The cruise terminal in Liverpool could be permitted to change the way it operates under proposals put forward for consultation by Shipping Minister Mike Penning on Thursday.
Opening in 2007, the terminal was built with grants from the North West Development Agency, of £7.16m, and the European Regional Development Fund, which contributed £8.62m.
The cruise terminal is owned by Liverpool City Council and operated on its behalf by Peel Ports.
At present, the cruise terminal is subject to a grant condition from the Department for Transport which precludes its use for "turnaround" operations, meaning it currently does not allow for cruises to start and end in the city. The cruise terminal is limited to use for port of call cruises only.
The condition was set at the request of the Department for Transport in order to safeguard fair competition with other terminals in the UK that had not benefited from public subsidy, either at all, or at least in recent years.
Operations at the cruise terminal in Liverpool were restricted to cruises calling at the city as part of a longer trip.
Last month, Liverpool City Council put forward proposals for a partial repayment of this public subsidy in return for a lifting of these restrictions. The Government is now consulting on a potential way forward based on these proposals.
Penning said: "Liverpool has a rich maritime heritage spanning many centuries, and I am keen to see that continue. However, I have been clear throughout this process that I am equally committed to ensuring fair competition across all UK ports. That is why I am pleased that Liverpool City Council have come forward with proposals which recognise this.
"However it is also important to hear the views of other interested parties, which is why I am launching a 10-week consultation. Once this period is over, I will consider carefully any comments I have received before making a final decision."
The proposals put forward by Liverpool City Council include a repayment of £5.3m spread evenly over 15 years. A targeted consultation of port operators and other interested parties will now take place until 15 September.
A final decision on whether to approve Liverpool City Council's application is expected early in the new Parliamentary year.