May 30, 2023 7:12 am

This previous week’s arrival of a cruise ship with the biggest quantity of passengers to stop by 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 Might 22.

“It was possibly the most productive cruise ship stop by 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 gorgeous city you have.’”

He noted location firms 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 house in Eastport.

“It was a major audition for us, and we nailed it,” Gardner mentioned of the stop by.

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, even though other individuals got off to stroll about the town.

Gardner says DNA brought “a level of professionalism” to the tours, which “went off with out 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 distinct Tessa Ftorek, Chris Brown and Jett Peterson.

Visits scheduled for fall

In the course of the Might 15 meeting of the port authority board, Gardner noted that, even though the port authority desires all cruise ship visits to go nicely, this stop by was particularly critical, 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 organizations like Holland America are seeking at altering the ports they stop by in Maine, which is getting driven by the restrictions that Bar Harbor is searching 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. Considering the fact that a quantity of neighborhood firms have filed suit difficult the ordinance, it has not however taken impact.

“It’s a tremendous chance, if we do this appropriate,” Gardner mentioned. “The modifications in Bar Harbor are generating Eastport that considerably much more eye-catching to the business.”

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 manage ships getting into from other nations, considering the fact that they present 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 contemplating 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 for the duration of the summer time, 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 neighborhood coordinators for the port authority, Chris Brown and Tessa Ftorek, have decided to step back.

“We’ve gotten out of the tour enterprise,” mentioned Gardner. “Other ports that host cruise lines companion with the enterprise 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” for the duration of 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 Might 9, the port authority held an informational meeting with interested enterprise partners about the ongoing cruise ship activities and the modifications brought on by Chris Brown and Tessa Ftorek’s semi-retirement. Destinations North America is now the conduit for how location firms can get in touch with a cruise line.

In the course of the meeting there was some discussion about how activities that DNA could possibly not be performing, such as alerting neighborhood firms about cruise ship arrivals or group marketing and advertising, ought to now be the duty of the Eastport Region Chamber of Commerce.

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

Other enterprise

In other enterprise for the duration of the Might 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 should be accompanied by a tug, regardless of whether or not they want one particular.

Right after the board met with the president of McAllister Towing, Brian Fournier, they decided at the Might 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 operating to have the bulk conveyor technique no longer use direct energy supplied by Versant Energy and alternatively use its transportable generators, which will save the port authority income more than the lengthy-term for the reason that of the hikes in electric prices.

The function is getting completed each by Riverside Electric and in-home, and the price to make the adjust and relocate the generators is anticipated to be about $ten,000 to $15,000.

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

The floats on the north side of the breakwater have been anticipated to be placed back in the water for the duration of 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 free of charge newsletter made by The Maine Monitor, to keep 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.