The Leaving of Liverpool – Maritime History made today
The sun shone down on the River Mersey as the beautiful Danielle Thomas sang ‘It’s time to say goodbye’ to the invited guests and 800 people watching from the cruise ship ‘Ocean Countess’, who could have believed they were in an Italian Port, only it was the Liver Birds looking down on them today, Its Liverpool and it was history in the making.
As we stood on the quay-side, in the shadow of the cruise ship, The Lord Mayor, Joe Anderson thanked all the people who had made this day possible It had been forty years since a cruise ship had left from the Liverpool quay-side and this was a new beginning to another part of our Maritime history. Chris Coates, the Commercial Manager of Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV), said, ‘We are proud that our ship Ocean Countess will lead the way in this important moment in Liverpool’s remarkable history as a maritime Port’. This year the company have eleven scheduled sailings leaving in the coming months and this is the beginning……..
Lady Caroline Derby, after a wonderful speech on the history of the Port of Liverpool from King John in 1207 to the present day, ceremoniously threw coins in the river to Neptune for good luck. The songs playing in the background, The Leaving of Liverpool, Ferry cross the Mersey and You will never walk alone were bringing tears to the eyes of some of the onlookers. Then it was smiles all round as fountains of red, white and blue ticker tape snowed down on the quay as the ship started to move off.
What an impressive sight, as the Isle of Man ferry rolled in to pick up the hundreds of bikers on their way to the TT races, the Ocean Countess drifted out from the quay, blowing as she went, and turning in her majesty in the bright sunlight, to sail off down the river.
The Lord Mayor Joe Anderson stated that the cruises would bring thousands of passengers to dock in the heart of the city, which very few ports in the world can do, bringing us in line with such ports as New York, Singapore and Sydney. He said that we would like to show the world what art and culture this wonderful city has to offer, all five minutes walk from the quay-side. He hoped this would generate £6 million pounds for the local economy, jobs and businesses.
It couldn’t have been a better day! We didn’t have to try and impress how beautiful the city skyline could looked. It was a day for memories and the 800 people on board will have a wonderful one to remember and hopefully will come back for more.