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Liverpool's Titanic cruise liner revival!

FOR more than a century, passengers and crews aboard liners sailing up the Mersey to arrive in Liverpool have been greeted with one of the most memorable port sights in the world.

As a ship approaches her berth at the city’s landing stage the unmistakable profile of the Royal Liver Building with its twin towers each crowned with a magnificent copper Lyver Bird ensures that spectators realise they are arriving in a port of importance.

 

This is statement architecture par excellence, and it is said that a third of the Royal Liver Building’s cost went on these twin towers whose only purpose is to impress – especially bullish North American travellers who believed they had a monopoly on the biggest, if not the best.

 

This landmark Edwardian building has superb support alongside the waterfront with the Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building, now collectively known as “the Three Graces”.

Their presence also shows that passengers are arriving in the heart of the city, rightly putting Liverpool on a par with a waterside elite including New York, Venice and Sydney. There is no awkward tendering, necessitating boarding a small boat in choppy waters to reach dry land. Within a few minutes of disembarking passengers can be enjoying the sites of the city, with a tour on foot or by coach, to the Beatles quarter, its cathedrals, museums, galleries and magnificent civic buildings.

Liverpool re-entered the passenger ship business seriously in 2007 with the opening of the present Liverpool Cruise Terminal to serve the rapidly expanding cruise market and in particular the growing popularity of round Britain cruises.

  • Peter Elson
  • Cruise Terminal Britannia
  • Cruise Terminal Angie Redhead
  • Cruise Terminal Cunard 175th Anniversary
  • Cruise Terminal Franconia
  • Cruise Terminal Ocean Countess

The city’s place in the modern cruise industry has boomed to such an extent that the existing tented Terminal is due to be replaced with a far larger, purpose-built temporary building which will triple its handling capacity from 1,200 passengers to 3,600.

This is because cruise liners making transit calls are getting bigger and the Terminal must reflect this. Also, following the Liverpool Daily Post’s successful Get On Board campaign to lift the ban on turnaround cruises (ie starting and ending cruises at Liverpool) more facilities are needed to serve passengers, crew and ship.  Turnaround and transit cruise calls contribute £7m annually to the visitor economy, compared to £1.3m before turnaround calls began.

Princess Cruises, whose giant 3,000 plus passenger liners make up to six calls annually at Liverpool on round Britain cruises report an 85 per cent satisfaction rate for the city from passengers, second only to Dublin. Such is Liverpool’s rapid ascent as a visitor destination that there is even talk of a second cruise terminal further downriver. 

The Terminal itself has a long and illustrious history which, with its predecessor Princes Landing Stage served Britain, its Empire, Allies, Commonwealth and peoples of all nations for nearly a century and a half.

Through peacetime and wartime millions of passengers have trod its gangways and pontoons: cruise passengers, business travellers, families, men, women, children, and seafarers. Nine million emigrants from all over Europe have passed through its gateways. For many thousands of military personnel this was their first and last contact with British soil.

Yet it all started with a spectacularly embarrassing event: the original Princes Landing Stage was constructed in 1874 and burned down the night before it was due to be opened by the Duke of Edinburgh. Undeterred, by this awkward set-back, Mersey Docks & Harbour Board had a new stage in position a year later. At a quarter of a mile long, this was the world’s largest floating structure.

This was gradually improved over its 100-year lifespan, including major upgrading in 1896 with the construction of Liverpool Riverside Station alongside, so passengers could board boat trains at London Euston, have baggage checked before arrival and simply walk off the ship, through customs and over the new telescopic gangways and onto their waiting liner, or vice versa.

The fastest, greatest and most celebrated ships of their eras berthed here, culminating in Cunard Line’s Edwardian trio of Mauretania, Lusitania and Aquitania, which the company’s directors and staff could see from their new palatial headquarters of 1914.

These beautiful ocean liners, built as the first aircraft barely got off the ground, also played an invaluable role for Britain in both World Wars, being converted into armed cruisers, hospital ships and most effectively of all, troopships.

