Zaandam becomes the largest cruiseship to berth at Scrabster
Friday, September 2, 2022 - 10:20 by ce-press
Holland America Line’s Zaandam became the largest vessel to ever berth at the Caithness port of Scrabster when she visited on July 30.
The 61,396gt vessel arrived from Dublin with around 1,400 passengers on board and moored alongside the 250m east berth of the recently redeveloped St Ola Pier.
The passengers enjoyed a number of excursions around the local area before departing for the Icelandic port of Seydisfjordur. The port is presently working with local partners in building up shore excursion offerings further.
The Scrabster call is part of a 19-day itinerary, Voyage of the Vikings, which embarked in Rotterdam, Holland, and finishes in the US port of Boston.
Jason Hamilton, harbour master Scrabster Harbour Trust, said: “The visit of Zaandam highlights the improved facilities and additional capacity we now have at Scrabster. We are looking forward to further large vessel calls before our 2022 season ends in September. Our 2023 numbers are well up on 2022.”
The port is ideally located to catch passing trade on the north coast of the Highlands of Scotland with many vessels passing by as they transit east and west, according to Hamilton. “With higher fuel prices it makes economic and environmental sense for ships to visit ports within a smaller geographic area.”
Zaandam is the largest ever vessel to call Scrabster (c) Scrabster Harbour Trust
Scrabster, the most Northerly port on the Scottish mainland was, for several decades, the port of choice for the British Queen and her family when they disembarked from the Royal Yacht Britannia every August to visit the Queen Mother at her Highland holiday home, Castle of Mey, 11 miles from Scrabster. Today, cruise line passengers can follow in their footsteps, as the Castle is open to visitors.
Situated within walking distance of Thurso, the second largest town in the Highlands, the Queen Elizabeth Pier has opened up the remote and beautiful landscape of the Far North to larger cruise vessels. The pier is 180 metres long, with a depth at Chart Datum of 8 metres. Deep-water anchorage is available within 0.2 nautical miles of the harbour..
The area has much to offer visitors, with a wealth of historic buildings, heritage centres and tours viewing the majestic North Coast and all the wildlife and natural heritage on offer.