Busy summer for Shetland port.

Lerwick Harbour is on course for a record-breaking summer, with the arrival this week of the first cruise ship of the 2011 season. The Quest berths tomorrow (Wednesday 4 May) during a voyage around Scotland for one of three scheduled visits to the port in May, a month which will include a number of calls by small adventure cruises.

With 54 vessels scheduled by early September, six more than the current record, the growing number of large ships will also mean a new tonnage record at around 1.4 million gross tonnes. The biggest cruise vessels yet to enter the port - Crown Princess (at 113,651 gross tonnes) and then Costa Pacifica (114,500 gross tonnes) - will both call in June. There will be 15 arrivals in June, and again in July, the peak months.

The number of cruise passengers using Lerwick as the seaway to Shetland’s many attractions is expected to top last year’s highest-yet figure of almost 31,000.

Victor Sandison, Lerwick Port Authority’s Deputy Chief Executive, said: “This season will again demonstrate the all-important capacity of the harbour to handle the larger cruise ships now operating and the continuing increase in the popularity of both Lerwick as a port-of-call and Shetland’s numerous and varied visitor attractions.”

There will be an extra special visit for passengers on the Crystal Serenity which will be in port during the spectacular Parade of Sail day when vessels participating in The Tall Ships Races 2011 depart for Stavanger at the end of a four-day visit (21-24 July).

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