Lerwick Harbour’s 2020 cruise season launched today (Wednesday 26 February) with the arrival of the first vessel of the year and the prospect of more new port records by autumn.
The 21,765 gross tonne Fritdtjof Nansen, with capacity for 530 passengers and 150 crew, berthed at Victoria Pier at the Shetland port while en route from Bergen, Norway, to Kirkwall, Scotland.
Hurtigruten’s new expedition vessel has been delivered early and is undertaking pre-inaugural shorter voyages which can be joined in the UK. It is the first hybrid battery-powered cruise ship to visit Lerwick.
Lerwick Port Authority Cruise Manager, Melanie Henderson, said: “It’s always good to have an early start, maintaining the recent trend for seasons to extend at both ends, into February and October.
“Our experienced Meet-and-Greet team and extensive service sector are geared-up for a record-breaking nine months, expecting to handle more than 100 ships for the first time, the highest vessel tonnage yet and the most passengers – estimated at over 90,000.
“As well as repeat visits, three operators - Carnival, Mystic and TUI - will be newcomers to Lerwick in their itineraries for the first time, adding to the significance of the season.”
There are currently 115 vessels booked to call at Lerwick, up 16% on the previous best in 2019 and including 15 maiden calls.
The largest ship, MSC Splendida, at 137,936 gross tonnes and up to 4,363 passengers and 1,370 crew, is due in August.