Welcome aboard! If you’re gearing up for an unforgettable cruise adventure departing from Southampton, UK, then you’ve come to the right place. Embarking on a cruise is an exhilarating experience, but before you set sail, it’s crucial to plan every aspect of your journey, including the often overlooked – Southampton cruise parking.
In this guide, we’ll navigate the waters of cruise parking at Southampton, ensuring you have a seamless and stress-free start to your holiday. From the best hotels offering cruise parking facilities to the most convenient parking options at the Southampton cruise terminal, we’ve got you covered. So whether you’re sailing with P&O, MSC or Princess cruises, we’ll provide insights to help you find the best cruise parking Southampton has to offer.
Overview of Southampton as a Cruise Port
Situated on the southern coast of England, Southampton has earned its reputation as a premier cruise port, welcoming millions of passengers from around the globe each year. With a rich maritime history dating back centuries, this vibrant city serves as a gateway to a plethora of remarkable cruise adventures. Southampton boasts a strategic location, making it an ideal starting point for exploring the stunning British Isles, venturing to the Norwegian Fjords, shores of Northern Europe, or embarking on transatlantic crossings to the Americas.
The port’s state-of-the-art facilities cater to a diverse range of cruise lines, including the renowned P&O Cruises, Cunard and Royal Caribbean, ensuring an array of enticing itineraries to suit every traveller’s preferences. Beyond its exceptional cruise offerings, Southampton features a host of cultural attractions, world-class restaurants, and captivating landmarks, enticing visitors to explore its charms and nearby towns before or after their cruise journey.
Four Cruise Terminals, Endless Possibilities
At Southampton’s world-class port lies four dedicated cruise terminals, each catering to the differing needs of various cruise lines and their passengers. The terminals are as follows:
- City Cruise Terminal (Berth 101): Nestled in the heart of Southampton, the City Cruise Terminal serves as a bustling hub for cruise embarkation and disembarkation. It is predominantly used by Royal Caribbean and their subsidiaries, which include Celebrity and Silverseas.
- Ocean Cruise Terminal (Berth 46/47): The Ocean Cruise Terminal is strategically positioned close to the city centre, but is just outside the main docks where the other terminals are situated. This Terminal is predominantly used by the Carnival Corporation, so you will use this port for Princess or P&O cruises.
- QEII Cruise Terminal (Berth 38/39): Located on the eastern side of the port, the QEII Cruise Terminal epitomizes luxury and elegance. It frequently hosts prestigious Cunard cruise ships, offering passengers a taste of opulence right from the moment of embarkation. CPS
- Mayflower Cruise Terminal (Berth 106): Sat in the middle of the port of Southampton, the Mayflower Cruise Terminal is another prominent spot for Carnival group cruise embarkation and disembarkation.
- Horizon Cruise Terminal (Berth 102): Horizon is the newest terminal at Southampton and sits adjacent to the City Cruise Terminal. It was built as a joint venture between MSC and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which includes luxury brands like Regent Seven Seas and Oceania.
The Terminal you sail from will be determined by the cruise line and the size of the ship you are sailing on. But regardless of the terminal, your cruise parking options will remain the same.
The Importance of Planning Cruise Parking in Advance
As you embark on an exciting cruise from Southampton, cruise parking one crucial aspect that deserves early attention. Planning cruise parking in advance is not only a prudent move but also a vital step in ensuring a stress-free embarkation process. Here’s why it’s essential to make appropriate preparations ahead of time:
- Guaranteed Parking Space: Cruise terminals can get busy, especially during peak seasons or when multiple ships are departing on the same day. By booking your parking spot in advance, you secure a guaranteed space, giving you peace of mind that you won’t be left scrambling to find local parking at the last minute.
- Convenient and Time-Efficient: Arriving at the cruise terminal with a pre-booked parking space streamlines the entire check-in process. You won’t have to spend valuable time searching for parking or dealing with parking lot congestion, allowing you to focus on the exciting start of your cruise.
- Budget-Friendly Options: Many cruise ports, including Southampton, offer early booking discounts or more affordable rates for those who plan their parking in advance. Taking advantage of these cost-saving opportunities can free up funds for other aspects of your trip.
- Flexibility and Choices: By planning ahead, you have the opportunity to explore various parking options. Whether you prefer on-site parking at the cruise terminal for added convenience or opt for off-site parking with shuttle services, booking early allows you to choose the option that best aligns with your needs and preferences.
- Tailored Solutions for Special Needs: If you have specific parking requirements, such as accessible parking spaces or electric vehicle charging stations, planning in advance gives you a better chance of securing these tailored solutions.
