Liverpool’s Cruise Liner facility is to be expanded to enable it to deal with larger vessels – while the council looks at options for a permanent building.
A report to the Cabinet on Friday 9 January is recommending that the council purchases the temporary structure which it is currently renting, and extends it so that it can deal with up to 1,800 passengers per vessel.
In the meantime, the council will continue to explore the building of a permanent facility on the waterfront.
The improvements will see:
• 400 new square metres of floor space to deal with 350 extra passengers / 700 bags
• New indoor toilets
• Permanent early arrivals area for passengers on smaller ships so people embarking don’t have to wait for others to disembark
• Improvements to the gateway which links the terminal to the main pontoon berth
The terminal has been a huge success since it opened in 2012, with 54 ships expected this year bringing with them over 80,000 passengers – a 40 per cent increase on last year.
It is expected to contribute around £5.8 million to the city’s visitor economy in 2015, up from £1.3 million when it was a port of call destination.
Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We knew the turnaround facility would be a huge success and the increase in demand we have seen since it opened means that we are now pretty much at capacity.
“It makes economic sense for us to purchase the building as, even with the improvements we are carrying out, the cost is less than half the amount of continuing to rent it.
“This will put us in a position to continue the success of the cruise liner terminal while we look at options for a more permanent facility in the longer term.”
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, added: “It is going to be an amazing year for the Cruise Liner Terminal with the arrival of the three Cunard Queens on the River Mersey and Cunard recreating the original transatlantic voyage of Britannia of 175 years ago.
“The work we are carrying out will mean we are able to enhance the experience of passengers, who we know already rate the city highly as a cruise destination.”
In November 2014, Liverpool was named the UK’s best port of call for the second year running by the world’s largest cruise review website – Cruise Critic, which is a sister site of Trip Advisor. The awards highlight excellence in cruise travel, and are selected by an international panel of cruise journalists in 18 different categories, recognising the very best cruise lines, ships and ports.
On Liverpool’s win, the Cruise Critic editors commented: “Much of what Liverpool has to offer cruise-ship visitors is right in the city centre, alongside the waterfront where ships dock. The revitalised Albert Dock houses numerous restaurants and attractions – like the Beatles Story museum – and the adjacent billion-pound Liverpool One retail park is the UK’s largest open-air retail complex.”
The highlight of the 2015 cruise season will be two very special events to celebrate Cunard Cruise Line’s 175th anniversary.
On 25 May the Cunard fleet will arrive on the Mersey, creating an unprecedented Three Queens spectacle in Liverpool and a once-in-a-lifetime event that will make maritime history. Activities will take place across the weekend (from 23 to 25 May) to entertain the hundreds of thousands of people expected to descend on the city for this potentially once in a lifetime experience.
On 4 July, the Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 will return to Liverpool to celebrate Britannia’s transatlantic departure exactly 175 years earlier.