Aberdeen Harbour is preparing to welcome 10 cruise calls this summer, with four vessels making their first ever visits to the city.
The arrival of Rembrandt van Rijn on May 5, will signal the start of the season. A 168-foot passenger ship, Rembrandt will spend a day berthed at the port, before embarking on an eight-day voyage around the Scottish Isles.
The tour will encompass Copinsey, an uninhabited island nature reserve and home to more than 1,000 pairs of nesting fulmars, Fair Isle in Shetland, the tiny islands of North Rona and Sula Sgeir in the north-west of Scotland, Lewis, St Kilda and Oban.
Other liners to visit the harbour over the summer months will include Noble Caledonia’s Ocean Nova, Caledonian Sky and Clipper Odyssey, the Plancius, Fram and Ortelius.
Ocean Nova will begin its voyage on the East coast, arriving at the harbour in May, before sailing via Orkney and the Shetland Islands to one of Norway’s most stunning areas, Sunnfjord. Passengers will then be treated to three days of exploration around the main island of the Spitsbergen archipelago, with sights including immense glaciers, narrow fjords, and polar bears.
The Ortelius liner, an ice-strengthened vessel primarily used for polar expeditions, is scheduled to arrive in Aberdeen in June. Accommodating up to 100-passengers, she is named after the cartographer of the first modern world atlas.
She will be followed by the luxurious Caledonian Sky, which will arrive in Aberdeen later in the month, before departing for the inner and Outer Hebrides, with destinations including Rum, Tobermoray, the Isle of Skye and Iona. The vessel features extravagant suites with viewing balconies, while passengers will have access to a panoramic observation desk, library and gymnasium.
Chief executive of Aberdeen Harbour, Colin Parker, said: “The number of cruise calls scheduled for Aberdeen this year is very promising. It highlights both the increasing popularity of cruising, while also reinforcing the attractiveness of Aberdeen as a destination.
“The port is central to those vessels looking to explore the unique cultures and breathtaking scenery on offer across both the Scottish Islands and beyond. The slight rise is also a reflection of the growing number of cruise operators that are recognising the first class services and facilities on offer at the harbour.
“We look forward to extending a warm welcome to this year’s vessels, including the Rembrandt Van Rijn and Ortelius, which are among those visiting the North-east for the first time.”
Aberdeen Harbour works alongside the 14 member ports that make up Cruise Scotland, promoting the country as an attractive cruise ship destination for overseas travellers. The harbour is also a member of Cruise Europe, a long established organisation with similar aims for many European coastal states.
World Maritime News Staff, February 22, 2012; Image: Aberdeen Harbour