Strong bookings for Shetland port in 2015

The arrival of the cruise ship Norwegian Star at Lerwick Harbour today (Thursday 25 September) marks the end of the Shetland port's best season yet, with two records achieved.

Passenger numbers reached a new high at 43,723, topping the previous record of 37,572 in 2012, with the vessel tonnage figure of 1,684,699 gross tonnes exceeding the record of 1,531,097 gross tonnes two years ago.

Making her second visit to Lerwick after a maiden call last year, the 294-metre, 91,740 gross tonne Norwegian Star arrived from Bergen, Norway, this morning with 2,282 passengers on board, leaving later in the day for Reykjavik, Iceland.

She was the 49th cruise ship of the year at Lerwick where the early start to the season in March was delayed by bad weather in the North Sea. Poor conditions in August forced three vessels to cancel their planned calls.

Victor Sandison, Lerwick Port Authority Deputy Chief Executive, said: "The record figures for vessel tonnages and passengers are all the more pleasing as the weather-related cancellations prevented us achieving the record-equalling number of 52 cruise ship arrivals.”

The season included nine maiden calls and a return by Costa Pacifica – her fifth visit – at 114,288 gross tonnes, the largest cruise ship yet at the port.

Victor Sandison added: "The statistics for this year and next again confirm Lerwick’s popularity as a port-off-call and seaway to Shetland’s many attractions. There are positive signs for the coming season, with 46 vessels booked to visit to date, and 11 calls already scheduled for 2016."

Lerwick’s location at 60 degrees north and between the Atlantic and North Sea means it is included in itineraries for cruises in northern European waters and round-Britain, special interest voyages and repositioning to the USA.

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