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The Liverpool Cruise Terminal
Liverpool is a major port and city in England's Merseyside (metro region) with population around 0,5 million (urban ~870,000, metro ~2,3 million). The cruise port is located along River Mersey Estuary's eastern side. Other major turnaround (cruise ship departure) ports in the UK are the England's Southampton, Bristol, Dover, Harwich, Hull, Tilbury-London, Newcastle and Portsmouth, and Scotland's Leith-Edinburgh and Greenock-Glasgow.
The Liverpool Cruise Terminal is a 350-metre-long (1,150 ft) floating structure situated on the River Mersey enabling large cruise ships to visit without entering the enclosed dock system or berthing mid-river and tendering passengers ashore. The terminal was officially opened on 21 September 2007 by the Duke of Kent when the Queen Elizabeth 2 berthed at the terminal. The current terminal is composed mainly of a floating landing stage, with a small passenger terminal building, but a larger terminal is under construction.
Long distance scheduled commercial passenger travel by ship began in Liverpool in 1819, regular transatlantic service began in 1840 with the Britannia-class steamship. Princes' Landing Stage at Prince's Dock, Liverpool, next to Pier Head opened in 1875, was demolished in 1973 (a year after transatlantic service ceased), leaving Huskisson Dock for passenger ships to berth.
The £19 million facility is capable of accommodating vessels of 345 metres (1,132 ft) in length and 10 metres (33 ft) draft. The terminal was mostly funded by grants of £9 million from the UK government and £8.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund
The cruise terminal was developed in conjunction with improvements to the Isle of Man ferry terminal, operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. The Royal Navy also berths ships at the terminal several times a year, often allowing the public to visit the ships.
The terminal has seen strong growth and in 2017 welcomed a record 63 cruise ships bringing over 111,000 visitors to the city.[The facility is expected to be used by 57 ships and 100,000 passengers and crew in 2018, bringing in an estimated £7 million to the local economy.
The £9.2 million grant from the UK government came with the strange condition that the terminal could only be used for cruise port-of-calls, which meant cruises would not be allowed to begin or end at the terminal. "Turnaround" visits generate more revenue for the port and city than port-of-calls. The reason for the strange restriction was that it was to minimize unfair competition with other ports that had been built with private funding, particularly Southampton. Liverpool City Council tried unsuccessfully to have this restriction removed in 2009. In July 2011, the council offered to pay back part of the UK government funding in exchange for being allowed turnaround visits, which led Associated British Ports, the owner of Southampton Docks, to take legal advice. The Southampton Chamber of Commerce collected 12,000 signatures on a petition against the change Liverpool city council did cite that £70 million of public money was spent in upgrading the rail link from Southampton Docks to the Midlands container terminals competing directly with the Port of Liverpool. This fell on deaf ears. However, in March 2012, the government agreed a repayment offer from Liverpool Council and construction of a temporary terminal buildings began on the shore and floating terminal landing stage.