The first cruise ship of the year was in Lerwick Harbour yesterday – the Astoria stopped off en route from Skye to Faroe.
Her visit was the start of what promises to be a record-breaking season with 78 cruise ships expected – the previous record was 52. Almost 54,000 passengers are expected, up on the 2014 record of 43,273.
The record for the largest cruise ship will be broken twice – by the 115,055 gross tonne Azura on 30th June, followed by the Celebrity Silhouette, at 122,210 gross tonnes, on 14th August, with around 3,100 and 2,900 passenger capacity respectively. The current record is held by the Costa Pacifica, at 114,288 gross tonnes, which visited in June 2011.
Lerwick Port Authority senior commercial executive Victor Sandison said: “The prospect of a complete set of
new port records makes it a particularly exciting season, highlighting Lerwick’s contribution to the growing Scottish cruise industry and to the Shetland economy.”
Ten maiden calls will include the Celebrity Silhouette and Viking Ocean Cruises which is visiting Scotland for the first time with the Viking Sea and Viking Star.
The port authority is continuing to support the popular “meet and greet” programme which welcomes arriving passengers and crew, and Shetland fiddle group Hjaltibonhoga, will help co-ordinate fiddlers to play for visitors at quayside.
The completion of the new Holmsgarth North jetty this autumn will provide further berthing for cruise ships from next year.
Regular visitor Statsraad Lehmkuhl arrived at the harbour for her maiden visit of the season last week and will come back this week.