Reflections on Cruise Liner Terminals

Thanks to @lorraineturton for tweeting the article in Cruise and Ferry which tells us more about the forthcoming terminal than I’ve managed to secure from anywhere else (and given that it’s four paragraphs long, that’s a pretty sad state of affairs.)

The sentence that puzzles me most is:

Apartment blocks planned for the area will feature reflective panels to maximise the visual impact of ships berthed at the terminal.

Why? Why is this being flagged up as a plus? Is it really a ‘good thing’ to have giant mirrors screening the Peninsula reflecting a ‘nice’ image of a load of rich people’s conveyances- or is it more to hide the ‘nasty’ (read ‘real’) bits of Greenwich?

@Darryl1974 suggests it’s so that they can look at themselves and bask in how loaded they are. Perhaps in that case all cruise liners should come with monster wrap-round mirrors so that wherever they go in the world they can admire themselves rather than have to see actual sights.

Really. I don’t actually object to a cruise liner terminal. Given that the government has gone back on its word and is now allowing the western side of the peninsula to be developed for housing rather than preserving it for industrial use, a ferry terminal does at least keep the area a little river-related. But I can’t see the value in masking off areas of the Greenwich Peninsula to create virtual murals of ‘nice stuff’.

More musings from Darryl here

19 Comments to “Reflections on Cruise Liner Terminals”

  1. Old China says:

    I’m excited about the cruise ship terminal. I find it thrilling to see those huge ships sailing into our waters and am hoping for a pleasant bar and restaurant culture to spring up in the development.

    I’m less excited about the inevitable luxury flats. The ones going up near Deptford Creek are just so big, dense and over imposing. It feels like the river is slowly being hidden from our view and we live right next to the thing. The artists image on Daryls blog does little to ease my fears.

  2. Capability Bowes says:

    According to the Torygraph last week, planning approval has only just been granted, which seems to be at odds with the Council’s “it will be ready for the Olympics” claim….

  3. Nervous around Onions says:

    “am hoping for a pleasant bar and restaurant culture to spring up in the development”

    Lol. You’ve never been near a cruise ship terminal – unless by pleasant bar and restaurant culture you mean TGI Fridays and their ilk.

    I’ve never seen a cruise ship terminal that did anything more than fill an area with standard chain restaurants and piss out a high concentration of nasty tourists to tick off another site in their books every so often.

    (Not saying that tourists are nasty – I’m saying that cruise ship passengers are nasty).

  4. Mike says:

    @ Nervous around Onions You’ve never been to Auckland, New Zealand for one then?

    Trial by anecdote (“I’ve never seen a”) does no one any favours, just means you have a limited experience…

  5. Nervous around Onions says:


    I’ve been by 6 cruise ship terminals in my life. They were all dreadful. You’re right that I’ve not been to Auckland.

    How should I make a comment if not based on my experience? 6 is a pretty good sample size for me to make my judgement.

    Oh – and to back it up – what’s being built round the Cutty Sark at the moment? Nasty chains as per my comment. I’m prepared to be wrong but I’m not optimistic.

  6. Old China says:

    NaO- you’re right, judging by Nick Raynsford and his building cronies passion for ramming Greenwich with chain restaurants and massive waterside developments I shouldn’t hold my breath.

    Mike- I like your optimiism and vision, I want you in charge!

  7. Azofkid says:

    I will miss the quiet walk round the peninsular (although it is somewhat distrupted just now…)I know it’s all a bit industrial and rugged…but for me that is its charm…another load of crap badly designed flats and disruptive residents (see lovells wharf…) is not what this area needs!

  8. JOF says:

    My best experience of seeing ships on the river is when you’re back from the riverside and you view them gliding behind factory buildings and houses, and realise just what huge things some ships are. If a cruise liner is parked next to buildings big enough to be a mirror for it, the ship will surely appear diminished rather than ‘maximising the visual impact’ .

  9. JOF says:

    Supplementary: OK, it depends where you’re standing.

  10. Mike says:

    @NaO & @OC

    My point was simply that it is possible that the terminal will be a positive feature. The problem with most terminals I have seen (Napoli is a prime example of yuck) is that they are in commercial harbours. Auckland was the same for years, and there was a major redevelopment, the Hilton moved onto the wharves (a building that mimicked a cruise ship too!), and life flowed into the area after a few years. The area is now very vibrant (see scenes from recent rugby World Cup).

    They are proposing 40,000 visitors annually, which means that there will be an improvement in river boat services as the tourists will effectively be paying for it! That has to be good for locals and Greenwich businesses.

    I’m less concerned with chains vs independents, but would like a focus on quality. If they wanted approachable affordable Italian food, why not something like Jamies Italian?? Frankie and Benny’s, really?? Blah.
    I think this is a chance to bring life into the area that although means the industrial heart goes, gives an opportunity for the local community to engage in the landscape more than now. The boatyard and the Victoria Deep Terminal are not being lost either (the Port of London Authority has some interesting information on this if you dig around a little)

    More depressing is the continual closure of the Thames Path (see TGP earlier post)

  11. Mary says:

    can I just pick up here – not on the cruise liner terminal but on the comments above from Azofkid – what do you mean ‘disruptive residents’ about Lovells. As one of the local councillors I would really like to know what that is about and very quickly. PLEASE can you email me

  12. Richard says:

    Mary let me paraphrase for you. Disruptive residents are probablyt those people who come here and expecvt to use our services that their taxes have helped pay for. Some of them, you will not believe this, want to drive their cars on roads that they have paid tax for!!!!!

  13. Mary says:

    Richard – if that is about parking problems in Christchurch Way I hope that is being dealt with. If it is more than that then talk to me about it – and I really do appreciate a lot of what you might be going to say.
    If it is about bad behaviour by other people then we really really need to know about that too.
    I am not going to claim to be able to deal with every problem – although I will always try – but I can’t do anything at all about things people don’t tell me about.

  14. Richard says:

    Sorry Mary I was trying to (and clearly failing)mock the attitude that seems to dislike all newcomers to the area. Local roads for local people and all that.

  15. Mary says:

    I know – I get a bit carried away with the message I am trying to get over.

  16. Old China says:

    Mike, I’m actually hugely excited by the proposed terminal! I just hope it’s more like Aucklands and less like Naples :)

  17. Azofkid says:

    Hello there. I am absolutely open to new people coming to share our great neighbourhood,interesting diverse neighbourhoods is why I choose to live in this city! However after the blocks were built the level of noise (people shouting in street at all hours), vandalism (kicked in electricity/phone fuse boxes,stolen plant&window boxes), people racing scooters up and down our road, dumped old furnature and police activity has been very noticeably increased…yes for my fellow neighbours who drive the parking issue is nCot great (are the underground car parks not in use?)…but its not as important as this little pocket of east Greenwich still feeling like a pleasant place to live.

  18. Old China says:

    Hi Azofkid, you’re dead right. Plus those scooters race at crazy speeds up and down the streets at any time of the night. Apart form waking everyone up they’re going to hit someone sooner or later, they’re too fast.

  19. Riverside says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but all the social housing at lovells appears to be clustered around the back and on the ground floor… Not exactly the way to build an inclusive community where people feel part of a community. And the whole thing looks like a cheaply built mediterranean hotel. It’s just all been done so badly that I cringe every time I’m diverted past it on the way round the Thames path. Cant believe they are still trying to sell penthouses for £700k!

    The developers and the council that supported them have so much to answer for.