The cruise ship season at Lerwick is set for an early start, with the arrival of the Professor Multanovski this week, en route between the Shetland islands of Mousa and Skerries.
The former polar and oceanographic research vessel, converted to take up to 49 passengers on expedition cruises, will be in the Shetland port on Thursday 17 May – ahead of the Black Prince which was previously scheduled as the first visitor of the year on 22 May.
The following day (23 May), Lerwick will be the port-of-call for a maiden visit by Norwegian Coastal Voyage’s new ship, Fram, on a cruise from Norway to Faroe, and by Polar Star, another former research vessel, en route between the Western Isles and Orkney.
The first week of the season will also see Smyril Line’s cruise ferry, Norrona, begin her season of regular calls on 20 May, with a service linking Lerwick with Bergen, Norway, and Torshavn, in Faroe, until mid-June.
Thereafter, there will be sailings between Lerwick and Hantsholm, Denmark, and Torshavn, on alternate weekends until end-August, followed by a service connecting the port with Bergen and Torshavn until 28 September,
The cruise ship season is also scheduled to continue until late September, with the Black Watch the final visitor on 25 September, on a voyage from Dover to Torshavn.
The Port Authority’s Harbourmaster, Captain Calum Grains, said: “The 47 cruise ships currently booked to call are only one less than the record total achieved twice in recent years.
“With around 21,000 passengers on board the cruise ships, the return of the Norrona, and upgraded accommodation on NorthLink’s daily ferries to-and-from mainland Scotland, we are looking forward to another busy period for passenger traffic.”