Below is a guide of all the useful information you need to know about cruising from Southampton. This Southampton cruising guide includes helpful details such as how to get to Southampton cruise port, information on Southampton cruise terminals and their facilities, and what to do and see in Southampton before or after your cruise.
The UK's capital cruise port, Southampton has been the cradle of British Maritime history since medieval times with iconic ships such as the Mayflower and Titanic setting sail from her docks. Now famed for transatlantic-crossings to New York, as well as wider itineraries, Southampton holds the crown of being Europe’s main cruise port with almost 2 million passengers each year.
For many cruisers, Southampton is the gateway to the world without ever having to fly. As well as world cruises, popular destinations are:
Taking you to these varied destinations throughout the world, cruise lines sailing from Southampton include P&O Cruises, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, MSC, Carnival, Fred Olsen and, of course, Cunard.
With a total of four cruise terminals spread over a mile of docks, it’s important to know exactly which cruise terminal you should head to. The four Southampton cruise terminals are:
Here's a map with directions from main roads and public transport points to terminals plus other notable landmarks.
By Car and Parking
If driving from the north and east, Southampton is easy to get to with the M3 motorway going direct from London and easily accessible via the M25. Meanwhile, from the east, the A36 via Salisbury and A31 both join the short M27 motorway heading into Southampton. The four different docks are well signposted although there could be a bit of congestion just before the terminals as people unload or park.
There are fantastic parking facilities you can book right next to the terminals. These are both for long and short-stays with unlimited stays at around £5-7 per day or an hourly rate. From the car park, shuttle buses are provided direct to the terminals.
If you are going on a fly cruise, Southampton airport is well connected to cities in Britain and Western Europe although some flights are seasonal. The best way to get from Southampton Airport or London is by train which takes about an hour but there are coach connections as well. From Southampton Central Station there is a taxi rank just outside the entrance to the station. It is advised to pre-book as they could be busy on docking days but you can walk or get a bus instead if need be.
Whether you bring your car or come via public transport, everything is within comfortable walking distance from entering the port to boarding the ship. All Southampton cruise terminals are fully accessible with full access walkways, entrances and toilet facilities. It is advised you notify the line of any mobility limitations upon booking if in need of any assistance. The four terminals are all modern or recently renovated, with plenty of facilities to keep you comfortable until it’s time to depart or your connection arrives.
|City Terminal||Mayflower Cruise Terminal||Ocean Cruise Terminal||QEII Cruise Terminal|
|Waiting lounge||Short Stay Parking||Ship to shore walkway||Café|
|Toilets||Smoking Area||Free bus from station to town quay||Parking - short and long stay|
|Vending machines||Seating lounge||Lounge seating||Disabled access|
|Magazines||Magazines, maps and guides||Toilets||Porters|
|Public Meet & Greet area||Vending machines||Vending machines||Magazine stand|
|Baggage Drop Off and Collect||Water cooler||Magazines, maps and guides||Seating lounge|
|Porters||Alcoholic drinks||Public Meet & Greet area||Toilets|
|Café||Baggage Drop Off and Collect||Baggage Drop Off and Collect||Vending machines|
|Wi-Fi||Priority seating||Wi-Fi||Taxi rank|
|Wi-Fi||Priority seating||Drop off zone|
If there is anything you have forgotten to pack or sort out beforehand, the Westquay Shopping Centre is only five minutes’ walk away from the port’s entrance. Here you have all the conveniences you may not get at your terminal such as Wi-Fi, post, bureau de change, shops, restaurants, ATMs and payphones.
|Solent Sky Museum||Mon-Fri 10am-5pm||Adults: £8 |
|Tudor House and Garden||10am-3pm Mon-Thu; 10am-5pm Sun-Sat||Adults £5 |
|Westquay Shopping Centre||9am-8pm Mon-Sat; 11am-5pm Sun||Free||Harbour Parade|
As a major UK hub for tourism and a main cruise port, Southampton has many hotel chains located around the port and city centre while quainter BnB style accommodation can be found around the outskirts and surrounding areas with prices varying from £50 a night to £200. It’s strongly advised you book your hotel accommodation along with your cruise and parking to avoid inconvenience and disappointment as space can get very tight throughout the year, especially during peak cruising months.
While waiting for your cruise or connection, Southampton has plenty to do and see. To learn about the fascinating history of England’s celebrated maritime city, take a walk or guided tour around the historic medieval walls. For history fans, a wander around the old town and Tudor House and Gardens is a must. Meanwhile, if you are looking for souvenirs or a bit of retail therapy, the Westquay Shopping Centre has everything you forgot to pack plus a number of restaurants. To the east of Queen’s Park between the shopping centre and harbour, the Solent Sky Museum is a fantastic family outing where you can sit in historic aeroplanes such as Spitfires.
If you time your visit right there are also a number of festivals and events including many music festivals throughout the year and even Oktoberfest between 26th and 29th October. Additionally, if travelling via London, why not stop and see the world-famous sights that England’s capital city has to offer, from Big Ben and red buses to the iconic Natural History and British Museums.
If you want to hire a car to see the wider area, there are a couple of car rental companies located on W Quay Rd, a few minutes’ walk west of the main port entrance. Other tourist spots and places of interest around the Southampton area include the idyllic English town of Salisbury with its famous cathedral, just one hour’s drive northwest along the A36, as well as the legendary Stonehenge monument which has captured the imagination of visitors for millennia.
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