PORTLAND — The cruise ship Explorer of the Seas arrived in Portland shortly after 2 p.m. today to avoid rough seas caused by Hurricane Earl.

With more than 3,100 passengers and 1,200 crew members on board, the vessel is the largest cruise ship to visit Portland this year.

The ship, which left New Jersey this morning, was not scheduled to arrive in Portland until 9 a.m. on Saturday. But it traveled at top speeds to outrun the hurricane. The vessel is scheduled to depart Portland at 7 p.m. Saturday and head to Bar Harbor.

Another cruise ship, The Independence, with about 100 passengers on board, arrived overnight and was also waiting out the storm in Portland Harbor today. It had originally been scheduled to arrive this afternoon.

Nicole Clegg, a spokeswoman for the city of Portland, says Portland Harbor is sheltered and a safe place for vessels to ride out the storm.

Forecasters say Earl will pass through the area late today.