Archive for the ‘Liverpool cruise terminal’ Category

Over recent years Fred. Olsen has made a strong point of their use of regional ports around the UK for passenger embarkation and departure. Their 2017/18 brochure has a page headed “Your local, global cruise line” with a map showing the 10 UK departure ports listed for cruises in that brochure – Southampton; Dover; Tilbury; Harwich; Newcastle; Rosyth; Greenock; Belfast; Liverpool; and Falmouth. Indeed, Fred. Olsen’s use of regional ports has almost become their USP (along with their use of smaller ships), and I’ve always applauded this. But in their recently announced 2018/19 schedule the set of UK departure ports has been reduced by half – there are no departures in that schedule from Tilbury, Harwich, Greenock, Belfast, or Falmouth. (It’s worth stressing at this point that there are no changes to departures prior to the new ones listed in the new schedule – the 2017/18 schedule is unchanged.)

This is a significant change by Fred. Olsen – or seems so – so I contacted them and asked for confirmation and reasons. I’ve received the following reply from their PR team: (more…)

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I’ve done a number of posts in the last few years about Liverpool’s cruise terminal. The earliest of these were about the dispute over financing when Liverpool City Council (who own and operate the terminal) announced their intention to start using it for turn-rounds as well as for day calls – the dispute was because national and EU funding had been obtained for the existing structure on the basis that it would be used for day calls only. Then I visited the terminal in 2015 and had its operation, capabilities and limitations explained, and also received news that Liverpool was seeking to build a new terminal capable of handling turn-rounds for much bigger ships – up to 3,600 passengers. Since then Liverpool City Council has been taking this project forward.

The present position, as I understand it, is that a suitable site has been identified – the old Princes Jetty, along the waterfront a short distance north of the current terminal and pontoon. I gather that the plan is for piles to be driven into the river Mersey at that spot and the terminal to be supported on them; then a new linkspan will connect the new terminal to the existing docking pontoon. Before any eventual construction there would need to be various acquisitions and lease extensions, and among the land owners involved is the Duchy of Lancaster which apparently owns the bed of the Mersey!

In and of itself the proposed next step isn’t especially exciting – it’s to seek city council approval to appoint consultants to prepare detailed designs and project plans for the terminal, and to take other preparatory work forward e.g. the costs of the acquisitions and leases mentioned above. But if agreed – and the council will take a decision on 21 April – then it’s a further step forward.

Also emerging at the current time are skeleton proposals to include a new hotel and a multi-story car park in the plan. The hotel, which would be around 240 beds, would hopefully be able to rely on overnight cruise passenger business as a foundation. Car parking facilities would be required anyway to store cruise passengers’ cars while on their cruises, and this would need to be reasonably close to the terminal, but I gather that the latest ideas see the car park as being larger than the required size for just cruise passengers. Although these additions may impact on the timescales to approve and develop the terminal, it’s good to see that ‘joined-up’ thinking is happening – obviously, a new terminal capable of handling turn-rounds for 3,600 passengers will inevitably require accommodation and car parking infrastructure.

I’m pleased to see this project progressing. I believe that if it’s brought to a successful completion it will be the largest cruise terminal in the UK outside Southampton – I’m not aware that any of the other embarkation ports, e.g. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle have anything of this size. Even the London terminals (at Tilbury and Greenwich) are smaller than this. I hope they’re able to bring it to fruition.

Here’s a link to a newspaper story about this.

 

 

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I contacted Liverpool City Council (who are the operators of the cruise terminal) to ask if they could furnish any more details. They sent me the full text of the press release, which I’ve given below.

On timetables, the release says that the feasibility study work will be done during March 2016, it will be considered in the summer and decisions taken ‘later in the year’. It also says that ‘a company’ will be engaged to perform the feasibility study, but it doesn’t say which one.

Here’s the press release:
Cruise terminal plans to be drawn up

 A DETAILED study into the construction of a permanent cruise liner building in Liverpool is to be progressed.

 Liverpool City Council has identified the former Princes Jetty at Princes Parade, close to the landing stage, as its preferred location and a potentially suitable site.

 And today the world famous Cunard line – which describes the city as its spiritual home – said the development could lead to the reintroduction of its transatlantic crossings from Liverpool, which last took place regularly in 1968.

 It follows a doubling in the number of vessels visiting Liverpool since it became a turnaround facility in 2012 – up from 31 to 61. Passenger numbers are up from 38,656 four years ago to an expected 86,365 this year. 

 The council is now appointing advisors to carry out an in-depth study into the design and cost of constructing a terminal capable of handling 3,600 embarking and disembarking passengers with baggage – twice as many as the existing facility. The site would include passport control, passenger lounge, café, toilets, taxi rank, vehicle pick up point, coach layover area and a car park.

 Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “The temporary cruise liner building has been a tremendous success and served us well, but a city of Liverpool’s standing and ambition needs a permanent building if we are to continue the growth we’ve seen in recent years.

 “What we are doing now is drawing up detailed plans which will give us a clear picture of the costs and then enable us to make a decision as to whether to proceed.

 “Clearly there will be a cost to the construction of the facility, but this will be offset by the hugely beneficial economic impact that passengers have when they spend money during their stay.

 “There is still lots of work to do before we can give any scheme the green light, but the fact that we have identified a potential site which we are seriously looking at shows the importance we attach to the cruise market.”

 The cruise liner terminal is estimated to have generated £7 million for the city’s visitor economy last year, up from £1.3 million when it was a port of call destination.

