Lerwick Harbour sees start-up meetings with cruiselines as being crucial

On a record breaking day at Lerwick, MSC Meraviglia towers above the Town Centre, bringing over 5,000 passengers to view the isles attractions (July 2018) (Credit: Ryan Leith)The presentation by Bermello Ajamil highlighted the amount of work needed to ensure we are ready to accept calls and that our standards match the efforts that cruiselines are putting into ensuring their operations prevent Covid transmission,” commented Melanie Henderson, cruise manager Lerwick Port Authority.

“What came across strongly in the BA presentation was the sense of urgency to address how safety protocols will be implemented in each port.”

“The data brought out many key points and useful projections that we are considering for resuming operations. There are still so many unknowns, both regionally and globally, which makes it quite a challenge to achieve a common standard from both the cruiselines and ports. It was useful to see a trajectory of the impacts of testing, vaccine developments and a reducing risk profile for forward planning.”

“We are working through the operational requirements for handling future cruise calls to produce our own Covid-safety plan, using all the information and knowledge gathered from industry partners, which will dovetail with our existing security plans and emergency procedures. A crucial step in resuming operations will be start-up meetings with the cruiselines to communicate new measures in place.”

“For our remote island-community, there are public safety concerns to address. Our local tourism industry partners have also suffered from the economic effects of Covid-19 and we have yet to see if this will impact on delivering cruiseships’ shore excursion requirements within the constraints of social distancing. Discussions with our stakeholders will be essential to understanding and addressing these issues.”

“Last year we received 99 ships carrying over 76,000 passengers. This year would have been a record breaking season for us with 115 calls scheduled, with passenger numbers expect to exceed 100,000, which is testament to how our community has responded to service the demand from visiting cruise lines over the years. We are starting from a very strong position of 113 planned visits for the 2021 season.”

(Lerwick Port Authority, Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Cruise Europe)