March 8, 2017

Maine's cruise calls climb on big increase at Bar Harbor

Anne Kalosh, US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

Maine projects nearly 440 cruise calls this year, including a steep increase at Bar Harbor, more than 20 homeport operations at Portland and 39 calls at Rockland.

The compares to the state's total 375 calls in 2016, according to CruiseMaine USA.

Passenger bed-days are estimated at over 386,000, a whopping nearly 37% above 2016. Forty ships from 21 brands are booked. TUI Cruises and Disney Cruise Line are among the new operators.

Stalwart American Cruise Lines is introducing the newly built 170-passenger American Constellation for a series of 11-day 'Grand New England' cruises. Also, American Independence will return.

The season stretches from April into November, with September the busiest month with 115 scheduled calls, followed by October with 80 and August with 70.

On Sept. 26, Maine will host nearly 13,000 passengers arriving via Carnival Sunshine and Serenade of the Seas in Portland, Regal Princess and Zuiderdam in Bar Harbor, and Vision of the Seas in Rockland. Sept. 12 will be the second busiest day with 10,714 passengers on six ships: Carnival Sunshine and Serenade of the Seas in Portland, Celebrity Summit, Crystal Serenity and Vision of the Seas in Bar Harbor, and American Independence in Rockland.

Bar Harbor's calls increase by 66 from last year to 171. First ship Amadea will arrive April 23, and last ship is Crown Princess on Nov. 1. As Maine’s busiest cruise port of entry, Bar Harbor will handle 52 calls arriving from foreign ports and requiring US Customs and Border Protection entrance inspections.

Four Holland America Line ships will make a total of 45 visits, and Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas returns, along with three other RCI vessels. Norwegian Dawn and Gem are booked, and other ships are from P&O Cruises, Princess, Celebrity, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, AIDA and Seabourn. Maiden calls include American Constellation, Mein Schiff 6, Victory II and Disney Magic.

Steadily growing Portland has an increase, to 100 calls and 125,315 passengers. The city's biggest two brands are Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Besides American Cruise Lines' homeport operations for two ships, vessels that will turn around in Portland are newcomer Victory Cruises and, for the second year in a row, Silver Explorer and Pearl Mist.

Maiden calls include American Constellation, Victory II, Vision of the Seas, Norwegian Jade, AIDAdiva and Artania. A dozen ships are scheduled to clear US Customs in Portland upon arrival from Canada.

Rockland's roster of 39 calls includes seven ships from six brands. A record four maiden visits in one season include American Constellation, Vision of the Seas, Victory II and Norwegian Gem. Two American Cruise Lines ships will visit a total of 31 times.

Maine's other active cruise ports remain the core destinations for two American Cruise Lines coastal vessels. These ports are Bath, Belfast, Boothbay Harbor, Camden and Castine.

The CruiseMaine USA coalition also works closely with New Brunswick's Campobello Island and Saint Andrews by the Sea to promote Passamaquoddy Bay and the Down East Region. 

Posted 08 March 2017