- Peace of Mind: One of the most significant benefits of planning cruise parking ahead of time is the peace of mind it provides. Knowing that you have a reserved parking spot, you can begin your vacation with a sense of ease and excitement, free from any last-minute parking-related worries.
Taking the time to plan your cruise parking at Southampton well in advance is a wise decision that offers an array of benefits. So, start your journey on the right foot and plan you’re parking in advance – your future self will thank you for it!
Southampton Cruise Parking Options
When it comes to booking your cruise parking at Southampton, it’s important to understand all of the options available to you. Each one has its pros and cons and we’ll cover them all, from at port parking to Southampton hotels with cruise parking and everything in between.
By exploring and comparing these parking choices, you can make informed decisions based on factors that are important to you like cost and proximity.
On-Site Cruise Parking
On-site cruise parking at Southampton’s cruise terminals offers the ultimate convenience for travellers embarking on their cruise adventure. With parking facilities located directly at the embarkation point, passengers can enjoy a seamless transition from their vehicles to the cruise ship. Here are the key pros and cons of on-site cruise parking:
Pros of Parking at Southampton Cruise Terminal
- Convenience and Proximity: On-site parking eliminates the need for additional transportation between the parking area and the cruise terminal. Passengers can simply park their vehicles and walk a short distance to check-in.
- Security and Peace of Mind: On-site cruise parking is often equipped with enhanced security measures, such as surveillance cameras and patrolling personnel, providing passengers with a sense of security for their vehicles throughout their cruise vacation.
- Easy Access to Belongings: Since the parking area is located nearby, passengers can easily access any forgotten items in their vehicles or make last-minute changes to their luggage without much hassle.
Cons of Parking at Southampton Cruise Terminal
- Higher Cost: On-site cruise parking tends to be more expensive compared to off-site parking options. Passengers should be prepared to pay a premium for the added convenience.
- Limited Availability during Peak Season: During busy travel times, on-site parking may reach full capacity quickly. Booking in advance becomes even more critical to secure a parking space.
- Potential Traffic Congestion: Depending on the cruise schedule and the number of passengers arriving simultaneously, there might be traffic congestion near the cruise terminals, leading to slight delays in reaching the parking area.
While on-site cruise parking offers unparalleled convenience and peace of mind, budget-conscious travellers may weigh the higher cost against the advantages it provides. Ultimately, choosing on-site cruise parking is ideal for those seeking a hassle-free and seamless embarkation experience, willing to invest in the added convenience it offers.
On-Site Cruise Parking Providers
There are only actually a few parking options where your car is left at the port car park you arrive at. We class companies who have you turn up at a port car park, then drive your car to another location as off-site. So true onsite options are as follows;
CPS Parking Southampton
This is the option we chose, having used CPS at Dover Cruise Terminal, we knew what to expect with regards to service and convenience.
CPS currently operate the in-terminal parking lots for The Ocean, Mayflower and QEII Terminals. Although the cost of CPS was on the higher end of the scale, everything ran smoothly and we would highly recommend them.
AB Parking Southampton
AB are another om-site provider that offers parking within some of Southampton’s cruise terminals. The prices are similar to those offered by CPS, as they are only providers at specific terminals.
AB Parking currently operate the parking for cruises from Southampton City Cruise Terminal, as well as the brand new Horizon Terminal.
Penguin Cruise Parking
Penguin Parking are a little unique, compared to the other on-site options. They have a secure compound located near the City Cruise Terminal, which is where you will park upon arrival and it will remain for the duration of your cruise.
The Cruise terminals are walkable from the Penguin Parking compound. But if you don’t fancy the walk, they do have a free shuttle that will drop you off at the terminal entrance.
Southampton Terminal Parking Process
We were boarding the P&O Britannia at the Ocean Cruise Terminal. This ship can hold almost 4000 passengers, so as you can imagine, it was busy.
Dropping Your Car Off
Upon arrival we were sectioned in to lanes as we awaited vehicle inspection. Once the attendant checks your booking details you can exit the vehicle as they take photographs of its condition.
After completing the check-in process, the parking attendant will provide you with a QR code receipt. Ensure you store this safely as you will need it to collect your vehicle.
Once you have unloaded your luggage and gathered your belongings from the vehicle, you will leave your key on your dashboard. You are then free to make your way to luggage drop off at the terminal and begin your check in.
Collecting Your Car
After you leave the terminal building you will signs for your on-site parking provider. Usually this will be close to where you left your car upon arrival.
The signage will lead you to a cabin, this is where you will pick up your keys. Show the attendant your QR code receipt and they will locate your keys and direct you to your vehicle.
