Here’s what you need to know about the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal and Brisbane Cruise Terminal parking.
What you need to know about Brisbane International Cruise Terminal
The new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal (BICT) was completed in mid-2020 but was mothballed for two years due to the lockdown of cruising. It’s now open and welcoming cruise ships as South East Queensland’s first dedicated cruise facility. This is Brisbane’s new home for cruising, and the cruise terminal is only open when a cruise ship is berthed there.
Here’s my latest cruise review – Cruising New Zealand with Majestic Princess
It’s at Pinkenba, not Portside
The first thing you need to know is that the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal at Pinkenba is easy to confuse with the old Portside Wharf at Hamilton cruise terminal. They are both in the same general direction, but the new terminal is a long way further down the river, on the northern bank right at the naturally deep river mouth at Luggage Point, not far from Brisbane Airport
If you are booking parking or a ride-share app, ensure it displays the correct address. The apps tend to default to the most commonly used destination, which was previously Portside Wharf at Hamilton.
The terminal building is two storeys, with an undercover plaza and outdoor waterfront promenade. There are covered walkways where you can go after getting out of your ride and walk into the terminal.
The 208-metre wharf was built to service the world’s largest cruise ships at the time of opening in 2020. Since then, the ships have increased in size.
Once inside the terminal, passengers go through security screening and immigration. Then you can travel from the terminal building to the vessel via a passenger boarding bridge and a 270m elevated walkway. It’s quite a leisurely stroll.
Inside Brisbane Cruise Terminal. IMAGE: Kerry Heaney
How to get to Brisbane International Cruise Terminal
The cruise terminal is located on the northside of the Brisbane River mouth, about 15 minutes’ drive (12 km) from Brisbane Airport and 30 minutes’ drive (21 km) from Brisbane’s CBD. The terminal is close to major arterial roads, such as Kingsford Smith Drive and Gateway Motorway.
There is no public transport to the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal. However, if you are a local, you can book Brisbane Cruise Terminal parking , get a friend to drop you off, or take a taxi or ride share option.
Cruise passengers disembarking in Brisbane will find plenty of taxis and ride-share drivers available. In addition, your cruise ship may provide a city transfer or a city tour option.
Brisbane Cruise Terminal Parking
The terminal has about 900 onsite paid car parking spaces for passengers. Unfortunately, this is not enough to accommodate everyone, so the first thing to do after you book your cruise is book your parking as spaces book out well ahead.
Parking is available within walking distance of the terminal, and Rates start at $32.40 a day. So for a six-day cruise, you could pay $104.80. The question is whether this is cheaper or more expensive than a taxi or Uber? This will depend on how far you need to travel to reach the terminal.
Convenience is another factor. Having your car when you arrive back from your cruise might be handy. If you decide to drive and park, book early, as there are insufficient parking spaces for passengers on large cruise ships.
There are different types of parking available, with some offering weather protection. Whether this weather protection would save you in a hailstorm must be tested. Please share below if you have thoughts on this.
A cheaper alternative is a shuttle service, where you park further away from the terminal and the company provides transfers and pick-ups. You can book in advance with Wilson Parking.
Brisbane International Cruise Terminal. IMAGE: Kerry Heaney
What’s it like to cruise on Quantum of the Seas from Brisbane?
Can you eat there?
I visited the terminal in late November, and the only food outlet was a coffee cart with drinks. Unfortunately, they sold out before everyone had boarded. I could not find food or drink anywhere else.
There are no shopping outlets at the terminal. However, there are plans to open a café.
What happens if your cruise ship is delayed docking?
This happened to me when the cruise ship was delayed because of a medical emergency. It’s good to know that a high priority is placed on the health of cruise passengers.
Unfortunately, the late arrival and delay in boarding caused massive problems at the terminal. People were standing in the hot sun in long queues for up to two hours. So if you get a notification that your ship is arriving late, don’t rush to be there early. It really won’t help. You are much better off arriving at the time they suggest and spending less time in a queue.
I wished I had better sun protection, such as a long-sleeved shirt and my hat for the boarding queue.
