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Southampton Cruise Port

by | Apr 25, 2021 | 0 comments

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How To Get To Southampton Cruise Port

This of course will be dependent on which cruise terminal your ship will be departing from. General direction are below with more detailed information under each cruise terminal section.

Arriving by Car & Parking

The Port of Southampton is located within close distance of the UK motorway network via the M27 or M3 motorways. The port and relevant cruise terminals are well signposted as you approach the city and are located just off the A33. There are a number of short-term and long-term parking options for cruise passengers departing from Southampton: ABParking is the only official operator with on-site car parks located within the Port of Southampton. Airlynx Parking has secure off-site parking and offers transfers to all of the cruise terminals. Each cruise terminal has disabled bays, as well as drop-off points and Pay & Display short-term car parking facilities.

Arriving By Rail

Southampton Central Station is the closest railway station to the Port of Southampton. From here, the port is just a five-minute taxi ride and taxis are readily available at the station. If your ship is departing from the Mayflower or City Cruise terminals then it is possible to reach them from the train station on foot if you so choose.

Arriving by Air

The nearest airport is Southampton International Airport, on the outskirts of the city. Trains from the airport to the Southampton Central station take around 8 minutes and run every 10-15 minutes. It is literally about 99 steps from the airport terminal to the station platform. There is a taxi desk located within the airport terminal. Taxis are permitted entry to Dock Gates 4, 8 and 10 on cruise days. Pre-booking is recommended to speed your journey through at busy times. A map of the Terminal can be found here

Arriving by Coach

There are regular National Express coaches to Southampton’s central coach station. From here, it is between 10 and 15 minutes walk to the terminals.

Arriving by Foot

Southampton City Centre, with its many hotels is within walking distance of all four terminals and takes approximately 15-20 minutes depending on which terminal you are departing from and where you are in the city. This is fine if on a short cruise and you have minimal luggage. Perhaps not so if you carry a lot.

The Cruise Terminals

City Cruise Terminal
Directions
Southampton’s City Cruise Terminal is one of its busiest. The terminal is easily accessible by car or public transport. If you’re driving head towards the Western Docks, following the A33, West Quay Road. Look for signage to Dock Gate 10; the City terminal is just through there. You can sometimes also enter via Gate Dock 8 which is next to the Holiday Inn. Very handy if you happen to be staying at the hotel the night before. However, this gate is not always open so we would suggest a quick recon before you pull all your luggage to the gate only to find it is shut. If it is the walk around is not too far but if it’s raining it might not be too pleasant.

Arrivals
Facilities in the arrivals include standard and disabled access toilets, vending machines offering a limited range of drinks and snacks, as well as a magazine stand offering a range of complimentary magazines. Copies of Map & Guide to Southampton can also be found here – great for seeing what’s in walking distance as well as what’s on offer in the city. Taxi ranks and coach bays can be found just outside the terminal as you exit. Pre-booking with a local firm can save waiting in long queues; we suggest using WestQuay Cars, as they have a large number of drivers with a variety of vehicle types depending on your needs.

Departures
A dedicated drop-off area for luggage is available outside the terminal. Just swing by to drop your luggage off with porters before continuing on to park.

Parking
A short stay Pay & Display car park can be found opposite the main building, with disabled bays right next to the drop-off point.

Check-In
As soon as your luggage is safe with porters (remembering to keep any essential items with you (tickets, passports, medications etc), head into the terminal. You will need to go through security before check-in, so make sure you’ve got your tickets and passport ready. Upon clearing security, you will be able to check in at one of 50 service desks. The number of desks available varies between cruise operators and ship sizes. Just remember to stick to the time your travel agent or cruise operator suggests, as it can get quite busy. Facilities

  •  Wifi Available
  • Plenty of Seating
  • Standard and disabled toilet access
  • Ceanos Cafe – offering hot and cold snack and beverages.

Useful to Know
Some facilities are not available at the terminal so you may want to visit these before you arrive if you need them.

