Cruising from the UK is always a popular option, removing the need to worry about flying or, if the cruise is a round-trip sailing or ends at another UK port, luggage limits. Southampton is by far the most popular of the UK ports, so this is a guide to everything you need to know – from accommodation and travel to anything you can do to keep yourself entertained if you’ve free time.
It’s really easy to get to Southampton from anywhere else in the UK. If you’re driving, there are major roads taking you right into the city centre from almost every direction. From London and the North, you’ll find the M3, M27 and A34 offer fast access to the city. Travellers from the South West can head straight along the A36, and guests from the South East should follow the M27.
Southampton Central train station is, as the name suggests, right in the heart of the city. It’s just over a mile from the cruise terminal, so a taxi won’t cost much at all. You can also fly, with Southampton Airport just five miles outside the city centre and a fifteen minute drive from the cruise terminal. It really is an easily accessible city.
There’s a wide range of choice for accommodation in Southampton, so you’ll easily find a good option to suit what you’re looking for. There are hotels to match any budget, ranging from the Travelodge through to the Premier Inn, Marriot and the Holiday Inn right at the terminals, up to the more luxurious options such as the Hilton along with various other chains and independent hotels. Or if you want something smaller, there are various B&Bs and guest houses to choose from.
There are five different cruise terminals in Southampton, and they’re all within easy reach of car parks and the main streets so you won’t struggle to get to your ship. The five terminals ensure that even on a busy day you won’t have trouble finding and accessing your ship, and all have licensed bars and cafes in the respective departure lounges. The newest terminal, opening in 2013, was designed to accommodate the largest ships on the ocean.
Things To Do
Southampton is a modern city with plenty to keep you interested, should you arrive a day early for example. If you want to get to know the heritage of the city, visits to the Solent Sky Museum and SeaCity Museum are worthwhile, otherwise West Quay Shopping Centre is full of fantastic chain stores. Other modern attractions include a bowling alley and cinema, along with plenty of bars and restaurants.
By Ian Lewis