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Portree set to welcome its largest cruise liner

Issued: 18 Aug 2010

This Friday (20 August) Portree will welcome the largest cruise liner ever to call at the port. Holland America Line's 82,500 gross tons "Westerdam", carrying some 1800 passengers, is scheduled to be in port from 8am to 6pm. The giant liner, 11 decks high, will present a spectacular sight anchored in the harbour.

The call at Portree is part of a 12 day cruise around the British Isles. Before arriving in Portree, the ship will have visited Dublin, Belfast and Greenock. After leaving Portree, Westerdam will head north, through the Pentland Firth before docking at Invergordon.

Passengers will be offered a choice of shore excursions including visits to Armadale Castle, Talisker Distillery, Dunvegan Castle, Eilean Donan Castle and a Loch Coruisk Sea-Safari. Most of the excursions are half-day tours so passengers will also have plenty of free time to spend in Portree itself.

Westerdam is the third in Holland America Line's series of Vista-class ships. Most of her staterooms have ocean views and many have private verandas. Holland America Line ships are renowned for their art collections and the theme on board Westerdam is Dutch heritage in the New World. Art ranges from paintings of historic Dutch ships to a huge Indian silver-overlaid wood palace doorway, a bone tobacco pipe carved in the shape of a woman's head and a collection of 5,000 year old pre-Columbian carved limestone figures from Ecuador.

As this will be the ship's maiden call to Portree, The Highland Council will present the captain with an engraved commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. Commenting on the visit of Westerdam, Highland Councillor Ian Renwick said: "A visit by a liner of this size is a real vote of confidence in Portree as a port of call. Holland America Line called at Portree last year with their smaller vessel, Prinsendam, which they refer to as their pathfinder vessel. The captain was able to give a positive report back to head office and was happy to recommend a visit by big sister Westerdam. Our Tourism Development Officer, Gordon Ireland, has been marketing Portree to the cruise industry for a number of years and business has been growing steadily. This year we will have 15 cruise liner calls, with over 9,000 passengers, breaking all previous records."

The visit of Westerdam will be followed on Saturday by another maiden call when German liner "Amadea" is scheduled to call at the port. This is another important call as it will be the first time that the ship's operator, Phoenix Reisen, will have called at Portree.

The final call for this season will be a repeat visit by Prinsendam. Prospects for 2011 are looking good with 9 calls already confirmed.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme