Do many cruise ships visit Orkney.....if so does it spoil the overall enjoyment?
Only for the few hours they are there. Just my opinion.
Lots of cruise ships of varying sizes visit Kirkwall. Some have have a few hundred passengers, some several thousand. You'd barely notice the smaller ones, other than perhaps more people wandering about Kirkwall, but if you visit Skara Brae when 7 coaches arrive off a large ship clearly you'll know about it.
It's easy to plan around. Google Orkney cruise ships 2017 and you can download a schedule that shows which ships are in when, and how many passengers. If you can't avoid clashing with a big ship visit the most popular places early in the day or, after a picnic by a deserted beach, at the end of the afternoon, or visit one of the outlying islands as cruise passengers won't.
We've recently had 2 weeks on Orkney and it wasn't a problem to us at all. From the Bay of Skaill we watched lines of people wander around Skara Brae but plenty of hours when there was hardly anyone about and it was perfect to visit. Maeshowe has to be advance booked anyway, with a set number of visitors each slot, so cruises make no difference. And if you're staying overnight the cruise ships are all gone at tea-time anyway.Edited: 14 July 2017, 10:42