  • ATM
  • Postbox
  • Payphone
Mayflower Cruise Terminal
 

Mayflower Cruise Terminal

Photo © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Directions
If you are driving down, finding the terminal is fairly easy. Just follow the A33 heading for the Western Docks via Dock Gate 10. At peak boarding times this gate entrance can get very busy with slow moving traffic so bear that in mind. There is nothing more frustrating when you are so excited to be boarding your ship. You can also enter via Dock Gate 20 but this is a more circuitous route but is less busy. It’s around a 20-minute walk from Southampton Central train station and we have found this to be quicker than a taxi if the traffic is particularly bad. That said it does depend on how much luggage you have to carry or pull.

Arrivals
For those disembarking in Southampton, the arrivals lounge has ample comfortable seating for passengers to take advantage of. Facilities include standard and disabled access toilets, vending machines with a limited selection of snacks and drinks, as well as a magazine stand offering complimentary copies magazines.

Departures
As you approach the terminal, you will see that there is a dedicated area for dropping off your luggage before you park. Porters will be on hand to help with your bags. If you are anything like us we always hang around and ensure our bags are placed on the conveyor belts before heading into the terminal. If you are arriving by taxi, you will be dropped off right next to the luggage point. Those travelling by coach will alight opposite the terminal, a short distance from the luggage area.

Parking A short term Pay & Display car park is available opposite the terminal. Disabled bays are available next to the drop-off point, however you must notify ABP in advance, as demand for these can be high during peak time. Long stay car parks are available nearby.

Check-In
As soon as you’ve dropped your luggage off with the porters (making sure to keep any essentials such as passports, tickets and any medications with you) it’s time to make your way to check-in. Staff should be on hand to help direct you. Once checked-in, you will need to go through security before entering the departure lounge.

Facilities

  • Wifi Available
  • Plenty of Seating
  • Standard and disabled toilet access
  • Ceanos Cafe – offering hot and cold snack and beverages.

Useful to Know
Some facilities are not available at the terminal so you may want to visit these before you arrive

  • ATM
  • Postbox
  • Payphone (I’m not sure anyone uses these anymore?)
Ocean Cruise Terminal

Directions

One of Southampton’s busiest terminals, Ocean has a host of amenities to make your time there as straightforward and comfortable as possible. Getting there is easy. Just off the A33, Platform Road head for Dock Gate 4. Make sure to allow plenty of time, as traffic can get heavy during peak time. Arrivals As you approach the terminal, to your left is the baggage handling area. Drop-off is located adjacent. Porters are quick to help with your luggage. If parking, you will need to bring your luggage over to this area yourself.

Departures
Things can look a little hectic when you first arrive. Two large doors frame the front of the building. Both sets lead into the same reception area, so there’s no need to worry about entering the wrong end. Seating for 100-150 is located downstairs. If you are waiting for a family member or friend to park, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to wait and relax down here.

Parking
hort stay parking, located just behind the coach bays, is to your right as you face the terminal. Starting at £1 per hour, prices rise to £10 for 24 hours. A lost or damaged ticket will set you back a £100, so make sure to keep it safe. Long stay parking is situated behind the short stay car park. It’s not available on the day, so don’t leave booking a space until the last moment. Your travel agent or cruise operator should be able to book this for you.

Check In
For this, you will need to head upstairs. An escalator, stairs and a lift are available. Check-in staff will be on hand to guide you to where you need to go. Priority check-in takes up the first 3-5 desks, with a separate queue clearly marked. Around 30-40 desks are available in total.

Facilities

  •  Wifi Available
  • Plenty of Seating
  • Standard and disabled toilet access
  • Ceanos Cafe – offering hot and cold snack and beverages.

Useful to Know Some facilities are not available at the terminal so you may want to visit these before you arrive if you need them.

  • ATM
  • Postbox
  • Payphone
QE II Cruise Terminal
QE2 Terminal SouthamptonPhoto © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

One of Southampton’s many busy terminals, QEII has a range of amenities on offer to make your departure or arrival as quick and painless as possible. The terminal has been the subject of more than £5m worth of refurbishments, including the installation of a state-of-the-art ship-to-shore walkway, ensuring a greater range of cruise ships can utilise the terminal, improving passenger flow and experience.

