Cruise Ships in Portland Avoiding Hurricane Lee Leave Passengers Out of Luck!


The Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian Ship that is Envvironmentally Focused Above.  Larry & Joan Schacht are Passegers on Board Her.  (See Below Right Photo of Them).

Betty & Bobby Jones, From Arkansas Aboard the “Constitution” Outdside the Closed Visitor’s Center at Oeean Gateway.

Larry & Joan Schacht Siting on the Front Steps of First Parish Church, Congress Street, Following Their Walk up From Commercial Street and the Waterfront.

The four cruise ships in Portland harbor today are here to avoid Hurricane Lee – the Hurricane that sent ships seeking refuge. but that didn’t meet its early expectations for wind and flooding in the area.  Rather, the Hurricane that was predicted to hit Portland actually skipped over the area heading  up the Maine coast eventually making landfall in Canada.

But, no one bothered to tell some of the usual attractions for tourists or passengers on these cruise ships that Lee had gone Downeast instead of stopping in Portland.   Rather, the Visitors’ Center at Ocean Gateway on the east end of Portand was closed – the place where visitors normally go to find out what there is to do in Portland and the area; it was closed today because of Hurricane Lee according to a sign on the front door of the building.

Joan and Larry Schacht, of St. Louis, Missouri, were passengers aboard the Norwegian ship they joined in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  A retired medical doctor and nurse, they were on this “expeditious”  ship to learn from the team of ten scientists on board.  The scientists are doing research on whales, water birds and porpoises and providing  daily lectures on their research to passengers.  The ship is currentlly carrying 250 passengers, but can accommodate 530 passengers.  “We’ve been looking for something to do, but everthing is closed today because of the Hurricane,” said Joan.  “We are three day refugees,” said a grinning Larry as they headed down Congress Street toward the closed Portland Public Library and the closed Portland Museum of Art.

Outside the closed Visitor’s Center at Ocean Gateway on the waterfront were Betty and Bobby Jones, from Arkansas.  They arrived in Portland yesterday aboard the ship – Constitution – also seeking refuge from Hurricane Lee.  “There is not a lot to do here in Portland,” said Bobby.  The tour buses that normally line up on Commercial Street taking ship passengers up to Freeport, to lighthouses and down to Kennebunkport were missing from the waterfront..  (See above left photo).

Melinda and Roger Smith, from south of Atlanta, Georgia, arrived in Portland aboard the Pearl Mist on Thursday evening.  They were on their way to Halifax and Quebec City when the ship’s captain decided to hold up in Portland until Hurricane Lee was not a danger to the ship, crew and its passengers.  This couple had found something to do – they were about to take a ride on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad along the waterfront. There isn’t much to do in Portland, but there is a lot to do on the ship.  “After this ride, we’ll get back on the ship for the activities they offer us,” he said. Roger is retired from his position as a public school band leader for 30 years in the Atlanta area.

“We’ve had customers today from three of the cruise ships that came in to Port yesterday because of the Hurricane,” said Celeste Carpenter, an employee at the mini-railroad, located a stone’s throw from the closed Visitors’ Center.  “Cruise ship passengers have been about half of our customers today.  Area residents have not been out today because of Lee.  We are grateful for the cruise ships because of the business we’ve gotten from them today.”

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