The Port of Southampton is the busiest cruise hub in the UK and is known as the cruise capital of Northern Europe. This bustling cruise port has five total cruise terminals: Horizon, Mayflower, City Cruise, Ocean and QEII. Two of the terminals (City and Ocean) are within walking distance of the city center, while the other two are a five-minute taxi ride away.
Read on for our breakdown of the Port of Southampton, including address information, cruise line terminals, directions, services and more. Also, be sure to check out Cruise Critic's ranked cruise deals from the Port of Southampton and see what tips, tricks and secret advice our Cruise Critic members have to say about cruises from the Port of Southampton.
**Horizon Cruise Terminal ** Western Docks Southampton SO15 1AW
City Cruise Terminal Herbert Walker Avenue Western Docks Southampton SO15 1HJ
Mayflower Cruise Terminal Western Docks Southampton SO15 1HJ
Ocean Cruise Terminal Eastern Docks Southampton SO14 3QN
QEII Cruise Terminal Eastern Docks Southampton SO14 3GG
All five terminals at the Southampton cruise port serve several major cruise lines, including P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Azamara, Disney Cruise Line, Explora Journeys and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
There are multiple ways to get to the port of Southampton. Here are some of the direction options:
From the North, East and London Regions Travelling on the M3 southbound, follow signs for Southampton. Merge onto the M27 and follow the signs for the M27 West. Leave the M27 at Junction 3 and at the roundabout take the 1st exit signed M271 toward Southampton/The Docks.
At the next roundabout (Redbridge) take the 1st exit onto the A33 which will lead you along a dual carriageway heading into Southampton to the relevant Dock Gate assigned for your cruise.
For Ocean and QE11 Cruise Terminals only: From the end of the M3 at junction 14 follow A33 signs for Southampton & The Docks. This route will bring you out close to the Eastern Docks and Dock Gate 4, where the Ocean Cruise Terminal and QE11 Terminal are situated.
For the Western Docks proceed to City Cruise Terminal (access through Dock Gate 8) or for Mayflower Terminal proceed through Dock Gate 10.
From the West: From the A31 Poole & Bournemouth areas follow the road through the New Forest to join the M27. Leave the M27 at junction 3 and at the roundabout take the 3rd exit signed M271 toward Southampton/The Docks.
At the next roundabout (Redbridge) take the 1st exit onto the A33 which will lead you along a dual carriageway heading into Southampton to the relevant Dock Gate assigned for your cruise:
Horizon Cruise Terminal: Dock Gate 10
City Cruise Terminal: Dock Gate 10
Mayflower Cruise Terminal: Dock Gate 10
Ocean Cruise Terminal: Dock Gate 4
QE11 Cruise Terminal: Dock Gate 4
Parking is available for passengers traveling from all five terminals. To guarantee your spot it's advisable to pre-book in advance, especially during the busy summer months from July to September when facilities do sell out on occasion due to high levels of bookings.
The car parking service on offer for each cruise will depend on your cruise line operator and your departure and arrival terminal. Note that, typically, the longer the cruise, the cheaper the daily parking rate.
AB Parking (Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, among others) and CPS (P&O Cruises, Cunard and Princess Cruises) are the two main parking providers, though there are other independent operators. For more information, visit Cruise Southampton.
For passengers travelling with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises there's self-parking available right next to City Cruise Terminal (less than a minute walk away).
For Fred. Olsen, Celebrity Cruises and Saga Cruises passengers, the AB Parking service is at Western Docks and can be accessed through Dock Gate 8, 10 or 20.
Parking for Princess, Cunard and P&O Cruises' passengers is run by CPS Cruise and Passenger Services. They offer a valet-parking service, allowing you to drop off your car at the terminal and pick it up from their car park which is a two-minute walk away.
Southampton International Airport is served by several UK and European carriers from destinations including Newcastle, Jersey, Belfast, Edinburgh and Amsterdam, making it a good option for cruisers travelling to Southampton from across the UK and Northern Europe.
Most international passengers, however, will fly into London's two major airports: Heathrow or Gatwick. Although they’re located in the southeast, neither of these airports is particularly close. Heathrow is approximately a 1.5-hour drive from Southampton and Gatwick is a two-hour drive.
There's no one bus or train that will take you directly from any of the airports to the cruise terminals. From Southampton International Airport, there's a direct 10-minute train to Southampton Central station. You could then either walk, take a taxi or ride the bus.
There are no direct shared van shuttle style services available. While you could theoretically rent a car at either Heathrow or Gatwick (several Southampton hotels offer 'cruise & stay' parking packages), it's far easier to pre-arrange a taxi.
