While Portland continues its unprecedented building boom, much of which is nothing to be proud of from a design and planning perspective, it takes no time to appreciate why the seascapes the past two summers surrounding the city have never been more serene and spectacular. When the improvement is that obvious, it’s a good reason to make the change permanent, which is why cruise ships should be banned from Portland Harbor before they return.

There may be some bureaucrat at City Hall who will argue that the top-heavy behemoths, with hulls painted like children’s toys, are vital to Portland’s economy, but one thing there is currently no shortage of is visitors to the city, as anyone attempting to make restaurant reservations or navigate the sidewalks of the Old Port will attest.

The blocks of condos cropping up across the downtown are effectively land-based cruise ships, without the glitz, rooftop pools and water slides. Why do we need more of the them dominating our waterfront, towering over schooners, lobster boats and pleasure craft, even the occasional mega-yacht, diminishing the unique, pristine experience offered residents and visitors alike by Casco Bay? Portland is not Miami, not Orlando, nor should it be.

There may be some money to be made in docking fees, peddling the ships ice and offloading sewage, but when the vessels disgorge their passengers, Portland is transformed, and not for the better. The longer game is to preserve the quintessential character of the city and surrounding bay.

Peter Wellin
South Portland

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