 In May 2015, the Cunard fleet arrived on the River Mersey, creating an unprecedented Three Queens spectacle and once-in-a-lifetime event that was seen by more than a million people lining both sides of the waterfront.

 Cunard Director Angus Struthers welcomed today’s news. He said: “Liverpool’s ambitions to develop its cruise business have been clear for some time. We’re therefore delighted that today’s announcement takes the development of a new cruise terminal into its next phase. 

 “Liverpool will forever be Cunard’s spiritual home, and, as the world witnessed with the Three Queens spectacular last May, the city’s pride in this association, and the level of interest in Cunard across the whole North West of England, remains strong.

 “Though Southampton will remain Cunard’s homeport, we look forward to working with Liverpool to see how we can develop a great experience for our guests. In particular, we will be looking at how we might be able to incorporate Liverpool into Queen Mary 2’s iconic transatlantic crossings.”

 Liverpool was named the UK’s best port of call for two years running in 2013 and 2014 and scooped Destination of the Year by Seatrade Global in September 2015.

 Later this year, Disney Cruise Line will be coming to Britain for the first time and Liverpool is one of just two English destinations they will sail in to.

 Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for culture, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “There is always a buzz around the city when a big liner is in port and we know there is an appetite from the cruise lines to come to Liverpool.

 “It is vital that we give passengers the best experience that we can and a larger, permanent facility would enable us to do that.”

 A company is expected to be appointed to carry out the feasibility study in March, with work completed in the summer and a final decision taken over the project later in the year.

 GROWTH OF LIVERPOOL’S CRUISE LINER TERMINAL

 YEAR VESSELS PASSENGERS

 2011 15 27,278

2012 31 38,656

 2013 34 44,478

 2014 47 57,844

 2015 52 80,952

 2016 61 86,365                                                           

 

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Malcolm beat me to it! – he obviously saw this BBC New site post first.

I visited the Liverpool Cruise Terminal last year – here’s a link to the first post (of two) that I did about it:
https://tomscruiseblog.co.uk/2015/07/23/a-visit-to-liverpool-cruise-terminal-part-1/

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A few months ago I did a couple of posts (here and here) about the cruise terminal at Liverpool. In the course of conversations with Angie Redhead, Cruise & Operations manager, she mentioned that one of Liverpool’s advantages was the fantastic location they had – just in front of the Three Graces. I took some pictures during the day I spent in Liverpool, and I found myself agreeing with her.

It seems I’m not the only person who feels that way. Liverpool’s waterfront has just been voted “England’s Greatest Place”, in a nationwide competition organised by the Royal Town Planning Institute. The locations that could be voted for were all created rather than natural environments, but that’s understandable given that the competition was run by a body involved in town planning. Here’s a link to a page on the RTPI website announcing the award.

That image on the RTPI page isn’t actually of the Three Graces; according to someone I spoke to at the RTPI it’s of an area alongside Albert Dock. I was scratching my head trying to work out where it is, but a fair amount of work with Google Maps has revealed that it might be an image across Canning Dock looking towards the Pump House pub.

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Horizon and the Liverpool waterfront

Horizon and the Liverpool waterfront

I was delighted to see that Liverpool has won the Seatrade Europe ‘Destination of the Year’, beating competition from ports in the Baltic (under the ‘Cruise Baltic’ umbrella) and Guadeloupe. Well done Liverpool!

If that wasn’t enough, Angie Redhead (who I met a month or so ago) won the ‘Women in Shipping and Trade (WISTA) International Personality of the Year award, to add to her awards and recognitions. Here’s a link to a post on the Liverpool Echo site about the whole thing.

I visited Liverpool Cruise terminal in July and did these two posts about the operation of the terminal: the day call operation, and turnarounds.

 

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Another view of Liverpool waterfront

Another view of Liverpool waterfront

Yesterday I posted about my visit to Liverpool Cruise terminal on Wednesday and focused on the terminal’s history and how it handles day calls. Today I’m going to focus on how the terminal handles cruise turnarounds, and about future plans for the terminal.

Although the terminal was constructed for cruise day calls only, it was, I gather, always hoped that a way could be found to use it for turnarounds. In the end the impetus for this came from Fred Olsen. They had previously done cruise turnarounds from Liverpool, but from Langton Dock in Bootle, and using their smallest ship, Black Prince. Langton Dock is connected to the river via locks, and the problem was the potential difficulty of getting a larger ship through these locks. At the end of the 2009 season Fred Olsen retired Black Prince and replaced her at Langton Dock for 2010 with the much larger Boudicca (28,000 GRT as against 9,500 GRT). After a few cruises with Boudicca Fred Olsen decided that getting her in and out of Langton Dock was too fraught with potential problems. These were not actual risks to the ship or passengers, but issues such as possible delays if the winds were too strong – the clearances through the lock were much tighter for the larger ship and required calmer conditions, and if those couldn’t be achieved then cruise schedules could be disrupted. Fred Olsen therefore took the decision that they would fulfil the already-planned program of cruises from Liverpool for 2010 and 2011 but that they would withdraw from Liverpool after the 2011 programme. This was widely seen as a heavy blow – here’s a link to a story about it in the Liverpool Echo at the time the announcement was made (2010); and here, to balance the picture, is a link to the announcement they made in 2012 to say they would return in 2013.

To be fair, Liverpool always knew that using the new terminal for cruise turnarounds was going to be essential, but there was a problem – they were prohibited from doing so as a result of conditions attached to the public funds that had been used to construct it.  (more…)

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