Directions
The terminal can be found off the A33, Platform Road in the Eastern Docks. Getting there is easy, just follow signage for Dock Gate 4, making sure to leave yourself extra time as traffic can get heavy during peak time. If you are arriving by rail then Southampton Central is the nearest station. Around 2 miles from the terminal, a free bus does run between the station and Town Quay, but it’s still around a 15-20 minute walk – perhaps not so practical if you have a fair bit of luggage with you. Catching a taxi is the easiest option, as these can be found on either side of the train station. It should cost around £6 – £7 (slightly higher over weekends and bank holidays) however luggage shouldn’t cost any extra.

Arrival For those arriving in Southampton, there is an arrivals lounge with comfortable seating. Open to the public, this offers the opportunity for friends and family coming to meet you and wait inside in relative comfort. Facilities in arrivals include standard and disabled access toilets, vending machines offering a limited range of drinks and snacks, as well as a magazine stand offering a range of complimentary magazines. Copies of Map & Guide to Southampton can also be found here – great for seeing what’s in walking distance as well as what’s on offer in the city.

Departures
A large covered area for drop-off and luggage can be found near the terminal. If you are catching a taxi, or a family member is dropping you off, porters will help you with your luggage as you alight here. If you are parking, just head back here once you have parked. Staff will direct you where needed.

Parking
A short stay pay and display car park is available opposite the terminal. Disabled bays, near the terminal entrance, must be booked in advance through ABP. Long stay parking can be found on-site, however, it’s not available to purchase on the day; make sure to book in advance, as spaces can fill up during peak time.

Check-In
After you’ve dropped your luggage off with the porters (making sure to keep any hand luggage, tickets and passports with you) head into the terminal for Check-in. Staff should be on hand to direct you. Once checked in, you will need to go through security before heading on through to the departure lounge.
Facilities

  • Wifi Available
  • Plenty of Seating
  • Standard and disabled toilet access
  • Ceanos Cafe – offering hot and cold snack and beverages.

Useful to Know Some facilities are not available at the terminal so you may want to visit these before you arrive if you need them.

  • ATM
  • Postbox
  • Payphone
Horizon Cruise Terminal (New)

A brand new cruise terminal is due to open in Summer 2021 for both MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. Located in the city’s Western Docks it will be “next-generation-ready” and will accommodate 6000+ passengers ships. The terminal will not be exclusive to MSC and NCL and will be used by other cruise lines.  It was recently announced that this new terminal would be called Horizon.

Things to do in Southampton

Southampton is a great place to explore either pre or post-cruise. Enjoy a walk along Southampton’s medieval town wall and discover its rich history. Visit the Tudor House and Garden, probably Southampton’s most important historic building. There are quite a few parks within Southampton that are perfect for a leisurely stroll. Watt’s and East Park are especially good if the weather is fine. The SeaCity Museum is a perfect introduction to Southampton’s long connection with the sea. The Titanic story is a fascinating insight into this famous ocean liner and the city where more than 500 households lost a family member in the 1912 disaster.

Medieval City Walls 

Hidden mostly from view behind the facade of a modern city lies the medieval walls and ruined towers that once encircled the old medieval trading town. The walk takes in 13 remaining towers, six city gates, and half a mile of thick stone walls and arcades. Most existing features were built in the 1360s to defend the population from coastal raids (French, Castile, Genoan, Scottish and Scandinavian) that were not uncommon in fourteenth-century England. The need for the walls had declined by the 18th century, and they gradually fell into disrepair and ruin. Today, many of Southampton’s older buildings are built into, onto, or out of these great walls.

The “Walk the Southampton Walls” trail can be picked up anywhere along the 1.25-mile length of the walls. This said, the “Bargate” city gate is perhaps the best-known and easiest to find medieval landmark along the trail.

