Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ flagship Balmoral starts an inaugural cruise season from Edinburgh (Rosyth) this week.

The 1,350-passenger ship will be running a record nine departures between May and July – up from eight departures by Black Watch from the port last year.

The first Balmoral cruise leaves on Wednesday on a ten-night Swedish waterways and cities itinerary.

The ship will also be offering cruises to Norway, Belgium, Germany and the Baltic.

Fred Olsen also confirmed its commitment to Rosyth with a second programme of eight departures from the port by Balmoral between June and August 2019.

Product and customer service director Clare Ward said: “We have been extremely encouraged by the warm reception that our flagship Balmoral has received in Scotland.

“We have booked more guests onto the ship out of Rosyth than we did for whole of our last cruise season put together.”

Robert Mason, head of cruise at Rosyth, said: “We are excited that Fred. Olsen will be bringing their flagship Balmoral to Rosyth this season and also into the 2019-20 season, too.

“Rosyth has benefitted from significant investment to become Scotland’s key turnaround hub, with great destinations to sail to. We are thrilled that Balmoral – and also sister ship Black Watch – will be regular callers into Rosyth.

“Across all our Scottish ports, we are looking forward to another busy cruise season in 2018, with an estimated 175,000 passengers expected this year.”