Getting off the ship
There were no delays in getting off the ship. I chose to handle my own bags and was able to disembark soon after the ship docked. It was simple to get through customs and then to the taxi queue. There were plenty of taxis waiting as the drivers had received an alert that the ship was docking.
More information on Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.
Departing Brisbane International Cruise Terminal at sunset. IMAGE: Kerry Heaney
If you’re not a local the new terminal is rubbish. It’s in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by factories. It has no public transport and not enough parking, which is expensive anyway. No car rental depots within cooee and even the airport is not very convenient. Trying to get an Uber to collect you from the ship is very difficult. Compared to the previous wharf at Hamilton, which had car rentals, shopping, dining and a lovely ferry ride into the CBD, this terminal was a big waste of money. Look at Circular Quay, Station Pier Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Fremantle, all so much more accessible than Pinkenba.
We have sailed once from Pinkenba. It is better than the previous cattle market arrangement at Hamilton but requires a food outlet for, at least,snacks
Accessibility is another problem. Parking is totally booked out months in advance and there’s no public transport.
sounds like a big white elephant i will not be traveling to brisbane for any more cruises did it once driver in taxi from Roma street didnt know were it was, should have learnt my lesson but decided to try again with new terminal wrong all i read are bad reports COMMING by train from Sydney no proper way to get there but expensive cab ride [hate flying ] WOULD SEEM CANT EVEN GET A CUP OF COFFEE ,please Brisbane and p o get your bloody act together ,
What’s the nearest train station to the terminal
The closest train station would be at the Brisbane International Airport. The best access between the airport and cruise terminal would be via taxi or ride share. There is no public transport option.
We will be arriving on the Majestic Princess on 9th March. Will there be any eating places open apart from the coffee van. How far to walk from the ship out of the port to the visitors car park to meet family. Is there a shuttle service to the city .
I’ve just finished a cruise on Majestic Princess and loved it! There are no eating places at the port apart from the coffee van, but it’s not far to walk out and meet family in the car park. Unless the ship is providing a shuttle service, there’s no public transport available. You can book a ride share or take a taxi from the ranks. The closest place for cafes and restaurants is Portside at Hamilton. There are plenty of nice places to eat there. You can also try Racecourse Road, which is just a little further. It’s about a 20-minute drive. Another place would be the DFO Shopping Centre, with a range of eateries. It’s about 16 minutes away from the port.
Is it any better now in january for someone with a wheelie walker please
If there is no delay in the ship’s arrival, I have heard that the system works quite well, so don’t be too worried. If you find a long queue, go to the administration desk at the front of the terminal and ask for assistance. I would expect they will provide help for anyone using a walker. I hope you have a great cruise.
So, in summary then: a modern multi-million dollar badly designed, user unfriendly, public transport disaster (like the Gabba), white elephant then. Lets all struggle to reach it, then stand in the hot sun without food or drink for hours while they sort the basic loading procedures out. What a brilliant first impression for any incoming travellers, and locals alike. Brought to you by your own tax funded Govt.
That was my experience. The ship was late because of a medical emergency. These don’t often happen, thank goodness, but you would think there could be a better plan for this occurrence. The road there is not pretty, and no public transport or even enough parking is a big fail. Don’t even start me on the coffee/drink situation.
Any idea how I can get a wheelchair at the terminal for a 2 week hire for my Mum please?
Thanks in advance for any help!
Would you need the wheelchair onboard the ship or in Brisbane? I’d suggest contacting short-term wheelchair hire places in Brisbane as a start.
Do u think there will be more options on getting to the terminal in nov….seems pretty expensive at the moment.. I tried con-x-sions, but there times done suit…. Bit silly…u would think when cruise ships are in, someone would have a shuttle service running continuely, as a responsible price…
It’s all very random at the moment. Even the roads getting there need attention. My best tip is to book your parking when you book your cruise. Cruising is here to stay now and that might encourage more people to offer options. There’s certainly a business opportunity there.
I’m flying in, so won’t be parking there
How do you pick up friends from a cruise for a few hours while the ship is docked. How can we pick them up?
There’s a drop off pick up area outside the terminal were you can collect your friends. I’d suggest they call you when they are in the terminal and then you come to the pick up area as you only have a two minute window. It’s like picking up people from the airport.