Landmark moment as Global Ports Holding and Peel Ports welcome Queen Anne to Liverpool Cruise Port

04 June 2024

Cunard’s historic new Queen Anne vessel arrived at the cruise line’s spiritual home of Liverpool in a landmark moment for Global Ports Holding Plc (GPH) and Peel Ports Group’s new partnership for Liverpool Cruise Port.

The majestic 322 metre ship’s maiden call in the city marks the first major arrival since GPH, the world’s largest cruise port operator, signed a 50-year agreement in April with Peel Ports Group’s subsidiary, The Mersey Docks And Harbour Company Ltd, to operate services at Liverpool Cruise Port.

The arrival of the Queen Anne, which holds up to 3,000 passengers and more than 1,000 crew, represents an important occasion for the partnership, as they seek to build on Liverpool’s success as a top cruise destination.

Stephen Xuereb, Chief Operating Officer at GPH said: "We’re delighted to welcome the Queen Anne to its spiritual home here in Liverpool. When we added the Liverpool Cruise Port to our network, our first cruise port here in the UK, we set out our ambition to further elevate the cruise experience in the city.

“Crucially, we want to continue developing Liverpool as a thriving destination for the cruise industry, and the arrival of Cunard’s majestic new vessel is a significant milestone for us as we embark on our first foray in the UK.”

David Huck, Chief Operating Officer at Peel Ports Group said: “We’re really proud to see GPH begin their tenure at the Port of Liverpool with such as significant occasion, as we welcome this incredible ship to our city.

“As the Statutory Harbour Authority for the Port of Liverpool, we’re honoured to see the Queen Anne navigating safely through our waters, further showcasing the port’s capabilities and cementing its position as one of the must-visit destinations around the world.

“Marking the start of the cruise season with such a landmark moment, we wish the Queen Anne a successful maiden voyage, as we prepare and look forward to welcoming many more major vessels in the future.”

To officially mark the occasion in what is a long-standing maritime tradition, Liverpool Port Director Phil Hall and representatives from GPH and Liverpool City Council presented the vessel’s Captain with commemorative plaques.

The Queen Anne’s inauguration saw performances from tenor Andrea Bocelli, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and other artists, before a bottle of champagne was smashed against the vessel to signify its official naming.

Subject to the granting of appropriate permits and licenses, GPH plans to invest up to £25 million in the port’s infrastructure, doubling its operations and unlocking its future potential. These plans include the addition of 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 signed the deal to operate at Liverpool Cruise Port after identifying the region as a key location for tourism which is well positioned to participate in the growing Northern European, British and Irish cruise markets, as well as holding potential for significant growth in passenger volumes.

Last year the cruise port welcomed 102 cruise ships and over 186,000 passengers, with this set to increase to over 200,000 passengers in the year ahead and exceed 400,000 per annum following GPH’s investment in the port’s infrastructure.