The largest cruise ship of the season stopped in Portland Harbor on Sunday, sending its thousands of passengers into the streets and creating a festive atmosphere along Commercial Street.

The massive, 1,141-foot-long vessel – the Anthem of the Seas – dominated the harbor. When viewed from the Casco Bay Bridge, the ship obscured much of the city’s waterfront from its berth at the Ocean Gateway, where it was docked for most of the day before departing about 7 p.m. for Bar Harbor.

“It is definitely tremendous,” said Steven Hall of Gray, who peddled his wares along with dozens of other artisans on sidewalks teeming with passengers from the ship.

The Anthem of the Seas was visiting Portland for the first time Sunday. The ship, owned by the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., is one of the largest cruise ships in the world.

The $940 million ship made its maiden voyage out of Southampton, England, in February 2015 to cruise around Europe before heading to Bayonne, New Jersey, for cruises in the Caribbean, the East Coast and Canada.

It is now based in New Jersey. It holds up to 4,905 passengers and features 18 decks, of which 16 are accessible to passengers.


It has 2,090 staterooms, a bumper car facility, a 30-foot rock climbing wall, simulated sky diving and an observation capsule that carries passengers 300 feet over the ocean.

Passengers described the ship as comfortable and vast.

“It is mind-boggling. It is totally high-tech,” said Patricia Hohner of Piscataway, New Jersey.

She and her husband, Walter Hohner, were on their second Anthem of the Seas voyage. “One word: pampered,” said Walter Hohner.

Jerry and Lynn Bowman of York, Pennsylvania, said the ship never feels crowded.

“It is so big you don’t run into people walking around the deck,” Lynn Bowman said. Both couples, who met on the cruise, agreed that the sailing has been smooth. “We haven’t rocked once,” said Patricia Hohner.


The ship’s arrival Sunday kicked Portland’s cruise season into high gear.

The city will have hosted 76 cruise ships before the season ends, with 28 ships due in September and 18 in October.

By the time the last cruise ship sails out, 100,000 passengers and 40,000 crew will have visited Portland, according to Jessica Grondin, the city’s communications director.

The Anthem of the Seas will visit Portland again this year, twice in September and once in October.


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