#HISTORIC LIVERPOOL CRUISECALL - Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV)'s Ocean Countess (1976/17,593grt) became the first turnaround cruise call in four decades after departing Liverpool on Tuesday, however the ship suffered temporary loss of engine power, forcing the vessel to turn around and divert to Holyhead, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The cruiseship with around 700 passengers had embarked during scenes of celebrations as crowds of onlookers gathered for the historic occasion at the Liverpool City Cruise Terminal. Several hours later into the first leg of an eight-night Scottish Isles cruise the incident took place while off the west coast of the Isle of Man.
With the detour to Holyhead, passengers disembarked at the Welsh port and where provided with a shore-side tour excursion programme. Incidentally the Anglesey port welcomed the vessel the previous day, as she made a scheduled call before completing the inbound turnaround at Liverpool.
CMV have scheduled a further ten turn-around cruises from Liverpool this year using the terminal that was completed in 2007 at a cost of £17m. Following Ocean Countess's inaugural turnaround, Princess Cruises considerably larger 3,000 passenger / 113,000 tonnes Caribbean Princess made a call yesterday.
The Liverpool City Cruise Terminal up until now could only accept transit calls as the facility was built with public expenditure. It was deemed otherwise unfair to compete with other leading UK ports with cruise infrastructure facilities that where not funded by the public purse.
In order for the Merseyside to accommodate turnarounds, this was made feasible as Liverpool Council agreed to repay close to €9m of a grant for the river-based terminal in addition build a baggage handling facilities.
Prior to the terminal opening, only small cruiseships could call but instead had to navigate within the dock system to Langton Dock.