Another record year is in prospect for Lerwick Harbour, with the isles attracting even larger cruise ships this summer.
Fifty-four vessels are scheduled to arrive between May and September, with the harbour’s increasing popularity set to make another significant contribution to Shetland’s tourism industry.
The continuing growth in the number of large vessels visiting is expected to set a new record at over 1.4 million gross tonnes of shipping – mostly accounted for by 23 vessels – and sustain passenger figures at over the 30,000 record set last year.
In June – the busiest month with 16 calls – the record books will be rewritten by the biggest cruise ships yet to enter the harbour – Crown Princess (113,651 gross tonnes) followed by the Costa Pacifica (114,500grt).
This season will also see six maiden calls, including Oceania Cruises’ new Marina, P&O Cruises’ Arcadia and Kristina Cruises’ new flagship Kristina Katarina.
The Crystal Serenity will be in Lerwick during the spectacular parade of sail day when vessels participating in The Tall Ships Races 2011 depart for Stavanger at the end of a four-day visit from 21st to 24th July.
Passengers from larger vessels at anchor will arrive by tender at a new welcome ashore pavilion, opened in late season last year as part of the ongoing development of facilities.
Lerwick Port Authority deputy chief executive Victor Sandison said: “A recent study for Cruise Scotland highlighted the tremendous potential to further develop the country’s cruise market. Shetland’s many attractions and Lerwick’s modern facilities make us a prime destination, with a major contribution to make, as will be demonstrated again this year.”
It is estimated that passenger spending alone in Shetland this year will exceed £1 million.
The port authority is continuing to actively market the harbour and the islands, including exhibiting again at Cruise Shipping Miami on the Cruise Scotland booth from 14th to 17th March and a presence at Seatrade Europe in Hamburg from 27th to 29th September.