Liverpool Cruises Launch
Cruises to start and end in Liverpool
LIVERPOOL, England - The first cruise to start at Liverpool's Pier Head since 1972 has set sail from the terminal.
Liners 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 and Maritime Voyages' Ocean Countess arrived in the city from Holyhead at 07:00 and set sail for the Norwegian fjords at 16:00 BST.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said it was a "momentous day".
He 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."
The 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.
Cruise liner facilities are expected to bring a huge boost to the city's economy, with each cruise worth up to £1m to the city.
"Turnaround status" was granted on the proviso that Liverpool City Council repays £8.8m of grant aid which it was given for the current stop-off terminal.
Chris Coates, Commercial Director at Cruise and Maritime Voyages, 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 North West region."