Passengers disembark from the Caribbean Princess on Aug. 16 in Portland. A study last year found that cruise ship visitors spend close to $70 per person while in Maine. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — Carolyn Boardman set a goal of seeing all 50 states during her lifetime.

On Aug. 16, the St. Louis, Missouri, resident was able to check Maine off her list after arriving in Portland Harbor aboard the Caribbean Princess cruise ship.

The Caribbean Princess, docked in Portland Aug. 16, is one of the larger ships to visit the city, with more than 3,000 passengers. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Boardman and her husband, Don, were among the more than 3,000 passengers aboard the 942-foot ship, which stopped in Portland en route to Boston and New York City.

They could have been the typical cruise ship tourists. Like many, they were planning to use their 10 hours in port to tour the area and do some sightseeing.

In fact, according to a study done last year by Portland-based tourism research group DPA, 74 percent of the city’s cruise ship visitors go sightseeing, 41 percent have a meal, 24 percent take guided tours and 9 percent visit some of the state’s lighthouses.

Norman Rosenthal and his wife, Danit, residents of New Jersey, visited Bar Harbor last summer. But they said they didn’t have time to take in all they wanted to see in Maine and were excited to share the experience with their children, Charlie and Leah, by taking a trip to Portland Head Light and Kennebunkport.

For Seattle resident Brad Trustwell, the Caribbean Princess cruise was an opportunity to show his family the East Coast.

“We’ve always heard it was beautiful in Portland. I am glad it is one of our longer stops. We are going to see some lighthouses and tour the city before having to get back on board,” Trustwell said, before adding Portland has a “beautiful, busy harbor.”

Alan and Elizabeth Ewart examine a map of Portland before deciding what to do while the Caribbean Princess was docked in the city Aug. 16. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

It wasn’t so much the tour of the Canadian Maritimes and New England that attracted Alan and Elizabeth Ewart, but rather a way to get to their son in New York City.

“We have built a holiday around getting to New York City,” Elizabeth Ewart said.

The Ewarts are no strangers to cruise ships, having previously cruised the Mediterranean, Bahamas and to Australia. Alan Ewart said he had no specific plans while in Portland, but was impressed by the city.

“It looks clean. People are friendly and the weather is nice,” he said.

Ewart is not alone in his assessment.

The DPA report, commissioned by the Maine Office of Tourism, found 80 percent of respondents were satisfied with their time in Maine. More than 80 percent said Maine ports provide a welcoming atmosphere and had excellent or very good service in shops and restaurants.

“It’s quaint and friendly,” said Geof Jay, who was taking a break on Moulton Street while his family shopped at local stores. “It has an older feel, but lots of charm, like Victoria, British Columbia, where I am from.”

Jay said he and his family didn’t have specific plans while in Portland, but wanted to do some shopping and eat lobster at DiMillo’s on the Water, a recommendation that came from friends in Canada.

Many of those who come to the state via a cruise would recommend a trip to Maine to, according to the DPA report, with about a third saying they would like to travel to Maine again. The Boardmans said they will be part of that group, and have already planned a trip to see the fall foliage at Acadia National Park later this year.

The report, with input from more than 2,500 cruise ship visitors, including 556 who visited Portland between July 13 and Nov. 7, 2018, found cruise ship passengers and crew spent about $69 a person while in port. In total, cruise ship visitors spent $29 million in the state, providing $1.7 million in state tax revenue.

Another 60 cruise ships are expected to arrive in Portland over the next few months, including 14 from Sept. 16-26 and nine during the first week of October. In total, 100 cruise ships are expected to visit Portland between May 11 and Nov. 1, carrying more than 152,800 passengers and 62,200 crew members.

Back at the Maine State Pier, Carolyn and Don Boardman joined a couple thousand of their fellow passengers as they made their way toward Commercial Street.

“She gets to cross another state off her bucket list,” Don Boardman said. The only states left for Boardman to visit? New Hampshire, Utah and Delaware.


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