Port Operations Manager, Kate Smith celebrates 10 years of working for Cruise Liverpool in 2022.

Kate looking into the distance with the cruise terminal behind her

Kate Smith Port Operations Manager at Cruise Liverpool is responsible for developing relationships with stakeholders and partners across the Liverpool City Region.

Leading on destination and business marketing whilst enhancing the visitor experience. In 2022 Kate celebrates 10 years working for Cruise Liverpool. In this latest piece, Kate talks about her time at team Cruise. 

It’s 0700hrs on Wednesday 29th June 2022 and Facebook has very kindly just reminded me that ten years ago today I started a new job in a new industry as Cruise Liverpool’s Cruise & Event Coordinator.  

Time really does fly when you’re having fun, within two weeks the motion sickness wristbands (from working on a floating pontoon) were cast aside and I got stuck into working on a new brand identity & passenger enhancements programme which was hugely exciting.

If you asked me 10 years ago, I’d never thought in a million years I’d be working in the maritime industry, why you ask? 

It just wasn’t a sector I had ever considered, which is slightly embarrassing given Liverpool’s maritime heritage. Looking back now, drawing on my operational and event management skills & experience; jumping feet first into something new, into an industry where there are heaps of opportunities was the best decision I could have made. I am learning and growing every day in my career.

Joining Cruise gave me the chance to learn new skills, the chance to broaden my knowledge of destination management, it threw me into a technical world of tidal calculations, spigots, fenders, port security and marine infrastructure.

Connecting ship to shore in such an inclusive workplace allows me to create & develop something really special with the work that I do and each season, I often found myself taking on other responsibilities which in my opinion is the best way of gaining experience in new areas.

What about now?

My role has recently been adapted to Port Operations Manager, which means I have the pleasure of leading the strategic development of the Cruise Terminal’s ‘dry side’ operations, branding and stakeholder liaison – but enhancing the visitor experience still remains at the heart of everything I do. The feeling that I can make a real difference with the work I do carries the same weight as it did on day one, it’s hugely rewarding!

Recently I embarked on a new journey following an appointment into the Cruise Britain Steering Group, receiving recognition from peers for what you believe in and love to do is the best feeling in the world. Now I get to not only sell Liverpool but Britain too.

If I had to summarise my journey in two moments

The WOW moment hands down has to be, ‘Three Queens, One Magnificent City’ event in 2015.

Every time I look at the massive photo on the wall in our office I get goose bumps, it’s still a bit of a blur to be honest but I’ll never forget the moment I saw all three Cunard ships sailing down the river, it was an extremely watery eyed, yet proud moment for everyone involved.

It’s the PEOPLE and PARTNERSHIPS that really make the job – Cruise can be a very fast paced, dynamic and challenging environment to work in, there are no two days the same. 

Working day in day out, sometimes long hours and back to back ship operations with like-minded people who share a common culture is like gold dust. Ten years on, everyone who joins, partners with or works alongside Cruise Liverpool is instantly very much part of the family.

We all live and breathe not only our great city, but the industry as a whole and want to create moments so memorable that visitors simply have to return. We laugh, we cry but we always make SHIP happen.

What’s next for me?

We are very much in planning mode at the moment, resuming operations in 2021 and delivering the 2022 season in such a different and dynamic way was a really interesting experience and with 100+ ships scheduled to call in 2023 its full steam ahead for our busiest season yet.. 

Over the last couple of months we have been marking the 15th Anniversary of Liverpool Cruise Terminal and just last week my colleagues and I were lucky enough to attend the Mersey Maritime Industry Awards where we celebrated the strength and diversity of the North West’s maritime industry. To top things off we were delighted to collect the ‘Moving on the Mersey Award’ on behalf of LCT. The buzz in the terminal on the next ship operation was one of pride and gratitude. No matter what your role is at Cruise…this one’s for you! 

This season a big focus was around community partnership collaboration, working closely with Strawberry Field ‘Step to Work Programme’ and championing Liverpool as a city of inclusion that celebrates neurodiversity was an incredible experience…I learnt so much and I’m really enjoying having a seat at the Cruise Britain Steering group table. Whilst there is lots to do and lots to look forward to, there will no doubt be challenging times and change ahead too. So if you were to ask me in three years time, I reckon I will still be buzzing about Eurovision, still loving the people, the partnerships and will no doubt have accepted the chance to work on a whole host of new projects that help drive our visitor economy & maritime sector.