It was in this role that two Liverpool Cunarders, RMS Lancastria and RMS Laconia were sunk in the Second World War with horrific loss of life. These tragic sinkings are regarded as two of the worst Merchant Naval losses of all time and Lancastria’s loss is commemorated with a waterfront plaque.

The post-war boom encouraged sea travel from Liverpool to all parts of the globe with some of the most famous shipping names in the business: Cunard White Star, Canadian Pacific, Pacific Steam Navigation, Anchor, Elder Dempster, Booth, Blue Funnel and Blue Star. 

Unfortunately, the ascent of mass jet air travel from the 1960s onwards started rapidly eating into this business and Princes Landing Stage was closed and scrapped in 1974.

What nobody predicted was the rise in cruising as a high volume holiday choice and even more surprisingly this started with two redundant former Liverpool liners. Pensioned off from their original Liverpool – Quebec and Montreal schedules, SS Empress of Britain and SS Empress of Canada were bought as the initial units of the embryonic Carnival Cruise Line. These stately girls were renamed Mardi Gras and Carnivale and relaunched as the “Fun Ships” homeported at Miami for the Caribbean.

After a shaky start, this new informal new approach was a huge success and Carnival rapidly became the dominant cruise operator, entirely refreshing the cruise concept for younger people and hugely expanding the market beyond retirees or a once-in-a-lifetime treat.

New cruising areas were opened up to Liverpool’s great benefit which resulted in the £17m, 1,150ft long Liverpool Cruise Terminal opening on 21 September, 2007, with Cunard’s flagship RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. Carnival, now owner of Cunard Line among many brands, has promoted the city as Cunard’s spiritual home, culminating in the transatlantic voyage of RMS Queen Mary 2 to mark the company’s 175th anniversary and the first such sailing by the line’s RMS Franconia in 1968. 

Once again Liverpool is welcoming some of the biggest names in the cruise world: Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Princess Cruises, Holland America, P&O, Saga, SilverSea and Seabourne. The most spectacular maiden arrival last year with fireworks to match last year was MS Disney Magic from Florida, which will be back again this year.

Turnaround cruises number around 20 a year led by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and Cruise & Maritime Voyages, whose MS Ocean Countess undertook the first turnaround cruise. Together transit and turnaround calls total around 90,000 passengers a year, up from 27,000 passengers in 2011.

Few people who remember the demise of ocean liner travel from Liverpool can believe this renaissance of the passenger liner in the city, with at least 60 ship calls this year. Yet it is singularly appropriate that this city which grew to serve travellers from across the Seven Seas is once again hosting thousands of seaborn visitors. 

Brilliant Liverpool Tours have a range of fun shore excursions all with 5 star Trip advisor reviews and rave reviews on Cruise Critic and they offer bespoke and tailor made sur mesure tours and they have driver guides. Popular shore excursions are the Liverpool Beatles Walk, the Ticket to Ride Tour which explores the city centre, the cathedrals, Penny Lane, Strawberry Field and outside John Lennon's childhood home. North Wales is only 90 minutes away so its an extremely popular private tour to Conway Castle and the cruise clients love Port Sunlight and Medieval Chester which are less than an hour away in a licensed MPV. All of their tours are with a local Liverpool Tour Guide who will meet you at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal.

Below is a list of ship calling into Liverpool Cruise Terminal in 2018 

Sunday

19 Mar 2017

Saga Pearl II (Saga)

Transit

Friday

28 Apr 2017

Le Soleal (Ponant)

Transit

Thursday

04 May 2017

Le Soleal (Ponant)

Transit

Sunday

14 May 2017

Aida Vita (Aida)

Transit

Monday

05 Jun 2017

Silver Whisper (SilverSea)

Transit

Tuesday

06 Jun 2017

Magellan (CMV)

Turnaround

Wednesday

07 Jun 2017

Prinsendam (Holland America)

