One of the most unusual-looking cruise ships to enter Stornoway harbour is making her first visit to the port today (Tuesday June 4th).

The AIDAaura is part of a 13-ship German-owned cruise fleet described as ‘one of the most modern and eco-friendly fleets in the world’. The exterior paintwork marks each of the ships with the AIDA personality – an upbeat and personable ‘face’ adorning the prow.

AIDAaura is positioned in the outer anchorage using dynamic positioning – a way of allowing the ship to ‘tread water’ without using an anchor. On board is Stornoway harbourmaster Scott Campbell, acting as pilot for the day after presenting a plaque to the German skipper to mark the vessel’s maiden visit to the islands.

Also anchored outside Stornoway is regular visitor the Astoria, and the harbour is busy with passenger tenders ferrying the 1200 visitors aboard the AIDAaura and 400 Astoria visitors to and fro. Both ships are heading north to Lerwick after leaving Stornoway this evening.

The visits mark the start of another busy few days for cruise visitors to the islands, with cruise vessels Variety Voyager, Bremen and Prinsedam due in between now and Saturday.

Island-based vessels are also jostling for position alongside visitors like the superyacht Vive la Vie, reportedly worth £60 million and featuring a dining room which converts into a disco, with the table lifting into the ceiling.

Round-the-world sailors Phil and Lynda Christieson are also in port with their yacht Windora. The New Zealand couple are on their second visit to Lewis, having called in last summer as they headed north to Norway. They left Florvag, on the Norwegian island of Askoy, in April and are heading south, after exploring Shetland and Orkney for the past month.

Pictures show the AIDAaura and Astoria in the outer anchorage today, superyacht Vive la Vie berthed near the ferry terminal, with fisheries protection vessel Minna behind her, and the yacht Windora during her visit to Scotland last summer