“All our fees are covered by the head tax ($10), for all ships with 1,000 or more passengers. We don’t charge for security or berthing, all of that is included. The ship itself is not paying anything,” said Bob Leeman, marketing manager for Cruise Portland (Maine). In addition are further incentives for ships calling earlier in the season, he explained.

All of this is helping drive business for the port town, with 77 vessels and 105,000 passengers predicted for 2016, including the largest ship Portland has ever seen: the Anthem of the Seas.

“We are going to hit the 100,000 passenger number for the first time this year,” said Leeman. “We need to make a big celebration of that.”

Tour operators have also rolled out eight new excursions for the 2016 season. Among the trends are more food and beverage tours and more excrusions targeted toward smaller groups.