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Discovering Portland Aboard the Portland Maine Cruise

Discovering Portland Aboard the Portland Maine Cruise

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Out of all the amazing things to do in Portland, I was most excited about the Lucky Catch Portland, Maine cruise where we got to try to catch lobster!
This post was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

The last time I went fishing, I was about six years old. We fished on my uncle’s dock, and I remember catching my first fish and throwing it back into the lake.

Living in Seattle, you’d think I would have gone fishing a bit more growing up, but I never really had much interest.

But when I heard that Lucky Catch Cruises offered a Casco Bay cruise on a real lobster boat, I knew I had to check it out!

I mean, when you think of Maine, you think of LOBSTER!

Explore Portland Aboard a Portland, Maine Cruise

Since I was in Maine for the Women in Travel Summit, I was invited on one of the first lobster boat tours of the season by Visit Portland and Lucky Catch Cruises.

If you're looking for a unique Portland Maine cruise, try this Lucky Catch cruise on a real lobster boat.
You’ll board your Lucky Catch cruise at Long Wharf in Portland, Maine. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

It was the warmest, sunniest day of the first weekend in May, but I still wore four layers of clothing! I’m so glad I did because the boat catches a lot of wind.

Thankfully, the crew (Jenna and Tom) provided everyone with thick aprons that kept me much warmer than I expected!

Lucky Catch Cruises is an easy boat ride on Casco Bay where the crew will guide you through the daily routines of a Maine Lobsterman.

The cruise is as hands-on or laid back as you’d like. And you’ll see picturesque lighthouses, historic Civil War forts, and “Seal Rocks” on this 80-90 minute cruise in Portland, Maine.


Lobster traps look like big, wiry cubes. The ones I saw were a gorgeous, bright teal color. Which makes sense if they are trying to blend into the water.

It’s designed to lure the lobster in, and then once they are inside, they cannot climb out.

Our first job was learning how to bait the lobster traps. This consisted of having one person hold a netted bag while another filled it with five herring fish.

Guests can participate in this lobster cruise of Portland Maine Cruise by filling net bags with herring fish to put in the lobster traps as bait.
Guests can get their hands “dirty” by filling the bait bags for the lobster traps. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Most of us took turns holding the bag, but only a few volunteered to fill it with fish!

I admit, I was one of the people who didn’t want to actually touch the fish!

But the craziest thing about baiting the lobster traps is that seagulls immediately swarmed the boat when we brought out the bait!

Now, I’m talking about 30 large seagulls rushing the boat, and it totally caught me off guard!


Once we put the bait in the netted bags, the next step was to tie it inside the lobster trap. There are a few hooks inside the trap, so we really just had to loop it around a few times.

Guests can help push lobster traps into the water on this Portland Maine cruise in Casco Bay.
Pushing the lobster trap into Casco Bay was quite exhilarating! Photo credit: Allison Fraser

Then, we made sure the top of the trap was bungeed shut.

Now came the fun part. We got to push the traps into the water!

We did this for about eight stops throughout the tour. The crew pulled up the traps from the water, and we’d take turns throwing the little crabs and partially eaten bait into the water, where the seagulls would snap them up!

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In between stops, Jenna talked to us about lobster and answered all of our lobster-related questions.

She showed us the subtle difference between a male and female lobster.

On this Portland Maine cruise, you'll learn how to use a lobster gauge when fishing for lobster in Casco Bay.
Jenna uses a lobster gauge to show us whether or not this lobster would be large enough to keep. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We also learned how they measure lobsters to know which ones they can keep and which they need to throw back.

The tool is called a Lobster Gauge, and apparently, Maine is the only state that uses it.

We also heard a bit about the conservation efforts going on.

And Jenna told us how fishermen and fisherwomen use citrus to neutralize any “fishy” smells on their bodies after work.


Jenna also talked to us about the coveted lobster license.

When she said that some people have been on the waiting list for over a decade, I did a double-take and asked for clarification.

Check out this lobster from a Portland Maine cruise around Casco Bay in New England.
Close-up of a lobster caught earlier in the day. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

I guess they really want to ensure they only give the licenses to career lobster fishermen.

See, there are seven major lobstering “zones,” and they can only allow a certain number of people to fish for them at any given time.

So, people have to wait until a current license holder retires before moving up on the list. That can take ages!

The way to get around it is to secure an apprenticeship.

