Cruise ship Independence makes first summer docking

By Larry Di Giovanni | Jun 06, 2014
Photo by: Larry Di Giovanni The small cruise ship, The Independence, is shown June 5 docked at the Rockland Harbor Public Landing next to its neighbor from a different sailing era, The Amistad.

Rockland — The 100-passenger cruise ship, The Independence, made its first weekly summer stop at Rockland Public Landing the evening of June 3 before departing June 6 for other Maine port visits.

The small cruise ship, owned by American Cruise Lines, and scheduled to visit Rockland Harbor every Tuesday throughout the summer, provided quite a contrast of sailing eras beside its neighbor at dock, The Amistad. The Amistad is a replica of a 19th-century Baltimore clipper with a mission that includes educating the public about the unfortunate legacy left by the international slave trade.

During the morning of June 5, a tour bus took Independence passengers out for some area sightseeing that included The Farnsworth Art Museum and Sail Power & Steam Museum.

David Holtz and his wife Anne of Brighton, Mich., decided instead to walk into Rockland and make stops at their leisure, such as one to The Rockland Farmers Market at Harbor Park. Anne Holtz had never visited the East Coast and they decided it was time. They chose a Maine cruise over a paddle boat excursion on the Snake River in Oregon.

"She gave this trip to me for my birthday," said Holtz, who many years ago visited Caribou while on duty with the Strategic Air Command.

The couple previously took a European cruise on the Rhine River from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to Vienna, Austria. They described their accommodations aboard The Independence as "luxurious with a huge, spacious cabin."

The Amistad, meanwhile, has given deck tours to hundreds of interested area residents and visitors, said Ship Historian Jesse Doucette. Included was a Thursday visit from a large group of Rockland middle school students, he said. The clipper was still awaiting its final customs clearance as of June 6.

Courier Publications reporter Larry Di Giovanni can be reached at 594-4401 x. 117, or by email at:

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Larry Di Giovanni
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Larry Di Giovanni, a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, is returning to his daily reporting roots in order to cover the city of Rockland for The Courier-Gazette. Originally from Athens, Ohio, his family includes one son, Tony.

Di Giovanni has covered news beats ranging from the city of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to the largest tribal government in the United States — the Navajo Nation. He has also worked as a writer in the public education and higher education fields. He's an animal enthusiast and loves dogs.

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