Liverpool gets ready welcome back cruise ships

After a 14-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cruise ships will return to the Mersey this month with some familiar vessels and some new ones. Tony McDonough reports

Queen Elizabeth
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will return to Liverpool Cruise Liner Terminal in 2021 Picture by Tony McDonough


Cruise ships are returning to the Mersey this summer as the city’s visitor economy steps up its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100 passenger vessels were due to berth at Liverpool Cruise Terminal during the 2020 season. But the global pandemic brought the cruise industry to a halt across the world.

On Monday, May 24, Viking Venus, a new vessel, will make her maiden voyage to Liverpool and will kick-off the resumption of the terminal’s cruise schedule after a 14-month break.

Inaugural visits are also expected from MSC Virtuosa, Marella Explorer and the much-acclaimed Anthem of the Seas, boasting the world’s tallest viewing deck – a staggering 300ft above the waves.

The team at Cruise Liverpool is also excited to welcome back old friends, including Fred Olsen, whose brand-new ship – the Borealis – is scheduled to make 20 visits to the city between July and December. And, for the first time, Disney Magic will not only be calling at Liverpool, but passengers will be able to embark on their trip from the city.

The summer season wouldn’t feel complete without a visit from a Cunard, with the Queen Elizabeth expected during the late-summer. Passengers on day-visits will be allowed to disembark and visit Liverpool as part of organised ‘bubble’ excursions only. All passengers will take COVID tests before and during trips.

Cruise operators have worked tirelessly to ensure all ships are COVID-safe. All will be carrying fewer people and have extra measures in place to protect passengers and crew, whilst allowing everyone on board to make the most of their cruising experience.

Angie Redhead, head of Cruise Liverpool, said: “I am absolutely buzzing with anticipation at getting cruise ships back on our shores. We’ve missed them as much as they’ve missed us.

“Cruise Liverpool has worked collaboratively with Cruise Britain since the start of the pandemic to plan for this moment, alongside other UK ports and providers. No stone has been left unturned when it comes to ensuring the safety of passengers, crew and staff on the ground at the UK’s terminals.

“This announcement feels like the start of some normality returning and will be a real boost for cruise fans who are desperate to find their sea-legs again.”

Peter Deer, managing director at Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We love sailing from Liverpool and have offered departures from the city since we had our first ship, Black Prince, many years ago.

“Our ships and our crew always get such a wonderful welcome. In fact, Liverpool will be the first port that we resume sailing from on July 5, and our new ship Borealis will offer 20 cruises from the city this year. We can’t wait to welcome our guests back on board in Liverpool this summer.”

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