An American Cruise Lines ship is shown in 2019, when it made a stop in Bucksport. Credit: Courtesy of Richard Rotella

Bangor will allow a cruise line that runs small ships to dock at the city’s waterfront for the first time in a decade after the City Council voted unanimously to approve a 20-year lease with the company.

American Cruise Lines will pay an annual fixed rental fee and a docking fee for every passenger each time it docks on the waterfront.

Councilors voted unanimously Monday to approve the arrangement, which would allow the company to park its ships at Dock 5. It had last docked its ships in Bangor about a decade ago, ending a multi-year run.

American Cruise Lines is based in Guilford, Connecticut, and offers cruise trips along the Maine coast and in Puget Sound, the Pacific Northwest, Mississippi River, Alaska and the Hudson River, according to its website.

As a small cruise company, its vessels carry fewer than 250 passengers.

“The lease that we proposed, I think, works very well to bring us back and to allow us to contribute to the tourism impact in Bangor,” American Cruise Lines chief executive Charles Robertson said.

The company has started planning its summer schedule and anticipates bringing a cruise ship to Bangor in the next few months, Robertson said.

“Welcome back to the city. Your absence has been missed,” Councilor Dan Tremble told Robertson. “We worked a long time and put a lot of money into the waterfront, so that we can host companies like yours on the waterfront.”

Other towns like Bar Harbor are grappling with how to prepare for the return of cruise ships after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased COVID-19 restrictions on cruises last month.

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Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to