The cruise terminal is 10 years old. Cue a whole summer of fireworks and special visits
But to most of us it remains - for now - a bijou shed to the north of the Pier Head, dwarfed every summer by gigantic floating blocks of flats that anchor by its side.
That's all set to change, with a big new building, but who hasn’t got a soft spot for Liverpool’s Cruise Terminal? It celebrates its 10th birthday this year, and yet has seen so much.
To mark the “milestone”, plans are afoot for a series of exciting events across the cruise season.
Stats wise, the terminal was officially opened on 21 September 2007 by HRH The Duke of Kent and, since then, has welcomed 355 cruise ships from around 30 cruise lines, carrying more than 700,000 passengers and crew and, according to Liverpool City Council, has generated £50m to the local economy.
Assistant Mayor Councillor Wendy Simon said: “As we move towards introducing a new permanent facility which could accommodate larger turnaround cruises, it’s important we acknowledge all that has been achieved over the past ten years and I hope that residents and visitors show their support and take part in some of the milestone celebrations planned for this summer.
Angie Redhead, Liverpool’s Cruise and Operations Manager, said: “I have lived and breathed Liverpool’s cruise development since 2005, and it has been an honour to see how it has grown over the past decade.
“Establishing a new city centre terminal in the city was always going to be a challenge, but we knew that within the industry, and within the wider region, there was a huge appetite to have Liverpool as a cruise destination. Ten years on – we couldn’t have wished to be in a better position."
A marketing showreel looking back at the first ten years of the terminal has also been created.
Timetable of ships and spectacles in 2017 - so far
• Tuesday 6 June, 8pm – The city will welcome Magellan - the largest turnaround vessel to sail in to Liverpool to date. To give it a departure to remember and in a nod to Liverpool’s Sgt. Pepper 50th anniversary celebrations, a quayside concert will take place from 8-8.30pm featuring live music and a confetti show.
• Wednesday 14 June, 6pm – Celebrity Eclipse is a brand new addition to the city’s cruise calendar this year and to mark its departure, from the Mersey, expect live music and another colourful confetti show from 6-6.30pm.
• Saturday 24 June – Liverpool is the official national host city of Armed Forces Day which gives the city the chance to show its support and say thank you to the armed forces community – from currently serving troops, to service families, veterans and cadets. The area around the Cruise Passenger Lounge will host the Display Arena which will include demonstrations, ranging from Royal Marines unarmed combat display and military marching bands right through to RAF dog handling exercises, an Army bridge building demo and a field gun-race between a team from RAF Cosford and the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales (the city’s affiliated ship).
• Saturday 24 to Sunday 25 June – It’s Mersey River Festival weekend which means there is a free extravaganza of family fun and entertainment along the waterfront. A Royal Navy ship will be berthed at the terminal and will be open to visitors across the weekend. Full details will be available at a later date.
• Tuesday 11 July, 9.45pm – Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth is returning to her spiritual home this summer and will get into the spirit of the celebrations by performing a rendition of Happy Birthday on the ship’s horn. There will also be a mini, mid-river fireworks display prior to the ship’s departure around 9.45pm.
• Friday 14 July, 3.30-7pm – She made a huge splash when it sailed in to the city last year for its inaugural visit, and Disney Magic is back for 2017. Once again, the Cruise Liverpool team, in partnership with Liverpool Waters, will sprinkle their own magic on Princes Parade with a free, after school family-friendly event. Expect an outdoor cinema, street theatre and food and drink stalls. A sing-along serenade will signal the ship’s departure.
• Sunday 23 July – Visitors will be seeing double as Celebrity Silhouette and AzAmara Journey make the River Mersey their home – at the same time! In the city as part of The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Celebrity Silhouette will berth alongside the cruise terminal and AzAmara Journey will anchor mid-river, using the Mersey Ferries to bring guests ashore. A dazzling fireworks display at 9.45pm will round off proceedings.
• Saturday 5 August, 5-5.30pm – A quayside concert will mark the departure of Zuiderdam which is making its inaugural visit to the city. The Holland America Line vessel will bring 3,200 passengers and crew to the city and is famed for its glass appearance. This 4* line is one of three Holland America ships to call to the city this year.
• Saturday 9 September, 5.30-6pm – The final inaugural visit of the year sails in to the city in September. Pacific Princess is small and perfectly formed, with a capacity of 670 passengers and is renowned for adding a touch of elegance to the waves. It was also named ‘Best Small Cruise Ship’ by Cruise Critic. A special sail-away show which will mark the ship’s departure.