Taxis are readily available at Southampton International Airport, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. The latter airports, however, are both such a distance away that it's far cheaper to pre-book a taxi beforehand. West Quay Cars is one of Southampton's largest taxi services.
Uber is available from all three airports. From Heathrow, the fares are similar to taxis fare, though bear in mind Uber prices can increase with demand.
The new Horizon and City Cruise terminals are easy walking distance of shops and eateries in the centre of Southampton. It's roughly a five-minute stroll from Oxford Street where snacks, toiletries and light grocery items are available and there are several nice restaurants here too. Mayflower is the furthest from the center and requires a short five-minute taxi ride.
Otherwise, all terminals provide complimentary water and magazines. All also have a fully licensed bar serving both hot and cold food and drinks as well as a café serving snacks and refreshments. There are also a couple of vending machines and souvenirs (T-shirts, mugs and fridge magnets) to buy, but little else.
The Southampton Central train station is serviced by direct trains from London, Gatwick Airport and other major stations around the south of the U.K.
While there isn't a direct train from Heathrow to Southampton, there are hourly direct trains from Gatwick to Southampton Central train station, which takes around two hours.
Taking a taxi from either Southampton's bus or train stations to your cruise terminal is your best option.
If you arrive into Southampton Central train station, there's also a public bus (U1C) to Dock Gate 4. For security reasons, all passengers must line up at the Dock Gate 4 bus stop and walk the remaining distance to their cruise terminal.
If you've got a lot of luggage and don't want to walk, then you can hop in one of the taxis outside Southampton Central Train Station and takes about five minutes.
The cheapest public transport option from Heathrow or Gatwick is to take a scheduled National Express bus to Southampton. From Heathrow to Southampton Central Station the journey takes a little under two hours. From Gatwick it's much longer -- around 3-4 hours and includes one change.
All cruise lines provide wheelchair assistance at all four terminals free of charge. Look for signs saying "Assisted Boarding" and staff wearing orange tabards with "Mobility Assistance" written on their backs. They will escort you in a wheelchair all the way from check-in through security and onto the ship.
Porters are available to help passengers with luggage on embarkation and disembarkation days at all five of Southampton's cruise terminals. Tipping is at your discretion.
There are plenty of large bathrooms and one disabled access bathroom on each floor of every terminal.
All terminals provide complimentary Wi-Fi.
All cruise terminals provide ample seating for passengers in the embarkation/ticketing halls. City Cruise Terminal has 500 seats and Mayflower Terminal provides seating for 700 people. Ocean Terminal, QEII and Horizon have 1000 seats at check-in.
All four terminals have separate VIP seating areas for suite and premier club passengers, where free drinks and snacks are provided.
Checking In: Make sure you are going to the correct terminal for check-in and always defer to your cruise line's instructions for when to arrive to board your cruise. The Port of Southampton recommends sticking to the time your travel agent or cruise operator suggests, as it can get quite busy.
Check if your cruise terminal has a security screening (City Cruise Terminal for example does this) before proceeding to check-in counters.
ATMs: There are no ATMs or payphones in any of the cruise terminals.
Where to Store Luggage: All terminals have secure storeage facilities.
Take Ship Photos: Mayflower Park, which you'll find on the seafront next to the cruise terminal entrance to the western docks, is a great place to take pictures of your ship. Better still is Vokes Memorial Park (slightly more inland) which is intentionally raised for this very purpose.
What to See And Do: If you've time to spare and want to soak up some history, we recommend coming in the night before and staying in the city. Soutampton is soaked in maritime history, from the Mayflower, to Titanic to today's title as the busiest cruise port in northern Europe.
We've put together a handy guide -- Best Things to Do in Southampton Before a Cruise -- which will guide you through the best sites, restaurants and bars to try out ahead of your departure.
If you're looking for Titanic history then you are spoilt for choice -- our top recommendation is the SeaCity Museum (pictured above), which has an outstanding exhibition on the ill-fated liner, which left here in April 1912. Alternatively you may want to soak up the atmosphere in some of the many pubs where crew and passengers frequented ahead of the voyage -- The White Star Tavern (which was the ticket office for the line of the same name); is a short walk from the Mayflower Cruise Terminal on Oxford Street; or you can visit The Grapes Public House, also on Oxford Street, which is a five-minute walk from City Cruise Terminal. It was in this establishment that crew members from the Titanic came for a glass or two before the ship set sail. Legend has it that some crew members drank so much that they ended up missing the ship's departure, which of course saved their lives.