Concerns over cruise ship terminal proposed for Sydney

Australia’s largest cruise company, Carnival Australia, said it was disappointed the NSW Government planned to shift the country’s main cruise facility to the sub-optimal location of White Bay.

Chief Executive Officer Ann Sherry said she was concerned that traffic congestion and the lack of amenities and ‘vibe’ at White Bay would create a poor passenger experience.

The cruise facility is proposed for Roberts Rd, White Bay, which is currently used as the delivery dock for imported cars.

While the NSW Government said the facility will be temporary for at least five years, the current main cruise terminal at Wharf 8, Darling Harbour, was built as a ‘temporary’ facility 10 years ago.

Under the Government’s plan, traffic to and from the cruise terminal would have to turn off Victoria Rd and into narrow Mullens St before turning into even narrower Roberts Rd.

“Moving the cruise terminal to White Bay will push traffic, particularly during the morning peak, across one of the busiest roads in Sydney, which is already a car park in the mornings,” Ms Sherry said.

Sydney Ports Corporation has carried out a detailed traffic study as part of a Development Application they will be lodging for the White Bay site. We are not privy to this information, however, we are concerned about traffic management around the site because:

• About 4000 passengers get on and off one of our cruise ships each time they turn around.Â
• There are probably between 600 to 1000 bus and passenger vehicle movements each turnaround.
• About 150 tonnes (or the equivalent of six shipping container loads) of food and beverage stores, plus fuel, fresh water to supplement onboard evaporator plants and technical supplies are loaded each time a ship turns around.
• We estimate this is at least 30 movements from a van to an articulated lorry.
• The ships are generally only at a terminal for between eight to 10 hours, which means stores are being moved at the same time as passengers are embarking/disembarking at the same time residents are travelling to work.

Cruise ship facilities were originally included in the Barrangaroo/East Darling Harbour development but have since been dropped.

Carnival Australia wants the cruise facility on the western side of the Harbour Bridge to be included in the redevelopment of Barrangaroo.

It believes an additional facility could be accommodated at Garden Island on the eastern side of the Bridge to supplement the Overseas Passenger Terminal

Ms Sherry said the current cruise terminal at Darling Harbour encouraged passengers to progressively arrive because it was close to the cafes, restaurants, shops and other activity.

Families drop their bags at the terminal and then use it as an opportunity to sightsee, visiting Sydney Aquarium and other sites. In addition, the wharf was close to Wynyard railway station, which encouraged some passengers to use public transport.

“There is so much to see and do around Darling Harbour. In comparison, White Bay is bleak with no buzz or energy to encourage passengers to spend their time or money before getting onto the ship,” Ms Sherry said.

“The NSW Government has an opportunity to create a world-class cruise facility but, based on the plans we’ve been shown, it is a shed at White Bay with nothing else around it.”


Carnival Australia is the biggest cruise company in Australia and represents the world’s major cruise brands including P&O Cruises both in Australia and the UK, Princess Cruises and Cunard.

Carnival Australia has two superliners permanently sailing from the current cruise facilities at Wharf 8, Darling Harbour.

Cruising is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry with double-digit growth for the third consecutive year. Access Economics found cruising contributes more than $734 million to the Australian economy. Based on our growth, we believe we will exceed $1 billion this year.

Carnival Australia is in the middle of a record cruise season with 12 visiting international ships this year including Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria on their second visits as well as P&O Cruises UK’s Arcadia, Aurora and Oriana.

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