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Study Finds Cruise Ships Promote Return Visits to Maine

Updated: Apr 17, 2019


April 1, 2019


Jennifer Boes, Marshall Communications, (302) 245-6644

PORTLAND, Maine – An estimated 360,000 cruise ship visitors spent $21.6 million in Maine during the 2018 cruise season according to a state-wide study of cruise ship passenger and crew spending released today. More than half of those visitors said they were visiting Maine for the first time and a third said they were likely to return.

Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism, said, “The cruise ship industry is an important part of the Maine tourism industry and an economic driver for our state. This new research shows us that it’s also a significant source of return visits.”

The study was conducted by Portland-based travel and tourism research firm DPA. It was prepared for the Maine Office of Tourism in partnership with CruiseMaine.

“We know if someone comes to Maine once, they are very likely to come back. These are exactly the kind of first-time visitors we want coming to our state,” Lyons said.

Sarah Flink, executive director of CruiseMaine, said, “Cruise tourists are wonderful ambassadors for our state. They come from all over the country and world, and because they are so happy with their Maine experience, they can’t wait to spread the word to their family and friends.”

Eight out of 10 visitors said they were highly satisfied with their time on-shore, and eight out of 10 said they are highly likely to recommend a trip to Maine to others.

Flink added, “The vast majority of those surveyed said Maine offers natural beauty, an unspoiled environment, high-quality service, and a warm welcome. We are a truly unique cruising destination.”

More than 660,000 people visited the state via cruise ship in 2018. When indirect spending is factored in, they generated more than $25.4 million. This spending supports 335 jobs and provides $1.4 million in Maine tax revenue, according to the study.

Cruise tourism also generates economic impact for the state in several ways not examined in this cruise visitor survey. For example, cruise lines purchased 10 million pounds of Maine lobster in 2018, and they paid more than $2 million in fees to the municipalities where they docked or anchored. CruiseMaine and the Maine Office of Tourism plan to put together the data on all these components in the future to provide the full picture of the economic benefits of the Maine cruise ship industry.

The research was conducted between July 13 and November 7, 2018 at the ports of Bar Harbor, Bath, Belfast, Boothbay Harbor, Camden, Castine, Eastport, Portland, and Rockland. Professional survey interviewers provided questionnaires to cruise ship visitors and crew as they returned to their ships from shore visits.

About CruiseMaine:

CruiseMaine, part of the Maine Office of Tourism, is a membership organization dedicated to the support, education and promotion of Maine communities seeking sustainable cruise ship tourism. Recognizing that each port city and town has different needs and capacities, it works with communities individually to help further their goals. CruiseMaine is also supported by the Maine Port Authority, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Maine Department of Transportation. Members include official ports, coastal communities and businesses wanting to leverage cruise ship tourism. To learn more, visit

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