Liverpool City Council has launched a study into the proposal and has identified the former Princes Jetty at Princes Parade as a potential site.
The development could lead to the reintroduction of transatlantic crossings from Liverpool, which last took place regularly in 1968.
The council will appoint advisors to carry out an in-depth study into the design and cost of constructing a terminal capable of handling 3,600 passengers.
The site would include passport control, passenger lounge, café, toilets, taxi rank, vehicle pick up point, coach layover area and a car park.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The temporary cruise liner building has been a tremendous success and served us well, but a city of Liverpool’s standing and ambition needs a permanent building if we are to continue the growth we’ve seen in recent years.
“It’s always been my ambition to develop an iconic terminal which makes Liverpool a world-class destination for cruise liners.
“What we are doing now is drawing up detailed plans which will give us a clear picture of the costs and then enable us to make a decision as to whether to proceed.
“Clearly there will be a cost to the construction of the facility, but this will be offset by the hugely beneficial economic impact that passengers have when they spend money during their stay.
“There is still lots of work to do before we can give any scheme the green light, but the fact that we have identified a potential site which we are seriously looking at shows the importance we attach to the cruise market.”
A company is expected to be appointed to carry out the feasibility study in March, with work completed in the summer and a final decision taken over the project later in the year.