Iceland Cruise June 2023 – Setting Sail

Liverpool is such a great skyline and as we set sail down the Mersey River there are many iconic buildings and towers that you can see, both sides of the river. The docks run for 7.5 miles from Seaforth on the North East to Birkenhead Docks on the South West of the Mersey River. The upper deck of the Borealis is an ideal place to spend this time and capture some photos as we sail down the river and out into the Irish Sea. Our cabin was also supplied with some binoculars should you need some, very handy throughout the cruise.

First up, you get a great view of the beautiful Royal Liver Building along with Bertie on the left and Bella on the right. These mythical creatures have adorned the building since opening in 1911 to house the growing Royal Liver Assurance friendly society. These 18ft copper figures, one looking towards the river, the other toward the city, certainly add to the folklore of Liverpool with many other versions around the city. In other versions it resembles the Cormorant, featured on the cities arms. In its beak is a branch of Laver Seaweed, with Liver, Lyver, Laver and many other variants used throughout history. These close ups were taken with a Canon EOS R8 and RF800mm.

Close to the terminal are the Port of Liverpool Building that was completed in 1907, but became one of 3 buildings with the Royal Liver Building and the Cunard Building all complete by 1917. Making a fine sight on the Pier Head that would for a while become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Across the main road stands the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, patron saint sailors, with its gilded copper weather vane in the form of a sailing ship standing over 4ft high.

Famous landmarks adorn the skyline. Radio City Tower, otherwise known as St. John’s Beacon, built in 1969, standing 453ft tall, less antennas. It originally had a revolving restaurant and observation deck. Today it is still used for some radio programs and has a 360 degree observation tour open to the public.

Liverpool has, as we all know, two cathedrals for worship. Anfield and Goodison Park. Otherwise there is a Roman Catholic Cathedral, The Metropolitan Cathedral, completed in 1967, a redesign built on top of the original Sir `Edwin Lutyens design that would have seen the second largest church in the world. Deemed too expensive, following WWII, the current design was by Sir Frederik Gibberd and completed in just 5 years. It was beset by a few problems soon after, but here it is still standing, for now.

Moving away from the Liverpool Cruise Pier, we can get wider views of the Liverpool landmarks. The Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ was built between 1904 and 1978 and in overall volume is the 5th largest cathedral in the world. The height is 331ft, very tall for a non-spired building.

Victoria Tower marks the entrance to Salisbury Dock, built in 1848 as a handy time reference and meteorological warning station for ships sailing out to the Irish Sea. The tower is Grade II listed and due for renovation along with other building surrounding this complex of docks.

Major refurbishment of the old Tobacco Warehouse and conversion into residential and commercial use is well under way. A glimpse of Anfield in the background, the hollowed ground of Liverpool FC. The new Everton FC stadium under construction to replace Goodison Park, their current home.

Moving across the boat to the Port side you will get a good view of the Wirral Peninsula. Over that side of the Mersey River, the West Bank, is another uniquely interesting building comes into sight. The Wallasey Town Hall is a neoclassical building that was started in 1914, just before the war, and completed during the war in 1916. Initially, although not intended, it found a good use as a military hospital. Later in 1920 it opened as the Wallasey Town Hall. The thing that intrigued me most were the 4 seated figures around the lantern tower. From a distance they looked similar to Buddha, initially leading me to think the building was somewhat oriental. Evidently, they are seated, learned men whom represent peace, courage, prudence and industry.

Reaching the mouth of the Mersey River, on the west side there is New Brighton Sea Front. A typical English promenade of amusements and entertainment, should the weather turn cold and wet and the lovely New Brighton Beach not appeal. Above that is the Green Dome of the Shrine Church of Ss Peter and Paul and St. Philomena. Returning sailors named the dome, ‘The Dome of Home’ as they returned home to Merseyside. The Building was completed in 1935.

New Brighton Beach, right on the mouth of the river, has several features. Fort Perch Rock was built as a defensive installation in the 1820’s. It would hold about 100 men to provide protection of the Mersey River. New Brighton Lighthouse standing 95ft tall, was first turned on in 1830. A private property today after decommissioning in 1973. Beyond is the Burbo Bank Offshore wind farm that has a total of 57 wind turbines.

On the East shore is the new Liverpool 2 Container Terminal at Seaforth. A colourful addition the Liverpool Waters skyline.

Once clear of the river mouth it is back to explore the Borealis and get ready for the evenings entertainment. The ship would cruise on past the Isle of Man into the night and out of the Irish Sea into deeper waters.

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