The 2016 cruise ship season will be a busy one in Maine, with 377 cruise ship visits scheduled to bring about 283,000 passengers to the state, up 6 percent from 2015.

Portland is scheduled to host 77 cruise ship visits with more than 106,000 passengers – the highest total on record. The number of scheduled ship visits is down slightly from 84 in 2015, but the projected passenger count is up from about 94,200, according to CruiseMaine, a trade group that promotes the cruise industry in Maine.

Lynn Tillotson, president and CEO of the Greater Portland Convention + Visitors Bureau, said the city will cross an important threshold in 2016. “This year we are going to break the 100,000-passenger mark, so it is a significant jump,” she said.

The visitors bureau conducted a study in 2014 that found cruise ship passengers spent about $6 million in the Portland area that year. A Maine Office of Tourism study in 2013 found that direct spending statewide was about $45 million.

Tillotson said Portland’s growing reputation as a top tourist destination is driving cruise ship passenger counts higher.

“I think Portland is just gaining in popularity,” she said. “Word is getting out, so we’re a hot place right now.”


Portland’s first cruise ship this year will arrive Sunday, and the final ship visit of the season is scheduled for Oct. 29, CruiseMaine said.

The state’s most active port for cruise ships, Bar Harbor, is scheduled to host 121 ship visits with a total of more than 159,500 passengers. Its first cruise ship arrived Friday, and the final ship visit is scheduled for Oct. 29.

Other active cruise ship ports in Maine this year include Rockland, Eastport, Bath, Boothbay Harbor, Camden, Belfast, Bucksport and Castine, according to CruiseMaine.

The largest ship scheduled to visit Maine in 2016 is Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Anthem of the Seas, which carries up to 4,180 passengers. The 1,142-foot ship has stops scheduled in Portland on Aug. 28 and Bar Harbor the next day.

In all, Maine will be visited by 30 different cruise ships from 20 different brands, according to CruiseMaine. The busiest month will be September, with 97 cruise ship visits, followed by August, with 73 visits, and October, with 62 visits, it said.


CORRECTION: This story was updated at 3:45 p.m. on May 3, 2016, to correct the date of the arrival of the season’s first cruise ship. Incorrect information was provided.


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