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

New initiatives for record cruise season underway at Lerwick

Published: March 21st 2019

Bookings positive into next decade at Shetland port

Another record-breaking cruise season is underway at Lerwick Harbour, with a number of new initiatives underpinning the famous Shetland welcome awaiting the thousands of passengers scheduled to visit over the next eight months.

The first arrival of 2019, Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Astoria, berthed today (Wednesday 20 March) en route between Torshavn, Faroe, and Kirkwall, Orkney, on her return to Poole, England, from an Iceland & Northern Lights cruise. She will visit twice more this season.

There are 112 ships booked to call at Lerwick by end-of-season on 1 October, an 18% increase on the 2018 record. A higher percentage of small to mid-sized ships means passengers’ numbers will be similar to last year when over 90,000 arrived. Save + Continue editing

The 12 maiden calls will include Cunard’s Queen Victoria, Pullmantur’s Zenith and MSC Cruises’ MSC Preziosa, the largest vessel to visit this year, at 139,072 gross tonnes and capacity for over 3,500 passengers.

“The continuing increase in activity is giving added impetus to the welcome for passengers and crews throughout Shetland,” said Lerwick Port Authority Cruise Manager, Melanie Henderson. “We’ve stepped up a gear this year, with an expanded onshore programme of things to see-and-do and sessions further developing the islands’ service sector, all adding to Shetland’s reputation as one of Scotland’s top destinations.

“New experiences and tour offerings for 2019 include ‘meet the maker’ opportunities with local food and arts & crafts producers; the chance to get "up close and personal" with our friendly Shetland ponies, as well as golf; garden explorations and tours of film locations seen in the popular ‘Shetland’  TV crime series.” 

To help Shetland businesses maximise opportunities in the cruise sector, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, in partnership with Lerwick Port Authority, Shetland Islands Council and Visit Scotland, held a two-day workshop to increase local awareness of the opportunities to work with the cruise sector and encourage development of products and services. As a result, there a number of local businesses working through action plans to deliver new tourism experiences.

Reflecting the importance of the sector, Ms Henderson was appointed the Port Authority’s first designated Cruise Manager late-2018. An employee since 2007, she continues in a combined role looking after the Authority’s cruise business and marketing efforts. 

The Port Authority’s promotional programme includes support for the Cruise Scotland marketing organisation and participation at various international cruise trade events throughout the year, including Seatrade Cruise Europe in Hamburg in September. With 98 ships scheduled for 2020 and 32 already booked for 2021, advance bookings continue to show positive signs of growth. 

Lerwick Harbour is looking forward to welcoming record cruise ship numbers during its 2019 season. Credit John Coutts.