Shetland Islands attracting larger cruise vessels
Another record year in prospect for Lerwick Harbour
With a record-breaking 54 cruise ships scheduled to arrive at Lerwick Harbour between May and September, its increasing popularity as a port-of-call will make another significant contribution to Shetland’s tourism industry.
The continuing growth in the number of large vessels visiting is expected to set a new record at over 1.4 million gross tonnes of shipping – mostly accounted for by 23 vessels - and sustaining passenger figures at over the 30,000 record set last year.
In June – the busiest month, with 16 calls – the record books will be rewritten by the biggest cruise ships yet to enter the port - Crown Princess (at 113,651 gross tonnes) and then Costa Pacifica (114,500 gross tonnes).
This season will also see six maiden calls, including Oceania Cruises’ new build Marina, P&O Cruises’ Arcadia and Kristina Cruises’ new flagship, Kristina Katarina.
Crystal Serenity will be in Lerwick 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).
Passengers from larger vessels at anchor will arrive by tender at a new welcome ashore pavilion, opened in late season last year as part of the ongoing development of facilities.
Victor Sandison, Deputy Chief Executive of Lerwick Port Authority, said: “A recent study for Cruise Scotland highlighted the tremendous potential to further develop the country’s cruise market. Shetland’s many attractions and Lerwick’s modern facilities make us a prime destination, with a major contribution to make, as will be demonstrated again this year.
It is estimated that passenger spending alone in Shetland during 2011 will exceed £1 million.
The Port Authority is continuing to actively market the harbour and the islands, including exhibiting again at Cruise Shipping Miami on the Cruise Scotland booth (723) from 14-17 March and a presence at Seatrade Europe in Hamburg, from 27-29 September.
Lying between the North Sea and Atlantic, Lerwick, at 60 degrees north, is on the itinerary for round-Britain and northern European cruises, with the appeal of Shetland including its Scottish and Scandinavian heritage, marine life and seabird colonies, locally produced food and crafts, and spectacular scenery.