LIVERPOOL’S biggest-ever cruise season starts tomorrow with the arrival of luxury liner the Costa Mediterranea as she makes her first voyage down the Mersey.
The annual cavalcade of cruise ships lasts seven months and the city’s multi-award winning cruise terminal will welcome a record-breaking 86 ships carrying an estimated 165,000 passengers and crew.
Now in its 12th year of operation, the cruise terminal generated more than £7m for the city’s local economy last year, this year that figure is expected to almost double to £12m.
The Costa Mediterranea is one of 11 newcomers to the terminal this season. It will be bringing more than 2,000 passengers to Liverpool en route from Dublin to Belfast.
The ship will dock at approximately 7.30am tomorrow, with a Liverpool Town Crier welcoming passengers onto dry land at 8am.
Later in the day (4pm) Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Christine Banks will exchange ceremonial plaques with the ship’s captain before it is waved off at 6pm.
Other inaugural visits to Liverpool this year will come from Celebrity Reflection, the Viking Jupiter and the Norwegian Spirit, which will visit three times.
Other highlights of the season include the arrival of two Cunard ships throughout the season – Queen Victoria on 12 June and August 19 and Queen Mary 2 on 16 July.
The Disney Magic cruise liner will make its fifth return journey to the city on 13 September.
Liverpool City Council’s Director of Culture, Claire McColgan, said: “Liverpool has firmly secured its status as one of the favourite destinations for many of the big cruise liners.
“This is because of the amazing work of everyone involved with the terminal and the warm welcome passengers get when they visit our city. The fact that so many ships will be coming to Liverpool this year is a testament to the success of the terminal and it is something that everyone in our city should be really proud of.
“Cruise season in Liverpool is always an exciting time and this year I am sure it will surpass expectations.”