Lerwick Harbour’s 2007 season as the international seaway to the Shetland Islands’ many attractions will set sail in May with the arrival of the first three cruise ships of the year and the resumption of a ferry service in the same week.

Smyril Line’s roll-on/roll-off cruise ferry, Norrona, will pay her first visit of the year on 20 May, while the cruise ship, Black Prince, will berth on 22 May, followed the next day by the Polar Star and the Fram. Three other cruise vessels will also call in May in a busy start to the season.

The peak months of June, July and August will include two visits by the 85,619 gross tonne Costa Atlantica, and a first visit by the 42,289 gross tonne AIDAvita, followed by a second a week later.

There will be 14 occasions when cruise vessels will anchor in the port, in line with the trend of recent years. The passengers will transfer via a landing stage successfully brought into operation in 2006.

On current bookings, the port will be visited by a record equalling 48 cruise ships this year for the third time this century, with more that 21,000 passengers heading for Shetland.

Smyril Line’s late spring service will link Lerwick with Bergen, Norway, and Torshavn, in the Faroe Islands, until mid-June. The summer schedule thereafter until end-August will see sailings between Lerwick and Hantsholm, Denmark, and Torshavn, on alternate weekends. The early autumn sailings, until 28 September, will again link the port with Bergen and Torshavn.

NorthLink Ferries’ daily sailings from Aberdeen to Lerwick are another popular route for visitors to Shetland.

Sandra Laurenson, Lerwick Port Authority’s Deputy Chief Executive, said: “Passengers arriving by cruise ships and ferries continue to make a very important contribution to the tourism industry and this is recognised by everyone in promoting Shetland.

“The marketing of the islands will receive added impetus from the opening of the Shetland Museum complex in May. The Port Authority’s own marketing programme includes working with the Cruise Europe organisation and attendance at the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in the USA in March, as well as other activities.”

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