Plans for new £50 million Liverpool cruise terminal set to go ahead
The 19th century was certainly a pioneering age in terms of the development of large-scale passenger transport. In 1839, Nova Scotian ship owner, Samuel Cunard, joined forces with Robert Napier to form the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company – which operated regular transatlantic journeys out of Liverpool to Halifax and Boston. The city developed a name for itself in the maritime world, with many vessels arriving in the city over the next century. Offices for both Cunard and White Star Line were set up in Liverpool and a vast number of operations took place out of the city.
Sadly, many lines began to see Southampton as a more efficient port due to its proximity to London. After World War I, the trend of ships being registered in Southampton over Liverpool continued and the city ceased operating transatlantic sailings in 1968.
In 2012, a regeneration of the docks – assisted by the city being awarded status as European Capital of Culture in 2008 – resulted in cruise ships being able to turn around in the city. This proved to be an immensely popular decision, with the number of vessels arriving in Liverpool increasing from 15 to 61 and passenger numbers rising from 27,278 to 86,365 between 2011 and 2016. This year, the city will be visited by the likes of Queen Elizabeth (Cunard), Disney Magic (Disney Cruise Line), Caribbean Princess (Princess Cruises), and Magellan (CMV).
The existing temporary cruise terminal, based on Princes Parade, is thought to bring in £7million to the local economy every year and has regularly been awarded the accolade of Britain’s favourite port. Plans for a permanent cruise terminal city have been on the drawing board for a few years, with original plans for construction in the Cunard Building scrapped in 2014 due to rising costs. Now, new proposals for a new five-star terminal, on the derelict Princes Jetty on Princes Parade, look set to receive the green light.
The location falls within the area of a pledged £5 billion Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme, with the council beginning the process of carrying out a feasibility investigation of the site. If it does receive the go ahead, the new facility will be fully-equipped with a passenger and baggage terminal, passport control, lounge, café, toilets, taxi rank and much more. There will even be further potential for surrounding facilities including a 1,100-capacity multi-storey car park facility and a 200-bed hotel.
Perhaps, most importantly, the construction of a new cruise terminal in the city could also see the reintroduction of Cunard sailings across the Atlantic. The line has announced that it is prepared to look into the possibility of incorporating Liverpool into Queen Mary 2’s transatlantic crossings, which would bring with it a huge boost for the city and a chance for cruisers to step into a bygone era. Not only would it reintroduce transatlantic sailings within the city for the first time in nearly 50 years, it would also be a fantastic continuation of the city’s European Capital of Culture legacy.
Before many of the world’s largest and most impressive ships began sailing to Southampton, Liverpool was the primary port of choice for many lines. In the 21st century, however, more and more lines are placing an emphasis on operating sailings out of ports around the UK, with Cardiff and Hull being among the latest additions.
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