£76m Liverpool ferry completes maiden voyage

A new £76m ferry that will operate between Liverpool and the Isle of Man completes its maiden voyage. Tony McDonough reports

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new ferry, Manxman. Picture from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


A new £76m ferry is set to start operating out of the Port of Liverpool in 2024 after completing its maiden voyage.

Manxman is a new vessel being brought into service by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Built in Ulsan, South Korea, Manxman has capacity for up to 948 people, as well as 10% more capacity for vehicles.

Initially it will operate a service between Douglas in the Isle of Man and Heysham, Lancashire. It has been bought to replace the veteran Steam Packet vessel Ben-my-Chree which has been seen regularly on the Mersey over the years.

In 2024 or 2025 it is expected Manxman will also operate services between Douglas and Liverpool, joining its sister vessel, the fast-craft Manannan.

It will use the new £70m Isle of Man ferry terminal currently being built at Liverpool Waters, close to the current terminal at the Pier Head.

This project, which began in November 2019, is being funded by the Isle of Man Government. Originally due to cost £38m, it has been dogged by delays with its original August 2021 opening date put back.

Although the terminal will be completed in autumn this year, it was reported in May that it won’t actually see the start of passenger services until March 2024 at the earliest. They will be operated initially using Manannan.

According to the Manx Government it is “marine works” that has caused delays to the launch of the terminal. It said earlier this year that “marine works continue to present challenges due to the testing environment”.


Isle of Man ferry Manannan arrives in the Mersey. Picture by Tony McDonough
Ben-my-Chree, a Steam Packet ferry on the Mersey. Picture by HowardLiverpool
Isle of Man
Isle of Man ferry terminal under construction. Picture by Tony McDonough


Manxman features 40 cabins and a new bar offering locally produced spirits and beers. Three premium lounges with floor-to-ceiling windows and reclining seats are available onboard, while a family zone offers a children’s play area for passengers travelling with children.

There are also a range of pet facilities. These include four pet-friendly cabins, two pet lounges linking to the car deck and a pet exercising area, and two sets of purpose-built kennels with CCTV.

READ MORE: P&O to axe Liverpool to Ireland ferry service

Despite Covid, typhoons and global financial instability following the invasion of Ukraine, Manxman was delivered on budget in May before beginning her voyage to her home port of Douglas.

The Steam Packet Company said: “To ensure the company has an immediate backup vessel in case of any issues, Ben-my-Chree will continue in operation until Manxman takes over the schedule full time in mid-to-late October.

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