Lerwick Harbour is set to rewrite the port’s record book, with the largest cruise ship yet scheduled to visit the Shetland Islands later this year – and the record already due to be broken twice in the 2009 season.

The 93,502-ton Norwegian Jewel will arrive at Lerwick on September 19 for what will be the final call of the port’s ’08 programme. She will be one of six cruise ships on maiden visits this year, including the Costa Victoria (75,166 tons) and Boudicca (28,372 tons) in July.

With 43 ships heading for the port, it will welcome more than 20,000 passengers from early May to mid-September. This season will also see the 80th anniversary of the first cruise ship visit on port records – July 17, 1928, when the 675-ton Mira arrived from Kirkwall, Orkney, with 112 passengers on board, en route to Faroe and Iceland.

Advance bookings for next year mean the record for the largest cruise vessel will be broken twice, firstly by the 102,587-ton Costa Magica in July and then by the Crown Princess (113,651 tons) in September.

At 60 degrees north, the islands are famous for their Scandinavian and Scottish heritage, seabird colonies, marine life, beaches and cliffs. The Shetland Museum and Archives opened on Lerwick’s waterfront last year, with the new attraction including a three-storey hall housing hanging boats, a boat shed for building and repairs, and thousands of artifacts.