Tudor House and Garden

Tudor House reveals over 800 years of history in one fascinating location at the heart of the Old Town. Built in the late 15th Century Tudor House gives a unique and atmospheric insight into the lives and times of both its residents through the years and of Southampton itself. The house is well maintained and is full of interesting stories from across the years. Particularly fascinating to us was the WW2 Air Raid shelter display. Dimly lit this small cellar is set up with bunks, lamps, and fire extinguishers. An audiotape plays the sound of a family settling in for the night with the father reassuring the children that all will be well. Very evocative. As well as the house itself visitors can explore the museum, gardens and the adjacent Kings John Palace which is a ruined Norman Townhouse which is 300 years older than Tudor House.

Medieval Merchant House

Only a short stroll from Tudor House is the equally fascinating Medieval Merchant’s House. Built in 1290 by a wine merchant it was used as both a residence and a shop. The hanging wine barrel making it obvious to passersby what was on sale here. It’s very small (there are only 4 rooms to look at). For that I think the entrance fee (£5 at time of writing) is a little steep.

SeaCity Museum

Southampton’s long connection with the sea is told through the stories of the people of the city. There are 3 permanent exhibitions

  • Southampton’s Titanic Story View the Titanic Story and how the disaster affected the city where over 500 households lost a family member.
  • Gateway to the World This exhibition recounts the stories of people who have arrived and departed the Port of Southampton over the last 200,000 years from the earliest settlers to people living in the city today.
  • Southampton Stories Focusing on the city’s rich maritime history this new permanent exhibition brings to life local history, archaeology and archive collections
SeaCity Museum

Titanic Trail

Inextricably linked with RMS Titanic there are a number of memorials within the city dedicated to those that perished when the ship sank in 1912. You can download a trail map using the link below. Titanic Trail Map

Titanic

SS Shieldhall

Sticking with the maritime theme Steamship Shieldhall is the largest working steamship in Britain. A member of the National Historic Fleet she serves as a seagoing tribute to Britain’s maritime heritage. You can experience the golden age of steam by booking on an excursion or visiting her in Southampton. See the impressive engine room with its original steam engines at work and the bridge, with its traditional instruments and gleaming brasswork; admire the ship’s steam-assisted steering gear (similar to that used on Titanic); talk to the Captain and crew and listen to the commentary as you pass the sights of Southampton Water and the Solent.

Solent Sky Museum

Despite it’s very close connections with the sea Southampton is not all about ships and shipping. Hampshire and the Solent region were the centre of the world for aviation research and development between 1910 and 1960. More than 26 aircraft manufacturers made this area their home and built everything from biplanes to spacecraft, and of course the legendary Spitfire.

See more than 20 airframes from the golden age of aviation including:

  • Supermarine Spitfire
  • Short Sandringham
  • Hawker Siddeley Harrier
  • Folland Gnat
  • DeHavilland Sea Vixen
  • DeHavilland Tiger Moth

Museum Website

Hotels near Southampton Cruise Terminal

We would always recommend arriving at your port of departure the day before, especially if you are flying in or travelling from afar. Unfortunately your cruise ship will not wait for you if your flight/train is delayed or there is traffic jam en route to the port. What better way to start your holiday than a pre-night stay in a hotel close to the port. We have selected a few we have personally stayed in and can recommend. Hover over the image for more details and to check prices.

Holiday Inn

This hotel is located very close to the City & Mayflower Terminals (and the soon-to-be-opened 5th terminal) so is an ideal hotel for your pre or post-cruise stay.

Leonardo Royal

The Leonardo Royal Southampton Grand Harbour is another hotel in a prime location near to the cruise terminals. Its convenient location means all that Southampton has to offer is just outside your doorstep.

Moxy Southampton

Located at the Westquay Shopping Centre and near the marina, Moxy Southampton is within walking distance of the centre of the city.

Southampton Harbour Hotel

Set on a small, private marina with a striking ’super yacht’ style design, this hotel is known for its stunning contemporary interiors.

Premier Inn - West Quay

Very conveniently located for the cruise ports and right next to the West Quay shopping centre this Premier Inn is very popular with pre-cruisers.

Jurys Inn

This attractive hotel is centrally located in Southampton and enjoys wonderful views out over East Park.

About Patrick O'Halloran

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