Dunrobin Castle - ancestral home of the Clan Sutherland
Dunrobin Castle - ancestral home of the Clan Sutherland
Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe
Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe
Scotland is a great place to explore by cycle on trails and coastal paths
Scotland is a great place to explore by cycle on trails and coastal paths
Ardvreck Castle and Loch Assynt in Sutherland, Highlands of Scotland
Ardvreck Castle and Loch Assynt in Sutherland, Highlands of Scotland
The banks of Loch Lomond - Britain's largest stretch of inland water
The banks of Loch Lomond - Britain's largest stretch of inland water
Strathisla Distillery in Keith, Grampian Highlands
Strathisla Distillery in Keith, Grampian Highlands
Portree Harbour, Isle of Skye
Portree Harbour, Isle of Skye
Gleneagles Golf Course
Gleneagles Golf Course
Fantastic rivers and lochs await for you to try your hand at fishing
Fantastic rivers and lochs await for you to try your hand at fishing
Scotland's rich musicial tradition
Scotland's rich musicial tradition
The Northern Isles are home to the world-famous Shetland pony
The Northern Isles are home to the world-famous Shetland pony
Ring of Brodgar in Orkney
Ring of Brodgar in Orkney
Kayaks at North Beach, Little Bernera, Isle of Lewis, Stornoway
Kayaks at North Beach, Little Bernera, Isle of Lewis, Stornoway
Dolphin pond in magnificent mountainside setting of Benmore Botanic Gardens
Dolphin pond in magnificent mountainside setting of Benmore Botanic Gardens
Piper at Castle of Mey in Thurso, Caithness
Piper at Castle of Mey in Thurso, Caithness
Balmoral Castle, Royal Deeside, Aberdeen
Balmoral Castle, Royal Deeside, Aberdeen
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow
Ben Nevis, Fort William
Ben Nevis, Fort William
Oban, Argyll & Bute
Oban, Argyll & Bute
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Busy cruise season ahead for Orkney

Orkney is gearing up for another record breaking cruise ship season – with the first of the 2014 vessels due to arrive in Kirkwall in less than eight weeks’ time.

The 76 liners currently expected in Orkney during 2014 will be carrying up to 65,000 passengers and 20,000 crew in total.

For passenger numbers, this is a record for Orkney – and the gross tonnage of shipping has also increased by almost 1 million tonnes compared to last year.

Brian Archibald, Orkney Islands Council’s Head of Marine Services, Engineering and Transportation, said: “We’re looking forward to a very busy season.  “Due to Orkney’s popularity with cruise passengers, there will be four dates this year where two large cruise ships will call on the same day, with one anchoring in Kirkwall Bay and the other berthing at Hatston Pier.

“That will be topped on July 5, when there will be three vessels in Kirkwall carrying up to 6500 passengers between them. Ensuring the passengers have a memorable visit to Orkney means a big team effort. Everyone involved will be working hard to make this another successful season.”

Forward bookings for 2015 are also extremely healthy, with 50 vessels and 66,000 passengers already expected.

For 2016, eight large liners delivering almost 24,000 passengers have already reserved berths.

A recent economic impact study based on the 2013 season showed that more than £3 million is generated annually for the Orkney economy by cruise ship activity.