First Liverpool cruise departure since 1972 sets sail

First Liverpool cruise departure since 1972 sets sail

The first cruise to start at Liverpool's Pier Head since 1972 set sail yesterday from the terminal.

Ships were only allowed stop-offs at the terminal until last week, when the government gave the go-ahead for cruises to start and end in the city.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages' 800-passenger Ocean Countess set off on an eight-night Diamond Jubilee cruise to the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

The company has 11 scheduled sailings from Liverpool this year.

New itineraries feature the Norwegian fjords, around Britain and cruises to Spain, Portugal, Morocco, the Canary Islands and Madeira.

CMV commercial director Chris Coates said: "We are delighted to be the first cruise operator sailing from Pier Head.

"We are firmly committed to developing our business on Merseyside and the wider northwest region."

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: "This is the dawn of a new era for Liverpool's cruise industry.

"I have fought hard for turnaround status for our city, because I know how important it is - for our economy, for our tourism offer and for our unrivalled reputation as a major maritime city.

"I'm delighted that the hard work has paid off and the momentous day when Liverpool welcomes its first turnaround cruise is finally here."

A newly-completed temporary baggage handling facility on Princes Parade will provide check-in, baggage drop and reclaim, as well as customs and border facilities during the cruise season from 2012-2015.

Ship turnaround status was granted on the proviso that Liverpool City Council repays £8.8 million of grant aid which it was given for the current stop-off terminal.

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