Cunard Queen Mary 2 docked at Southampton QEII Terminal

Southampton Cruise Port: Your Ultimate Logistics Guide from London (Airports & Trains)

Plan your stress-free journey now! This guide covers all you need to know for a smooth embarkation on your cruise adventure, whether you’re flying into London, taking the train, or seeking flexible options. As a long-time Londoner and with Southampton as my home port, I’m thrilled to share insider tips to make your cruise experience even better!

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๐Ÿ›ณ๏ธ Southampton Cruise Port Essentials: All You Need to Know

Port Addresses: Jump straight to my Guide on how to find your cruise terminal

  • City Cruise Terminal (Berth 101): Herbert Walker Avenue Western Docks Southampton SO15 1HJ
  • Horizon Cruise Terminal (Berth 102): Herbert Walker Avenue Western Docks Southampton SO15 1HJ
  • Mayflower Cruise Terminal (Berth 106): Western Docks Southampton SO15 1HJ
  • Ocean Cruise Terminal (Berth 46/47): Eastern Docks Southampton SO14 3QN
  • QEII Cruise Terminal (Berth 38/39): Eastern Docks Southampton SO14 3GG

Official Websites:

Currency: British Pounds

๐Ÿ’ท Cash or ๐Ÿ’ณ Card in UK?

  • ๐Ÿ’ณ Card is King: Card payments are widely accepted throughout London and Southampton, even in small shops. Contactless is the preferred method, with a generous limit of ยฃ100. You can use your card for train tickets, public transport, convenience stores, coffee shops, and museums. Be aware that some smaller shops may have a minimum card spend of ยฃ5-10.
  • ๐Ÿ’ท Cash as Backup: While you can easily go cashless in London and Southampton, it’s wise to have a few small bills (ยฃ5 or ยฃ10 notes) on hand for potential use outside major cities and towns in the UK.

Recommended Transport App: In London, Citymapper is my go-to resource for navigating across Greater London. If you’re visiting Once in Southampton, use Google Maps to access bus routes if needed

eSim roaming in UK: For a great data connection without the huge roaming fees, use an eSim data pack from Airalo. I always recommend having a smartphone with a valid plan when youโ€™re at port touring independently. Get US$3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo when you use ROXANN1666 when you sign up or apply it at checkout

๐Ÿ›ณ๏ธ Southampton Cruise Terminals – Knowing Where to Go

Entrance to Southampton Cruise Port City Cruise Terminal
City Cruise Terminal, on my way to board Anthem of the Seas

Southampton has five main cruise terminals and they’re spread around the docks! Figuring out which one is yours is key to a stress-free embarkation:

  • City Cruise Terminal (Berth 101) is usually used by Royal Caribbean’s cruise lines – Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises
  • Horizon Cruise Terminal (Berth 102) is usually used by MSC Cruises & Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)
  • Mayflower Cruise Terminal (Berth 106) is usually used by Carnival’s cruise lines – P&O cruises, Princess Cruises and sometimes by Cunard
  • Ocean Cruise Terminal (Berth 46/47) is usually used by Carnival’s cruise lines – P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and sometimes by Cunard
  • QEII Cruise Terminal (Berth 38/39) is usually used by Carnival’s cruise lines – Cunard, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises
Important Reminder: Cruise line schedules can change, so always double-check your ship's assigned terminal on your cruise documentation.
Anthem of the Seas docked at Southampton City Cruise Terminal, view from WestQuay shopping centre
Anthem of the Seas docked at Southampton City Cruise Terminal

FAQ: Is there a port shuttle to the Southampton cruise terminals?

Unfortunately, there’s no dedicated shuttle service directly to the cruise terminals. Sometimes, you might find online mentions of the QuayConnect service, which connects Southampton station with Town Quay (where the Isle of Wight ferries depart). While all cruise terminals are within a 15-minute walk from Town Quay, it’s much easier and more convenient to catch a taxi from the station.

๐Ÿš† Arriving to Southampton by Train?

