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Bumper season ahead

The Norwegian Star, the last cruise liner of the year, anchoring in Lerwick harbour on Monday - Photo: Mark Berry

LERWICK Port Authority is looking forward to a record-breaking cruise liner season next summer with 55 ships already booked bringing an estimated 47,000 visitors to Shetland.

The port’s deputy chief executive Victor Sandison gave the positive outlook as this year’s season comes to a close with the last cruise liner, the 91,700 tonnes Norwegian Star, visiting Lerwick harbour on Monday.

Sandison said that with 39 cruise liners visiting with 26,000 passengers on board, the 2013 season had been below initial expectations.

”We are confident that this season’s reduced activity was due to a one-off combination of various operational reasons, outwith our control or influence, leading to cancellations,” he said.

He added that already 13 vessels were booked to call at the port in 2015.

”The twelve maiden calls this year were an encouraging sign, and the record level of advance bookings for 2014, plus those for 2015, is very positive and highlights the popularity of Shetland’s many attractions,” he said.

As part of its ongoing marketing programme, the port authority will be participating on the Cruise Scotland stand at the Seatrade Europe Cruise & River Cruise Convention in Hamburg, later this week.