Liverpool is to gain a temporary cruise terminal at the end of May after a cash row was settled.
The facility at the city’s Princes Dock will be linked by road to the current embarkation point. The terminal will have full turnaround facilities and allow cruises to start and end in the city.
The faclity will host its first ship – Ocean Countess – on May 29 and is expected to be used for three years while a permanent terminal is built.
The temporary building will be leased during each summer cruise season from 2012-2015 to provide check in, baggage drop and reclaim, as well as customs and border facilities.
Ships are currently only able to make stop-offs in the city but Liverpool City Council has agreed to pay back £9 million in government grants for the building of its existing terminal.
Malcolm Kennedy, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration and transport, said the city had “to start now” on the temporary facility to secure the terminal’s future.
He said: “If we waited for all the details to be finalised we wouldn’t have it. It’s simply now a matter of coming to a financial agreement with the government and we are moving ahead.”
Council leader Joe Anderson said: “This is a huge moment for Liverpool and means, for the first time in decades, we have the prospect of big liners starting and ending their voyages in the city.
“For far too long, holidaymakers in the North West have had to travel to and from other ports to start their journeys, and this will return Liverpool to its rightful place as a major cruise port.”
The council has already agreed to abide by a ruling on how much of the UK public subsidy should be paid back for the building of the existing cruise terminal.
This is because the original terminal was funded on the basis that it would be a ‘call in’ facility. A decision is awaited on how much of the £9.2 million will have to be repaid.
Each vessel which stops in the city is worth up to an estimated £1 million to the local economy.
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