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AIDAVita kicks off record breaking cruise liner season

Viking Star will be the first cruise ship to berth at Lerwick Port Authority’s new deep-water quay at Holmsgarth. The vessel is seen during a visit to the port in 2016 - Photo: Rory Gillies/Shetland Flyer.

ANOTHER record-breaking cruise ship season is due to get underway this week with the 203 metre long AIDAVita visiting Lerwick as part of a 13-day Nordic Islands and Norway tour.

Meanwhile, Lerwick Harbour’s new £16.5 million pier at Holmsgarth North will demonstrate its value for the cruise ship industry when the Viking Star with up to 930 passengers on board will be the first liner to berth there on 12 June.

Lerwick Port Authority said a record-breaking 62,000  passengers on 76 cruise ships are booked to visit the town this year, an increase of 22 per cent from 2016.

The overall gross tonnage is expected to rise by over 18 per cent to just short of 2.6 million.

However, it looks 2018 will break even more records with 90 ships and as many as 96,000 passengers currently booked.

LPA senior commercial executive Victor Sandison said the Holmsgarth jetty will mark a “significant addition” to Lerwick’s capacity.

“Continuing growth in the international cruise industry, our record bookings and our positive approach to industry requirements, including expanded infrastructure, all augur well for the port and the Shetland tourism sector in the future,” he added.