MSC Meraviglia towers above Lerwick’s town centre during a record-breaking day at the port (Image: Ryan Leith)
Scotland’s Lerwick Harbour has closed its record-breaking 2018 cruise season after welcoming 90,336 passengers and 91 vessels – an increase of around 78% from 2017.
This year, the Shetlands Islands port has hosted 11 maiden cruise calls and achieved several milestones. Not only did it record its busiest-ever day when Hapag Lloyd’s Europa brought almost 7,500 passengers and crew to Lerwick, but it also welcomed its largest-ever ship when MSC Cruises’ MSC Meraviglia visited in July.
“A great team effort by everyone involved in Shetland has meant another very successful cruise season and helped ensure we are on even more itineraries in 2019,” said Victor Sandison, Lerwick Port Authority’s senior commercial executive. “In a rapidly expanding global market, with another 90 vessels on order over the next five years, there is increasing requirement for special places to visit and the growing popularity of Shetland and its many attractions as a top destination augurs well for the future.”
In 2019, Lerwick Harbour is expected to welcome calls from 115 vessels – a 35% rise from 2018 – which will bring around 92,000 guests to the port. Season highlights will include 12 maiden calls and a visit from Cunard’s Queen Victoria in July.
To accommodate larger vessels, the port authority is exploring the possibility of dredging the area around the current berths and creating a new deep-water cruise berth in the town centre.
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