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

Improvements planned for expected busiest season yet at Lerwick in 2018

Lerwick Harbour is on course for record cruise traffic next year, with advance bookings currently at the highest level yet, with 87 ships scheduled to arrive between March and October.

The latest forecast is revealed on the final day of the season (Wednesday, 27 September 2017) when Norwegian Jade arrived for the fourth time this year at the Shetland port, with 2,335 passengers on board, en route from Southampton to Reykjavik, Iceland, on an 11-day trans-Atlantic voyage to New York.

She is the 70th cruise ship to call at Lerwick since April, bringing passenger numbers to 50,768. The tonnage of cruise ships this year added up to 2,146,061 gross tonnes, just short of last year’s record.

A feature of the year has been poor weather or itinerary changes, causing cancellation of around 10% of planned cruise calls. These tended to be larger vessels, meaning passenger numbers were around 20% down on early-season predictions. Lerwick Port Authority is planning to deepen the approach channel and the berth at Mair’s Pier to provide alongside-berthing for a number of vessels which currently need to anchor and transfer passengers by tender. This will reduce any weather disruption for these cruise calls. Work has started on the consent required to dredge and it is hoped the work can take place in 2018.

Victor Sandison, Senior Commercial Executive, Lerwick Port Authority, said: “It’s been another great season, with record passenger numbers and other records narrowly missed because of poor weather disrupting a few arrivals. The significantly higher bookings for 2018 hopefully have enough margin to allow a few weather-related cancellations or itinerary-changes and still achieve record traffic, with over 90,000 passengers expected.

 “The inclusion of Lerwick in so many itineraries is another vote for Shetland’s modern facilities, warm welcome and many attractions.”

An estimated 3,863,922 gross tonnes of cruise ships are expected in 2018, including 11 maiden calls, among them the record-breaking 316-metre-long, 167,600 gross tonne MSC Meraviglia, in July with 5,300 passengers and 2,000 crew.

Other highlights will include 14 planned calls by Viking Ocean Cruises' vessels, Viking Sun, Viking Sea, Viking Sky and Viking Star throughout the season.

July and August are expected to be the busiest months, with 27 and 22 calls respectively currently so far confirmed.