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Maine eyes first full cruise season since the pandemic started

Hurtigruten's Roald Amundsen will be making its maiden visit to Maine
Maine is looking forward to the start of its first full cruise season since the start of the pandemic.

Cruises are set to resume Thursday with a call by Norwegian Pearl at Bar Harbor.

360 calls booked

Some 360 calls are scheduled, compared to 408 in 2019, with an estimated total passenger count of just over 450,000. Ship occupancy is expected to be reduced, at least for the early part of the season.

Last year, American Cruise Lines — which runs smaller, US-flag cruise ships — resumed operating in Maine, making 165 calls carrying just over 18,000 passengers. Spending by passengers and crew was estimated at $1.2m.

American Cruise Lines-Bangor partnership

American will be visiting Bangor this summer for the first time in more than 10 years after the city entered into a 20-year, public-private partnership with the cruise line to invest in the downtown waterfront and bring cruise visitors to the city.

Cruises are 'an important part of Maine’s tourism industry, contributing millions of dollars a year to Maine's economy in passenger and crew spending alone,' according to Sarah Flink, executive director of CruiseMaine.

Planning for the restart has been going on for months.

'Harbormasters, the Maine CDC, cruise ship companies, local businesses and community leaders all came together to create a safe and responsible plan to restart cruise ship tourism,' Flink said. 'This included the creation of US CDC-mandated port agreements for Eastport, Bar Harbor, Rockland and Portland.' These are the four state ports that handle larger cruise ships.

Eastport welcome

'We could not be happier to have cruise ships back in Eastport this year,' said Chris Gardner, executive director of the Eastport Port Authority. Seven calls are scheduled, 'a little less than before the pandemic, but we are still excited to see these visitors returning to Eastport.'

Hurtigruten Expeditions' Roald Amundsen will be making its maiden voyage to Maine and will call at Easport, Rockland and Bar Harbor.

The state's full cruise schedule is here.

Canada/New England Cruise Symposium in Portland

CruiseMaine is also hosting this year's Canada/New England Cruise Symposium, scheduled to take place June 13-15 in Portland.