Lerwick Harbour is expecting another busy cruise season next year after a highly successful 2009 during which a number of milestones were achieved. More than 40 cruise ships so far are expected to visit the Shetland port in 2010.

This year has seen the largest cruise ship yet at Lerwick, with two visits by the 102,587 gross tonnes Costa Magica which, on her second call, brought 2,922 passengers, the highest total for any vessel yet at the port.

By the end of the season this month, 46 cruise ships are scheduled to have visited this year, with around 24,000 passengers, both up on 2008.

In August, Lerwick celebrated the 1,000th cruise ship visit since the first noted in official port records in 1928.

Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, Sandra Laurenson, said: “It’s another significant season for Shetland, including the special milestones achieved, with the 1,000th cruise ship and the largest vessel yet.

“With more than 430 cruise ships and almost 175,000 passengers calling at Lerwick since 2000, this year rounds off a great decade underlining its increased popularity as a port-of-call. It’s a firm basis on which to continue building our market.

“We’re now looking forward to a busy start to the next decade, backed by a marketing programme promoting the harbour and Shetland’s many attractions.”

The Port Authority is a member of the Cruise Scotland organisation, launched earlier this year, and is participating on its stand (729) at the Seatrade Europe exhibition and conference in Hamburg, Germany, this week (15-17 September).

At 60 degrees north and at the crossroads of the North Sea and Atlantic, the Shetland Islands, with their warm welcome, are famous for their Scandinavian and Scottish heritage, marine life, seabird colonies, cliffs and beaches, with the Shetland Museum and Archives on Lerwick’s waterfront among the many other attractions.

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