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Monday, 8 August 2011

What's the point of Liverpool?

You may, (or may not), have been reading recently about the growing dispute between Southampton cruise terminal and it's Liverpool rival. If you haven't it's quite simple.
 In a nut shell Liverpool docks want a much larger share of the ex-UK cruising market and to that effect have invested nearly £20,000,000 in improving the Liverpool cruise terminal. The problem is they have largely done this out of public funds. Southampton obviously don't want to give up their share of the cruising market and whats more the Southampton cruise terminals have been mostly if not solely built from money raised by private investors.

I can see why Southampton authority have cried foul, if I'd spent that much only for someone to step in and start spending public money to compete with me I'd be annoyed as well. But I've been thinking about it and I really don't think it's that big a deal. You see, here's my question......
Who'd want to cruise from Liverpool?
I don't mean the paying public. I can obviously see a lot of people from the North would be quite keen on starting their cruise from Liverpool rather than having to drive all the way down to Southampton. What I mean is what cruise line will want to cruise from there.
Cruising, to the cruise lines, is all about the bottom line and the fact is it's much cheaper and quicker to get to the Med from Southampton. You'd add a day there and a day back to your cruise if you started  from Liverpool before you even left British waters.
Again, if you're looking at a Fjord or Baltic cruise Southampton or even Harwich is perfect for them. Cruising from Liverpool you'd spend ages sailing around the coast before you got anywhere near the Fjords or Med. I suppose the occasional Icelandic or around the UK cruise might make sense from Liverpool but not so much so that it's worth that kind of investment out of the public coffers.

I don't know, maybe I'm missing something, but I can't see why any cruise line in their right mind would ever see Liverpool as a viable alternative to Southampton.
What do you think?

Happy cruising


  1. I have been corresponding with a director of one UK based cruise line and he has already penciled in Liverpool for the 2012 season, pending the outcome of the latest consultation.
    What you fail to realise, but has not been lost on the port of Southampton, is that Liverpool will appeal to people who cannot, and/or will not, make the journey to and from the, 'outskirt' ports of Newcastle, Harwich, Dover and Southampton.If these cruises from Liverpool prove to be a success, the other cruise operators will take note.After all, it is the passengers that determine the market and I am sure that cruising, just like any other retail business, will give the clients what they want.
    The director of the cruise line went on to say that he had to be careful with his comments so as not to annoy sections of the cruise industry.

  2. The 2012 season is already scheduled and on sale with no Liverpool sailings. And I stand by what I said; sailing from Liverpool would put on unnecessary extra time to the cruise.

  3. I have an email from said director which clearly states that Liverpool is provisionally penciled in for the 2012 season.

    Let the market rule.Lets see how popular Liverpool is, because what you state is pure speculation.There is a big market from passengers who will not make the long trip to and from Southampton. There is a market of 7 million in the North West alone. People want to travel from a departure point that is convenient to them, not the cruise operators. If what you state is correct, everyone in this country would have to travel to Heathrow to fly from the UK.

  4. You say that Liverpool is a rival to Southampton.How is that?. Southampton has 67% of the cruise market, Liverpool has 0%.
    You then state that why would cruise companies offer cruises from Liverpool.
    Fair enough comment, but why have Associated British Ports,Southampton City Council and the Southern Echo been in near paranoia mode to stop Liverpool getting turnaround status?.
    If the offer from Liverpool is so bad, these 3 entities would have been silent, wouldn't they?.

  5. It may be the principal of the thing as Southampton was built from private funding whilst Liverpool used public funds which they are now reluctant to pay back.
    Or it may be they are just looking ahead, it's only a short hop skip and a jump from a turnaround port to a departure port but yes I agree, I don't see Liverpool as a serious rival to Southampton so they probally shouldn't be making such a fuss.

  6. Liverpool has offered to repay 5.35m, that is the UK grant less depreciation of the Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
    Therefore, with this repayment, the restriction on turnaround cruises from Liverpool is removed.
    The EU grant did not carry any restrictions, as the monies were intended to aid regeneration.

  7. Who is this? Anonymous do you work for Liverpool port?

  8. No, I am not employed by the Port of Liverpool, or Liverpool City Council[the owners of the Liverpool Cruise Terminal]

  9. Liverpool deserves to get the turnaround terminal! What better use of regeneration funds from the EU than maximizing utilisation of the terminal rather tahn leaqving it empty for most of they year.

    Liverpool is one of the country's blackspots for unemployment and needs an injection like this into the local economy.

    It will hardly make a dent into Southampton's cruise business and their stand is viewed by many "up North" as sheer greed and protectionsism

    Are they afraid to see a regeneration of Liverpool? After all historically Liverpool's past decline and demise, was Southampton's gain. As a former Cunard worker, now living in Wales, I would be in favour of giving cruise passengers a wider choice of departure points to suit their pockets!

  10. The Liverpool river cruising berthing terminal can only take one big cruise ship at a time. The docks system cannot accomodate the larger. cruise liners. Hardly serious competition!

    Cruising from Liverpool would add to the UK options for operators who also face competition from fly/cruise operatores in Europe.

    This might actually work in favour of all UK ports and operators,as people may try cruising from a local port like Liverpool, and then explore other trip options like the many offered from Southampton.

    Come on Southampton,there are no current turnaround facilities at the Liverpool river terminal and these would have to be built and payed for probably by private finance, as well!

    The investment in Southampton has taken many forms both public and private in it's connectivity and provision for the docks infrastructure. Private investment always takes capital risk and followed the growth of cruise business, making Southampton the premier UK and highly profitable cruise port.

    I have cruised from Southampton but like a choice of UK port options also. Using the "public financing arguement is a bit of a "Red Herring.! The local Authority gladly received public funds in upgrading it's docks road system, what's the differnce?

    I hope comon sense prevails in the interest of this litle attempt to make more regular use of a terminal begging to be used more frequently!

    You cant seriously say Southampton is afraid of competition from this small scale and sensible development use of a terminal in Liverpool?

    A question of over-reacting by Southampton in this David v Goliath cruise development struggle!

  11. southhamptom received millions of pounds of public money to improve their terminal and surrounding road structure, liverpool waterfront has a heritage status waterfront i know which one i would choose and its not southampton maybe they want a monopoly,

    1. Like to know if there is any firm evidence to back up the Southampton Grant money claim
      Road upgrades generally come out of the Highways Budget although when the Goree dual carriage way was upgraded in front of the 3 Graces in Liverpool there were EU Grant flags in evidence

  12. Time has really shown your argument was wrong.
    Many, many cruise lines are now interested and are providing cruises from Liverpool.
    At this moment in time there are 52 cruises definitely sailing from Liverpool in 2014, their could be more.
    Business is booming with huge increases year on year.

    1. Fair play to Liverpool for increasing their turnround trade but interesting that the original declared intention to support their application was to only replace the small amount of existing business which used to use the Gladstone Dock.
      Currently only small ships turnround in Liverpool. The challenge will be to accommodate cruise ships with capacity of over 1200. Will the Tax Payer again have to pay for the required improvements?