Lerwick Harbour will reach the mid-point of a shortened 2021 cruise season next week – with the arrival of three of the largest vessels yet since the lifting last month of the Covid-related ban on visits to Scottish ports.
Nine ships have called since Lerwick became the first to welcome passengers on 19th July, when the Scottish government eased restrictions on domestic cruises after the 17-month ban.
The next to anchor in the inner harbour will be Marella Explorer 2, on Tuesday 24th August – her second visit of the season.
On Thursday, the 238-metre, 62,735 gross tonne Bolette will anchor in the inner harbour. On the same day, the Spirit of Adventure is expected to berth at Mair’s Pier East.
All three vessels are on home-water cruises around Britain, with UK-only passengers.
While Covid-19 restrictions on the number of passengers have been removed, international sailings are not yet permitted at Scottish ports.
The industry requirement for shore excursion “bubbles”, initially in place since the restart, has now also been relaxed.
Some cruise lines visiting Lerwick will be allowing passengers and crew members to disembark for free time ashore.
Lerwick Port Authority Cruise and Marketing Manager Melanie Henderson said: “All the hard work, planning and preparation by everyone is paying off, with the reduced season going smoothly.
“Local businesses and the Shetland community have played their part to help prepare for what will hopefully be a full season next year and increasing input to the economy.”
Emma Miller, of Living Lerwick added: “As we continue with the recovery from Covid, retail and hospitality businesses in the town centre have been glad to welcome back local and visiting customers.
“Cruise passengers are normally a significant addition to the footfall of the town centre in the summer months and it will be a further welcome boost to businesses to see these passengers come ashore to enjoy what our town centre has to offer.”