Outlook already positive for 2012

Lerwick Harbour has again been the gateway to Shetland for more than 30,000 cruise passengers this year which has seen vessel numbers reach a new record.

Victor Sandison, Deputy Chief Executive, Lerwick Port Authority, said: “The sustained level of activity meant another excellent season for cruise tourism in Shetland, and one which had the potential to be even better, but for cancellations due to various factors, including weather-related. The reduction in calls impacted on the earlier expected records for passenger numbers and tonnage.

“However, that potential is again reflected in advance bookings for next year which could see almost 35,000 visitors arriving.”

Highlights of the season included:

  • 30,747 passengers, close to the record 30,843 in 2010.
  • Calls by a record 50 vessels, beating the previous highest figure of 48 set in 2003 and equalled in 2005 and 2010.
  • 1,211,514 gross tonnes of ships, just short of the record of 1,220,455 gross tonnes last year.
  • The largest cruise ships yet to enter the port - Costa Pacifica (114,288 gross tonnes), just days after Crown Princess (113,651 gross tonnes). Both set records for the most passengers on a single vessel at Lerwick: Crown Princess with 2,997 and Costa Pacifica, with 3,007.

The five-month season closed on Friday 9 September with the arrival of Discovery, with 621 passengers on board, en route from Kirkwall to Harwich as part of a Round Britain cruise.

A return visit by Costa Pacifica is included in the 46 ships already lined up for 2012 – two more than for 2011 at this time last year – with the list also featuring nine vessels on maiden calls to Lerwick, for an overall total of over 1.6 million gross tonnes and an expected increase in passengers.

Victor Sandison added: “Shetland’s numerous and varied attractions and the deep-water harbour’s services and facilities – including a new welcome ashore pavilion providing dedicated accommodation for the Meet-and-Greet team – are a great combination, ensuring Lerwick’s popularity as a port-of-call for the cruise sector.”

The Port Authority is a member of Cruise Europe and Cruise Scotland and marketing of the harbour and the islands’ many attractions includes participation at Seatrade Europe in Hamburg, from 27-29 September.

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