New cruise season for Stornoway starts

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The new cruise season kicked off in Stornoway on Friday morning when the 16,144 ton cruise ship ‘Astoria’ arrived in the port from Tobermory with 486, mainly British passengers, on board.

To mark the beginning of the 2016 cruise season, Stornoway Port Authority’s Harbour Master Tony Morrison presented Captain Filipe Sousa of the Astoria with a handmade Harris Tweed plaque and a hamper with various local delicacies.

The size of the Astoria determined the use of the Sandwick anchorage and its passengers disembarked by tender to tour the town and island.

The vessel will departed Stornoway at 5pm to continue her journey to next stop at Kirkwall, Orkney.

The Astoria is operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages and is the world’s oldest active ocean going cruise ship, launched on the 9 September 1946 as the ‘Stockholm’.

During her seven decades of service she has passed through several owners and sailed under various names. She was previously named ‘Azores’ and began service as the Astoria in March 2016.

Commenting, Chief Executive Alex MacLeod said: “We were delighted to welcome the Astoria as the first visitor of the 2016 cruise season. Having cancelled her 24th March visit due to the weather, we were a little nervous this week awaiting her arrival.”

The next cruise ship due into the port is the ‘Marco Polo’ which is scheduled to arrive tomorrow (Tuesday, April 19th) at 7am.

Pictured is the Astoria anchored at Sandwick.