It’s been announced that Liverpool City Council are in the process of purchasing the former headquarters of Cunard to use as a new cruise terminal, replacing the current facilities in use.
The famous building – which is an attractive structure that covers six floors – served as the main offices for the famous cruise line for 50 years, from 1917 when building work was completed until 1967, when Cunard Line decided to uproot and relocate the main offices to Southampton.
The offices now have Grade II listed status, and it’s believed that it cost around £10 million for the purchase. The council will make use of the office space on the upper floors, with the ground floor dedicated to terminal services including check-in, baggage handling and customs.
It’s a move that, maybe surprisingly, has gone down really well with all parties, including Cunard Line. Peter Shanks, the president and managing director, recently toured the building and said: “As I was given a guided tour, part of me thought if people here were looking for a new cruise terminal check-in we were standing in it.
“There will be difficult logistical challenges, but it’s an obvious choice. The interior is unbelievable and I was especially taken with various aspects. The booking halls and first class waiting rooms are stunning. I was fascinated to see the beautiful boardroom has a hidden door concealing a one man lift for the chairman! But the highlight for me was going down to the basement with its wooden baggage racks and strong room with its rows of keys, each with the name of a ship by it.”
It all seems to be getting better for Liverpool as a port, with more cruise ship visits planned including the first overnight visit to the city by a Cunard Line ship in almost 50 years, when the Queen Victoria calls at the end of May next year. What do you think though – is it a great time for cruise fans in the north? Is there a port you wish was getting similar treatment?
By Ian Lewis