New member: Stornoway

Monday, December 9, 2019 - 16:01 by ce-press

Positioned between Kirkwall and Glasgow or Belfast, Stornoway (the main town of the Outer Hebrides) is a popular cruise destination, explained Linda Mackay, resource manager Stornoway Port Authority.

The harbour operations team have worked hard this year to get larger vessels closer to the town to facilitate a reduction in tender transit time. Vessels equipped with dynamic positioning are now able to position themselves much closer to the tender berth than previously. Vessels such as Queen Victoria, Zuiderdam and Seabourn Ovation were only three quarters of a mile from the tender berth in the summer of 2019. This is a dramatic improvement.

Stornoway’s tender berth Is located at No 3 Pier in the heart of the town, where the Stornoway-Ullapool ferry arrives. The pier is capable of taking cruise vessels up to a maximum length of 156m. The ferry terminal building provides shelter, toilets, wifi etc, for both cruise passengers and crew throughout the visit. Passengers are greeted by the Stornoway Cruise Ambassadors, a voluntary group which provides maps, information and advice on how to make the most of visiting.

A new deep-water quay is being developed which will be able to accommodate any size of cruise vessel. This development is proposed to have a completion date of mid-2022 and will facilitate a major expansion of cruise tourism in the island.

In 2019, 16500 cruise passengers visited the port from 57 mostly-smaller cruise vessels, with maiden calls from Queen Victoria, Hanseatic Nature, Le Champlain, Zuiderdam, Aida Aura, Crystal Serenity and Star Pride.

The easily-accessible Lews Castle grounds provide a unique woodland to explore, while the famous Lewis Chessmen are housed in the renovated castle.

There are already many established and popular tours providing access to the unique Hebridean culture which combines the Celtic and Viking heritage of the islands and where the Gaelic language can be heard in everyday use.

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