Posted July 16th, 2008, 06:55 PM
In Portland, your vessel will dock at the Ocean Gateway Facility in Portland Maine which is 50 Commercial Street. That's at the intersection of Commercial and Franklin Arterial which also form one corner of the "Old Port" district. "Old Port is about 4 x 6 blocks in size and is very easily walked to from the ship.
There are private tour operators along Commrecial Street from trolleys, to horse & carriage, to lobstering, to lighthouse by boat. There's a public ferry boat that leave the dock next to your ship and takes people out to the islands of Portland Harbor where you could rent a bike and explore on your own. Portland also has a Freedom Trail which highlights people and places from the Underground Railroad.
Portland Maine's public bus, METRO, offers a bus loop through the downtown section of Portland for an all day fare so if your group wanted to go to the art museum or LL Bean outlet or Victoria Mansion on their own, you could use the bus. Taxis will be lined up outside the pier waiting to take you to any destination you desire also.
There are some beaches close by - East End in Portland and Willard in South Portland. Water temps are in the high 50's low 60's in Sept, and since school will be back in session, should be quiet if you're looking for sunbathing.
Hope these suggestions help. I work as a tour guide mostly in Southern Maine so Portland is very familiar to me.