Liverpool Docks was the setting for lavish ceremonies yesterday to welcome the Royal Princess on her first visit to the northwest UK city. The luxury cruise liner docked at Liverpool at a little after 07:00 and civic officials were on hand to greet her.
A brand new Liver Bird, the Spirit of Liverpool, was installed at the docks on Monday and was officially named to coincide with the Royal Princess’s arrival. This year is the 50th birthday of Princess Cruises and to mark the occasion mayor Erica Kemp presented the vessel’s captain with a birthday cake.
The Liverpool Ukulele Band were on hand and struck up Happy Birthday as a flotilla of balloons was released into the sky. To celebrate the Royal Princess’s departure in the evening, singer Danielle Thomas staged a moving operatic performance with a grand finale provided by cannons shooting confetti skywards.
Liverpool’s culture and tourism councillor Wendy Simon said the 2015 cruise season was already underway. She noted that Liverpudlians and tourists alike loved the spectacle of sleek vessels sailing up the Mersey or moored alongside the heritage waterfront.
Ms Simon continued by saying Liverpool hoped the city would become a regular port of call for the Royal Princess. She finished off by saying the unveiling of the 2.5-metre-high Spirit of Liverpool was a fitting welcome for the 3,560 passengers aboard who would be spending the day exploring Liverpool’s bounteous attractions.
The Duchess of Cambridge launched the Royal Princess in June 2013. The website dedicated to everything cruise voyage related, Cruise Critic, has since labelled the vessel as the most popular to ply the waves. In the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards, the Royal Princess scooped accolades in five categories.