Transit

Thursday

08 Jun 2017

Nautica (Oceania Cruises)

Transit

Friday

09 Jun 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Saturday

10 Jun 2017

Caribbean Princess (Princess)

Transit

Sunday

11 Jun 2017

Seven Seas Explorer (All Leisure)

Transit

Monday

12 Jun 2017

MV Voyager (Prestige)

Transit

Tuesday

13 Jun 2017

Silver Whisper (SilverSea)

Transit

Wednesday

14 Jun 2017

Eclipse (Celebrity)

Transit

Thursday

15 Jun 2017

Magellan (CMV)

Turnaround

Tuesday

27 Jun 2017

Magellan (CMV)

Turnaround

Friday

30 Jun 2017

Saga Sapphire (Saga)

Transit

Wednesday

05 Jul 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Saturday

08 Jul 2017

Magellan (CMV)

Turnaround

Tuesday

11 Jul 2017

Queen Elizabeth (Cunard)

Transit

Thursday

13 Jul 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Friday

14 Jul 2017

Disney Magic (Disney Cruise Line)

Transit

Saturday

15 Jul 2017

Magellan (CMV)

Turnaround

Thursday

20 Jul 2017

Minerva (Swan Hellenic)

Transit

Friday

21 Jul 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Sunday

23 Jul 2017

Journey (Azamara)

Transit

Saturday

22 Jul 2017

Silhouette (Celebrity)

Transit

Monday

24 Jul 2017

Adonia (P&O)

Transit

Tuesday

25 Jul 2017

Saga Pearl II (Saga)

Transit

Friday

28 Jul 2017

Caribbean Princess (Princess)

Transit

Saturday

29 Jul 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Thursday

03 Aug 2017

Saga Sapphire (Saga)

Transit

Saturday

05 Aug 2017

Zuiderdam (Holland America)

Transit

Tuesday

08 Aug 2017

Marina (Oceania Cruises)

Transit

Wednesday

09 Aug 2017

Caribbean Princess (Princess)

Transit

Thursday

10 Aug 2017

Artania (Phoenix Reisen)

Transit

Saturday

12 Aug 2017

Prinsendam (Holland America)

Transit

Monday

14 Aug 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Thursday

17 Aug 2017

Silhouette (Celebrity)

Transit

Friday

18 Aug 2017

Symphony (Crystal)

Transit

Saturday

19 Aug 2017

Aida Vita (Aida)

Transit

Sunday

20 Aug 2017

Marco Polo (CMV)

Turnaround

Thursday

24 Aug 2017

Rotterdam (Holland America)

Transit

Monday

28 Aug 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Tuesday

29 Aug 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Friday

01 Sep 2017

Marco Polo (CMV)

Turnaround

Saturday

02 Sep 2017

Aida Vita (Aida)

Transit

Tuesday

05 Sep 2017

Magellan (CMV)

Turnaround

Wednesday

06 Sep 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Saturday

09 Sep 2017

Pacific Princess (Princess)

Transit

Saturday

16 Sep 2017

Aida Vita (Aida)

Transit

Sunday

17 Sep 2017

Nautica (Oceania Cruises)

Transit

Tuesday

19 Sep 2017

Seven Seas Explorer (Prestige)

Transit

Wednesday

20 Sep 2017

Albatros (Phoenix Reisen)

Transit

Friday

22 Sep 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Transit

Thursday

28 Sep 2017

Amadea (Phoenix Reisen)

Transit

Friday

29 Sep 2017

Marco Polo (CMV)

Turnaround

Saturday

30 Sep 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

Saturday

14 Oct 2017

Boudicca (Fred Olsen)

Turnaround

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About Our Team

Our Tour Guides are all local.
Some are qualified Blue Badge Guides, while others are former Journalists, or Town Planners All are trained, insured & great fun. That mix of passion & experience enables us to deliver tours & experiences that’s it’s not possible for others to create outside of Liverpool.

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