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Cruises to Southampton

1,014 Reviews
Southampton (Photo:main: Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Southampton

Located on the south coast of England, Southampton served as the historic ocean liner gateway for the British Empire and the intense North Atlantic passenger trade to the U.S. and Canada. Today it is the United Kingdom's - and indeed Europe's -- leading cruise port. If you are planning a cruise in the UK, you'll find plenty of itineraries that depart or include a stop in Southampton.

Best known as the homeport of Cunard's Queen Mary 2, Southampton now hosts a wide variety of cruise ships in the booming European cruise market with the principal lines being Cunard, Fred. Olsen, Royal Caribbean, P&O Cruises and Saga Cruises.

For most cruise passengers, it's the first and/or last port on a European cruise or Atlantic crossing. But New York it ain't, and the first thing you see as you approach is not the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building, but a giant IKEA.

A pleasant, bustling city of around a quarter of a million inhabitants, Southampton has several areas of interest, though much of its historic medieval character was destroyed during World War II. In 1620, the Mayflower left from just outside the existing city walls, and the waterfront recalls this historic voyage. From Mayflower Park, you can enjoy watching the container ships pass en route to and from the freight terminal beyond the Western Docks, cruise ships departing from three separate locations, and excursion boats and cross-harbor ferries flitting around the port.

Today, it is a modern shopping destination, business center and university town (the University of Southampton is a major British research university; among its well-known alumni is QM2 designer Stephen Payne with a large commercial port in addition to its year-round cruise operations.

It's not somewhere you want to hang around (unless you want to pick up some flat pack furniture), and most visiting cruise passengers will use Southampton as a gateway to nearby London (an hour and 10 minutes away by train). It is also a good starting point for the Isle of Wight (reachable by ferry) and the surrounding county of Hampshire and Wiltshire, with their numerous attractions.

  • More about Southampton

  • Why Cruise to Southampton?

  • Southampton Cruise Port Facilities?

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14 Nights

Repo - Transatlantic

Port: Miami • Ponta Delgada • Lisbon • Vigo • Le Havre • Southampton

449 reviews
Nov 3, 2024
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Nights

Europe - Classic Mediterranean

Port: Southampton • Le Verdon • Bilbao • La Coruna • Porto • Lisbon • Seville • Cartagena +4 more

366 reviews
Oct 6, 2024
Norwegian Cruise Line
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C E L  A X  Solarium2
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C E L  A X  Retreat Sundeck1a
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Celebrity Apex

7 Nights

Norwegian Fjords Cruise

Port: Southampton • Brugge • Flam • Geiranger • Bergen • Southampton

223 reviews
Jun 28, 2025
Celebrity Cruises
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16 Nights

Grand Voyage Cruise

Port: Southampton • Le Havre • Ponta Delgada • Tortola • St. Maarten • Antigua • Martinique +1 more

258 reviews
Nov 8, 2024
MSC Cruises
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13 Nights

Repo - Transatlantic

Port: Southampton • Le Havre • Vigo • Lisbon • Ponta Delgada • Miami

1,437 reviews
Feb 2, 2025
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Nights

Europe - Other

Port: New York • Halifax • Saint-Pierre • St. John's • Reykjavik • Belfast • Dublin • Le Havre +1 more

2,416 reviews
Apr 24, 2025
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

21 Nights

Transatlantic Cruise

Port: Southampton • Paris • Bilbao • Vigo • Madeira • Antigua • St. Thomas • Grand Cayman • Galveston

1,800 reviews
Princess Cruises
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12 Nights

Repo - Transatlantic

Port: Miami • Ponta Delgada • Southampton

3,918 reviews
Feb 7, 2025
Norwegian Cruise Line
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120 Nights

120 Night World Cruise

Port: San Diego • Honolulu • Kailua • Nuku Hiva • Rangiroa • Moorea • Tahiti • Bora Bora +60 more

117 reviews
Mar 7, 2026
Oceania Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

15 Nights

Transatlantic Cruise

Port: Fort Lauderdale • Madeira • Casablanca • La Coruna • Southampton

322 reviews
Mar 9, 2025
Princess Cruises
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13 Nights

Europe - Northern Cruise

Port: Reykjavik • Patreksfjorour • Akureyri • Husavik • Seydisfjordur • Djupivogur • Londonderry +5 more

