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A Cunard ship departing Southampton Cruise Terminal

A comprehensive guide to Southampton Cruise Terminals

Southampton offers a seamless and enjoyable starting point for a cruise adventure

Published on 29 Nov 2023


Southampton offers a seamless and enjoyable starting point for a cruise adventure, where efficiency, accessibility and scenic beauty converge. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Southampton’s cruise terminals, ensuring that your cruise experience begins with ease and comfort. 

Southampton: A premier cruise port

Southampton, located on the south coast of England, has earned its reputation as one of the UK’s premier cruise ports. It boasts a rich maritime history, with a lineage dating back to the RMS Titanic. Today, Southampton is a bustling hub for cruise enthusiasts, serving as the embarkation point for countless voyages to stunning destinations around the world. 

Southampton cruise terminals

Southampton offers five main cruise terminals, each catering to different cruise lines and itineraries. These terminals are well-equipped with modern amenities, ensuring a smooth and comfortable boarding process for passengers. 

City Cruise Terminal

The City Cruise Terminal is one of the oldest and most iconic cruise terminals in Southampton. It is conveniently located in the heart of the city, making it easily accessible by both public transportation and car. The terminal can accommodate large ships and is used by a variety of cruise lines, including Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises. With its central location, passengers can explore Southampton’s attractions or enjoy a meal at a local restaurant before boarding their cruise. 

General information:

Berth 101, following signage for Dock Gate 10, can be accessed via Docks 8 or 10.

Address: Western Docks, Date 8 or 10, Southampton, SO15 1BS

Mayflower Cruise Terminal

Named after the historic Mayflower ship that set sail from Southampton in 1620, the Mayflower Cruise Terminal offers a charming and historic atmosphere. It primarily serves Carnival Corporation with cruise lines like Princess CruisesCunard and P&O Cruises sailing from here. The terminal is located in the Eastern Docks and offers modern facilities, including spacious waiting areas and convenient parking options.

General information:

Address: Berth 106, Dock Gate 10, Southampton, SO15 1HJ

Ocean Cruise Terminal

Situated in the Western Docks, the Ocean Cruise Terminal is a state-of-the-art facility used by cruise lines such as P&O Cruises. Its strategic location allows for easy access to major roadways and transportation hubs. Passengers will appreciate the modern check-in facilities and comfortable lounges while waiting for their cruise to begin. 

General information: 

Address: Berth 46/47, Dock Gate 4, Southampton, SO 15 1HJ

Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Terminal

The Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Terminal, commonly referred to as QE2, is another gem among Southampton’s cruise facilities. This terminal often operates ships owned by Carnival Corporation, including P&O Cruises and Cunard. Located in the Eastern Docks, it offers an elegant and sophisticated ambience, ensuring that passengers start their cruise experience in style. Passengers here can enjoy light refreshments from Café Ceanos, located at the arrivals and departures lounge. 

General information:

Address: Berth 38/39, Dock Gate 4, Southampton, SO14 3GG

Horizons Cruise Terminal

The Horizon Cruise Terminal is the newest addition to the Southampton cruise port, having opened in 2021 after a £55 million investment from the Maritime Ministers. It is conveniently located next to Docking Gate 10 car park, which offers a hassle-free start to your cruise holiday. Here, you will find departures from Norwegian Cruise Line and Oceania Cruises, with the departure lounge providing ample seating for many passengers. Additionally, the terminal is positioned near the West Quay Shopping Centre, which is only a 5-minute drive away There, you can find many eateries for a quick bite to eat, or for any last-minute shopping you can take a stroll around the shops including designer retailers or your high street favourites. 

General information:

Address: Berth 102, Dock Gate 10, Horizon Cruise Terminal Southampton, Southampton, SO15 1AW

Preparing for your departure

Before setting sail from Southampton, there are several essential steps you should take to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

1. Booking your cruise

The first step in your cruise adventure is selecting the right cruise line, itinerary and ship. Southampton is a departure point for a wide range of cruise options, from short European getaways to transatlantic crossings and world cruises. Be sure to research different cruise lines and itineraries to find the one that suits your preferences and budget. 

