Southampton's cruise rival Liverpool is set to see business soar by 25 per cent over the next 12 months compared with last year.

Thomson Cruises will also start operating turnaround – starting and ending – journeys from Liverpool cruise terminal this year.

It 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, and Cruise & Maritime Voyages, which restarted turnaround sailings from the Pier Head last year.

Experts say that, with cruise programmes planned years in advance, other lines will be considering Liverpool. Chris Brown, Liverpool’s new head of marketing, said: “The news that Thomson Cruises will be running turnaround cruises next year is absolutely brilliant.

“Some 46,000 cruise passengers in total passed through Liverpool cruise terminal on liners last year.

“That means, within about ten years, the figure has risen from about 1,200 passengers travelling from the old Langton Dock terminal, in Bootle.”

The highlight of the new season for Liverpool cruise terminal will be the return of Southampton-based Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 which will berth on May 17 as part of a round-UK Britain cruise.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Infinity will be a first time visitor to the Merseyside port.