Sydney Harbour has two dedicated cruise passenger terminals: the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay and the White Bay Cruise Terminal at Balmain.
Prior to the opening of White Bay in April 2013, Sydney's second cruise terminal was located firstly at Darling Harbour Wharf 8, then at a temporary facility at Darling Harbour 5 (now the site of the Barangaroo development).
On 20 December 2009, the Premier announced that Sydney's second cruise terminal would be given a permanent home at White Bay 5, in line with the recommendations of the Passenger Cruise Terminal Steering Committee.
White Bay was the preferred location for Sydney's second domestic cruise terminal for the following reasons:
- the facility would be contained within an existing port precinct (and hence would utilise existing valuable port infrastructure)
- the site provides a high level of control that will assist in enforcing maritime security legislative requirements, particularly during instances of heightened levels of threat
- two cruise passenger ships can berth at the same time with the use of the adjacent berth at White Bay 4, allowing Sydney to provide berths for up to three passenger ships at any one time
- the site includes adequate space for staging and servicing of the terminal
- the site allows flexibility to meet operators' space and facility requirements
- the site will be easily accessible for deliveries by shipping agents and operators prior to cruise ship visits
- the site enables the provision of adequate storage facilities in a secured area.
The Minister for Planning approved construction and operation of the White Bay Cruise Terminal on 2 February 2011.
On 15 April 2013, the P&O Cruise Liner Pacific Pearl became the first vessel to berth at the new terminal.