THOMSON Cruises will start operating full turnaround journeys from Liverpool's River Mersey cruise terminal business in 2013, as part of a 25% rise in ship numbers.
Thomson will be the third cruise line to do so, joining Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, which returns to Liverpool after a two-year gap with 11 turnaround trips.
Olsen’s liner MV Boudicca will open the cruise season on April 21 and close it on October 11.
That will make the cruise terminal’s operating season several weeks longer than last year.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages, which restarted turnaround sailings from the Pier Head last year – the first since 1972 – will also be back with a new ship, MV Discovery, which will run three journeys.
So far, there are 38 confirmed ship calls, including turnarounds and transit visits, to Liverpool with some others still to be announced.
On top of this will be at least five Royal Navy ships and warships from foreign navies berthing at the cruise terminal, principally for the 70th anniversary of the Battle Of The Atlantic commemoration.
Before then, Britain’s biggest warship, the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, will moor in the city in mid-February for what will probably be her last visit before withdrawal.
In spite of the UK’s persistent economic woes, the cruise industry is bucking the trend, as shown by Liverpool’s steady growth against all the odds.
The city is highly popular as a cruise liner destination and an ideal place for passengers from the north Midlands through to Scotland to board a ship for a turnaround cruise.