361 reviews
Sep 7, 2024
Silversea
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12 Nights

12 Nt Norwegian Fjords & Arctic Circle

Port: Southampton • Brugge • Flam • Arctic Circle • Tromso • Honnigsvag • Arctic Circle • Geiranger +3 more

223 reviews
Jun 5, 2025
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Nights

Europe - Iceland

Port: Oslo • Kristiansund • Stavanger • Bergen • Alesund • Reykjavik • Isafjord • Akureyri +4 more

2,610 reviews
Sep 15, 2024
Norwegian Cruise Line
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16 Nights

Repo - Transatlantic

Port: Quebec City • Baie-Comeau • Gaspe • Saint-Pierre • St. John's • Reykjavik • Belfast +5 more

2,369 reviews
Aug 29, 2025
Norwegian Cruise Line
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93 Nights

World Cruise

Port: Los Angeles • San Francisco • Honolulu • Kona • Tahiti • Moorea • Paihia • Auckland • Tauranga +20 more

1,363 reviews
Feb 3, 2026
Cunard Line
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More about Southampton

Why Cruise to Southampton?

Pros:

Excellent Titanic Museum; historic center; minutes from beautiful countryside and Isle of Wight

Cons:

Southampton was bombed heavily in WWII and much of the city is blighted by ugly architecture

Bottom Line:

If you have just one day in the U.K. you are best off getting a train to London for the day rather than staying here

Southampton Cruise Port Facilities?

There is no reason to hang around the port area, and you can either walk (10 minutes) or jump in a cab (there are ranks outside each terminal) to the city center.

Good to Know?

If you come from the U.S. and land here for the first time, please remember that people drive on the left-hand side of the road in the U.K. When crossing the streets, it is always best to look both ways. Drivers have the right of way, and they take it unless you cross at a lined or "zebra" crossing.

Getting Around?

In Southampton: AutoEurope (800-223-5555) is a good first call. It represents a range of car rental agencies such as Avis and Hertz (and often offers better rates than the individual agencies). Hertz has a rental agency on West Quay Road and Southampton Central Station.



Between Southampton and London by train: Go to Southampton Central Station for Southwest Trains to London. You have the option of four departures an hour (some are direct to London; check timetables) with journey times of 70 to 90 minutes. To check schedules, visit Southwest Trains or National Rail Enquiries online. You can also call 0871 200-4950 for train timetable information. Fares are cheapest for departures after 10:00 a.m., so ask for a "cheap day single" (if you're not planning on coming back) or "day return" if you're planning on returning to the ship.



By bus: National Express coaches operate between Southampton's bus station and London's Victoria Coach Station, as well as between Southampton and the Central Bus Station at Heathrow Airport. Allow about 2.5 hours.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the British Pound. You will find ATMs at many bank branches. Banks usually take a commission from exchanging currency, while some travel agents and exchange offices advertise commission-free exchange. Check the rates as they can vary) Credit cards are widely accepted, but please note that many taxis do not take them.

Language?

This is England, so English, of course! But you'll hear many different accents by both native speakers and immigrants.

Where You're Docked?

Southampton has four widely separated cruise terminals. Two -- Ocean Terminal and QEII Terminal, accessible via gate 4 -- are located at the Eastern Docks, while the others -- Mayflower Terminal and City Terminal, accessible via gates 8, 10 or 20 -- can be found at the Western Docks. Both are about a five-minute taxi ride from the Southampton Central railway station, which is close to the city center.


Southampton Cruise Reviews
Had a very enjoyable day in Southampton. Our hotel was in a very touristy area with lots of shops and restaurants. We were able to walk to the waterfront, West Quay Mall, Tudor House Garden, Bargate, etc. Had 2 deRead More
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Kala89
I've been to Southampton a number of times before. I like to stay at the Ibis so I can walk down from the bus stop. Its also very close to the train. This time I went to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The Mary Rose anRead More
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Yaya_in_Oz
We thoroughly enjoyed Southampton. Did some shopping and dining at the large mall. We had a shuttle from the ship. Thank you, Cunard, for providing that. Read More
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Beekybird
We stayed at Holiday Inn Herbert Walker; very nice. It was close to West Quay Mall (Marks & Spencers) and shops on the High Street. Southampton is a blend of modern/historic and pleasant for wandering. Read More
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Senga

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