LERWICK Port Authority is looking forward to welcoming the largest cruise liners yet to visit the harbour in what promises to become a record-breaking season next year.
The port’s Victor Sandison said the 115,055 gross tonne Azura is scheduled to call at Lerwick on 30 June 2016, to be followed by the even larger Celebrity Silhouette (122,210 gross tonnes) on 14 August.
A total of 70 cruise liners with almost 51,000 passengers on board have been booked to call at Lerwick during the 2016 summer season.
Sandison said: “In a highly competitive market, cruise operators are spoiled for choice and appear to be juggling different destinations in different years to refresh itineraries.
“It’s definitely our turn next season – and 2017 is also already looking good, with 28 advance bookings so far, at 1,387,724 gross tonnes and an estimated 31,000-plus passengers.”
The 2016 season is due to run from 24 April to 6 October, with June and July the busiest months, with 16 and 21 calls respectively. It will include ten maiden calls, including Viking Ocean Cruises’ new ships, Viking Sea and Viking Star.
Sandison was speaking at the end of a slightly disappointing 2015 season which saw the number of cruise liner visits down by eight to 41 due to last-minute cancellations – mainly caused by bad weather at sea.
However, the season was extended at 48-hours’ notice last Sunday with the arrival of Hapag-Lloyds’ Hanseatic – described as “the world’s only five-star expedition ship” – while en route from Akureyri, Iceland, to Kirkwall in Orkney, following a voyage to Greenland.