Funchal Set To Be Towed to Liverpool

Funchal

According to industry sources, the classic 1961-built Funchal will soon be towed to Liverpool as new owners Signature Living have made the final payment on the vessel.

“Their plans have changed again and they will not be locating her in Ibiza as previously reported,” said a source familiar with the situation.

Thus, Signature Living plan to tow the ship to Liverpool, refurbish her, and then find a permanent spot for the vessel in the UK as a hotel vessel.

Last December, the vessel was sold at auction for 3.9 million euro to Signature Living, a UK hotel operator.

Cruise Traffic Surges in Liverpool

Celebrity ship calls in Liverpool

Cruise traffic is up 40 percent in Liverpool this year, and looks to be up at least 20 percent again in 2020, according to Peter Murney, head of cruise and marine operations.

2019 will see 86 calls, according to the port’s schedule. Visiting vessels can look forward to berthing in the heart of the city, steps from Liverpool’s notable UNESCO World Heritage waterfront.

“We strive to exceed passenger expectations at every stage of their journey. We change perceptions by ensuring guests experience Liverpool as the modern, thriving, dynamic, cosmopolitan destination we know it to be,” Murney said.

“One of our challenges is that the berth is on a floating pontoon with a 10 meter tidal range so at times pedestrian access bridges can be very steep,” Murney explained. “We overcome this by providing mobility buses that transport guests direct from gangway to passenger lounge and back.”

Berth bookings open two years out, he added.

Among the goals is to build the port’s turnaround business, as a new cruise terminal will be open and operational for the 2022 season.

Liverpool’s Turnaround Business to Grow

 The Crown Princess in Liverpool

“We see our turnaround business growing from 2021 once the new cruise terminal is fully operational and we have projected an increase in transit calls, but this is down to more vessels in the Irish seas over the next years,” said Peter Murney, head of cruise and maritime operations at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal.

The port is expecting around 57 ships this year, with projections calling for 70 in 2019, he said.

Highlights include inaugural visits from vessels from Viking, Seabourn, AIDA and FTI. Overnight customers include the Celebrity Eclipse and Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa. There is also the return of the Disney Magic.

The new terminal facility is due to be completed sometime in 2020, Murney said and will be able to accommodate turnarounds from vessels with up to 3,600 guests.

“The Port of Liverpool has an area of shallow water which we are working with the port to dredge. With environmental issues we are looking at all green options when building the new terminal; this includes cold ironing and LNG,” he noted.