Being lucky enough to be invited to the first ‘turn around cruise departure’ from the new Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
I was unsure what to expect, after all it was only a week earlier permission had been given, and 6 weeks prior to that since the new Mayor of Liverpool had stated he would open the facility. I approached the side of the Liver building to find a brand new structure had appeared on adjacent land that was obviously a temporary structure that did not look unlike a white where house, with coach and taxi drop-off facilities, and a new side road that diverts traffic around the facility when a cruise was in.
Upon going inside, I must say I was really impressed. No so much at the facilities, but what they had managed to do in such a short time, it looked new, but as though it had been there a while, with everything working and desks open, people checking in, there was plenty of seating, and the operation looked as though it had been going for years. I spoke to the Terminal Manager, who told me that the arriving passengers had all passed through in just over half an hour, which is really fast.
Then we strolled down on to the floating landing stage, which, I have to admit is fairly steep when the tide is out! But from there it is a doddle to board the ship, and the Ocean Countess actually looked small to some of the cruise ships I have seen at the berth, but because she does only have 800 passengers, it was not necessarily a baptism of fire for the Liverpool facility, and as the facility is only going to be handling these sort of numbers for the next couple of years with just the Ocean Countess and Fred Olsen’s Boudicca due to sail from here, by which time, the staff will also have a lot more experience, and I think they will expand this temporary facility into something more permanent, that ill be able to handle large passenger numbers.