Lerwick Harbour is looking forward to welcoming record cruise ship numbers during its 2019 season (image: John Coutts)
Lerwick Harbour in the Shetland Islands, Scotland, is set for a record 2019 cruise season and has implemented multiple initiatives to welcome cruise guests.
This year will see an 18% increase from the 2018 season which welcomed over 90,000 passengers and there will also be a higher percentage of small to mid-sized ships. Cunard’s Queen Victoria is among the 112 ships booked to visit, while Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Astoria made the first of three scheduled calls on 20 March. The port will also welcome 12 maiden calls, including Pullmantur’s Zenith and MSC Cruises’ MSC Preziosa which will be the largest vessel to visit, carrying over 3,500 passengers.
“The continuing increase in activity is giving added impetus to the welcome for passengers and crews throughout Shetland,” said Melanie Henderson, cruise manager at Lerwick Port Authority. “We’ve stepped up a gear this year, with an expanded onshore programme of things to see and do and sessions further developing the islands’ service sector, all adding to Shetland’s reputation as one of Scotland’s top destinations.”
New experiences and offerings for 2019 include ‘meet the maker’ opportunities with local food and arts and crafts producers and the chance to get ‘up close and personal’ with Shetland ponies. Other highlights include golf, garden explorations and tours of film locations seen in the popular TV crime series, Shetland.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise partnered with Lerwick Port Authority, Shetland Islands Council and Visit Scotland to help local businesses maximise cruise opportunities by holding a two-day workshop to increase local awareness and encourage development of products and services. As a result, many businesses are now working through action plans to deliver new tourism experiences.
The Port Authority’s promotional programme includes participation at various international cruise trade events throughout the year, including Seatrade Cruise Europe in Hamburg, Germany in September. With 98 ships scheduled for 2020 and 32 already booked for 2021, Lerwick’s future looks fruitful.
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