Cruise ships have been in the news recently. Fortunately this disabled cruise ship has been towed safely to Mobile, Alabama. Despite the recent negative news about cruise ships, Cruise Maine, a Windham-based organization that promotes Maine ports to the cruise ship industry, estimates a 17 percent increase in passengers visiting Maine in 2013.Cruise Maine estimates 258,661 cruise ship passengers to visit Maine in 2013.

The cruise ship season starts on May 5 when the first ship of the year arrives in Bar Harbor. The last scheduled ship is on November 1 in Portland.

Bar Harbor is Maine's busiest cruise ship port and it is expected to welcome 134 cruise ships this season. About 171,000 tourists will pour into downtown Bar Harbor this year, that's up from 140,000 in 2012. In 1990, Bar Harbor saw only 22 cruise ship visits. In 2012, 108 ships made port in Bar Harbor.

Portland and Rockland are also expected to see increases in visitors this season.

The cruise ship industry was estimated in 2011 to have a $45 million economic effect on the state.