From Southampton Train Station:

  • ๐Ÿš– Taxi: Taxis are easily found outside the station. The short ride to the cruise terminals will cost roughly ยฃ5-ยฃ10. Most Southampton taxis accept cards, but it’s always a good idea to double-check with your driver before starting the journey.
  • ๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธWalking: If your ship docks at the City or Horizon Cruise Terminals, they’re about a 15-minute walk (1 mile/1.6 km) from the station on flat ground. For other terminals, a taxi is strongly recommended due to the greater distance.

๐ŸšŒ Arriving to Southampton by Coach?

After exiting Southampton Coach Station, use the main station building exit (not the side gate). Turn left, and you’ll find Southampton train station directly across the road (approximately a 3-minute walk). Taxis are readily available at the train station. For ships docked at the City or Horizon Cruise Terminals, walking from the coach station is also an option.

Getting to Southampton early for your cruise?

Seen the movie Titanic? We all have! ๐Ÿ˜ So check out my DIY Titanic Walking Tour Guide – spend an hour or a few and immerse yourself in Titanic’s history. All suggested stops are within walking distance of Southampton Central station.

Getting to Southampton Cruise Port – Your Easy Options

Getting from London to Southampton cruise port is straightforward, with plenty of DIY options! While private transfers are always available, let’s focus on the best do-it-yourself ways to reach your ship:

1. โœˆ๏ธ From Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Southampton Cruise Port

National Express Coach at Birmingham Coach Station
National Express Coach; Source: Wikipedia

Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, offers a few options for reaching Southampton:

  • Direct Coach Services: National Express offer direct coaches from Heathrow to Southampton coach station. The journey takes around 2.5 hours (traffic dependent). Note that not all routes are direct, so check schedules carefully before buying your ticket online. This is the most budget-friendly way to reach Southampton while avoiding London traffic. Follow directions above from Southampton coach station to your cruise terminal.
    • Tip: Book your coach ticket according to your Heathrow arrival terminal (Terminals 2 & 3, Terminal 4, or Terminal 5) for the correct pickup location.
  • Train with Changes: Trains to Southampton depart from London Waterloo or London Victoria stations. Here’s how to get there from Heathrow:
    • Cheapest: Take the Tube (Piccadilly line) to Green Park station, then change lines to either Victoria or Waterloo.
    • Faster (more expensive): Take the Elizabeth line to Bond Street and change to Waterloo.
    • Least Recommended: The Heathrow Express to Paddington is the costliest option. Plus, the interchange at Paddington to reach Victoria or Waterloo stations can be challenging.
    • Check Rail Timetables at National Rail; it is generally much cheaper to pre-book tickets. Note the cheapest Advance tickets are for a specific train service.

2. โœˆ๏ธ From Gatwick Airport (LGW) to Southampton Cruise Port

While the journey from Gatwick Airport to Southampton isn’t as streamlined as Heathrow, a DIY transfer is still very doable!

  • Recommended: Train with Changes: Gatwick Airport has a train station directly connected. Take a train to Clapham Junction or London Victoria stations, where you can easily catch direct trains to Southampton Central Station. This offers the most efficient and flexible route.
  • Least Recommended: Coach Services: National Express offers an indirect coach option via London Victoria. This significantly lengthens your journey time, as it involves traveling into central London and back out again. Only consider this route as a last resort.

3. ๐Ÿš† Train or ๐ŸšŒ Coach from Central London to Southampton Cruise Port

London Victoria Concourse; Image by Jรถrg Prohaszka from Pixabay

If you’re already in London from a pre-cruise stay, getting to Southampton for your cruise is a breeze:

  • Fastest: Direct Trains: Catch a direct train from London Waterloo or London Victoria to Southampton Central Station. Journey time can be as quick as 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remember, pre-booking ‘Advance’ tickets offers the best fares but locks you into a specific train time.
  • Cheapest: Direct Coach Services: National Express runs frequent direct coaches from London Victoria Coach Station to Southampton. This is the most budget-friendly option, with one-way pre-booked fares starting at ยฃ5.50.
  • Reaching the Port: From Southampton Central Station, taxis are readily available to take you to your cruise terminal. If you’re docked at the City or Horizon Cruise Terminals, they’re also within walking distance.

Wishing you smooth sailing! If you found this guide useful, please share it with fellow cruisers. Got more questions about Southampton logistics? Leave a comment below!

Featured Image is the QE Mary II docked in Southampton, taken by me when I was sailing back into Southampton myself!

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