First cruise ship to visit Scotland since Covid arrives at port

Sixty-six people were on board the MS Island Sky as it arrived at Lerwick harbour in Shetland.

The first cruise ship to visit a Scottish port since lockdown restrictions began has arrived at Lerwick harbour in Shetland.

It comes as Scotland moved to level zero restrictions, which allows ports to reopen for UK-only sailings.

Sixty-six people were on board the MS Island Sky, with all passengers coming off-shore travelling in ‘bubbles’ of up to 15.

Domestic cruises in England have been operating since May. It’s now hoped the relaxation in Scotland will provide a boost to all sectors on the Shetlands.

Steve Matheson, Shetland Islands manager for VisitScotland, said: “The news the Scottish Government is allowing resumption of domestic cruise visits to Scottish ports is a major boost for the industry and it’s great Shetland will be one of the first to benefit.

“The return of passengers will be a welcome financial boost for bus operators, tour guides, attractions and retailers.

“Tourism is a force for good, creating economic and social value in every corner of Scotland and enhancing the wellbeing of everyone who experiences it.”

Lerwick Port Authority chief executive, Calum Grains, said: “The arrival of Island Sky will be a significant milestone in the road to recovery from Covid and rebuilding the industry’s important contribution to the Shetland and Scottish economy.

“We only had two cruise ship visits in 2020 – in February, ahead of the industry’s voluntary suspension of calls in what should have been another record year for Lerwick, with around 100 calls. This year should have been even better.”