British line Fred. Olsen may pull out of Liverpool in 2010 due to scrapyard scenery and "abysmal" passenger facilities at its turnaround port, Langton Docks.
Fred. Olsen's Black Prince currently offers European cruises out of Liverpool's Langton Docks in Bootle -- about 15 minutes out of the city centre -- with some 20 departures (amounts to about 8,000 passengers a year).
Though Black Prince will be retired from the fleet in October 2009, Marketing Director Nigel Lingard says that the larger 28,338-ton, 900-passenger, Boudicca will offer passengers cruises from Northern England and Scottish ports. However, despite building success in the city, he says the line is reluctant to continue using Langton Docks for departures.
"We are, however, reluctant to commit her to Liverpool if our only option is to base her in the Langton Dock," Lingard told the Liverpool Daily Post "It's really not a satisfactory start to anyone's dream holiday, with a scrapyard as scenery and abysmal passenger facilities. We find it virtually impossible to explain to potential customers why Liverpool has a much-heralded new cruise berth, which lies idle while we are berthed in a dismal industrial area. Customers don't care about local politics, and deserve better."
The problem with Liverpool's new city centre berth is that it doesn't have the facilities to embark and disembark passengers at this time and can only accommodate day-long port calls -- something that is hoped will change in the future.
Fred. Olsen's news comes just weeks after Thomson Cruises admitted it wasn't planning to return to Langton Docks after Thomson Celebration completed a trial there this season.
Fred. Olsen has told Cruise Critic that it will make a decision on where Boudicca will be placed soon. We'll keep you posted.