Portland, Maine

Location:

All of the larger cruise ships that visit Portland dock or tender in at The Maine State Pier (Portland Ocean Terminal) or the Ocean Gateway Terminal.

 

The new facility, Ocean Gateway Cruise Terminal, is located just steps away from Portland’s dynamic downtown and within walking distance to the Old Port shopping district and uptown Historic and Art’s districts.

Sightseeing:

Portland is an old seacoast town. It is also a funky city filled with galleries, one-of-kind boutiques and shops, and incredible restaurants serving everything from New England clam chowder, lobster rolls and Maine seafood to nouvelle cuisine.

 

Portland is located on a peninsula in Casco Bay on the Southern Maine coast approximately 100 miles (161 km) north of Boston, Massachusetts. It has more than 65,000 inhabitants making it the largest city in Maine. Portland is a small seaside city with a high concentration of shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, tours and many things to see and do. Many people commute to Portland to work, and the city’s population significantly increases in the summertime.

Tours/Excursions/Transportation:

The Old Port and Downtown Arts District areas are very walkable and pedestrian friendly.

 

Take a 90-minute narrated trolley tour, passing many popular attractions ($12). Tickets can be purchased at the visitor info kiosk by the cruise terminal (14 Ocean Gateway Pier).

 

Lobstering excursions from Memorial Day weekend in May until Columbus Day weekend in October departing from Long Wharf.

Nearby Places:

This one port offers four dynamic destinations. In addition to historic Portland, 30 minutes south of Portland, passengers will enjoy Kennebunkport, a quintessential Maine village and summer home to two US presidents. Freeport with its factory outlets and boutiques is home to the world famous outdoor outfitter LL Bean and is just 20 minutes north of Portland. New Hampshire is home of the White Mountain National Forest & the Mount Washington Cog Railway – a unique and unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

 

The LL Bean Outlet in Portland, Maine on Congress Street has closed on September 2010. The Freeport store is usual business.

Shopping and Food:

The Old Port is nestled against the busy port and home to 19th century streets filled with boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. The district sells everything from one-of-a-kind jewelry and designer jeans to best-selling books and surf boards.

Currency:

The official U.S. currency is the United States dollar (symbol: $). ATM’s everywhere.

 

Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used and accepted, even for transactions worth only a few dollars. In fact, in some cases, it may be the only way to make a transaction. Note to overseas visitors: Prices of goods and services always seem lower than they really are, as taxes and gratuities are seldom included.

 

Most states have a sales tax, ranging from 2.9% to nearly 10% of the retail price; 4-6% is typical. Sales tax is almost never included in posted prices (except for gasoline, and in most states, alcoholic beverages consumed on-premises), but instead will be calculated and added to the total when you pay.

 

Tipping in America is widely used and expected. While Americans themselves often debate correct levels and exactly who deserves to be tipped, generally accepted standard rates are:

 

  • Full-service restaurants: 15-20% (Often this is the only income of the wait(ress). Tips are either left in cash or you can add it to the credit card slip) Note: Few restaurants add an automatic service charge, in which case it is up to you how much you tip extra. Check your bill!
  • Taxi drivers, hairdressers, other personal services: 10-15%
  • Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15% of total
  • Bellhops: $1-2 per bag ($3-5 minimum regardless)
  • Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab
  • Shuttle bus drivers: $2-5 (optional)
  • Private car & limousine drivers: 15-20%
  • Housekeeping in hotels: $1-2 per day for long stays or $5 minimum for very short stays (optional)
  • Food delivery (pizza, etc.): $2-5, possibly more for very large orders

 Communication:

The U.S. has no official language at the federal level, but English is by far the standard for everyday use. Several states have declared their official state language as English. Spanish is also official in the state of New Mexico, where it is widely spoken; French is official in Louisiana and the Hawaiian language is official in Hawaii, but neither approaches the use of English and are official for primarily historical reasons.

 

Emergency 911

Opening Hours and Holidays:

In major metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, many drugstores and supermarkets are routinely open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, while department stores, shopping centers and most other large retailers are typically open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and often with shorter hours on Sundays – generally 11 a.m. or noon to 5 or 6 p.m. On holidays, the tendency is to remain open (with the exception of the most important holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day where stores are generally closed)

  • New Years Day (January 1) – most businesses closed; hangovers from parties the previous night, football parties. Primarily a secular holiday, and the major celebration occurs the previous night.
  • Martin Luther King Day (third Monday in January) – many government offices and banks closed; diversity-awareness programs.
  • St. Valentine’s Day (February 14) – no significant closures; romantic evenings out.
  • Presidents Day (third Monday in February) – (also Washington’s Birthday) – many government offices and banks closed; few observances, many stores have sales.
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) – no significant closures; Irish-themed parades during the day, and parties in the evening. Travelers may want to be wary of the drunken revelry and associated drunk driving crackdowns.
  • Easter (a Sunday in March or April) – few significant closures; Christian religious observances.
  • Passover (timing somewhat similar to Easter; lasts a week) – Jewish religious observances.
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May) – most non-retail/tourism businesses closed; some patriotic observances; extensive travel to beaches and parks; traditional beginning of summer tourism season.
  • Independence Day / Fourth of July (July 4) – most businesses closed; patriotic parades, fireworks after dark.
  • Labor Day (first Monday in September) – most businesses closed; extensive travel to beaches and parks; traditional ending of summer tourism season.
  • Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – Jewish religious autumn holidays.
  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October) – many government offices and banks closed; few observances.
  • Halloween (October 31) – no significant closures – trick-or-treating and costume parties in the evening.
  • Veterans Day (November 11) – many government offices and banks closed; some patriotic observances.
  • Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November, unofficially the Friday and weekend after) – most non-retail businesses closed; family gatherings, on Friday major Christmas shopping begins.
  • Christmas (December 25) – most businesses and restaurants closed the evening before and all day; exchanging gifts, Christian religious observances. If you need food from a restaurant, your best bet will be hotels and Chinese or Indian restaurants. People from non-Christian religions often go to the movies and eat at Chinese restaurants on Christmas. 

 

 

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Place Categories: Cruise Ports

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