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Business / Weekend cruise visit called off

The cruise ship Magellan anchoring off The Knab in early March. Photo: John Waters

WITH increasingly restrictive travel bans in place worldwide, the local and national cruise ships market is set to take a severe hit.

Lerwick Port Authority has confirmed that the visit of the Astoria on Saturday has been cancelled.

Cruise and Maritime Voyages, the company that owns the Astoria and also the Magellan, has suspended its cruises until 24 April, while other operators have also carried out similar measures.

The Magellan called at Lerwick Harbour last Friday amid controversy over whether the visit was a good idea at a time when measures against the rapidly accelerating corona crisis was being implemented by government.

Lerwick Port Authority’s Melanie Henderson said on Monday: “I can confirm that Astoria has been cancelled for this Saturday 21 March.

“You will be aware that many cruise lines have currently suspended operations.”

The next cruise ship due to call at Lerwick is the AIDAaura on 9 April.

Although operator Aida has suspended operations until mid-April, this particular voyage is expected to arrive at Lerwick as planned.

The AIDAaura is also due to visit Lerwick again on 20 April.

The Norwegian sail training vessel Statsraad Lehmkuhl, meanwhile, is scheduled to make two visits in April.

Viking Cruises, which has ships due to call at Lerwick from 5 May onwards, has suspended trips which embark from 12 March to 30 April.

Other cruise companies doing business with Lerwick Port Authority and tourism providers in Shetland have also suspended operations, including Fred Olsen and Ponant, although it remains to be seen if the busy summer activity will be affected.