Our check in time for the ship was at 10am. Hence we decided to leave from North west London at around 8am so that we would get our car parked (just outside the cruise ship terminal) and be ready to check in around 10.
The drive to Southampton was hassle free and we were at the terminal by 9.30am. There was bit of queue getting inside the parking area but after around 15min wait, we were parked up and ready to drop off our luggage.
We were expecting the embarkation to take some time due to several documents that had to be handed in during check in, lateral flow covid tests to be carried out on every passenger boarding the cruise and waiting for the results to come back as negative before being allowed to board. However the whole process was handled very well by MSC and cruise terminal staff. Thus, despite all the various queues to show documents and carry out tests, it only took about an hour in all and we were allowed to board the ship at 11am! One of the fastest embarkations we had encountered.