Cruise ships are continuing to stoke their passengers’ appetites for Maine lobster.

Celebrity Cruises ordered 1,600 lobsters for delivery Friday to its 2,000-passenger boat, the Celebrity Summit. When the ship returns to Portland later this month, it plans to buy another 1,600 lobsters. That’s on top of the 640 lobsters the company bought last month, according to a press release from U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.

Two years ago, Pingree wrote to the chief executives of several major cruise ship companies urging them to buy local lobsters while in port. At the time, there was a glut of lobster, depressing prices for the entire industry.

Celebrity and Norwegian cruise lines responded by buying Maine lobsters. Others have as well.

Erik Elvejord, a spokesman from Seattle-based Holland America Line, which brings approximately 35,000 passengers to Bar Harbor and Portland each year, said they continue to make an effort to buy local lobster during stops in Maine.

“It was a positive thing for both sides of the equation,” Elvejord said. “There’s no question that people enjoy eating their lobster, and it’s great to get great local fish, and certainly help out the local lobstermen.”

In August 2012, in a deal facilitated by Cruise Maine USA, and public officials and business leaders in Bar Harbor, Holland America purchased a ton of lobster when it docked there.

Amy Powers, director of Cruise Maine USA, said that vessels have made an ongoing effort to buy local when they stop here.

“Cruise ships have been buying lobster on a regular basis for years,” she said.

Likewise, American Cruise Lines has been serving Maine lobster since 2000.

“We understand the benefits to the economy of buying local,”said Paul Taiclet, vice president of the Guilford, Connecticut-based company, which purchases 35,000 to 40,000 pounds of lobster in Maine each year when its ships, the American Glory, a 49-passenger vessel, and The Independence, a 100-passenger ship, stop in Portland and Rockland.

In 2010 the company launched a “Cruise Local. Eat Local” campaign, offering passengers menus tailored around local ingredients.

“We understand the impact we can have on the welfare of everyone in the community,” he said.

And passengers love it.

“It’s been really well received by the guests,” Taiclet said. “There’s certainly no better way to enjoy fresh lobster than by the sea.”

“I’m glad the cruise ship industry is showing a continued commitment to buying local products when visiting Maine and at the same time giving their guests a chance to enjoy the freshest possible Maine seafood,” Pingree said in a statement. She is the wife of S. Donald Sussman, majority owner of MaineToday Media, the parent company of the Portland Press Herald.

Officials from Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian could not be reached for comment Friday.

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