PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Fall welcomes Maine's busiest portion of 2016 cruise ship season. In fact, the first day of Autumn saw the season's busiest day with ships coming into Portland, Bar Harbor, Rockland, and Eastport.
The trade group Cruise Maine projects Maine will see more cruise ship passengers visit its shores than ever before with a total of 283,000 passengers expected to visit by the end of October.
Portland is also expected to reach a new milestone, breaking the 100,000 passenger mark with a scheduled 109,000 cruise ship passengers to visit the city. Although Portland saw more ships make port in 2015 than it will in 2016, with an expected 77 compared to last year's 84, passenger count is up by six percent. Maine's largest city welcomed the ship Arcadia and its 2,016 passengers on Thursday morning. Arcadia set sail from Southampton, London, and many of its guests were visiting Portland and the USA for the first time.
When asked what she was looking forward to seeing in Portland, Arcadia passenger Janine Harris said, "Just this quiet little American town, really. The way America should be, the way you see it on the TV."
"The Old [Port] is supposed to be really good here, it's meant to be quite a destination for foodies, and we like a good meal. But also someone told us about going to Peaks Island," said passenger Trevor Errington, who expressed how he was enjoying the more peaceful New England atmosphere after visiting the almost overwhelming energetic scene of New York City a few days earlier.
Bar Harbor expects to see the highest cruise ship traffic on Thursday with three ships expected to make port, altogether carrying nearly 5,000 passengers.
The latest data from the visitors bureau show cruise ship passengers spent about $6 million in Maine in 2014.
(© 2016 WCSH)