If someone knows they want to be a career lobsterman, they complete their 1,000 fishing hours before their 23rd birthday and avoid the line altogether.


Because I was on a trip with many other bloggers and vloggers, everyone was trying to get the best photos and videos. And there was still plenty of opportunity for everyone.

Normally, you won’t be on a tour with other travel content creators, so you’ll have ample time to pose for photos with lobster, the bait, seagulls, and even the crew!

Anyone who wants a turn holding the bait, setting the lobster traps, or being part of the action will get their chance.


If you do any Portland, Maine tour, Fort Gorges is one of the top spots. But Lucky Catch Cruises brought us much closer than any other tour.

Fort Gorges was first designed for the Civil War and is completely surrounded by water and it's one of the main attractions on this Portland Maine cruise around Casco Bay.
Fort Gorges was first designed for the Civil War and is completely surrounded by water. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Fort Gorges was never actually used for military maneuvers.

When it was finally completed in 1864, it was already deemed “obsolete!” So, it was used as a storage facility for the First and Second World Wars.

What’s really cool about Fort Gorges is that it’s free and open to anyone who can get there.

The tricky part is getting there since you’d need to take your boat or swim! I guess many visitors get stuck out there when the tide comes in, and their kayaks float away!

Oh, and you see that stuff on the roof? Yep, that’s poison ivy!

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Maine Lobstering Cruise Options

It’s fun to do a cruise from Portland, where you can see some of the islands, like Great Diamond Island. If you’ve decided that you want to do a Portland, Maine cruise with Lucky Catch Cruises, you have a few options:


If you’d like to see a bunch of lighthouses, the Portland Headlight Lobstering Cruise fits the bill!

You’ll get up close to some of the most scenic points in Casco Bay, including Maine’s most famous lighthouse, Portland Headlight.

You’ll also see six other lighthouses, Fort Gorges and Fort Scammel.


Another cool option for a boat ride in Portland, Maine, is this Seal Watch Lobstering Cruise. You’ll still see lighthouses, forts, and islands, but you’ll also stop at Seal Rocks.

This is home to a colony of super cute harbor seals that will either play in the water or sunbathe on the rocks.

In the summertime, Lucky Catch claims a 90% seal sighting rate, so it’s almost a sure thing!


The White Head Passage Lobstering Cruise will take you around the rocky shores of three Casco Bay islands before arriving at White Head Cliff.

From there, you’ll see Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse and the stone-faced profile of Chief White Head.

And you’ll see more lighthouses and forts on the way back to the harbor.


And if you decide that you don’t want to cruise with a bunch of strangers, you can ask Lucky Catch about their private charters.

This is a great idea if you travel with a large group of friends or family.

They will work with you on creating a custom charter that will be a highlight of your Portland, Maine vacation!

Most of our lobster traps were filled with little crabs on our Portland Maine cruise.
One of the crabs we found in a lobster trap on our Lucky Catch cruise. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Kid-Friendly Thing to Do in Portland, Maine:

As a family travel blogger, I’m always keeping my eye out for activities that would be fun for kids.

While I didn’t have my kids on this trip, I asked a ton of questions to see if it would be something I’d recommend to traveling families.

Jenna told me that they have special “lobster pants” available for little kids, and they can wear gloves and participate in all the activities.

They will even bring the lobster traps onto the deck so kids of all ages/sizes can learn how to be lobsters!

There’s also a fish tank on board with rock crabs, snails, starfish, hermit crabs, and other marine life. These creatures stay in the tank all day before they are thrown back into the sea.

And I have to give a shout-out to the crew because they are so friendly, and I think they’d be able to answer any question a kid asked!

After telling my kids about my trip to Portland, Maine, they BEGGED me to take them on this lobster fishing boat, so it’s officially on their bucket list!

The seagulls like to hang out near the Portland Maine Cruise in Casco Bay hoping to get some handouts!
Yes, that seagull is carrying a crab! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

What You Need to Know about Lucky Catch Cruises:


Lucky Catch Cruises operates their lobstering excursions daily from the first weekend of May through the last weekend in October.

You’ll catch the boat from their location in Long Wharf on the waterfront near Old Port.


The lobster tours last about 80-90 minutes, and they keep the number of passengers limited so everyone gets an up-close Maine lobstering experience.

Because of the length of the boat trip, it’s easy to fit into any Portland, Maine itinerary.


If you might need to use the facilities, go before you board!

