Record-breaking cruise season at Lerwick includes multiple visits
“The signs are very positive for growth again next year with an encouraging number of cruiselines scheduling repeat calls in the season and three new cruiselines visiting for the first time: Carnival, Mystic and TUI,” commented Melanie Henderson, cruise & marketing manager Lerwick Port Authority.
Bookings for 2020 will potentially break three records, with 105 cruiseships scheduled to call, an estimated 92,000 passengers and over 4 million gross tonnes of shipping.
Thirteen maiden calls are scheduled, including two newly-launched vessels: Ponant Cruises’ Le Bellot and Saga’s Spirit of Adventure. The 2020 season will include a larger number of mid-sized vessels compared with 2019 and bookings have been made for up to four years ahead.
Lerwick’s 2019 cruise season had a number of cancellations because of external factors, such as weather en-route and operational changes, with a final passenger count of over 76,200. Henderson commented: “Call-offs to scheduled visits are disappointing for the passengers and everyone involved onshore, particularly when the causes are beyond our control.” However she added that: “The supply and service sector in the islands is making an increasingly important contribution in meeting the industry’s requirements and encouraging operators to return.”
This year the port proved its credentials by hosting four ships on the same day, not once but twice. With 4,200 passengers arriving on one day, it is an ideal opportunity to put the destination through its paces.
Henderson said: “It is unusual to have four ships in one day, although we do have the capacity to handle multiple calls simultaneously, both alongside and at anchor, which is complemented by highly-developed shoreside and welcome services, with an expanded network of visitor attractions.”
The 11 maiden cruise visits this year included MSC Preziosa, the largest at 139,072gt and 3,500 passenger-capacity, and the first Cunard vessel to visit: Queen Victoria.
Lerwick’s 2019 cruise season had a number of cancellations because of external factors, such as weather en-route and operational changes, with a final passenger count of over 76,200.