Cruise ships anchor in Rockland, Maine less often than they do in Bar Harbor, Portland, or Boothbay Harbor. However, as the sight of large passenger ships becomes common in a harbor accustomed to smaller fishing vessels, the leaders of the port city are struggling to cope with the impacts.
According to City Councilor Adam Ackor, they had to address the issues of infrastructure and how Rockland (with a population of about 7,000) intended to handle those large numbers of passengers arriving on the harborside.
While proponents say cruise industry was a gift for the city’s economy, others are concerned the floating hotels didn’t align with the image of Rockland.
A concerted effort to attract cruise liners to Rockland has been underway for nearly a decade, according to Ed Glaser, former harbor master, now City Councilor. The city has been flagged for cruise companies as a destination which offers a convenient location and vibrant atmosphere.
While smaller cruise lines like American Cruise Lines, were first in making Rockland their regular stop and bringing fewer than a hundred people into the port at a time, bigger cruise vessels have begun to trickle here in recent years, bringing up to 2,000 passengers at a time.
For 2018 season, large cruise companies have already booked 9 stops in Rockland. In 2017, a total of 9,728 cruisers disembarked from the big cruise ships that made visits to Rockland. Of these, about 2,700 participated in shore excursions, including taking bus trips to Camden and visiting Owls Head Transportation Museum.