Record-beating summer on horizon for Shetland in 2017
Lerwick Harbour has logged its best cruise season yet, with the Shetland port setting four new records in 2016 – and three expected to be broken again next year.
The season closes tomorrow, Thursday 6 October, with another visit by the Cruise & Maritime Voyages-operated Marco Polo, en route from Dublin to Torshavn, Faroe, on a 12-nights Iceland, Faroe and Northern Lights cruise.
The port’s rewritten history book will note that:
- 50,723 cruise passengers arrived since April, superseding the 2014 record of 43,273.
- 79 cruise ships have entered the port, beating the previous high of 52 in 2012.
- Their cumulative tonnage at 2,192,651 gross tonnes is well-ahead of the 1,684,699 gross tonnes recorded in 2014.
- The record for the largest cruise ship to call at Lerwick was broken twice – by P&O Cruises 115,055 gross tonne Azura and then Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Silhouette (122,210 gross tonnes) which will return in August, 2017. The record was previously held by Costa Pacifica, at 114,288 gross tonnes, set in June 2011.
The popularity of the port with operators is highlighted by the number of return calls by ships from recent years, as well as nine maiden visits this year.
Captain Calum Grains, the Port Authority’s Harbourmaster and Deputy Chief Executive, said “Despite increasing competition in national and international markets, with operators spoiled for choice, Lerwick and Shetland have had their best season, thanks to modern facilities, great teamwork, popular attractions and the warm welcome.
“There's no complacency, but it's a successful package which is already paying off again for next year, with 79 vessels currently scheduled and increased tonnage and passengers expected. There are also 34 visits already booked for 2018.”
The Port Authority’s continuing marketing programme included participation in the recent Seatrade Cruise Med exhibition as a member of the Cruise Scotland organisation, with good engagement with cruise line representatives.