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

Record-breaking cruise season at Lerwick to end with largest vessel yet

Lerwick harbour is set for a big finish to the cruise season, with the largest vessel yet to bring visitors to the Shetland Islands due in port next week.

The arrival of the 108,806 gross tonne, 289.5 metre long Grand Princess  on Tuesday, 28 September, will round off a record-breaking five months which will also have seen the highest number of passengers yet at around 30,000 and cruise vessels topping the one million tonne mark in a season for the first time, at 1,220,455 gross tonnes.

A total of 48 cruise ships will have visited Lerwick this year, with passenger numbers up from 24,146 in 2009.

With around 2,200 passengers on board, Grand Princess, one of eight on maiden calls to the port this year, will be en route from Bergen, Norway, to Torshavn, Faroe, on a trans-Atlantic repositioning cruise.

Victor Sandison, Lerwick Port Authority, Deputy Chief Executive: “It’s been another milestone cruise season, and not just for the hat-trick of new records reflecting increased activity and the valuable contribution to the Shetland economy. We have also continued to develop our visitor facilities and the trend to larger vessels continues to be seen in the already high level of bookings for 2011.”

The harbour’s new welcome ashore pavilion is being trialed today with the arrival of Norwegian Sun.

The £85,000 investment by the Port Authority complements the development of the pontoon system introduced in April 2006 for tendering passengers from anchored ships.  The pavilion, on Victoria Pier and immediately adjacent to the landing point, will provide a dedicated facility for the Meet-and-Greet team where over a coach load of passengers at a time will receive orientation and information. 

Supported by the Port Authority, the Meet and Greet service includes an onboard and quayside welcome for  passengers, while for those on ships berthed outside the immediate town centre area, shuttle buses are provided.

A choice of tours has been arranged for the Grand Princess  passengers in conjunction with local shore excursions specialists, including  the Jarlshof prehistoric and Viking settlements as part of a scenic south mainland drive; the scenery of western Shetland; Shetland ponies and Scalloway Castle; and walking tours in Lerwick, featuring historic Fort Charlotte.   

There are already 44 cruise ships – a total of 1,477,493 gross tonnes  -  booked for 2011, including two more record breakers, Crown Princess (113,651 gross tonnes) due 7 June and Costa Pacifica (114,500 gross tonnes), scheduled for 11 June. Both will be on maiden visits, as will another five of the vessels currently lined up.

A visit by Crystal Serenity to Lerwick will coincide with the spectacular Parade of Sail day when participating vessels in the Tall Ships Races depart for Stavanger on 24 July.

Lerwick Port Authority, a member of the Cruise Scotland and Cruise Europe marketing organisations, actively promotes the harbour as a gateway to Shetland’s many attractions, including seabird colonies, marine life, beaches and cliffs, Scandinavian and Scottish heritage and culture, and locally produced foods and crafts.