LEADING business figures in Inverness are hopeful that the arrival of a new cruise liner in the city can have a positive impact on the local economy.
The luxury mega-yacht Variety Voyager will begin and end trips round the Northern Isles and west coast in the city’s port on five occasions throughout the summer months.
The 68m vessel, which made its first stop in the Highlands on June 3, will also be resupplied in Inverness.
Mike Smith, manager of Inverness Business Improvement District, said: "This is obviously part of the port’s business plan in order to develop the potential for cruise ships coming into Inverness.
"It’s great for the area because it will bring a lot of people into the city.
"It also adds a new option for people from Inverness and the surrounding areas to take a cruise without them having to travel elsewhere first.
"All the credit has to go to the team at the port for setting this up."
Variety Voyager, which is the flagship vessel of Greek firm Variety Cruises, was built six years ago and can host up to 72 passengers in its 36 luxurious cabins.
It regularly sails on the Mediterranean but has travelled as far afield as Cuba.
Port of Inverness chief executive Sinclair Browne said: "We are delighted to be welcoming the Variety Voyager to the Highlands this summer.
"This is her first visit to the Port of Inverness and Variety Cruises chose the port due to its unrivalled accessibility for passengers and the range of services we can provide.
"It will be a huge boost to the local economy and it is great to see ships of this calibre using the Highland capital as their summer base."