Largest cruise ship to visit Lerwick enters port

The Shetland port of Lerwick has welcomed its largest ever cruise ship.

Virtuosa is 332m (1,089ft) long with 18 decks, and accommodation for up to 6,334 passengers and 1,704 crew.

The Maltese-flagged vessel was built in France in 2020.

Virtuosa's arrival beat the previous record for the largest cruise ship to visit Lerwick, set by its sister ship in 2018.

Lerwick Port Authority said there were 60 nationalities on board Virtuosa, which is making a seven-day voyage.

The vessel is anchored in the deep-water harbour, with passengers being transferred to-and-from the town centre.

Virtuosa arrived from Southampton before heading for the Norwegian fjords.

"The majority of cruise ships visiting Lerwick are small to medium-sized vessels," Melanie Henderson, the port authority's cruise and marketing manager, said.

"Virtuosa’s maiden call is another example of Shetland’s popularity as a tourist destination, and the port’s capacity to welcome the larger vessels is also operating."

The largest previous cruise vessel to call at Lerwick was Virtuosa's sister ship, Meraviglia, in July 2018, with more than 5,000 passengers and about 1,500 crew.