Presently, cruise check-in and baggage handling for cruise passengers sailing from Liverpool are in a large temporary tent, now one year into its projected three-year lifespan.
It can only handle ships with a capacity of up to 1,200 turnaround passengers. If the city wishes to build on this business then expansion is crucial.
Regular visitors include Princess Cruises’ 3,100 berth Caribbean Princess on round-UK trips.
The five star-rated Celebrity Infinity will make her maiden visit this year and will change over 300 passengers in Liverpool midway on a 11-night round-UK cruise from Harwich, Essex.
Should owner Celebrity Cruises wish to base the 91,000 gross ton ship at Liverpool, the present terminal could not cope with turning around Infinity’s 2,170 passenger load.
“The current facility is basic and shared with the Isle of Man services – it is what it is. We need to look at ways of constructing a new dedicated cruise terminal building,” said Ms Feather.
“Along with that we have to have a state of the art visitor viewing facilities, tax free shopping, food outlets and more parking.
“Nothing can happen without Peel’s financial support and the help of other service providers like tugs and pilots.
“We’re holding our own in a culture of very strong competition from other UK ports. We’re very pleased with the cruise terminal’s great performance, which exceeded our targets.
“This is a very positive story. Cruise liner bookings are coming in for 2014 and will rise.”
The £17m Liverpool Cruise Terminal was officially opened in 2007 for cruise liner calls only.
Following the Liverpool Post’s Get On Board campaign and the city council repaying £8.8m in UK grants, turnarounds (ie allowing cruises to start and end) started on May 29 last year.
Pam Wilsher, Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership head of visitor economy development, said: “The cruise market is now vital to the city.
“But funding for expanding the cruise terminal will be a challenge as there will be no public sector money.
“I think there will have to be a mix of funding from partners including Peel and the cruise lines.
“There will come a time soon when our existing facilities start to creak and we must consider bigger ships.
“We need to look at operating costs compared to our rival ports. In general there must be a strategy to ensure we exploit the obvious potential.”