Next year should see a record-breaking cruise ship season, according to Lerwick Port Authority.
The record for the largest cruise ship to visit the harbour is set to be broken twice next year.
The port will be visited by P&O Cruises’ 115,055 gross tonne Azura on 30th June, followed by Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Silhouette (122,210 gross tonnes) on 14th August, with 3,096 and 2,886 passenger capacity respectively.
Records are expected to be set include:
• Passengers – estimated at 50,925;
• Number of vessels – 70 booked;
• Tonnage of vessels – 2,105,723 gross tonnes.
The prospects for next year come following the end of the 2015 season during which cancellations reduced bookings by eight. Victor Sandison, the port authority’s senior commercial executive, said: “Bad weather at sea reduced arrivals, with a number of last-minute call-offs, including large vessels, which hit passenger numbers.”
The season was extended at 48-hours’ notice on Sunday with the arrival of Hapag-Lloyds’ Hanseatic – described as “the world’s only five-star expedition ship” – while en route from Akureyri, Iceland, to Kirkwall, Orkney, following a voyage to Greenland.
She brought the season totals at Lerwick to 41 vessels, at 1,242,971 gross tonnes carrying 30,430 passengers – all below previous records.
Mr Sandison added: “In a highly competitive market, cruise operators are spoiled for choice and appear to be juggling different destinations in different years to refresh itineraries. It’s definitely our turn next season, and 2017 is also already looking good, with 28 advance bookings so far, at 1,387,724 gross tonnes and an estimated 31,000-plus passengers.”
Next year’s first cruise ship is anticipated on 24th April and the season will run until 6th October.
June and July are expected to be the busiest months, with 16 and 21 calls respectively. The season will include 10 maiden calls, including Viking Ocean Cruises’ new ships, Viking Sea and Viking Star.
CRUISE SHIP RECORDS
Largest cruise ship – Costa Pacifica at 114,288 gross tonnes (June 2011)
Most passengers per vessel – Costa Pacifica with 3,105 (July 2012)
Most passengers annually – 43,723 (2014)
Most ships annually – 52 (2012)
Highest tonnage annually – 1,684,699 (2014)