(12:00 p.m. AEST) — Sydney’s new ferry to White Bay Cruise Terminal has faced another setback. The service, operated by Captain Cook Cruises, was set to start running tomorrow (20 November 2015) but final clearance has not yet been issued by the NSW Ports Authority.
The last-minute hitch has forced Captain Cook Cruises to postpone the launch of the long-awaited ferry and remove details from its website, which has been promoting and selling tickets since last week; however the operator told Cruise Critic the new tentative start date of 24 November is also not guaranteed.
The long-awaited ferry, offering an alternative to taxis, buses or driving, was announced in July and initially meant to commence in August but “political” reasons caused a three-month delay. Final processes by NSW Ports and Ministerial sign-off are required before Captain Cook is permitted to run the service in the busy harbour.
It means passengers on P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel, which departs from White Bay tomorrow, will no longer be the first to use the new service. Anyone who has purchased tickets online can contact Captain Cook Cruises for a refund.
When it does get the green light, the service will operate from Circular Quay in the morning and from Darling Harbour in the afternoon.
A one-way White Bay ferry ticket will cost AU$9 (infants aged up to 3 are free of charge) and can be purchased at Circular Quay Wharf 6. Passengers will also be able to buy tickets in advance on the Captain Cook Cruises website to avoid queues at the ticket counter.
Ferries are scheduled to depart Circular Quay Wharf 6 every 20 minutes from 8.15am to 11.20am. Ferries will then depart from Darling Harbour every 20 minutes from 11:45 a.m to 3:00 p.m. At Darling Harbour passengers should check-in at the Captain Cook Cruises office at Pier 26, located between Sea Life Aquarium and the Pyrmont Bridge.
Ferry transfers will be provided between Circular Quay to Darling Harbour for passengers connecting to the White Bay service.
The service will also run in the opposite direction, at the same price, for passengers who wish to return to the city after their cruise. Travelling from White Bay, ferries are expected to depart to Circular Quay from 7:30 a.m to 10:55 a.m and to Darling Harbour from 11.25 a.m to 3.20 p.m.
The ride takes around 15 minutes and only operates on cruise ship arrival and departure days. Opal cards and Transport NSW tickets are not accepted.
With no permanent ferry terminal at White Bay, the service is made possible by a 16-metre mobile pontoon, which will also used on non-cruise days to transfer people to other events around the harbour including the Exhibition Centre on Glebe Island, opposite White Bay.