Cunard operating from Liverpool to USA would be 'right and proper'

Cunard operating transatlantic cruises from Liverpool would feel "right and proper", according to the city's assets manager.

The cruise line held a day of celebrations on the banks of the Mersey yesterday (June 3) as it brought its newest liner Queen Anne to the city for her naming ceremony. Thousands of people made their way to the Pier Head as an Andrea Bocelli performance and the traditional smashing of a Champagne bottle Christened the ship, before Craig Charles headlined an evening of entertainment.

The ceremony was held in Liverpool as it is seen as the 'spiritual home of Cunard' . The city was the company's birthplace - it launched voyages from Liverpool to the United States in 1840.

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Cunard was headquartered in Liverpool for 128 years and constructed the Cunard Building to house its operations. However, the cruise line moved its homeport to Southampton in 1919 and then moved its headquarters to the south coast in the 1960s.

Southampton is Cunard's only departure port in the UK. The line's cruises can call at Liverpool but do not begin their voyages from the city. Liverpool City Council's assets manager Angie Redhead would like to see that change.

Speaking to the ECHO at a press conference in the run up to the ceremony, Ms Redhead said: "Every time a ship comes to this fabulous waterfront it's like a missing piece of the jigsaw. It adds a vibrancy, it brings footfall, it creates dwell time. Every time there's a Cunard visit, it's elevated even more so.

"The city council invested in a cruise terminal when no one else would. We've grown the business to such a degree that a private third party has now taken over - they will invest money, they will invest money and develop it in a way that the city council couldn't.

"Our work here is done and our job now is to support this third party in their plans and aspirations for growth. It's really exciting and it's definitely not the end - it's the start of the next chapter for the cruise terminal's success."

Liverpool City Council managed the cruise port from 2007 until earlier this year, when Global Ports Holding Plc (GPH) signed a 50-year agreement with Peel Ports Group’s subsidiary, The Mersey Docks And Harbour Company Ltd, to take over the city's cruise operation.

Asked whether she would like to see Cunard's ships depart from Liverpool in the future, Ms Redhead said: "I would absolutely love that - I think everyone would love that.

"It feels right and it feels proper that Cunard should do transatlantic crossings from Liverpool. They're a big business and we have to make sure that we've got the infrastructure in place that can do that properly.

"Yes, we are their spiritual home, but equally we've got to be able to deliver."

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