The sun shone on Lerwick for the arrival of the 1,000th cruise ship to visit the harbour on Sunday. The festivities to welcome Boudicca, one of the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines fleet, started as soon as she neared the town with harbour boats Kebister and Knab firing water cannons onto her bow and stern.
The 204m Boudicca herself looked splendid, bedecked with flags and passengers lining the outdoor decks as she inched into Holmsgarth.
Lerwick Brass Band struck up as she approached, and the Jarl’s squad marched to her side to form a guard of honour, the red kyrtles and silver axes resplendent against the white of the ship’s hull.
The Jarl’s squad cheered and were met with an answering cheer from the passengers who were on a five-day mini-cruise from Rosyth to Bergen and back.
As they disembarked, many of the tourists said they were “honoured” by the reception. Some even had Shetland connections.
One of the first passengers ashore was Margaret Johnston, 83, from Edinburgh, who with her husband Whitson, 85, was going to visit Levenwick, where his father Robert Whitson Johnson was born.
They and other visitors were whisked away by shuttle bus while the captain and invited guests went to lunch at Hay’s Dock to sample local fish dishes.
Chairman of Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) Brian Anderson presented marketing manager of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Nigel Lingard with a replica galley.
Expressing his delight, Mr Lingard said it was very fitting that a Fred. Olsen ship had been the 1,000th vessel as the line had links with Norscot (now the Greenhead base) its founding route had been to Grangemeouth.
He wished LPA well in its endeavour to bring more cruise ships to the isles.
LPA chief executive Sandra Laurenson said later that that was what the port hoped to do with a new cruise passenger reception area where the old toilets are on the Esplanade, which will be ready by next year. Ms Laurenson said: “I am delighted we have had such a splendid day.”
Then it was the turn of captain Bjarte Roksund to welcome the group onto the vessel where they were seved with canapes and drinks on the bridge deck to the sound of piano playing.
Cpt Roksund was also presented with a model of a galley. He said he was delighted to be in Lerwick and had had a quick tour of the “city”.
“It is a pleasure and an honour to have you on board and an honour to be the 1,000th cruise ship. I hope we’ll be back.”