Lerwick Set for Busiest Cruise Season Yet. Easter weekend will see the first cruise ship of 2024

The Lerwick lodberries on the waterfront, made famous by the popular TV drama series ‘Shetland’, are a key visitor attraction. MSC Virtuosa, sister ship to MSC Meraviglia (pictured beyond) will be the largest cruise ship yet to visit Lerwick Harbour. Photo credit: John Coutts  (Image at LateCruiseNews.com - March 2024)Easter weekend will see the first cruise ship of 2024 at Lerwick at the start of an expected record parade of vessels at the Shetland port this season.

British-based Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambition is due to visit on Saturday 30 March during an 11-night, Easter British Isles Discovery voyage to-and-from London Tilbury.

Built in 1999 and refitted in 2023, the 216 metre, 48,123 gross tonne vessel, with a capacity for 1,200 passengers, will berth at Mair’s Pier East. She is due to return a further four times during the summer.

There are currently 149 cruise ships booked to visit Lerwick by mid-November, adding up to 6.9 million gross tonnes, carrying an estimated 130,000 passengers – all three figures setting new highs for the port.

Lerwick Port Authority Cruise & Marketing Manager, Melanie Henderson, said: “The cruise industry’s contribution to Shetland’s tourism sector continues to go from strength to strength. The number of ships arriving significantly contributes to the local economy, providing employment, keeping the attractions and venues busy, and providing important footfall for local businesses.

“We are looking forward to another great season working alongside everyone involved to host guests from all over the world to experience our local hospitality and all that Shetland has to offer.”

The Authority provides a meet-and-greet service, with a team on the quaysides to welcome passengers as they step ashore, either from berthed ships or arriving by tender from larger anchored vessels before they head for the islands’ many attractions. The service also includes shuttle buses to and from the Town Centre and special welcomes for maiden calls.

Highlights of the season include 11 maiden calls, among them the spectacle of MSC Virtuosa, in May, the largest cruise ship yet to visit in a season, at 181,541 gross tonnes, with a capacity between 4,000 – 6,000 passengers.

(Lerwick Set for Busiest Cruise Season Yet. Easter weekend will see the first cruise ship of 2024 – Lerwick Port Authority)