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 year ahead for Cruise Ships at Orkney

The number of cruise ships visiting Orkney will top the 80 mark for the first time this year.

So far, 83 port calls by cruise ships are expected in the islands – four more than in 2014.

In total, the ships have the capacity to carry more than 80,000 passengers and 25,000 crew.

Michael Morrison, Business Development Manager for Orkney Islands Council Marine Services, said “We’re all set for a record-breaking year for cruise ship visits.

“In all, the 83 vessels amount to just over 3 million gross tonnes of shipping – and more bookings are still expected for 2015. We’re seeing more visits by bigger vessels, resulting in greater overall passenger numbers for Orkney.

“The increase in the size of ships visiting demonstrates the confidence that the industry has in our ability to deliver a first class experience for visiting passengers.

“A big team effort lies behind our cruise business.  We pay a great deal of attention to the pre-planning of the cruise season. We try to consider every eventuality that could occur and be ready to react accordingly.

“Orkney remains, despite stiff competition from other developing cruise ports, the most popular cruise ship destination in the United Kingdom.”

The giant MSC Splendida, with over 3,300 passengers on board, will call into Orkney for the first time and make four further visits during 2015.

Seven other cruise ships will also be making debut visits to Orkney. These include Disney Magic from Disney Cruise lines, which will be visiting the UK for the first time – with Kirkwall her only port of call.

Royal Princess, launched in September 2013 by the Duchess of Cambridge and is the world’s sixth largest passenger vessel, will call twice in the 2015 season, and the new P&O luxury vessel Britannia will arrive in Kirkwall as part of her British Isles maiden cruise voyage.

Mr Morrison added: “We’re delighted with the high level of interest we’re experiencing for the 2015 season.

“Looking ahead, we already have 48 ships booked for 2016 and berthing requests are already under way for the following year as well.”

With 64,000 passengers visiting in 2014, it is estimated that Orkney’s cruise ship industry generated around £4 million for the economy of the islands last year.