Record cruise ship year in prospect for Lerwick
This year will be a record-breaking one for cruise ship visits, with 76 confirmed bookings and 50,000 tourists expected, according to Lerwick Port Authority.
The last couple of years have seen around 50 cruise ships visiting but the increase of 50 per cent is unprecedented.
The first cruise ship to come to Lerwick Harbour will be the Portuguese-registered Astoria, arriving from Portree and heading to Torshavn. The Bahamian-registered Marco Polo will end the season on 6th October, and will also sail to Torshavn.
Ten of the ships due to arrive during the six-month season are making their first visit to Lerwick.
These include some of the largest to come to the harbour, including the 286-metre Dutch ship Zuiderdam on 21st May, the 229-metre Norwegian ship Viking Sea on 15th June, the Bermuda-registered 290-metre Azura on 30th June and the Italian-registered Costa Neoromantica on 17th July.
The largest ship on her maiden visit will be Maltese-registered Celebrity Silhouette, with a length of 315 metres, scheduled to arrive from Belfast on 14th August and leave the same day for Invergordon.
Most of the cruise ships will continue their voyages to Faroe, Norway and Iceland, although itineries are subject to change.
The Norwegian sail training ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl is due to make seven visits to Lerwick during the coming season.
Melanie Henderson of Lerwick Port Authority said it would be a busy year for the team, with a “meet and greet” service on offer and a shuttle bus from Holmsgarth, where some of the ships would berth.
Ms Henderson said: “Shetland is growing in popularity as a cruising destination and Scotland as a whole.”
The port was already taking bookings for 2017 which, she said, were looking “positive”.