February 18, 2006

QE2 to open city's new cruise liner terminal

Feb 17 2006
EXCLUSIVE by Larry Neild, Daily Post
The mighty QE2 arriving in the Mersey, in May, 2004 - Picture: COLIN LANE
LIVERPOOL is to host a spectacular day-long party on the Mersey to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of the world's great liners, the Queen Elizabeth 2.
But the city has lost out on the chance to host the prestigious naming ceremony for the £300m luxury Queen Victoria, which will now take place in Southampton.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to flock to the waterfront on September 21 next year to take part in the spectacular QE2 event.
The visit is expected to mark the official opening ceremony for the new cruise liner terminal at the Pier Head.

Last night, city council leader Warren Bradley said: "Liverpool is the historic home of the QE2 and it is fabulous that she is coming home for her 40th birthday. It will be at the height of our 800th birthday celebrations and there will be thousands of people in the city.
"The QE2 is one of the greatest liners, and to have this special visit as we open our new cruise liner facility will be tremendous."
Work on the £18m floating landing stage will begin in April, with most of the work carried out at Cammell Laird.
The Queen launched the QE2 on the Clyde on September 20, 1967. It was the last of the great Cunarders to be conceived by the company at its Pier Head HQ before it moved out to Southampton.
Executives from Cunard are now involved in talks with the Liverpool Culture Company about arrangements for what will be a day-long visit next year.
An artist's impression of Cunard's lavish new liner Queen Victoria
The birthday will come as a consolation after Cunard announced last night that it had chosen Southampton over Liverpool as the place where its new £300m luxury liner, the Queen Victoria, will be officially named on December 7 next year.
Liverpool had hoped that the prestige naming event, equivalent to an official launch of a new ship, would take place on the Mersey
A spokesman for Cunard said: "Liverpool and Southampton had both been in the running, but because of the the itinerary arrangements, and the departure date of the first cruise from Southampton, it made sense to also stage the naming ceremony there."
Sources in Liverpool's tourism sector had hoped that a launch ceremony on Merseyside would give the city's new cruise liner terminal worldwide publicity.
Hopes had been high that the lavish event, likely to attract A-list stars and huge media interest, would project Liverpool as a world-class cruise destination.

Initially, Cunard Line executives had been keen to return to the 167-year-old line's former world headquarters at Pier Head to see their latest luxury liner enter service.
Cunard Line president and managing director Carol Marlow last night confirmed naming ceremony details "were close to being finalised" adding that the new liner would definitely be sailing from Southampton on her maiden voyage, departing the south coast on December 11, 2007 for a 10-night, North European Cruise.
The southern port has been Cunard's home since the company left its former offices at Pier Head.
Cunard's parent company, Carnival Corporation, owns numerous worldwide cruise brands and it is believed the firm's strong connections with the city's port operators Associated British Ports have helped smooth the way for the Queen Victoria event to be staged there.
The decision will be a major blow to Liverpool's aspirations to promote the opening of the new cruise liner landing stage.
At 90,000 tons, the same as more than 260 jumbo jets, Queen Victoria will be considerably larger than QE2, but she will not tip the scales to the same extent as Cunard's megaliner, the 151,400-ton Queen Mary 2.
Work on the Queen Victoria is now well under way at Venice's Fincantieri yard and her keel is expected to be laid sometime in the spring.
The 900ft-long ship, equivalent to 32 double-decker buses in a row, with Cunard's distinctive funnel with scoop sides, will be powered by two huge propulsion pods.
Work to start at Pier Head soon
WORK is about to start on the cruise liner terminal at Liverpool's Pier Head following the signing of legal agreements between Liverpool City Council and Peel Holdings.
An extension will be built on to the existing landing stage, allowing ships of up to 1,000 ft in length to berth. This means that the biggest liners in the world will be able to visit the Mersey on a regular basis.
Work will start by April and the terminal will be operational by spring 2007. Balfour Beatty is the contractor for the scheme
The terminal is being developed by a partnership between the city council, Peel Holdings, Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Liverpool Vision, City Focus, Government Office North West and the Mersey Waterfront Regional Park.
Funding for the project has been provided by the Merseyside Objective One programme and NWDA.

Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool council said: "I know people have been waiting for work to start on this scheme but we have had to wait, firstly while the Government agreed the Harbour Revision Order and then Peel Holdings' takeover of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company had to go through before we could get involved in detailed discussions with them. We have worked well with Peel to ensure that this exciting scheme will become a reality.
"Now we can look forward to seeing some of the most impressive vessels in the world berthed at a World Heritage Site. They will bring a great influx of tourists to the city and wider region and be here in time for our 800th birthday and Capital of Culture."

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