Liverpool, best known in the USA (and probably throughout the world) as the home of the Beatles, is not usually thought of as a tourist destination.
The cloudy skies and intermittent rain we experienced so far this cruise were not in the forecast for our visit to Liverpool. We were greeted by wonderful blue skies, puffy clouds and smooth seas.
Liverpool’s cruise terminal is within easy walking distance of downtown, which makes for a much nicer port visit.
We had originally planned to visit a yarn shop “Made in Yarn” in Liscard Village in Wallasey, across the River Mersey from the cruise terminal. While double checking my directions on their website, I noticed that they announced they would be closed until August 14th while on vacation. We changed our plans and went directly to the Cavern Club (one of the first clubs where the Beatles performed), followed by a stroll thru the downtown shopping district ending up at the “Beatles Story Experience”, a museum dedicated to the Beatles, a short distance from the ship.
The cruise terminal is modern and has a wide-open area for a gift shop and an information desk. Plenty of free local maps were available, and the information desk staff were friendly and helpful. We picked up some maps and got some tips from the staff and headed out into the city. Along the banks of the River Mersey next to the cruise terminal are some museums, amusement park type rides, a variety of food vendors and the Mersey Ferry terminal. Statues of the Beatles near the Ferry Terminal were drawing quite a crowd, and people lined up to take pictures. We joined the fun and snapped a picture.
After our picture with the Beatles statues, we headed toward the city and the Cavern Club, about ½ mile away.
The Cavern Club is where the Beatles played almost 300 times with their last performance in August 1963, about six months before their first trip to the USA, the Ed Sullivan Show and Beatlemania exploding across the globe.
The original Cavern Club closed in 1973 to make room for a rail development project and was rebuilt in 1984 at the same location, but lower, using many of the same bricks and reusing about 75% of the original space. Across the street from the Cavern Club is the Cavern Café, owned by the same company and sells food, souvenirs and other memorabilia. We walked thru the Cavern Café first – it’s not exactly clear which way is which when you first get in the area – and bought a T shirt and a key chain. We headed over to the Cavern Club – paid a 2.5 Pound cover charge (live music is playing after Noon most days) and walked down about three flights of stairs to enter the dark bar, with various rooms and low ceilings. A local musician, Tim Shaw, was playing on one of the stages. The club was crowded, but tables were still available, and there were a couple of bars nearby to serve drinks. We explored the various rooms and saw that rooms out of the line of sight of the stage had TV screens showing the act playing on the main stage.
Climbing the stairs back to the street, we continued our walk thru the shopping district and pedestrian malls. This was Saturday, so the streets were filled with locals and tourists enjoying the beautiful weather. Street performers including various forms of “statue people” along with live bands dotted the sidewalks and streets. The influence of the Beatles here is everywhere – it’s hard to go into any store and not find something for sale about the Beatles or advertising some tour or other activity that involves the Beatles.
Along the way we stopped and bought an original Krispy Kreme doughnut – always tempting and always good.
We stopped into a John Lewis Department store – forgetting that the ground floor is labeled ZERO and the second floor is really the third floor – and found the yarn section on the second floor after wandering around what we thought was the second floor for a bit. They had an excellent selection of Rowan yarn, but it was heavier than Judy was interested in, mainly DK and Worsted weight and heavier, so she didn’t buy anything, and we headed back to the street to continue our trek towards our destination – The Beatles Story Experience.
The Beatles Experience in located right on the river and within an easy walk to the cruise ship terminal. We bought tickets online before we left the USA so we could avoid the line to buy tickets on site, but as it turned out, there wasn’t a line when we arrived. The Beatles Experience is a self-guided audio tour that takes you on a chronological history of the Beatles from their first meeting back in the fifties thru their breakup in 1969. There are many lovely photographs, and exhibits and the audio tour provides a lot of insight and background. We spent about 90 minutes walking thru the exhibit, but you could have easily spent twice as long if you chose to listen to every single option on the audio tour.
Walking back to the ship along the riverfront we saw some of the amusement rides up close along with many of the food carts and vendors. We passed by the Liverpool museum, which is free, but we didn’t have time to go inside and check it out.
As we were preparing to sail away, the port set up a singer with a live band on the pier to entertain the passengers who were lined up on the open decks. The sail-away party was up in the Crows Nest where they served small sausages in pastries along with beer.
Dinner in the main dining room continues to be outstanding. Service has been prompt and always perfectly paced. The Zuiderdam has nailed the main dining room experience.
Tonight’s Show featured the Zuiderdam Singers and Dancers in “A Thousand Steps.” This is another of the new shows created for the 270 LED screen on the Koningsdam but restaged on the Zuiderdam. Featuring a number of high energy Latin style songs, the Zuiderdam Singers and Dancers put on a wonderful show that we are looking forward to seeing again on future sailings.Uncategorized