Port of Departure Southampton, England
An aerial view of Southampton cruise port, England. London is an 80-90 minute train ride from Southampton rail station.
Southampton, 'Cruise Capital' of the UK
The Port of Southampton became famous in the twentieth century as the United Kingdom's foremost port of departure for the great cruise lines. In terms of number of passengers, the most popular route used to be the transatlantic crossing to the USA. But in 1939 the first Pan Am passenger flight across the Atlantic signalled the finish of this golden time of ocean travel. In the following years Southampton came to prominence as a major Cruise port. Today the number of cruises from Southampton on offer each year is well over five hundred.
The port is split between the Eastern Docks and Western Docks. The Western Docks are the location for the Mayflower and City Cruise Terminals, the Eastern Docks the location for the QE2 and Ocean Cruise Terminals.
The Eastern Docks witnessed perhaps Southampton's most famous event. In 1912 the Titanic left from White Star Dock (near today's Ocean dock) on its first voyage. When the ship went down, of the 1500 lives lost, 500 were crew who lived in Southampton and the impact on the city was enormous.
Southampton Cruise Ship Terminals
Queen Elizabeth II Terminal - Berth 38/9
The QE2 terminal was opened in 1966 by the Queen. The dock is home to Cunard's cruiseliners, Queen Mary II, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. Facilities include a short stay car park, a bar, a taxi rank and a cafe. The viewing area is closed to visitors.
Ocean Cruise Terminal Berth 46
The first Ocean Cruise Terminal was a designer Art-Deco construction. Sadly this was demolished in 1983 The modern building, finished in 2009, is a total change from its namesake, being a huge modern design with simple curved lines. Facilites available include a short stay car park, a taxi rank, a bar and cafe.
City Cruise Terminal Berth 101
This Terminal has completed a 7 year refurbishment to double its capacity. It can now manage the largest 'Freedom Class' ships of RCI. Facilities include a short stay car park, a taxi rank, a bar and cafe. The nearby Mayflower Park is a good point to watch cruise ship departures.
Mayflower Cruise Terminal Berth 106
The Mayflower Cruise Terminal, opened in 1960, has long been associated with the P&O fleet of ships. Facilities are a taxi rank, a bar and cafe, and viewing gallery.
Cruises From Southampton
The choice of cruises from Southampton is possibly the best of any departure port in the world. Itineraries from Southampton include voyages north to the magnificent Norwegian Fjords, north-east to the Baltic Sea and majestic St Petersburg, south to the beautiful Canaries, south then east to the wonderful Mediterranean, and let's not forget, for the real ocean-lover in you, the classic westbound transatlantic voyage to New York. Cruises from Southampton are easily accessible, thanks to its good rail and road links.
Out and About in Southampton
Southampton is normally viewed as a departure/arrival port, and not many cruise passengers spend time investigating the city itself. But if you've spare time either before or after your cruise, there's a lot to see and do.
During medieval times, Southampton was encircled by a fortified wall with imposing gate buildings. The 'Bargate' at the northern entrance to the old town, is still Southampton's best known landmark. The building is a good place to begin the tour of walls. Stop at the guardtowers, the ruins of the castle, the West Gate, the remains of the and God's House Tower where you'll find houses} the Archaeological Museum (free entry). Other noteworthy places include the restored Medieval Merchants House, the Maritime Museum located in the Wool House (free entry), with its Titanic exhibition, and the remarkable Tudor House, another (free entry) museum with peaceful garden.
The city's main shopping center, Above Bar, is home to major high street chains. An alternative destination is Ocean Village with its undercover shopping, a peaceful marina and many bars and excellent restaurants. Another option is the new West Quay shopping mall which features leading shops.
The Mayflower theater stages leading productions throughout the year.
Southampton City Art Gallery is renowned for its collection of Victorian art.
The Solent Sky Aviation Museum showcases the pioneering work of the WW2 Supermarine Spitfire's designer, RJ Mitchell.
The Titanic Trail
Walk around the marked trail finding out about locations associated with the Titanic. The walk starts at the Musician's Memorial and stops at the Maritime Museum, situated in the Wool House at Town Quay, which tells the history of the tragic voyage.
The Jane Austen Walking Trail
Jane Austen first came to Southampton when she was 7 years old and she often vacationed in the city. Later on she lived in the city. The Trail visits buildings with a connection to the author.
The New Forest
A enchanting location known for its rugged heaths, and commoner rights of pastures.
Travelling to Southampton's Port
The majority of passengers booked on cruises from Southampton travel by road from the South-East of England. The M27 motorway, which joins places bordering the southern coast of England, runs just to the north of Southampton. The M3 motorway connects the city to London and also, by linking to the A34 road at Winchester with the Midlands and North. The M271 motorway, off the M27, joins it with the Docks and city centre.
Direct train services connect Southampton with London, and many places in England.There is a frequent train between London Waterloo and Southampton Central, the journey time is around 80 minutes. Rail routes run east towards Portsmouth, north towards the Midlands and beyond, and westwards to cities like Bournemouth and Bristol.
From the train station you can either catch a taxi, or take the free CityLink bus service between the rail station and Town Quay every quarter-hour.
From London Heathrow There is a National Express bus to and from Heathrow Terminal every one-and-a-half to two hours. The journey time is about 2 hours.
From London Gatwick Airport Take the train to Southampton Central station. Every hour, with a journey time just under 2 hours.
From Southampton Airport It's easiest to catch a cab for the docks.
Cruise Port Map (click on image for larger image)
Port Authority Associated British Ports
Port Website ABP Ports Southampton
Current Marine Traffic Southampton Marine Traffic
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Cruises From Southampton, England