Published: 17/06/2011 10:30 - Updated: 17/06/2011 11:15

'The World' brings feel-good factor to Wick

Written byby Will Clark

The visit of 'The World' has attracted a lot of local attention.
The visit of 'The World' has attracted a lot of local attention.

THE world’s biggest private luxury cruise liner caused a flurry of excitement when it arrived on the shores of Caithness on Thursday (June 16).

The World docked just outside Wick harbour at 7am as part of its ongoing tour around the globe.

The trip was organised by Ackergill Tower owner Mike Clare, who owns an apartment and spends three months of the year living on board.

The visit of the boat has caught the imaginations of residents throughout the North. Hundreds of people have travelled from across the Highlands to get a glimpse of the 644-feet-long ship.

The feedback from local residents has been generally good, with many believing the visit could open up new avenues for tourism in the area.

Passengers on board the The World were welcomed to the town by harbour master Malcolm Bremner.

Over 150 of them were transported to Ackergill Tower where they are staying for two days.

Mr Bremner said weeks of preparation had been put in to accommodate the visit.

"The high standard of the marina facility at Wick has allowed a visit of this kind to happen," he said.

"The co-operation we’ve had from local people and boat owners has been fantastic as everybody wanted to make their visit as welcoming as possible. What this proves is that the marina is capable of hosting cruise liners such as The World. Hopefully it will encourage more visits such as this in the future."

The Wick Harbour Authority said it has been inundated with calls regarding the ship’s visit for a number of weeks. The World is the first luxury cruise liner to ever stop at Wick.

Mr Bremner said the ship has brought a feel-good factor and much-needed excitement to the town.

"The visit of the ship has created such a buzz throughout the area, weeks before it was due to arrive. When they finally got here it was an exceptional morning. It was great to see so many people come to welcome them.

"We took phone calls as early as 6am this morning asking what time The Worldwas expected to arrive. We’ve spoken to people from as far away as Dingwall and Inverness who were coming to Wick especially to see the ship.

"This is the first time that cruise ship passengers have ever disembarked at the harbour. It took a bit of organising to make everything run smoothly, but everything has gone like clockwork so far which is thanks to the hard work of everyone involved."

The World was launched in 2002 and has sailed around

the globe nonstop since. This year, passengers have visited such far-flung destinations as Barbados, New York, Bordeaux and even Antarctica.

The ship has 165 apartments as well as four restaurants, a luxury spa, health and fitness suite, art gallery and a diverse range of cocktail lounges and bars.

The guests were given a taste of Scotland with a Highland Games staged at Ackergill Tower.

They also had the opportunity to tour the area with visits to the Castle of Mey, Pulteney Distillery and Wick Heritage Museum.

Passengers will return to the boat on Saturday morning when it will sail to its next stop at Alesund in Norway.

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