A ferry terminal, which may also be known (for example) as a passenger terminal, cruise terminal, marine terminal or maritime passenger terminal, is a structure in a port where ferries and possibly cruise ships pick up and drop off passengers and vehicles.
Passengers may be loaded by a gangway or by a linkspan. Vehicles may be driven off the ship directly, if the vessel is a Roll-on/roll-off ship. Goods packed in containers may be driven onto the vessel by a vehicle which then detaches itself from the container and returns to shore.
If the ferry terminal handles vehicles, it will usually have the facilities, such as appropriate markings on the ground, to enable the vehicles to line up in an orderly manner.
Ferry terminals may vary greatly in size: some terminals, perhaps in large ports, have passenger facilities comparable with medium-sized airports, while a terminal in a small island location may just have the means to tie up the vessel and a short ramp to enable vehicles to be driven onto it.
Ferry terminals may have several docks, in order to handle more than one ship simultaneously.
- Collins: Ferry terminal, retrieved June 15, 2017