MYTH: More shopping on land means more cruise tourist spending.

Using data collected in 2012 and 2013 from cruise passengers landing at Bergen, Norway, a 2016 study found that cruise tourists did not spend more on land even when presented with more shopping opportunities.

Mega-cruise ships are direct competitors to local businesses. As a port of call versus a home port, Rockland is only an intermediate stop, where passengers may spend fewer than ten hours, with limited spending at restaurants and hotels given the facilities and pre-paid meals offered on the ship.

Cruise ships do all they can to ensure that money stays on board the ship.


MYTH: Cruise passengers who enjoy a destination are likely to come back.

Cruise tourists in the same 2016 study referenced above were also less inclined to revisit a destination when compared to land-based tourists.

MYTH: The cruise industry creates jobs.

The cruise industry provides low-paying, seasonal employment versus the year-round employment provided by many land-based and marine-based industries.

Souvenir vendors, candy stores, and ice cream shops may appear to do swift business, but cruise tourists spend just one-fifth of what other tourists spend. They turn towns into trinket villages.

Cruise ships also harm fishermen’s gear and crowd fishing areas. 

Maine’s lobstering community is one of the most important economic drivers in our local economy and also a strong source of employment for generations of Maine families. As reported from Bar Harbor, mega-ships cost lobstermen thousands of dollars in lost gear, lobsters, and fishing grounds. Mega ships and their fast-moving tenders upset their work, crowd working space on the water and on shore, and often disrupt traps.

Rockland can learn from the experiences of other coastal communities. 

Midcoast Maine is not the first place to have wrestled with how to manage the impact of cruise ships on their communities. From Key West to Venice and Cape Town, cities around the world have recognized that some reason and regulation needs to be introduced into local management plans and ordinances if each community’s sense of place is to be preserved. While cruise ship passengers represent a short-term revenue stream for communities and certain businesses, land-based tourists spend up to ten times more than cruise passengers (Klein, 2005) and so it is incumbent upon community leaders and residents to institute policies that work to fulfill each community’s long-term economic goals.

One of the largest gatherings ever held to formulate plans for dealing with cruise ships was held in 2013 in Charleston, South Carolina, a community that has faced the challenges of cruise visitation head-on. Rather than seeking to ban cruise ships altogether, the symposium’s aim was to create a set of policies that would benefit host communities over the long-term. “By ensuring an effective balance of economic, environmental, and social concerns, while also stewarding the important heritage resources that make these places appealing to visitors, port communities can protect both the value of their tourism product as well as preserve quality of life and quality of place for residents.”

To read the full report from the 2013 Charleston symposium, click here.