• Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

Midsize cruise ships boosting Eastport’s economy


May 27, 2023

This previous week’s arrival of a cruise ship with the biggest quantity of passengers to take a look at Eastport is a prelude to a quantity of midsize vessels that will be coming to the island city this fall.

The Zaandam, a 778-foot Holland America Line cruise ship with 1,345 passengers and more than 550 crew members on board, arrived for a day in Eastport on May perhaps 22.

“It was maybe the most thriving cruise ship take a look at the port has ever had,” mentioned Chris Gardner, executive director of the Eastport Port Authority. “All of the passengers gave rave testimonials of Eastport, saying, ‘It’s a gem’ and ‘What a stunning city you have.’”

He noted region companies reported “a tremendous day” in sales, with Raye’s Mustard posting the very best single day ever in financial activity. Other passengers inquired about obtaining home in Eastport.

“It was a major audition for us, and we nailed it,” Gardner mentioned of the take a look at.

Destinations North America (DNA), which is now the coordinator for onshore activities by the passengers, rented buses and arranged for trips to the Roosevelt Campobello International Park and Calais, along with whale-watching and walking tours. About 165 passengers went on the trips, although other individuals got off to stroll about the town.

Gardner says DNA brought “a level of professionalism” to the tours, which “went off without the need of a hitch.”

“All of the men and women who got us right here deserve the credit,” he mentioned of the day’s accomplishment, mentioning in certain Tessa Ftorek, Chris Brown and Jett Peterson.

Visits scheduled for fall

Throughout the May perhaps 15 meeting of the port authority board, Gardner noted that, although the port authority desires all cruise ship visits to go nicely, this take a look at was in particular crucial, as it “may lead to a stronger connection with Holland America in the coming years.”

The Zaandam is the biggest cruise ship that Eastport will see this year, and Gardner points out that cruise ship businesses like Holland America are searching at altering the ports they take a look at in Maine, which is getting driven by the restrictions that Bar Harbor is looking for to impose on cruise ship passengers.

Final fall, the residents of Bar Harbor authorized an ordinance putting a 1,000-per- day cap on the quantity of passengers that can disembark. Because a quantity of nearby companies have filed suit difficult the ordinance, it has not but taken impact.

“It’s a tremendous chance, if we do this correct,” Gardner mentioned. “The adjustments in Bar Harbor are generating Eastport that a great deal much more desirable to the sector.”

He noted the island city will continue “to stay the friendliest cruise port in Maine.”

Only 3 ports in the state — Bar Harbor, Portland and Eastport — can deal with ships getting into from other nations, due to the fact they offer you customs clearance and have safety plans authorized by the U.S. Coast Guard, so a quantity of the lines that had been going to Bar Harbor are taking into consideration Portland and Eastport.

“We cannot take the mega-vessels — these are going to Portland — but we hope to extend the season and fill in the middle through the summer season, when Eastport showcases its very best.”

Midsize cruise ships in the 400-foot to 700-foot variety have scheduled 13 visits to the city this fall. Amongst the lines that will be coming in September, October and early November are Hurtigruten, whose vessel the Roald Amundsen stopped by Eastport final year, Viking Ocean Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Ponant, American Queen Voyages, Windstar Cruises and Oceania Cruises.

Destinations North America took more than arranging the tours for passengers in Eastport, as the nearby coordinators for the port authority, Chris Brown and Tessa Ftorek, have decided to step back.

“We’ve gotten out of the tour small business,” mentioned Gardner. “Other ports that host cruise lines companion with the corporation to conduct tour packages.”

Although Eastport has not had the volume of cruise ships and passengers to warrant working with Destinations North America in the previous, that is now altering.

The cruise lines contract straight with DNA, “which removes us from any liability” through the tours, Gardner says. Although Destinations North America will set up their personal tours, the port authority can employ them “to run something on our behalf, like setting up vendors in the welcome center.”

On May perhaps 9, the port authority held an informational meeting with interested small business partners about the ongoing cruise ship activities and the adjustments triggered by Chris Brown and Tessa Ftorek’s semi-retirement. Destinations North America is now the conduit for how region companies can make contact with a cruise line.

Throughout the meeting there was some discussion about how activities that DNA could possibly not be carrying out, such as alerting nearby companies about cruise ship arrivals or group advertising, should really now be the duty of the Eastport Location Chamber of Commerce.

“DNA will present insurance coverage and make certain a level of professionalism” through the onshore tours, Gardner noted.

Other small business

In other small business through the May perhaps 15 meeting of the port authority board, the tugboat policy was revisited. The port authority board had voted at its April meeting to suspend its policy that all ships coming and going to the port terminal have to be accompanied by a tug, no matter if or not they want one particular.

Just after the board met with the president of McAllister Towing, Brian Fournier, they decided at the May perhaps meeting not to suspend the policy. The escort requirement is a security measure in case a ship loses energy.

For the subsequent importation of wood chips, scheduled for June, the port authority is functioning to have the bulk conveyor technique no longer use direct energy supplied by Versant Energy and as an alternative use its transportable generators, which will save the port authority revenue more than the extended-term simply because of the hikes in electric prices.

The operate is getting carried out each by Riverside Electric and in-property, and the expense to make the adjust and relocate the generators is anticipated to be about $ten,000 to $15,000.

The port authority is functioning with the new terminal operator, Logistec Terminals, to arrange for extended-term berthing at the Estes Head pier each for a Cooke Aquaculture vessel and a tugboat owned by a new towing corporation operated by Ellic Motram.

The floats on the north side of the breakwater have been anticipated to be placed back in the water through the week, and installation of the replacement crane on the south side is anticipated in the coming weeks.

Sign up for the Downeast Monitor, a cost-free newsletter made by The Maine Monitor, to remain informed of what’s taking place in Washington County.This story was initially published by the Quoddy Tides, and is republished right here with permission. 

Edward French is the editor and publisher of The Quoddy Tides, a twice a month newspaper founded by his mother Winifred French in 1968. The Quoddy Tides, primarily based in Eastport, is the most easterly newspaper published in the United States and covers eastern Washington County, Maine, and western Charlotte County, New Brunswick, which includes the Fundy Isles.

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