A major tribute has been paid by John Maclennan, the Interim Chief Executive of Stornoway Port Authority, to the team of volunteer cruise ambassadors who now meet the thousands of cruise ship passengers who disembark each summer in Stornoway to visit the islands.
Mt Maclennan, who retired as port authority chief executive in 2010, said that: "Since returning to the Port Authority earlier this year one of the biggest changes I have experienced is the exponential growth in cruise liner traffic choosing Stornoway as a cruise destination. This year, 46 Liners are scheduled to call and well over 15,000 cruise liner passengers will disembark and embark at the port.
"In times past passengers were largely left to their own devices and one of the huge improvements I have noticed is the concept of having interested local people – “Cruise Ambassadors” meet and welcome each passenger as they land.
"I have observed these volunteer people “in action” and what a tremendous difference they make for the experience of each visitor. Ever ready to answer questions, give directions and help in any way they can – I find myself asking the question “How on earth did we ever manage without them?”
"All in all there is a “pool” of about a dozen volunteers willing to give of their time (without recompense) and put in a superb effort on behalf of not only the Port Authority but also in promoting local businesses and the wider Island Community.
"So on behalf of the Chairman and Board of the Stornoway Port Authority I should like to publicly thank all of these volunteers for the very significant contribution they make in enhancing the experience of Cruise Liner visitors and for making such a good job of promoting the Harbour, Town and Islands.
"They are well name Cruise Ambassadors for they are truly ambassadors for these Islands and make a first class job of representing all that is good in these Islands not least that of a warm, hospitable Island welcome.
"The photograph shows but three of them – Donald Macdonald, Douglas Brekke and Sandy Bruce.
"I think more correctly they ought to be called 'Island Cruise Ambassadors'", he added.