Record visits to include largest cruise ship to date
The population of Lerwick is set to double tomorrow, with the arrival of two cruise ships, including one of the largest in the world and the biggest yet to visit the Shetland port.
With 19 decks and 65 metres high, the 316 metre long, 171,598 gross tonnes MSC Meraviglia will dominate the harbour when she anchors tomorrow (Tuesday 31 July) on a maiden visit and rewrites the port’s record books.
On board will be 5,092 passengers – the most yet on a single ship at Lerwick – and over 1,500 crew. The passengers will be transferred ashore by tenders to enjoy the islands many attractions.
Adding to numbers will be Hapag-Lloyd’s 225 metre, 42,830 gross tonne Europa 2 which, following a first visit in 2017, will berth at Mair’s Pier East, with 512 passengers and more than 370 crew.
In a double coincidence, both ships are registered in Malta and are en route to Reykjavik on round-trips from Hamburg, Meraviglia as part of an 11-nights cruise and Europa 2 on a 19-nights’ voyage.
Victor Sandison, Lerwick Port Authority’s Senior Commercial Executive, said: “We have had more ships on a single day, but with almost 7,500 passengers and crew and subject to the weather holding, it will be the busiest cruise day yet for Lerwick – population around 7,500.
“Our involvement with the cruise sector just keeps getting bigger and better, with larger vessels and higher numbers. This season, we expect to welcome 93 ships and approaching 93,000 passengers in an all-round record year, with 119 vessels, bringing an anticipated 110,000 passengers, already booked for 2019.”
Current cruise records at Lerwick are: biggest vessel – Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Silhouette at 122,210 gross tonnes (2016); most passengers on a single ship – 3,105 on Costa Pacifica (July 2012); cruise ships – 79 cruise ships (2016); annual passengers – 50,768 in 2017; annual vessel tonnage – 2,192,651 gross tonnes (2016).