there a sign? Betcha there was. I would like to see the town have a first come first served transient dock like Oriental.
Looks like you owe the tax, simple as that. That is not a New Bern thing, it is an NC thing. Sucks, but it is true. Again, not New Bern.
I have to ask, with a 30 foot boat, why did you not just anchor out? I would not have paid $120 a night either, but you do have a choice. There is a great anchorage just past the railroad bridge.
I will admit you are right about the hardware store. Try the other retailers downtown, they are just as nice and helpful.
If you need a slip and a room at the same time again, try Northwest Creek Marina, to see if they have a transient slip available. The Hurricane restaurant has a few rooms above you can rent. Timeshares too, if you need lots of space.
The boat WAS there for 5 months in 2008. As far as the town not liking cruisers, it is pretty easy to see- The Sheraton Marina literally doubled its rates a couple of years ago, and raised minimum LOA footage billing for slips to 40 feet, in slips which were actually only 30 feet in length. The city is now writing tickets to boats who overnight at Union Point (town docks). To be fair, that was always the policy there, but they used to be laid back about it, give warnings, etc. I have spoken with a couple of people who tied up, went into town to spend money at the hardware store (nice, and an exception to the town disliking cruisers), then restaurant and bar, to come back late and find an $85 ticket on their boat. Same Police who wrote the ticket are unable to keep panhandlers out of the downtown area, though. Incidentally, when I complained to the manager of the Sheraton about the increase in rates (I have been through there MANY times before), his INITIAL response was "Why don't you just leave?" -there had been no real confrontation or anything of that nature. We did leave, and went across the river to BridgePoint marina, which is less convenient to downtown, but more reasonably priced and friendlier. Had I spent ONE night at The Sheraton, the bill would have been $125. for a 30 foot boat. At the time, they charged $4./ft./night plus $5 for hookup. I also encountered a general lack of friendliness in New Bern, not like it used to be. Also it is expensive, at least for The South: we wanted to spend a night in a hotel while the boat aired out from some fresh varnish, and The Comfort Suites there quoted us $149.95 plus 13% (!) tax for a regular room, or $199.95 plus 13% for a suite. We stayed in the BridgePoint hotel, by the marina, which was a bit rundown, but clean, at $90. plus tax. The hotel rates, of course, do not reflect anything against cruisers, just an example of how expensive New Bern has become. New Bern USED to be a great place to stop, but over roughly the last couple of years, as far as I am concerned, it has gone downhill. Used to be, they liked boaters, now they only want people who are looking for a $500K condo, and the type of tourists who want $200./night rooms, $30. fish dinners, and $6. vodka tonics.