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Lerwick to rewrite port's cruise records

12th March, 2018

The arrival of the cruise ship Magellan in Lerwick Harbour this week will launch a season set to break five records – with even higher bookings for 2019 adding to the positive outlook.

Over the next eight months, the Shetland port is scheduled to welcome:

  • Approaching 92,000 passengers, up 81% on last year’s record 50,768.
  • Most passengers yet on a single vessel – over 4,500 on MSC Meraviglia, plus over 1,500 crew.
  • 91 cruise ships.
  • The largest cruise ship yet - MSC Meraviglia at 171,598 gross tonnes.
  • The biggest tonnage of cruise ships in a season – 3,932,639 gross tonnes, up 83% on 2017.

Victor Sandison, Lerwick Port Authority’s Senior Commercial Executive, said: “The scale of cruise activity this year will make it a great season for Lerwick and Shetland, including an expanded excursion programme in recognition of the higher passenger numbers.”

CMV ‘s Magellan is due tomorrow, Tuesday 13 March, from Reykjavik, Iceland, on a 12-nights “Land of the Northern Lights Cruise” which started in London and heads next for Kirkwall, Orkney.

The final call will be CMV’s Marco Polo on Thursday 11 October, arriving from Torshavn, Faroe, on a 9-nights “Scottish Highlights and Faroe Cruise”, with Kirkwall the next port-of-call.

July and August will be the busiest months, with 26 and 22 calls respectively, in a season which will see 11 maiden calls.

In response to the increasing number of passengers, local shore excursion specialists, Island Vista, have added new experiences to their programmes, including a “Sound of Shetland” excursion treating visitors to a showcase of Shetland’s fantastic musical heritage in Lerwick’s Mareel waterfront auditorium.

Victor Sandison added: “The outlook continues to be positive. We are currently anticipating over 107,000 passengers in 2019, with 109 ships already booked and more anticipated. Our hopes for further ahead have been encouraged by this month’s participation at Seatrade Cruise Global Expo as a member of Cruise Scotland.”

The over 4,600,000 gross tonnes of shipping lined up for 2019 include 13 vessels on maiden voyages.

Vikings from Lerwick’s Jarl Squad create a lasting impression on passengers and crew from MV Columbus during her maiden call at Lerwick Harbour. Credit: Lerwick Port Authority.  Lerwick Harbour’s Mair’s Pier provides additional berthing capacity for mid-sized cruise ships. Credit: Calum Toogood/Lerwick Port Authority.  Kicking off the season, CMV's Magellan at Holmsgarth 5


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