Maine Maritime Academy Students Return From Training Cruise

CASTINE, Maine (WABI) Families were picking out their loved ones lined up aboard the training ship State of Maine as it returned to port in Castine.

Peggy Ditommaso, a mom says, "A mariner mom has to learn how to say goodbye without tears but celebrate the welcome home."

Jackie Gamache has welcomed home three generations of men -- a son, grandson, and this time her great grandson -- all at the Maine Maritime Academy.

She says, "I am very proud and I'm very blessed and I think it's just wonderful."

There was plenty of cheering as the 219 cadets arrived home.

The freshman on cruise shipped out on May 10th for their 90 day training cruise.

Julia Dillon, a freshman on cruise says, "At first it was a little bit daunting but overall it was an amazing experience. It went by really fast actually."

The juniors on cruise spent 45 days aboard getting more specialized training.

Austin Gamache, junior on cruise says, "My duties as a cadet master is pretty much overall safety of the vessel, mimicking what the captain does. I shadow him as a cadet."

The students and parents agree the voyage is a unique experience.

Ditommaso says, "You can learn tons of things in the classroom but when you're actually living day-to-day on a ship and responsible for this ship and your classmates I think that's just amazing."

Slocum says, "It's invaluable experience and it's truly unique that we're able to do it and use it so, as far as appreciating the training and the ship itself. It's incredible."

Ditommaso says, "We're really excited for Dominic because we know he's made so many good friends and classmates and all of them have worked really hard."

And while it was a great experience, there's no place like home.

Slocum says, "It was a fantastic cruise and happy to be home certainly."