Liverpool Cruise Terminal

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Coordinates: 53°24′26″N 3°00′00″W / 53.4073°N 3.0001°W / 53.4073; -3.0001

Liverpool Cruise Terminal

The Liverpool Cruise Terminal is a 350-metre-long (1,150 ft) floating structure situated on the River Mersey enabling large cruise ships to visit without entering the enclosed dock system or berthing mid-river and tendering passengers ashore. The terminal was officially opened on 21 September 2007 by HRH The Duke of Kent when the Queen Elizabeth 2 berthed at the terminal.[1]


The £19 million facility is capable of accommodating vessels of 345 metres (1,132 ft) in length and 10 metres (33 ft) draft.[2] The terminal was mostly funded by grants of £9 million from the UK government and £8.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund.[3][4]

The cruise terminal was developed in conjunction with improvements to the Isle of Man ferry terminal, operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. The Royal Navy also berths ships at the terminal several times a year, often allowing the public to visit the ships.[5][6]

The terminal has seen strong growth and in 2017 welcomed a record 63 cruise ships bringing over 111,000 visitors to the city.[7] The facility is expected to be used by 57 ships and 100,000 passengers and crew in 2018, bringing in an estimated £7 million pounds to the local economy.[8]

Turnaround status[edit]

Queen Mary 2 at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal

The £9.2 million grant[9] from the UK government came with the strange condition that the terminal could only be used for cruise port-of-calls, which meant cruises would not be allowed to begin or end at the terminal. "Turnaround" visits generate more revenue for the port and city than port-of-calls. The reason for the strange restriction was that it was to minimize unfair competition with other ports that had been built with private funding, particularly Southampton.[3] Liverpool City Council tried unsuccessfully to have this restriction removed in 2009.[10] In July 2011, the council offered to pay back part of the UK government funding in exchange for being allowed turnaround visits, which led Associated British Ports, the owner of Southampton Docks, to take legal advice.[11] The Southampton Chamber of Commerce collected 12,000 signatures on a petition against the change.[12] Liverpool city council did cite that £70 million of public money was spent in upgrading the rail link from Southampton Docks to the Midlands container terminals competing directly with the Port of Liverpool. This fell on deaf ears.[13] However, in March 2012, the government agreed a repayment offer from Liverpool Council and construction of a temporary terminal buildings began on the shore and floating terminal landing stage.[14]

On Tuesday, 29 May 2012 a cruise began from the Pier Head for the first time in 40 years, when Ocean Countess[15] departed on a cruise to the Norwegian fjords.[16] From 2014 Liverpool has been the home port of Thomson Spirit, which operates cruises out of Liverpool.[17]


The cruise terminal is part of the £5.5 billion Liverpool Waters scheme to regenerate 60 hectares of dockland in Liverpool. The terminal received UK Government approval in March 2013, after Liverpool City Council approved the scheme in March 2012.[18][19]

A second Cruise terminal is planned as a part of the Liverpool Waters scheme.[20] Liverpool City Council unveiled preliminary plans for a £50 million development for the proposed new cruise stage in September 2017. The new facility is intended to be built slightly further down the Mersey at Princes Dock where the old wooden landing stage currently lies. The new terminal would be able to handle ships with up to 3,600 passengers and would include dedicated passport control as well as a cafe. Plans were submitted for planning permission by the council in November 2017 and work on the new facility could be started as early as spring 2018.[21][22]

Belfast building and civil engineering firm McLaughlin & Harvey were awarded a contract in March 2018 to support the council during the first of the two phases of development. The first phase of the project involves finalising the design and construction of the new facility and the removal of the existing derelict Princess Jetty.[23][24] Planning permission for the new facility and the removal of the old jetty was granted in April 2018.[25]



  1. ^ QE2 stars in liner terminal opening, Liverpool Daily Post, 18 September 2008, retrieved 6 April 2008 
  2. ^ Cruise Traffic, Peel Ports, 13 October 2010, retrieved 13 October 2010 
  3. ^ a b "Liverpool settle Pier Head cruise terminal row". BBC. 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  4. ^ "Liverpool cruise liner terminal plans threatened". BBC. 2011-11-11. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  5. ^ "HMS Liverpool makes final voyage to River Mersey". BBC. 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  6. ^ "HMS Dragon open to public in Liverpool during visit". BBC. 2012-04-29. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  7. ^ Bond, Mary. "Liverpool's cruise terminal celebrating 10th anniversary". Seatrade Cruise News. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Liverpool cruise liner terminal to welcome 57 vessels and over 100,000 people in 2018 - Liverpool Business News". Liverpool Business News. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018. 
  9. ^ "Cruise terminal grant repaid". Southport Reporter. 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  10. ^ "MP calls for cruise ports enquiry". BBC News. 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  11. ^ "Liverpool bids to change city cruise restrictions". BBC. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  12. ^ "Southampton objects to Liverpool cruise terminal plan". BBC. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  13. ^ "Southampton to Midlands £70m rail route revamp complete". BBC News. 2011-04-04. 
  14. ^ "Liverpool cruise terminal building begins". BBC. 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  15. ^ "A new era is a turnaround for Liverpool!". Southport Reporter. 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  16. ^ "First cruise liner since 1972 leaves Liverpool". BBC. 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  17. ^[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Liverpool Waters plan approved despite World Heritage threat". BBC. 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Houghton, Alistair (21 September 2017). "Here's how Liverpool's new £50m cruise liner terminal could look". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  22. ^ Bona, Emilia (15 November 2017). "New cruise terminal moves a step closer as £50m plans are submitted". liverpoolecho. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  23. ^ "Liverpool awards contract for first phase of Cruise Liner Terminal project to Belfast firm - Liverpool Business News". Liverpool Business News. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018. 
  24. ^ "McL&H wins new Mersey cruise terminal". Retrieved 8 March 2018. 
  25. ^ Houghton, Alistair (3 April 2018). "Look at seven major plans that are set to change Liverpool". liverpoolecho. Retrieved 4 April 2018. 

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