A record-breaking cruise season with 129 ships, 124,000 passengers and 19 maiden calls has been hailed as a “year like no other”.
Lerwick Port Authority confirmed today (Monday) that the 2023 programme had been its most successful ever.
It opened with Viking Venus in mid-April and closed on Wednesday, 27th September when the AIDAsol arrived from Bergen with her 2,142 passengers on board.
The total tonnage throughout the year clocked in at a whopping 5.8m tonnes.
The LPA’s cruise and marketing manager, Melanie Henderson, said: “The successful performance of our marine tourism sector on three overlapping fronts has made it a year like no other.
“The Shetland supply chain, the islanders with their warm welcome, stakeholders and our staff deserve the highest praise for their efforts.
“The favourable impression made on cruise operators means there are already 160 vessels booked for 2024, with the schedule yet to be finalised, and another busy yachting season is anticipated as we continue to develop marine tourism.”
And there were more records broken for visiting yachts – with the total reaching 594 so far and including participants in the 34th Bergen-Shetland Race.
The numbers were up 15 per cent on pre-Covid levels, which the LPA says is an indicator of Lerwick as a “gateway to Shetland’s many attractions”.
As a particular highlight of the season, the four-day tall ships event in July attracted around 40,000 spectators.