Cruise ships start calling on Portland this week; 45 ships, 70K tourists expected in 2009

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PORTLAND — The 2009 cruise ship season officially begins on Wednesday, July 29, when the first of two ships pull into Portland Harbor, the city announced on Monday.

City Hall spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said in a press release the two ships will bring about 150 tourists to Portland. In total, the city expects 45 cruise ships, carrying nearly 70,000 passengers, between July and October.

The American Glory, an American Cruise Line ship specializing in a unique style of small-ship cruising, arrives Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. at the Portland Ocean Terminal and departs that evening for Boothbay Harbor. With about 50 passengers, the American Glory will be half-way through its 11-day sail along the Northeast coast, which includes visits to Nantucket Island, Bar Harbor and Camden and is scheduled to end next week in Bangor. During the 2009 season, the American Glory will call seven times. 

The Grande Caribe, an American Canadian Caribbean Line ship, will arrive in Portland at 9 a.m. Thursday. The 183-foot long Grande Caribe, a small luxury cruise ship carrying 100 passengers, will depart at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon for a week-long tour of the Maine coast. Portland will serve as the home port destination for Grande Caribe while it operates its Coast of Maine itinerary. 

This year’s cruise ship schedule includes a maiden visit to Portland by the Cunard ship Queen Victoria in September. The Grandeur of the Seas, the first large cruise ship to visit this year, will berth at the Maine State Pier Aug. 15, carrying 1,950 passengers.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or