Cruises from Southampton – The Complete Guide

Cruise from Southampton

In recent years, the popularity of cruises from Southampton has soared – more people than ever are looking to begin their cruise holiday without the hassle of flying. Higher demand ultimately means more options and avid cruise fans are now spoilt for choice when it comes to these exciting no-fly itineraries and the ships that offer them.

Our complete guide to cruises from Southampton, the UK’s cruise capital, is the only resource you need to refer to when it comes to choosing your no-fly cruise holiday. We’ve packed it full of useful information, tips, advice, and recommendations.

Port of Southampton

The port of Southampton is the largest in the UK and is also Europe’s leading turnaround cruise port. Every year hundreds of cruise ships sail from one of the ports five terminals, and that now includes the brand-new Horizon terminal which opened mid-2021 and was built in partnership with MSC Cruises. The port is easily accessible no matter how you arrive, and there are dozens of hotels on its doorstep. If you are travelling to Southampton the day before your cruise it’s worth while doing a little research on hotels in the area, as some offer specific deals for cruise passengers. This sometimes includes parking at the hotel for the duration of your cruise and dinner and breakfast food discounts.

MSC Cruises Southampton Terminal
New Southampton Terminal
Inside the new MSC Cruises/ABT terminal in Southampton

London rail connections are fast and frequent and there’s a direct rail line from Southampton Airport to Southampton Central. It really is one of the easiest cruise ports to reach by car, rail, and air. If you are arriving by rail and need to pick up a train departing London for Southampton, we recommend doing this as soon as the tickets are released – you can often save more than £30 per ticket. The closer to departure, the higher the cost. Booking early can sometimes see you grab tickets for as little as £7, whereas a few weeks before they tend to increase to around £40. You’re welcome.

Port facilities for cruise passengers include secure car parking – both short and long term – and taxi ranks with cabs available frequently. If you have reserved seats on a dedicated cruise transfer service, these buses drop off and pick up right outside the terminal entrance. In short, the port of Southampton makes no-fly cruises an absolute doddle to embark and disembark.

To make things even easier, we’ve noted below the address and berth number for each of Southampton’s five cruise ship terminals. It might be worth making a note of the below if you haven’t already bookmarked this page for future reference. It’s always good to be organised.

  • Ocean Cruise Terminal – Berth 46-49, Dock Gate 4, Cunard Road, Southampton, SO14 3QN
  • Queen Elizabeth Terminal – Berth 38/39, Dock Gate 4, Southampton, SO14 3GG
  • City Cruise Terminal – Berth 101, Western Docks, Herbert Walker Ave, Southampton, SO15 1HJ
  • Mayflower Cruise Terminal – Berth 106, Dock Gate 10, Herbert Walker Ave, Southampton, SO15 1HJ
  • Horizon Cruise Terminal – Berth, 102 W Bay Rd, Southampton SO15 1AW

Things to do in Southampton

Southampton is the largest city in Hampshire, and it is steeped in history, including a rich maritime history, of course. Titanic sailed from Southampton on her one and only voyage in 1912, and there’s various nods located around the city that are dedicated to the memory of the liner and those lost.

West Quay Shopping Centre is right in the middle of the city and offers a range of retailers and food options – ideal if you’ve forgotten to pack some basics or essentials. If you’re all set and ready to go, then why not explore the city wall. This 14th-century wall protects the city’s old town and was built after a French raid. Bargate (the north entrance to the medieval side of Southampton) is certainly worth stopping by.

Other places of interest include the SeaCity Museum, Solent Sky, Southampton Common, Mayflower Park and Southampton City Art Gallery.

We’ll also note that there are many wonderful dining options available in the city, you’ll be hard pressed to make a quick decision. The majority that we think are worth considering are all within walking distance of the city centre. A few to keep in mind are the Dancing Man Brewery, 7 Bone Burger Co, Pig in the Wall, and Cabana.

Cruise lines and ships that sail from Southampton

A large majority of the worlds’ cruise lines sail from Southampton and the most popular include P&O Cruises, Cunard, Fred. Olsen Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Saga Cruises and MSC Cruises.

As well as there being a large variety of destinations available, there is also a huge choice of ships. In fact, the choice is so great if you’re a first-time cruiser it might seem a little difficult to navigate, so we’ve detailed below some information that will hopefully help you when it comes to choosing your cruise line and ship.

Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas Dodgems
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas sailing from Southampton

If you’re cruising as a family with young children or teenagers, or you’re just a real adrenalin junkie yourself and want some fast-paced onboard activities then we recommend the likes of Royal Caribbean (Anthem of the Seas), MSC Cruises (Virtuosa) and Norwegian Cruise Line (including Norwegian Getaway & NEW Norwergian Prima). These lines and their ships are ideal choices as they offer everything from water slides to dodgem cars – yes, you read that correctly.

The likes of P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises are great all-round. Although their ships don’t offer quite the same level of action, they are ideal for families, as they offer dedicated kids’ facilities and fully staffed clubs. These lines are also good choices for those new to cruising, couples, friends, and solo cruisers.

If you want to experience real traditional cruising, then you need look no further than Cunard. Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are the epitome of style, luxury, and class, and you’re in for a real treat regardless of which ship you choose. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Saga Cruises are ideal for couples, friends, and solo cruisers. Their smaller ships make socialising easy and enjoyable, and they quite often have solo coffee mornings. Saga is exclusively for the over 50’s, so your cruise holiday is guaranteed to be child free. Fred. Olsen do offer the occasional child friendly sailing, but you find that it’s predominantly couples, friends and solos that sail with the line.

Cunard ships cruises from Southampton
Cunard ships cruises from Southampton

Best time to book a no-fly cruise from Southampton

We always recommend booking well in advance if there is a particular itinerary you’d like to embark upon. There’s nothing worse than waiting until the last minute and then finding out the sailing is sold out, or the grade of cabin you prefer is unavailable. We always say if you want to do it, book it as soon as you see it.

There are always great cruise deals to be found, we’ve got hundreds waiting for you on our website, and the earlier you book, the more perks you’ll often receive. This might include a free upgrade, onboard credit, free drinks package or even some free excursions.

The additional benefit of booking early is the choice to hand-pick your cabin – yes, it can be done – as well as other little incentives that are offered and vary by cruise line.