There has been debate that people from the North, Birmingham and up wouldn’t like to go down South for a Cruise, namely out of Southampton. This has been one of the points for Liverpool’s cruise ambitions. I disagree, just like the way Manchester serves the international market in the North, an Northern cruise port could do the same.
Realistically Liverpool suffers from being on the wrong side of the country, however it is only a few hours more sailing time from Portugal and the Canaries as Southampton, and I believe (somewhere from memory) that Liverpool is 6 hours less sailing time to New York than Southampton. To the North Liverpool could serve Iceland, Ireland and Greenland, as well as the historic link with Canada.
While Fred Olsen has left Liverpool due to the ongoing problems with the cruise terminal, it is clear that the ships were sailing full and Fred Olsen were happy with the performance. Liverpool’s very own Ocean Countess, which has been undertaking a series of cruises operating out of the Langton Dock facility will be returning next year for more cruises. This small ship operates a successful cruise operation from the port.
I know that people will travel down to Southampton to embark on a cruise, however I think that further growth can be achieved by offering cruises from across the country, as more people will be introduced to cruising in the North, a relatively untapped market. The physical presence of cruise ships in the Tyne, Clyde and Mersey can encourage people to go on cruises. Realistically I think Liverpool can achieve around 15 cruises operating out of the port if approval is granted.
I have done the trip to Southampton (three times) by Train, It is a long journey, and expensive, the most recent occurrence being that I travelled at the undesired time, arriving at Southampton at 23.45 and coming home stopping at Manchester and getting a coach as trains to Liverpool had finished, yet the trains still cost me £80 return.
Liverpool has however commented that the view is great and our world heritage waterfront is much better than Southampton’s, That’s true, Southampton has a glamorous IKEA but it is also an amazingly efficient cruise port, with numerous cruise facilities. It would be stupid to knock Southampton’s cruise industry when it has been amazingly successful. However I genuinely feel Liverpool can offer a better cruise experience it just needs the time and Investment to make these cruise facilities. Liverpool could be like Avis ‘We try harder’, a reference to Avis being smaller than Hertz, but trying harder!
In America many cruise line operate out of numerous cities across the country, to appeal to the local markets, I believe the same will happen in the UK, and Southampton will lose market share but still grow, as other UK ports grow their operations. I believe Newcastle is likely to be the main concern, not Liverpool, as Newcastle is on the right side of the Country to cruise the Fjords and Continent.