Our boat had a little closet and a bucket available as a makeshift restroom.

If you are going with little kids, be sure to have them use a restroom back at the harbor, as there won’t be enough room for both of you in the little closet.


Yes, you can purchase any lobsters they catch after the cruise at a discounted “boat” price. They even have extras on board to ensure anyone wanting to purchase a lobster has that option.

You can take them home to cook or bring them to the Portland Lobster Company restaurant to have them cook it for you.


For a Casco Bay cruise, this is definitely an affordable option.

Adults: $35
Seniors: $33
Juniors (ages 13-18): $30
Children (ages 2-12): $20
Kids under 2 years old: FREE


Ok, are you ready to book this unique boat ride in Portland, Maine?

The easiest way is to check availability and book online.

The view of Old Port from our Lucky Catch Portland Maine cruise was stunning!
I loved looking at the peaceful Portland waterfront aboard Lucky Catch Cruises! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung


The Francis

For a Portland boutique hotel and spa, The Francis is a quaint 15-room inn.

They have family rooms and suites available, free parking, and they have a restaurant and bar on the property.

Portland Harbor Hotel

For Portland’s only AAA-rated 4-diamond hotel in Old Port, check out the Portland Harbor Hotel. It’s close to Lucky Catch Cruises.

They have 24-hour room service, valet, spa, restaurant, and an Instagram-worthy lobby!


Phone with Holder

You’ll definitely want to take photos and videos as you participate in catching lobster in Maine. However, if you drop your phone, it might be washed out to sea.

See, the lobster boat is designed to drain any water on board.

So, I recommend getting a cell phone ring or a Lovehandle so you won’t drop your phone.

Sturdy Shoes

You will be walking around the boat to help with the lobster traps, so you’ll want to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes.

Because of the nature of this Portland, Maine cruise, your shoes might get wet and muddy.

Jacket + Hat

The wind in Maine is no joke! They will provide you with thick aprons to wear, which shields a bit of wind.

However, you’ll probably want to wear a warm, wind-resistant jacket. And you might want a knit hat to keep your head warm (and keep your hair out of your face.)


Maine Foodie Tours

After learning how to catch lobster, the next obvious step is to EAT the lobster! But which places have the best lobster rolls?

Maine Foodie Tours offers several different walking tours featuring some of the many incredible restaurants all over Portland. Bring your appetite!

Reserve your Maine Foodie Tour ticket here.

Portland Explorer Tours

Want to see the most photographed lighthouse in Maine? Take a ride inside an air-conditioned van as you explore Portland’s famous lighthouses.

And you’ll also get a brief city tour. They have water and umbrellas available.

Reserve your Portland Explorer Tour tickets here.

Portland Fire Tours

Is there a cooler way to do a city tour than on a vintage fire truck? I don’t think so!

See the top sights in Portland, Maine, in the comfort of an open-air, covered fire truck. They even have authentic fire jackets and hats you can wear!

Reserve your Portland Fire Tour tickets here.

Thanks to Lucky Catch Cruises and Visit Portland for hosting me. All opinions are my own.

Looking for other cool places or things to do in the Pacific Northwest? Check out Incredible Pacific Northwest Family Vacation Spots, Portland with Toddlers, Waterways Cruises, Sensational Things to do in Seaside, Oregon, and other Affordable Spring Break Trips for Families!

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    Discovering Portland Aboard the Portland Maine Cruise

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    Lindsey Martinez

    Monday 24th of June 2019

    Wow what a great list. There is so much to do in this state it’s incredible. Just phenomenal & awesome. It's been really great to visit such kinds of beautiful place. Waiting for a thrilling one.


    Thursday 27th of June 2019

    This cruise was just the right speed for me!

    Tonya Denmark

    Friday 17th of May 2019

    This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Portland as well! Looks like you had a great day for it!


    Monday 20th of May 2019

    The weather was so sunny and warm-ish! Glad you also thought it was a highlight!


    Wednesday 15th of May 2019

    Looks so fun!


    Thursday 16th of May 2019

    It was something I'd never done before!


    Wednesday 15th of May 2019

    Lovely and highly detailed article! I am not much of a fishing gal but now ever I want to go try this out! When I make it to Portland, Maine you can bet that it will be on my list of sites to see!


    Thursday 16th of May 2019

    I'm not either, but this was so fun! The crew are fantastic and really make it an awesome experience!

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