The arrival of the Holland America Line cruise ship Zaandam in Eastport last week is a positive sign for the city, as numerous medium-sized ships are set to arrive this fall. The Zaandam, measuring 778 feet in length with 1,345 passengers and over 550 crew, arrived in Eastport for a day on May 22nd and was well received by all on board. The stopover marked significant sales and generated economic activity in the city. Passengers inquired about buying property in Eastport, indicating interest in the city as a potential travel destination.
Destinations North America (DNA) handled land-based activities for the passengers, arranging trips to Roosevelt Campobello International Park, Calais, whale watching, and walking tours. The tour was well-organized and successful, receiving praise for its high level of professionalism. The visit was seen as a significant opportunity for Eastport, and it is hoped that it will strengthen ties with the industry in the coming years.
Eastport Port Authority Executive Director Chris Gardner saw the Zaandam visit as a big audition for future cruise ships, and it went off without a hitch. Gardner notes that cruise lines like Holland America are considering rescheduling Maine due to the restrictions in Bar Harbor. A resident of Bar Harbor approved an ordinance limiting the number of passengers disembarking per day to 1,000, but the ordinance has yet to take effect due to local businesses filing lawsuits. The restrictions in Bar Harbor have made Eastport even more attractive to the industry, and it is hoped that the city will become a friendly cruise port.
Medium-sized cruise ships from 400 to 700 feet in length will be making 13 port calls in September, October, and early November. Major cruise lines like Hurtigruten, Viking Ocean Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Ponant, American Queen Voyage, Windstar Cruises, and Oceania Cruises will be among them. The local coordinators have withdrawn, and DNA has taken over the passenger tour arrangements.
During the Port Authority meeting, the tugboat escort duty policy was reviewed, and it was decided that the policy would remain in effect. For the next woodchip import, port authorities are working to use Versant Power’s portable generators rather than direct power to save money in the long run. Floats on the north side of the breakwater are being returned to the water, and a replacement crane will be installed on the south side.
Overall, the Zaandam visit was a success, and Eastport City officials are looking forward to working with the industry and promoting the city as a destination.