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Exclusive: Cruise terminal hotel WILL still go ahead

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool Waters owner Peel is seeking a developer to build a hotel next to Liverpool Cruise Terminal days after it was announced the facility is being taken over by a private operator. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool Waters
Image of the original plan for a four-star hotel at Liverpool Cruise Terminal


Liverpool Waters owner Peel says it will push on with plans to build a new hotel at Liverpool Cruise Terminal.

Last week it was announced that Global Ports Holding (GPH) would take over operation of the terminal from Liverpool City Council. It has signed a 50-year lease with Peel Ports subsidiary, Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.

This deal effectively killed off original plans put forward by the city council to build a new terminal plus hotel at a cost of almost £90m. GPH has pledged to invest £25m into the terminal, building a new terminal building and a new pontoon to increase cruise ship capacity.

GPH has told LBN it will not be taking on the hotel project and will focus solely on the cruise terminal. But on Monday Liverpool Waters owner Peel said it would press on with the hotel plan and would be seeking an operator.

Chris Capes, director of development for Liverpool Waters, said: “We welcome the acquisition of Liverpool Cruise Port by Global Ports Holding, it is great news for the city and for Liverpool Waters.

“The cruise tourism industry is very important to our city and this deal brings greater certainty of its future with a huge investment in infrastructure.

“Liverpool Waters now has greater certainty over the new cruise liner terminal, and we are actively looking at all of the fantastic development opportunities this presents at prime locations within the Princes Dock neighbourhood.

“We are shortly to go out to market seeking a hotel operator to develop the site opposite the proposed cruise terminal site. We are also in discussions with leisure operators to develop complementary activities alongside what we already have with the sauna and open water swimming.

“We are most excited to bring forward the site of the current temporary cruise liner terminal. This is the most prominent plot in Liverpool Waters so it is essential we work with an operator who will deliver a high quality development to benefit Liverpool Waters and the wider city.

“The footfall that the cruise liner terminal brings will be a huge benefit for developing this plot. Our master planning supports the opportunity here for at least one waterfront hotel to accommodate the growing number of tourists expected to visit the city over the coming years.”

Since opening in 2008, the terminal has been run by Cruise Liverpool which is part of Liverpool City Council. In December the council said it would not be able to deliver on its original ambition of a new £88m terminal and hotel.

It announced it would surrender the lease to a private operator. GPH will invest £25m in a new floating pontoon that will increase capacity and allow for the simultaneous berthing of two 300-metre ships and up to 7,000 passengers a day.

GPH told LBN there was currently no timetable for the works as they are “subject to the granting of the appropriate permits and licences”. It also said it could not offer a breakdown on costs between the pontoon and the new terminal building.

Interestingly, it added it would not seek any public funding towards the project. Liverpool City Region Combined Authority had pledged £20m towards the original plans for a new terminal. That has now lapsed but GPH could make a fresh bid for extra cash.

However, the company said: “There are no plans to seek state support for the plans.”


Cruise terminal
Computer-generated image of the original cruise terminal plans
Viking Mars
Liverpool Cruise Terminal is to be run by a private operator. Picture by HowardLiverpool


Liverpool City Council’s original plans for a new terminal would have seen a 108,000 sq ft development built. Although GPH has yet to reveal much detail about its plans for a new building the greatly reduced budget would suggest a more modest scheme.

It did say the facility would provide waterfront retail and hospitality offerings for both cruise passengers and local visitors.


Since it first opened 16 years ago the cruise facility has welcomed more than 800 vessels and 1m passengers, generating an estimated £110m to the city’s visitor economy.

In 2023 alone, Liverpool welcomed 102 cruise ships and more than 186,000 passengers. This is expected to increase to over 200,000 passengers in 2024 and exceed 300,000 per annum once the new infrastructure works are completed.

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