Cruises to Liverpool

126 Reviews
Liverpool (Photo:SilvanBachmann/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Liverpool

Liverpool is a small but thriving city that is poised to flourish, quietly but steadfastly winning back its reputation after a half-century of struggle and economic decline. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2004) and the European Capital of Culture (2008), the last decade has seen Liverpool's fortunes greatly improved. The recipe for success has been a heavy investment in development, both leading up to and following on from the plaudits of the mid-2000s, and the city is now reaping the rewards of that investment in increased tourism and retail.

Fortunately for cruise passengers, much of Liverpool's redevelopment and revitalization projects have taken place in the city center, alongside the waterfront where cruise ships dock. Serving as prime examples, the revitalized Albert Dock houses numerous restaurants and attractions -- like the Beatles Story -- and the adjacent billion-pound Liverpool One retail park is the U.K.'s largest open-air retail complex.

In terms of infrastructure dedicated specifically to cruising, in 2013, the city began a feasibility study on the Cunard Building -- one of the elegant edifices making up the "Three Graces" on Liverpool's Pier Head waterfront -- for use as the new Liverpool Cruise Terminal in 2015. Also in 2013, Liverpool achieved "turnaround status" -- allowing cruises to start and end at the city's docks. This combination of the potential new cruise terminal, along with Liverpool's moves to woo passenger vessels back signal a strong commitment by the city to continue its long, rich maritime history.

Liverpool's favorable position on the River Mersey, along with its direct canal and railway links to the industrial Midlands allowed it to develop as a major international trading port as early as the 17th century. In the early 20th century, shipbuilding yards and docks stretched for miles along both banks, and more than 100 passenger ships were Liverpool-registered. In the days before air travel, these passenger liner companies such as Cunard and Canadian Pacific carried millions of immigrants to new lives in North America, while a host of other steamship lines connected Liverpool with South America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

And the history of Liverpool's shipping success is reflected in its architecture. At Pier Head, just prior to WWI, Cunard Line began construction on its brand-new headquarters. The third of the Three Graces was completed in 1916, standing between the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board building (now called the Port of Liverpool Building) and the Royal Liver Building.

Just inland from Pier Head other shipping line headquarters, mercantile trading companies and civic buildings set up shop, creating an architectural legacy now recognized with UNESCO World Heritage status. The city boasts some 2,500 grade listed (historic) buildings and 250 public monuments. The Albert Dock alone (built in 1848), makes up Britain's largest group of Grade I listed buildings.

Conveniently, nearly everything of interest to the visitor is within a 10- to 30-minute walk or a short train under or boat ride across the River Mersey. And cruise passengers arriving in the city will find a warm welcome from Liverpudlians who are enjoying renewed confidence that their city has overcome the difficulties of its recent past. Plan your trip to Liverpool on our UK cruise itineraries.

  • More about Liverpool

  • Why Cruise to Liverpool?

  • Liverpool Cruise Port Facilities?

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Holland America Rotterdam
Holland America Line's Rotterdam at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

14 Night
Britain Scotland & Ireland

109 Reviews
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Holland America Rotterdam
Holland America Line's Rotterdam at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

14 Night
Britain Scotland & Ireland

109 Reviews
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Norwegian Star
Norwegian Star

11 Night
Europe - British Isles

2,579 Reviews
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Viking Venus
Viking Venus (Photo: Viking Ocean Cruises)

14 Night
British Isles Explorer

224 Reviews
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MSC Cruises

11 Night
British Isles Cruise

2,099 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
British Isles Cruise

1,945 Reviews
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14 Night
British Isles Explorer

1,208 Reviews
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12 Night
Europe Cruise

1,327 Reviews
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12 Night
Iceland & Ireland Cruise

1,640 Reviews
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21 Night
Islands Of Iceland Britain Scotland & Ireland

267 Reviews
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12 Night
Europe - Western Cruise

1,787 Reviews
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12 Night
Europe - Western Cruise

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12 Night
British Isles Cruise

1,640 Reviews
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14 Night
Britain Scotland & Ireland

267 Reviews
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14 Night
Repo - Transatlantic

324 Reviews
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More about Liverpool

Why Cruise to Liverpool?