2. Documentation

Ensure you have all the necessary travel documents, including your passport, visa (if required), cruise ticket and any relevant health or vaccination certificates. Double-check the expiration dates to avoid any last-minute surprises. 

3. Parking and transportation

If you plan to arrive at Southampton’s cruise terminals by car, make parking arrangements in advance. Many terminals offer on-site parking, but it’s wise to book your spot ahead of time. Alternatively, consider using a local taxi service or public transportation to reach the port. Our partner, Holiday Extras, can help you pre-book port hotels and parking.

4. Luggage preparation

Pack your luggage wisely and follow the cruise line’s guidelines regarding baggage allowances and restrictions. For many cruise lines sailing from the UK, you are given an ample amount of luggage allowance. It’s essential to label your luggage with your name and cruise information for easy identification upon arrival. 

5. Arrival time

Cruise lines typically provide specific embarkation times. Arriving at the terminal during your designated window helps avoid crowds and long wait times. However, it’s wise not to arrive too early, as you may not be allowed to board until your scheduled time. 

The embarkation process

Embarking on your cruise from Southampton is an exciting moment. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the embarkation process smoothly: 

1. Check-in

Upon arrival at the cruise terminal, you’ll proceed to the check-in area. Have your passport, cruise ticket and any required documentation ready. Cruise line staff will verify your information, take your photo for identification and provide you with your cruise card, which serves as your room key and onboard payment method. 

2. Security screening

After check-in, you’ll pass through a security screening similar to airport procedures. Be prepared to remove items from your pockets and undergo a security scan of your carry-on luggage. 

3. Boarding the ship

Once through security, you’ll be directed to the boarding area. Depending on your cruise line and cabin category, there may be a separate area for priority boarding. As you board the ship, expect a warm welcome from the crew, complete with smiles and possibly a glass of Champagne. 

4. Settling into your cabin

Once onboard, you can head to your cabin to drop off your hand luggage and familiarise yourself with your new home at sea. Most cabins are well-appointed and include amenities like a private bathroom, comfortable beds and a range of entertainment options. The porters will deliver your check-in luggage directly to your cabin later that day, typically prior to sailing away. 

5. Safety drill

Before the ship sets sail, there will be a mandatory safety drill, often referred to as the muster drill. Pay close attention to the safety instructions provided, as they are crucial for your well-being during the cruise. 

Southampton: A gateway to adventure

As your cruise departs from Southampton, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a variety of fascinating destinations, from the stunning fjords of Norway to the sun-soaked beaches of the Mediterranean. Southampton’s central location on the south coast of England makes it an ideal starting point for a wide range of itineraries. 

Popular Southampton cruise destinations

Mediterranean cruises

Cruise along the Mediterranean Sea, visiting enchanting ports of call in Spain, Italy, Greece and beyond. Explore historic cities, savour delicious cuisine and bask in the Mediterranean’s warm sun. 

Northern Europe cruises

Head north to explore the breathtaking landscapes of Northern Europe. Discover the beauty of the Norwegian Fjords, the charm of the Baltic capitals and the rugged landscapes of Iceland.

Transatlantic cruises

Embark on a transatlantic voyage, often crossing the Atlantic Ocean to reach destinations in the Caribbean, North America or South America. These longer cruises offer a unique opportunity to experience the serenity of the open sea. 

World cruises

For the ultimate adventure, consider a world cruise departing from Southampton. These extended voyages can last several months and take you to multiple continents and countries, providing an unparalleled travel experience. 

Southampton’s cruise terminals are more than just gateways; they are portals to extraordinary adventures. Explore historic Mediterranean cities, awe-inspiring Northern European landscapes and the boundless Atlantic Ocean or embark on an epic journey around the globe. Your cruise from Southampton promises unforgettable experiences and cherished memories. So, whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or setting sail for the first time, trust in the convenience, accessibility and efficiency of cruising from Southampton. 

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