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Brisbane Cruise Terminal Part 2 – Check In & Boarding

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Having negotiated your way through the industrial wasteland that surrounds the Brisbane Cruise Terminal, it’s time to line up and work your way through the check-in, security and border control stations before finally boarding your ship for your long awaited cruise.

Parking at the Brisbane Cruise Terminal can be made here on the Wilson Parking website – click here.

Let me explain what lies ahead once you’ve arrived at the beautiful Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.

Brisbane Cruise Terminal Baggage Drop Off

The Cruise Terminal building is about 9500 square meters and has two levels.

On arrival, the first thing to do is drop your bags off, making sure you have applied your Cruise tag securely to your suitcase. The baggage drop off area is to the left of the main entrance on the ground floor.

Brisbane Cruise Terminal baggage drop off
Brisbane Cruise Terminal baggage drop off area

Before dropping off your bags, make sure you have attached your cruise line provided luggage tag. We have been using the Swatom PVC Cruise Luggage Tags from Amazon for a couple of years and haven’t had one pulled off or lost yet! (Get yours here –

Luggage tags
Best Cruise Luggage Tags

All departures are completed on the upper floor, which is accessed by either a travelator or 2 large lifts. With only a standard width travelator and a couple of lifts, on embarkation days there can be a bit of a queue waiting to get in, as we experienced on our recent holiday on Quantum Of The Seas.

While it looked lengthy, the queue moved quickly, and we were inside enjoying the shade and average air conditioning in just over 10 minutes.

BICT queue to get in
The queue to get into the Brisbane Cruise Terminal for our recent Quantum Of The Seas Cruise

Once you get inside there is now a souvenir shop called “Love Brisbane” that sells all sorts of nick-nacks, souvenirs, T-shirts, hats sunglasses and some last minute snacks and lollies.

Love Brisbane is open 8 am to 3 pm on cruise days only.

Love Brisbane shop at the Brisbane Cruise Terminal
Souvenir and snack shop “Love Brisbane” at the Brisbane Cruise Terminal

You’ve dropped off your bags and grabbed any last minute supplies so it’s time to head upstairs to check in either via the travelator or lifts.

The check in process is divided into 3 distinct areas;

  1. Cruise line check in
  2. Security checkpoint (just like the airport)
  3. Border control or immigration if your cruise leaves Australia

If you would like to learn more about where the Brisbane Cruise Terminal is, how to get there, car parking on site and much more, check out our previous post – Navigating the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal: A Complete Guide by clicking here.

Cruise Check In At Brisbane Cruise Terminal

It’s a good idea to have all your cruise check in documentation completed before lining up. Most of the cruise lines now have an app that you download on your phone and complete all your check in info on the app.

I wouldn’t worry if you are having issues completing the check in process on the app, as there always seems to be plenty of cruise line check in staff available to help.

The below map shows seating in the main check in area, but it doesn’t exist. There is seating as shown on the left hand side near the windows if you need a seat while someone holds your position in the queue.

Here’s a little animation to show your progress through the check-in process.

On the 2 cruises we have been on so far, this process has moved relatively quickly and we have been finished in less than 20 minutes. It’s the next 2 areas that seem to take the time.

WARNING – As you move from check in to security, you go past the last public toilets before you get on your ship. So make use of them because you still have some time in front of you.

Security Screening At Brisbane Cruise Terminal

Security screening for a cruise is the same horrible process as at the airport.

The queue here always moves slowly as you negotiate your way through. At times I feel sorry for the people working here as it must be a boring and monotonous job. I have found there are 3 types of people working the security checkpoint.

People with a cheerful attitude, making the most of the day. People who seem to hate every minute and have a care factor of zero and a grumpy attitude to match, and then there is always one who loves the power.

“Move along, move along” they shout. “All laptops. iPads etc out of your bag and on the tray”. I understand the instructions, and I’m sure that 99% of people do as well.

In our experience, the queue doesn’t move slowly because people aren’t moving along or have forgotten to remove a laptop. It’s the staff position changes every 10 minutes to prevent workplace injuries, which I understand, coupled with the over-jealous checking for that pair of nail scissors at the very bottom of a suitcase.

Immigration / Border Force

If your cruise is just in Australia, you can relax and head straight onto the ship now.

If you’re sailing outside of Australia, say New Zealand or Vanuatu, you now get to enjoy lining up to pass through the immigration checkpoint.

It moves relatively quickly with more than a dozen decks working to process the thousands of passengers.

For the majority of passengers, I think immigration is little more than a process that has to be ticked. As a British subject with a British passport with a permanent residence visa for Australia, I have a couple more checks but it is always a quick and painless process.

Once the formalities are over with Immigration, it’s finally time to board your ship!

Boarding – Up The Gangway

Hooray! The formalities are over, and it’s time to board. Your first cocktail is not that far away!

The only thing between you and that cocktail is the 250 mtr (ish) gangway that is on a slight upwards incline.

Brisbane cruise terminal sign on gangway
Half way there!

There are a small number of seats along the route for those who need a break.

There is some air conditioning in sections, along with fans and natural ventilation. The day we boarded it was very warm and humid, a typical Brisbane summer day, and it was the same on the gangway.

Persevere and before you know it you’re on the ship!

Coral princess onboard at last

Summary Of Check In at The Brisbane Cruise Terminal

For our cruise on the Coral Princess, we drove to the Brisbane Cruise Terminal, parked in car park 3 and walked to the terminal.

From the time we arrived at the terminal, to the time we were onboard the Coral Princess, was 1 hour and 35 minutes. Not Bad.

For the Quantum Of The Seas cruise, it only took 1 hour and 15 minutes, and this includes not rushing and having a couple of short rests on the way. Pretty good I think.

As I have said many times, we love the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal for all the options it provides with the newer, bigger, better ships.

The only problem is the amount of walking required for those with mobility or health issues.

If you would like to learn more about where the Brisbane Cruise Terminal is, how to get there, car parking on site and much more, check out our previous post – Navigating the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal: A Complete Guide by clicking here.


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