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Lerwick is a major port (Shetland's primary seaport) and the capital city of Scotland's Shetland Islands, with population around 7,000. It is located on Mainland Shetland and is UK's northernmost. The is located approx 210 ml (340 km) northeast of Aberdeen, approx 220 ml (357 km) west of Bergen Norway, approx 230 ml (367 km) southeast of Tórshavn Faroes.
Lerwick's current economy is based on its seaport - serving mainly commercial fishing vessels and ferries. Lerwick Harbour also provides services to vessels supporting UK's offshore oil industry. The city is served by two airports (Tingwall and Sumburgh) with domestic flights only. The company NorthLink Ferries (car-passenger ferry services between Orkney-Shetland and mainland Scotland) operates a daily overnight crossing between Lerwick and Aberdeen that also visits Kirkwall Orkney.
The first ever cruise vessel that docked at Lerwick Harbour's new GBP 16,5 million cruise pier (Holmsgarth North jetty) was the Viking Ocean Cruises ship Viking Star (max capacity 930 passengers) on June 12, 2017. Lerwick Port Authority announced a record-breaking 2017 cruising season with a total of 76 scheduled ship calls and ~62,000 passengers. The increase was 22% over 2016. Due to the new pier, the overall cruise vessel GT/gross tonnage increased by over 18% (to nearly 2,6 million tons).
During season 2018, the cruise port handled 91 ship calls and 90,336 passengers (78% increase over 2017). Of the 91 calls, 11 were maiden port visits, including port's ever largest liner MSC Meraviglia (built 2017, length 315 m, max capacity 5390 passengers plus 1400 crew).
For 2019 were booked 115 ship calls (later reduced to 99, including 12 maiden calls). This was 23% increase (over 2018) with expected 92,000 passengers (83,000 in 2018). Cruise port's 2020 berth bookings for 2020 will break 3 records - 105 ship calls, estimated 92,000 tourists and 4+ million GT-tonnes of cruise shipping. Among the 13 maiden calls are two newbuilds - Le Bellot (Ponant) and Spirit of Adventure (Saga).
Founded as a fishing village and with strong Viking connections, today little remains of the old Lerwick. Gray buildings (from the 17th-century) line downtown's streets. Shetland Museum houses a unique collection of Pict and Viking artifacts. Other best-known tourist attractions include Town Hall, Fort Charlotte (5-sided artillery fort), Shetland Croft Museum. On Shetland Mainland Island's southern tip is the prehistoric archaeological site Jarlshof, with ruins that date back from 2500 BC to 17th century AD. Clichimin Broch is a Pictish fort (from 100 BC) set on a small island in Clichimin Loch (lake). Up-Helly-Aa is an annual Norse fire festival (held in January).
Lerwick cruise terminal
On October 22, 2014, Lerwick Port Authority announced port's ever biggest investment in a new pier construction project. It benefits the local fishing, oil shipping and cruise tourism industries. The GBP 16,5 million (USD 20 million) project was for building a new multi-purpose jetty at Holmsgarth North. For the construction works, the port contracted Tulloch Developments Ltd.
The new Lerwick Harbour's jetty is L-shaped (see on the above photo) and provides deep-water docking (berthing) for marine vessels and also more area for the local fishing fleet. The quay's outer arm creates a dock that shelters the new whitefish market (at Mair’s Yard). The new quay is also suitable for docking of offshore industry ships.
Construction works started in December 2014, with completion scheduled for Fall 2016. The new jetty extends 800 m (2625 ft) and has max draft (alongside water depth) of 10 m (33 ft). This port redevelopment project reinforced Lerwick’s future as a major UK fishing port and the industry's key contribution to the Shetland Islands economy, along with Mainland Shetland's oil and gas supply industry.
During Holmsgarth North quay's construction, the fishing fleet used Mair’s Quay for berthing and as working area. Mair’s Quay was completed in 2013 and is the site for the new whitefish market, which construction started in early 2016.
There are plans for harbour dredging (to increase port's max draft / vessel capacity) and building a new deep-water cruise berth (in downtown).
Port Lerwick cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Lerwick, Mainland Shetland, Scotland. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|27 March, 2019|
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