When a small contingent of Portland officials approached Ralf Staudenmaier and Elke Mayer as they left the AIDAmar cruise ship docked at the Portland Ocean Terminal on Saturday, the two German citizens appeared a little taken aback.

But then Mayor Ethan Strimling put out his hand in welcome and explained to the two why they had been stopped in the rain: They put the number of cruise ship passengers stepping ashore in Portland in a single season over 100,000 for the first time ever.

“Congratulations. We brought you some nice gifts,” said Strimling.

Suddenly big smiles broke out.

“We are very lucky,” Staudenmaier said.

The AIDAmar, an Italian cruise ship in port for the day, brought Portland’s official cruise ship passenger count to well above 100,000 in a season that has season has seen other records shattered as well. The summer of 2016 saw the most maiden voyages with a total of nine and the harbor welcomed the largest cruise ship ever with the arrival of the Anthem of the Seas, which called on Portland four times.


The economic impact of this year’s cruise season, which will end when the AIDAmar sails out at 10 p.m. Saturday, is expected to be around $11 million, said Bob Leeman, marketing manager for Cruise Portland. That is almost double the 55,000 passengers who generated $5.8 million for the region in 2015.

Leeman said reaching 100,000 cruise passengers had proved an elusive goal for the city.

“This is huge for us. It’s a goal we have tried to reach for years,” he said.

Leeman said there have been many near misses, but then something would come along, such as weather, that would keep the city from reaching the 100,000 mark.

This fall the numbers suddenly changed when Oceania Cruises’ Sirena made a surprise visit last week with about 700 passengers and 400 crew members on board.

The AIDAmar’s roughly 2,194 passengers sent the passenger numbers well past the 100,000 mark Saturday, Leeman said.

Staudenmaier and Mayer, who both work at the Commerzbank in Stuttgart, graciously put down their umbrellas, apologized for their English and posed for the cameras as Leeman handed them a bag of presents which included hats, mugs and other tourist treasures.

“For tomorrow,” Mayer smiled, as she was handed a pair of sunglasses.

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