Summer in Maine is in full swing, which means it’s time to get out on the open water and explore all that Casco Bay has to offer! Don’t have a boat? Not a problem – that’s where we come in! Hop on one of our specialty cruises, sit back, relax, and take in the sights – you deserve it.
Maybe you’ve been curious about our specialty cruises but aren’t sure where to start. We know summer is a busy time and planning activities can be a tricky task, so let us do the heavy lifting! Below, you’ll get a feel for what to expect on four of our specialty cruises – the Mailboat Run, Sunrise Run, Sunset Run, and Diamond Pass Run. And to celebrate all there is to see on Casco Bay, we’ve redesigned our attraction map for our specialty cruise passengers. This foldable map is provided to all those who purchase a specialty cruise – we’re calling it “The Sights of Casco Bay: Explore Casco Bay from A – Z!” That’s right, 26 landmarks for you to learn about on your sea voyages, from lighthouses to historic forts to abandoned shipwrecks. We’ll even highlight some of the historic attractions below to give you a sneak peek.
Before we dive into the details, here are a few important tips on our specialty cruises:
- Our cruises last anywhere from 1.75 to 3.5 hours, so we recommend packing snacks, lunches, and any beverages your crew fancies.
- Keep in mind that you’re on the open water and weather can at times be unpredictable, so bring that extra layer or blanket, just in case.
- Not a summer outing without your four-legged companion? Casco Bay Lines allows cats and dogs onboard! Just a friendly reminder that you’ll also need to purchase a pet ticket (with the exception of service animals) at our terminal.
- All tickets are round-trip and must be purchased in person at our Maine State Pier terminal. Ticket rates can be found here.
- Questions about parking and directions to our terminal? This page has the answers!
Sneak peek: a simplified version of our Casco Bay specialty cruise map.
Mailboat Run (red route), Duration: 2.5 – 3.5 hours (roundtrip)
Schedule: Daily, 3 trips/day (view schedule here)
We believe that this is the most unique way to cruise Casco Bay, and we like to think we know what we’re talking about! This voyage allows you to get a taste of island life. You’ll follow along the daily route of mail and package deliveries, while taking in views of the rocky island coast and stopping at Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Cliff, and Chebeague Islands. Our new cruise map highlights a number of landmarks to look for when you’re out on the water, creating a fun scavenger hunt for you and your sea mates! Sights like…
Fort Gorges: Constructed in 1858 – 64, this historic fort was active during the Civil and Spanish American Wars, as well as stored submarine mines during WWII. This will be one of the first landmarks you’ll see when leaving shore!
Sunrise Run (red route), Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours (roundtrip)
Schedule: Daily, 1 trip/day with 5AM departure (more info here)
Is there really a better way to start your day than waking up with the sunrise? Yes, 5AM might sound early, but the breathtaking views, serene wildlife, and morning mist make it all worth it. Grab a thermos of coffee and do like the lobstahmen do. This is a true Maine experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Just think of the photo ops! And the sights like…
Spring Point Light: A historic lighthouse accompanied by Fort Preble, built back in 1808. The light helps guide ships through the main channel, and changes from white, to pink, to red, based on the ship’s location.
Sunset Run (red route), Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours (roundtrip)
Schedule: Daily, 1 trip/day (view schedule here)
Wind down after a long day with the salt, the sea, and the sunset. You’ll set sail from the Maine State Pier and watch as the sun slowly sets, setting the sky ablaze with hues of red and orange (or if you’re extra lucky – pinks and purples!) You might even see a seal basking in the glory of it all, and you’ll definitely see…
Portland Observatory: Watch the sun set on this historic structure built back in 1807, nestled in the heart of Portland’s Munjoy Hill, and used to spot ships approaching the bay.
Diamond Pass Run (yellow route), Duration: 1.75 – 2 hours (roundtrip)
Schedule: Daily (view schedule here)
Who doesn’t love to admire the array of island cottages dotting the shorelines of Casco Bay? This special route allows you to get a look at two gems of Casco Bay – Great Diamond Island and Little Diamond Island. You’ll hug the rocky shoreline as you cruise through the Inner Bay past lovely island cottages. And catch a glimpse of sights like…
House Island: Once considered the “Ellis Island of the North,” House Island once acted as an immigration station. Also home to Fort Scammel, which was constructed in 1808 and helped guard the entrance to the harbor.
We look forward to joining you on your summer (and year-round) adventures, and helping you discover all that Casco Bay has to offer aboard one of our specialty cruises! Looking for more info? Visit our cruise details page on our website here.