Lerwick Port Authority is predicting a record-breaking cruise ship season, continuing a trend which saw record traffic over the past two years.
The port is currently expecting almost 62,000 passengers this season, up 22 per cent on 2016, with an increase of 18 per cent in the gross tonnage of shipping – both new records.
The AIDAVita is the first of the 76 ships expected to arrive this year. She will be in Shetland on Friday as part of a 13-day Nordic Islands and Norway cruise.
On 12th June the harbour’s new £16.5 million multi-purpose jetty at Holmgarth North is to be used by a cruise ship for the first time when the Viking Star berths.
The outside arm of the jetty will be used initially for vessels up to 230 metres in length and Viking ships will be among a number to use Holmsgarth North this summer.
The last call is due on 27th September by Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade, stopping off in Lerwick as part of an 11-day “In the Path of Vikings” cruise, arriving from London, en route to New York, via Reykjavik, Iceland.
Nine of the vessels visiting Shetland this season will be making their maiden voyage to the isles with July and August expected to be the busiest months.
In 2018 the authority expect a further three records to be broken, with 90 ships currently booked to visit and more expected. Ten of those ships booked to date will be making maiden calls to Lerwick.
They also predict record numbers of passengers and gross tonnage of shipping.
Port authority commercial executive Victor Sandison said: “Continuing growth in the international cruise industry, our record bookings and our positive approach to industry requirements, including expanded infrastructure, all augur well for the port and the Shetland tourism sector in the future.”