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Cruises to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Lerwick (Photo:Zdenka Mlynarikova/Shutterstock)
Lerwick (Photo:Zdenka Mlynarikova/Shutterstock)

About Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Lerwick, the Shetland Islands' capital, is undeniably multifaceted. Superficially, Lerwick's architecture reflects that of its past -- deeply rooted in Dutch traditions with stone-facade buildings, known as lodberries, lining the busy port. Lerwick, like the rest of the Shetland Islands, is more than just superficial beauty though -- and just a few hours in town will uncover a rather fascinating history.

A gift to Scotland from a Danish princess in the late 1400s, the town wasn't actually founded as a port until the late 17th century. The geographic location close to Norway is reflected in all facets of Lerwick -- from many of the store's decor to the people. The locals' warm and embracing personalities are a near-perfect blend of Norwegian and Scottish. The Scottish reminders come when you're strolling through the UNESCO town and see rolling green hills behind tall castle-like administrative buildings and sheep traffic jams in the center of town.

For visitors, there's plenty to do here -- whether you're docking for just a few hours or overnight. With vibrant green-hued hills flanking the beautiful Bressay Sound, be sure to book an excursion that gets you outside to explore the wildlife (like the Shetland ponies) and the stunning scenery. If you're visiting in July, the Shetland Nature Festival brings thousands to Lerwick to celebrate the islands (which are comprised of more than 1,500 small archipelagos) diverse wildlife and outdoor activities. For those visiting on rainy days, the town has museums, restaurants, theaters and more to keep you immersed in the local culture. As a bonus, there are public buses and ferries that can cart you to neighboring islands and other landmarks, like the historical site of Jarlshof.

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164 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Los Angeles
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Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: New York

53 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
New York
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Bar Harbor, Saint John ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Edinburgh, Invergordon ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Edinburgh, Invergordon ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Reykjavik
Visiting:
Isafjord, Akureyri ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Edinburgh, Kirkwall ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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30 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Skagen, Klaipeda ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Belfast, Reykjavik ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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58 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Dover
Visiting:
Invergordon, Lerwick ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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26 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Copenhagen
Visiting:
Oslo, Berlin ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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26 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Saint John ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
St. Peter Port, Cobh ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Copenhagen
Visiting:
Kristiansund, Bergen ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Copenhagen
Visiting:
Eidfjord, Skjolden ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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108 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Brisbane, Bali ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Invergordon, Edinburgh ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Copenhagen
Visiting:
Eidfjord, Flam ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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19 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
St. Petersburg
Visiting:
Helsinki, Stockholm ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Falmouth, Waterford ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Dublin
Visiting:
Iona, Tobermory ...
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Cruise Line:
Ponant
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16 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Copenhagen
Visiting:
Fredericia, Kristiansund ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Bergen, Molde ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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52 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Dover
Visiting:
Invergordon, Lerwick ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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24 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Stockholm
Visiting:
Helsinki, St. Petersburg ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Leaving:
Reykjavik
Visiting:
Isafjord, Husavik ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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Why go to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)?

Pros:

A charming Scottish port with excellent local seafood and an abundance of wildlife

Cons:

It can get chilly -- even in the summer months -- so pack accordingly  

Bottom Line:

This historic port is packed with stunning scenery, friendly locals and a bounty of delicious local fare  

Lerwick (Shetland Islands) Cruise Port Facilities?

The small port harbor provides a few warm welcomes, like traditional Shetland music upon arrival and a “Meet and Greet” service to passengers from local representatives. If you're parked too far for walking comfort, the authority offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the town center for easy exploration. The main shopping areas, restaurants, bars, pubs and attractions are all located in the main Lerwick town center.

Good to Know?

The famed Shetlandic accent, which almost sounds like a dialect you'd hear in "Game of Thrones!"

Getting Around?

On Foot: Nearly all of Lerwick's main attractions are within a seven-minute walk from the port. In addition, shuttles are available to and from town if you're unable to walk.

By Inter-island Flights: Operated by Direct Flight, the inter-island flight service makes it easy to hop over to Shetland's other remote islands. The airport is just six minutes from the center of town and can be reached by shuttle or taxi. Even if you're just going for a short trip to another island, the aerial views from above are truly spectacular.

By Inter-island Ferry: Shetland Islands Council operate an inter-island ferry to and from the larger islands with the Shetland mainland. The ferries operate all around the archipelago, from Lerwick up to Gutcher, Belmont down to Fair Isle. The longest ride, to and from Fair Isle, takes four hours and 31 minutes each way. The ferries run to the closer islands every one to two hours and depart Monday to Sunday. Domestic fares start at ?5.30 per adult, making this an affordable (and picturesque) way to see the other islands.

By Bus: Buses are by far one of the most dependable and affordable options to get in and out of Lerwick, with service throughout the main archipelago. Bus schedules and fare information can be found at the tourist office or right outside the bus terminal.

By Taxi: Taxis can be found throughout the city and most drivers speak English. If you want to book a private taxi tour outside of Lerwick, Allied Taxis can take groups of eight and offers a guide.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Lerwick's currency is the British pound. For up-to-date exchange rates, visit www.xe.com. Most ATMs are found in front of the banks, inside the Tesco supermarket, at the Sound Service Station and at the Toll Clock Shopping Center. Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept major credit cards, but it's safe to bring ample cash for eating and sightseeing just in case.

Language?

English is the language -- spoken with a local, Shetlandic twang. In addition to Shetlandic, Gaelic -- the Celtic language of Scotland -- is also spoken among some residents.

Where You're Docked?

Since the port itself is still relatively small, most ships dock either right alongside town or just a few meters away. Regardless of your parking spot, the town is within walking distance, and a large landing stage and welcome ashore pavilion will serve as a great meeting point. The port authority can also be reached by taxi or bus if you plan an excursion away from Lerwick. If you're not able to walk, a complimentary shuttle to and from town is available.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Destinations

Lerwick (Shetland Islands) Cruise Reviews

cruisersenior
Sail Date: Jun 2019
Ship tenders to the small town. Hired Shetland Taxi Company to provide us with a private car and Gordon, our guide, to showcase the island. Gordon, took us northwest to Wormadale Hill and as far south as Sumburgh... Read More
Llanfairpg
Sail Date: Jul 2019
Shetland is a wonderful island group, with plenty to see and do on the main island. Strongly recommend a local guide. Ours was brilliant (Grant). We didn't realise how big the islands were. Puffins and seals were... Read More
vabeachlady
Sail Date: Jun 2019
Ancient Civilizations of the SHETLANDS. Enoyed this tour. Got to see and pet real Shetland ponies also.... Read More
Viking Jupiter
trishgoddard1
Sail Date: Jul 2019
Small fishing island but the Shetland ponies were cute... Read More
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