Pros:

Take in the Albert Docks, browse the many gorgeous shops and admire the architectural beauty of this maritime city

Cons:

While the city has plenty of chain restaurants, its independent food scene is lacking somewhat

Bottom Line:

A charming city with a fascinating history and vibrant fashion, culture, music and scene

Liverpool Cruise Port Facilities?

The song "Ferry Across the Mersey" is played when you board and leave one of Liverpool's historic boats that sail between the city and the opposite bank. During rush hours, the ferries carry commuters between Liverpool and Seacombe, a suburb, but it's the off-peak hours (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) that will interest most visitors. The roomy boats, built in the 1960's, have lots of indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a snack bar. Departing the landing stage, the boat heads down the Mersey past the former docks, warehouses and new housing construction, then crosses the river stopping at Seacombe (Wallasey) for the aquarium and an attractive riverside walk to New Brighton, an old-fashioned resort town. The second stop is Woodside (Birkenhead) for the city's heritage trail. Birkenhead had the first publicly funded park, serving as a model for what would become New York's Central Park. Ferries leave Liverpool on the hour from Pier Head, adjacent to the cruise ship landing stage. To make the 50-minute cruise, buy a River Explorer ticket that costs ?12 for adults; ?9 for seniors and students; and ?6.50 for children.



Mathew Street, four blocks inland from Pier Head, is the site for much of Liverpool's live DJ and rock and roll entertainment, including the famous Cavern Club and the Cavern Pub, both with early Beatles connections. Next door, the Hard Day's Night Hotel, offering Beatles-themed rooms and holiday packages, also has a themed restaurant called Blake's named for Sergeant Pepper album cover artist Sir Peter Blake. A free music festival takes place in Liverpool every August Bank Holiday.

Getting Around?

Two hop-on-and-off bus operators are City Sightseeing and City Explorer Bus Tour. The latter's website gives details for mini-break passes that include such attractions as City Explorer, the Beatles Story, Mersey Ferries, Seacombe Aquarium and the Tower Experience at Liverpool Cathedral. Both operators, plus local buses, stop at Pier Head. The nearest Merseyrail (local trains) stop is two blocks inland at James Street Station behind the Port of Liverpool Building.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the British Pound. For current currency conversion figures, visit Oanda or XE online. You will find ATMs at many bank branches. Banks usually take a commission when exchanging currency, while some travel agents and exchange offices advertise commission-free exchange. Check the rates they offer. Credit cards are widely accepted, but please note that many taxis do not take them.

Language?

When in England, English is always your best bet.

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships dock at Princes Parade in a temporary tent-like building near the Titanic Memorial. The site is adjacent to the famous skyline trio of the Royal Liver Building, the Port of Liverpool Building and the former Cunard headquarters. As noted, in 2013, Liverpool City Council bought the latter building, and plans are now afoot to potentially turn it into a permanent cruise terminal as soon as 2015.



It is a ten-minute walk upriver to the Albert Dock for the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the Beatles Story and several good lunchtime restaurants. Buses, including the hop-on-and-off sightseeing services, are a five-minute walk, while the ferries across the Mersey depart from an adjacent upriver landing stage. The UNESCO-designated Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City is one block inland.


Liverpool Cruise Reviews
Maritime City of Liverpool was one my favorite shore excursions. It was 3 hours with two and a half hours of walking. The guide was very knowledgeable, and it was so fun to see where the Beatles got their start.Read More
TMae
We took the included tour of Iconic Liverpool but, in hindsight, wish we had gone on the longer tour to Chester.Read More
marsieb
Unplanned, but needed to visit the Hospital ER. Here's our "shout out" of thanks to the Viking Venus Medical Center team on our ship; the Customer Service staff who oversea such "details as off the ship transportatioRead More
MondaviMarilyn
This was on the itinerary and we weren't really excited about Liverpool but it turned out to be one of the trip's highlights mostly due to our wonderful guide, Gary Friday, who took us on a walking tour of the city. Read More
Daisyparents

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