Lerwick Welcomes MSC Virtuosa: A Record-Breaking Visit

On 20th May 2024, the quaint harbour town of Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, UK experienced a historic moment, they welcomed the largest ever cruise ship, MSC Virtuosa. This grand event underscores Lerwick’s growing reputation as a prime destination for cruise liners, as the popularity of British Isles cruises soar.

Shetland Flyer Aerial Media - © Copyright: Dave Donaldson
 Credit: MSC Virtuosa about to drop anchor in Lerwick – © Copyright: Shetland Flyer Aerial Media, Dave Donaldson

MSC Virtuosa: A Marvel of Modern Engineering

The MSC Virtuosa, flying the Maltese flag, is an engineering marvel built in France in 2020. This colossal vessel measures 332 metres (1,089 feet) in length and boasts 18 decks. It has the capacity to accommodate up to 6,334 passengers and 1,704 crew members, making it a true floating city.

Virtuosa’s arrival has set a new benchmark for Lerwick, surpassing the previous record held by its sister ship, Meraviglia, which visited in July 2018 with over 5,000 passengers and about 1,500 crew. The Virtuosa is currently on a seven-day voyage, bringing together passengers from 60 different nationalities.

Lerwick’s Warm Welcome

The deep-water harbour of Lerwick is well-suited to accommodate such a large vessel, with passengers being efficiently transferred to and from the town centre. Melanie Henderson, Lerwick Port Authority’s cruise and marketing manager, highlighted the significance of this visit. “The majority of cruise ships visiting Lerwick are small to medium-sized vessels,” she explained. “Virtuosa’s maiden call is another example of Shetland’s popularity as a tourist destination, and the port’s capacity to welcome some of the largest vessels in the world”.

A Journey to Remember

The MSC Virtuosa arrived from Southampton and is set to continue its journey to the stunning Norwegian fjords. This itinerary offers passengers an enchanting mix of Shetland’s rugged beauty and Norway’s dramatic landscapes.

Explore MSC Virtuosa with Sail Away Magazine

Are you captivated by the grandeur of MSC Virtuosa? Discover her incredible beauty with our MSC YouTube content, or why not explore our highly detailed MSC Virtuosa Ship Review?

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