IT is a scene that will send shivers through everyone connected with Southampton’s cruise industry.
As Cunard bosses yesterday admitted they would be prepared to use Liverpool to start cruises in the future, their iconic liner Queen Elizabeth sailed into the city for the first time.
The ship made her way past sculptor Anthony Gormley’s Another Place installation on Merseyside yesterday on her way to the Mersey River Festival.
And the picture could be a worrying indication of things to come as Liverpool steps up its controversial bid to muscle in on Southampton’s lucrative cruise industry. As reported, the city wants to use its new £20m taxpayer-funded cruise terminal as a “turnaround”
destination, putting it in direct competition with privately financed ports around the country.
The move has sparked a row between the Merseyside city and civic and industry leaders in Southampton, who argue using public cash to create a rival is unfair.
The Government is next week due to reveal its decision on Liverpool’s application to change the use of its terminal, just a year after a previous attempt to do the same thing was rejected.
More than 5,000 people have signed a petition calling on ministers to reject the plans on the grounds that allowing any use of public cash gives an unfair advantage.
But Cunard president Peter Shanks said Liverpool could become an attractive location for the company.
He said: “Southampton remains our base, but if in future Liverpool do invest in their facilities, and like other ports around the world have the opportunity for turnaround, then it is quite possible that some voyages would start in Liverpool.
“I think that would be very popular for our guests.”