Record cruise ship season, and Queen Victoria due next summer

Cunard’s Queen Victoria is due to call at Lerwick next July.

Another record-breaking cruise season at Lerwick Harbour closed this week – as it was announced that Cunard’s Queen Victoria is scheduled to call next July.

This year saw 91 vessels and an increase of around 78 per cent on 2017. A total of 90,336 passengers welcomed at the port since mid-March, taking its involvement to a new high.

The final scheduled ship of the season, Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo, was forced by poor North Sea weather to bypass Lerwick yesterday while en route from Torshavn in Faroe to Kirkwall in Orkney.

Tonnage at Lerwick was also a new high, at 3,837,998 gross tonnes, including 11 maiden calls.

Several new port records featured the MSC Meraviglia in July – the biggest cruise ship yet at Lerwick (171,598 gross tonnes); most passengers (5,092) plus around 1,500 crew; and, along with Hapag Lloyd’s Europa, the busiest day at Lerwick with almost 7,500 passengers and crew.

Lerwick Port Authority senior commercial executive Victor Sandison said: “A great team effort by everyone involved in Shetland has meant another very successful cruise season and helped ensure we are on even more itineraries in 2019. Local providers have risen to the challenge of servicing the extra demands.

“In a rapidly expanding global market, with another 90 vessels on order over the next five years, there is increasing requirement for special places to visit and the growing popularity of Shetland and its many attractions as a top destination augurs well for the future.

“There are 115 vessels, including 12 maiden calls, booked so far for 2019, up 25 per cent on 2018, with passenger numbers approaching 92,000. Highlights will include a call by Cunard’s Queen Victoria in July.”

With vessel sizes increasing, the port authority’s future plans include possible dredging to increase capacity alongside, and a longer-term outlook to create a new deep-water berth in the town centre to be used by cruise ships.


Add Your Comment
  • John Telford

    • October 11th, 2018 13:53

    I have seen reports that cruise ships during a stay in port will produce atmospheric pollution equivalent to several million cars sitting with their engines running, is this correct. Has any study been done on the impact in Shetland.

    • Fraser Cluness

      • October 12th, 2018 10:03

      You get the same from cows on a farm, wonder if anyone has worked out how their farts impact on Shetland too? It’s great to think this things but we all go on the northlink or fly to Aberdeen and beyond all around the world never give it a thought.

  • Donn Ard

    • October 11th, 2018 14:06

    We’re booked on Royal Caribbean for next May. Been wanting to visit since watching the two seasons of “Shetland” on Netflix. Seeya then!

    Donn & Janet Ard
    Lufkin, Texas

  • Wayne Conroy

    • October 12th, 2018 14:55

    I would also like to know if any studies have been done as to potential impact to the air quality in Lerwick.

    These ships run on heavy fuel oil… The lowest grade of fuel possible. This produces high levels of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide and they continue to burn fuels in port to power their large vessels. This, of course, is going to affect the air quality in port. These gases have been linked with a range of health problems including asthma, heart disease and cancer.

    Lets just hope that this is taken into account when they consider allowing cruise ships to berth in Lerwick and its not just another case of money coming before peoples health and welfare!

  • Terry Wilkinson

    • October 12th, 2018 21:41

    Can i ask if the comments made by the other poster John Telford re pollution are founded it certainly needs to be looked at if it’s correct

  • Ian Tinkler

    • October 13th, 2018 15:51

    Please fear not. The atmospheric pollution from heavy fuel oils burnt by ships moored in Lerwick port is transient and although toxic if inhaled is really only a tiny discharge. Now if you really want poisonous how about the fumes from Lerwick District Heating! That is 24/7 and truly in our own backyard!!!! Dioxins, particulates, C02, Mercury? Arsenic, assorted heavy metals and so on !!!!!

  • Richard Paton

    • October 15th, 2018 13:52

    The negativity towards what is an increasing valuable income stream to Shetland is astonishing frankly.

    Pollution is everywhere from Sullom Voe flare stacks, cars, diesel powered power station, the list is endless…

    Cruise ships bring money into the island for the port authority, shipping agents, local bus companies, local taxi operators, private hire specialists, even down to the humble cafes and chippies.

    Any money the LPA makes is reinvested into improved infrastructure that benefits everyone, even right down the local supply chain.

    We should’t slam the door on any business these islands should be thankful to get.

    • Wayne Conroy

      • October 16th, 2018 10:28

      Funny… I dont see “astonishing negativity” here richard so I feel you are stretching things a little!

      The only thing asked was regarding possible pollution in Lerwick Harbour. If pollution was found to be an issue there would be nothing stopping these ships from carrying on visiting as they do… Just preferably not sitting in dock. If pollution is within decent levels then they could let them sit in… Whats your problem with that? Is money yet again to be the controlling factor in a decision that may affect peoples health?


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