Cruise Ship

We welcome around 50 ships carrying 25,000 cruise passengers each year. You’re most likely to call at Lerwick, but some ships call at Scalloway or Fair Isle and occasionally elsewhere.

If you’ve booked a cruise that visits Shetland, you’ll probably have only a short time to see something of our islands.

If your ship is visiting Lerwick and is a large one, the master may berth at Holmsgarth (less than a mile from the town centre) or may anchor in the harbour, in which case you’ll be able to transfer to a launch for the five-minute trip to Victoria Pier, right in the heart of the old town of Lerwick. Smaller vessels are able to tie up at Victoria Pier.

Many cruises include coach tours that allow you to see something of the islands. It may be useful to look at our pages covering the South Mainland and Central Mainland, including Scalloway and Burra Isle, as these are the areas most frequently visited by cruise passengers. Local guides are often available and they’ll be able to answer your questions about the islands. One tip: if the weather’s foggy, you may find that a tour heading over the hills to Scalloway and Burra Isle takes you out of the fog and into brilliant sunshine.

Useful Information:

Lerwick Port Authority provides a list of all the scheduled cruise ships visits for the year here: LPA Cruise Ship List.

If you have free time ashore in the town, our page on Lerwick provides a brief introduction. Directly inland from Victoria Pier is the Esplanade and, just beyond that, the very picturesque main street, Commercial Street. You’ll find shops selling such things as authentic knitwear, jewellery and – a more recent innovation – locally-made soap. If the weather is fine, we recommend a stroll along the south end of the waterfront, past the Queen’s Hotel, where you’ll be able to see some of the old traders’ homes with attached stores, known as lodberries. In the other direction, it’ll take you about seven or eight minutes to walk from Victoria Pier to the very enjoyable Shetland Museum and Archives, which is well worth a visit.

If you’ve docked at Holmsgarth, it’s about a ten-minute walk to the museum and another few minutes will take you into the old town.

If your ship calls at Scalloway, you’ll find the Central Mainland page a useful starting point. We’d recommend a visit to the Scalloway Museum and Scalloway Castle, and a wander along the waterfront is very pleasant.

If you are visiting Fair Isle, we have a page about the island but you may also like to visit the island’s own website.

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