Rockland, Maine Cruise Port Guide

On a Rockland, Maine cruise, you’ll find that location is everything in this pretty port. The small city and its protected harbor are surrounded by rocky peninsulas, old-growth forests, and sandy beaches. This quintessential New England coastal town is brimming with historic buildings, galleries, cool restaurants, and above all, lobster; this is the self-styled lobster capital of the world.

You can venture out into the sea for lobster fishing, or explore lush green wilderness and nature preserves nearby. You’ll get the feeling of being part of a true maritime and artistic community from the second you step off the ship on your New England cruise.

Cruises to Rockland, Maine

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Top Sights & Attractions on Cruises to Rockland, Maine

The Farnsworth Art Museum

This impressive and family-friendly museum celebrates the work of artists who live and work in Maine and who are inspired by the state’s wild coastal beauty. Some 15,000 works here are displayed on a rotating basis, including paintings, sculptures by the renowned Louise Nevelson, and mixed media pieces. There’s also a seasonal section focusing on the work of American realist painter James Wyeth, his father, Andrew, and his grandfather, the illustrator N.C. Wyeth.

The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

A light has stood on Jameson Point since 1827, protecting ships from the jagged rocks here. A granite breakwater, almost a mile long, was built in 1899 and the red brick lighthouse you see today was established in 1902. The lighthouse is an essential viewing stop on the Rockland Harbor Trail; walk along the breakwater and you could spot seals and seabirds. The views from the lighthouse are spectacular, and you can join a tour of the former keeper’s quarters, too.

Center for Maine Contemporary Art

Another essential stop for art lovers is this ultra-modern glass and metal gallery, designed by architect Toshiko Mori and inspired by the shimmering light of Maine. The collection features the work of the many artists with connections to Maine and changes constantly. On display are drawings, sculptures, portraits, photography, and textiles. You’ll also find a lively event program here, with lectures, classes, and workshops for all ages, as well as a great gift shop.

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Things to Do in Rockland, Maine

See the Sail Power and Steam Museum

Maritime history enthusiasts will be impressed by the exhibits, artifacts, and art at Rockland’s Sail Power and Steam Museum, located at the Old Snow Shipyard on the waterfront. Learn about the history of boating, yachting, fishing, naval positioning, and maritime trade. See relics from some of the first steamships in the region, as well as historic sextants and vintage photographs. This is a great learning experience for anybody interested in Rockland’s long-standing connection to the sea.

Walk the Rockland Harbor Trail

A walk along the Rockland Harbor Trail is the perfect way to enjoy the natural splendor of the town’s setting. The trail follows the curve of the bay from the breakwater to Snow Marine Park, tracing the shoreline and winding around the city’s harbor and commercial districts downtown. It is paved in some parts, with sun-warmed wooden boardwalk in others. Bring comfy shoes and your camera, and enjoy the brisk Atlantic Ocean breeze as you stroll from the city shore to the rocky coast.

Tour on a Lobster Boat

Lobster fishing is an art, and the people of Maine have perfected it over the years to the point of world fame. While on one of these fabulous cruises to Rockland, Maine, take a tour on a local lobster boat. There are plenty of options to see the lobster trapping process in action, both on shore or out at sea. Many local lobstermen and women use techniques that are over a century old, and sustainable practices are required by law to ensure no overfishing or ecological damage occurs.

Top Food & Drink in Rockland, Maine

The most popular food in Maine is, of course, lobster. You’ll find some of the best lobster dishes you’ve ever had in Rockland, whether you’re sampling the wares of a local pub, a chic restaurant, or a food truck. 

From the port, head to Main Street downtown to explore some of the city’s favorite eateries and cafés. Don’t miss the lobster roll or corned beef sandwich at Clan Maclaren, a famous sandwich shop. Then grab a frothy pint of craft beer at the Rock Harbor Pub. Or for lobster and crab straight off the boat, head to Claws, which overlooks the harbor.

Culture & History of Rockland, Maine

Rockland is a city inextricably linked to the sea. Like many coastal towns in Maine, its history lies in British colonial conquest, followed by centuries of vital trade and fishing. The city has variously traded on its lime kilns, shipbuilding, fish canning, and more recently, tourism. The culture is laid back, enormously welcoming, friendly, and maritime-oriented. People in Rockland love to be on the sea, whether relaxing on the beach, in the water on a boat, or soaking in the sunrise from their seaside homes.

Rockland, Maine Cruise Port Facilities & Location

The port facilities in Rockland, Maine are adjacent to the city’s downtown center and are a historic site in their own right. This port has been modernized in recent years but dates back centuries as the commercial hub for the area. Getting on and off your ship is quick and easy, and you’ll find both Main Street and Park Street, the city’s most bustling areas, just a few blocks away.

Transportation in Rockland, Maine

Rockland is a small city, with more of a small-town feel than an urban one. It’s very easy to get around the downtown area by foot, and bicycles are also very welcome, particularly on the Harbor Trail. Taxis are not as common as they would be in other larger port cities, however you can book a taxi or private shuttle ahead of time to take you around the area, or around the city itself. There's a regular, though infrequent bus service that will take you downtown and to a number of historic sites as well as the Rockland Shopping Plaza.

Shopping in Rockland, Maine

On cruises to Rockland, Maine, you’ll find art, clothing, artisan candy, and nautical souvenirs available right outside of the port area. You can also buy engraved jewelry, hand-carved stones, and even replicas of famous ships. There are no major shopping centers in or around Rockland, so expect to do mostly boutique shopping here during your stay.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

In Rockland, the local currency is the US dollar, and there are a few exchange bureaus available if you’d like to change another currency into dollars during your trip. ATMs are everywhere downtown and on Main Street, although there are fewer once you leave the center of town. Tipping is customary and expected at all restaurants, bars, and for most tours. A standard 15-20% is considered the norm for good service.

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