Once you arrive at your vehicle, load up your luggage, and then make sure you have a good look around to make sure there is no damage. You will also want to check your mileage and fuel.
If you have any cause for a dispute, go back to the attendant and raise your concerns immediately. If everything is ok, then simply drive off and begin your journey home.
Off-Site Cruise Parking
For travellers seeking more budget-friendly cruise parking options, off-site parking near Southampton cruise terminals prove to be a popular choice. Off-site parking facilities are generally located a few miles from the terminal, offering shuttle services to transport passengers to and from their vehicles.
Some providers allow you to drop your car at the short stay car parks, but they then drive them to their compound. So let’s explore the key pros and cons of off-site cruise parking:
Pros of Off-Site Parking
- Cost-Effective: Off-site parking is generally more budget-friendly compared to on-site options, making it an attractive choice for travellers looking to save on parking expenses.
- Shuttle Services: Off-site parking facilities usually offer complimentary shuttle services to the cruise terminal. This ensures convenient transportation for passengers and their luggage without the need to walk long distances.
- Ample Availability: Off-site parking often has a larger capacity compared to on-site lots, reducing the risk of reaching full capacity during peak travel seasons.
Cons of Off-Site Parking
- Transportation Time: Shuttle services may add some travel time to the embarkation process, especially during busy periods. Passengers should factor in this extra time when planning their arrival at the cruise terminal.
- Security Concerns: While many off-site parking facilities take measures to ensure security, some passengers may have concerns about leaving their vehicles at a location other than the cruise terminal’s designated parking area.
- Less Accessibility to Vehicles: In the event that passengers need to access items in their vehicles, if they forgot something, they may find it less convenient than if their vehicles were parked on-site.
Off-site cruise parking offers a practical and cost-efficient solution for those who are willing to trade off the added convenience of on-site parking for reduced expenses. If you can live with the downsides, off-site cruise parking proves to be a viable option to kick start their cruise.
Just be sure to check out the reviews of your parking provider, paying particular attention to security and vehicle damage.
Southampton Hotels with Cruise Parking
If you are seeking a seamless and all-inclusive start to your cruise, Southampton hotels with cruise parking provide an enticing option. These hotels offer guests the convenience of a comfortable overnight stay combined with secure parking facilities for the duration of their cruise. So as soon as you check in to your Hotel, your relaxing holiday can begin, as most Hotels can arrange transport to the cruise terminal for you.
Best Hotels with Cruise Parking in Southampton
Hotel offerings and prices can change over time, so we recommend checking online for the most up-to-date information on cruise parking packages. However, we can provide some general examples of hotels that have offered cruise parking packages in the past:
Holiday Inn Southampton
Located in the centre of Southampton next to the cruise terminals, this property offers comfortable rooms, some with fantastic views of the port and sea. The ‘Cruise Package’ at Holiday Inn includes accommodation with breakfast, parking for up to 15 nights and return taxi transfer to Southampton Cruise Terminals.
Depending on the time of year you are sailing, you can secure this package from as little as £150 for hotel, breakfast and return taxi.
Elizabeth House Hotel
The Elizabeth House Hotel is a popular choice among experienced cruisers, and is located just outside Southampton city centre near the University. On the night of their stay, guests can enjoy free parking.
They have recently expanded their secure on-site car parking facility, as some cruisers like to just book parking at the hotel. The cost per day for cruise parking starts at just £4.75 per day, and goes up to £15 depending on when you cruise.
Hilton Ageas Bowl
As you can probably guess, the Hilton hotel is part of the Ageas Bowl resort complex, which is the home of Hampshire Cricket. It is situated approximately 20 minutes by car from Southampton cruise terminals. While parking is free, long stay parking for cruise guests is available as part of their cruise and park packages.
The Ibis Southampton represents excellent value for the budget conscious, as it is located on West Quay Road very close to Southampton cruise port. Rooms at the Ibis are generally much more affordable than other hotels and, on the morning of the cruise you can take the short walk or 5 minute taxi.
Guest parking is chargeable at £10 per night, but long term cruise parking is a little cheaper at around £7 per day.
Best Western Chilworth Manor Hotel is another hotel on the outskirts of Southampton, located around 20 minutes from the cruise docks. But it does boast extensive gardens, and a modern spa with pool.
Car parking is free for guests. But like some of the other hotels we’ve mentioned, they do offer inclusive packages which include breakfast, free use of the leisure facilities, and taxi transport service for two guests to/from the terminals and parking for up to 14 days.
Pros of Hotel Stay and Park
- Convenience and Proximity: Hotels with cruise parking are often located near Southampton’s cruise terminals, reducing the need for additional transportation. Guests can simply check in, park their vehicles, and easily access the terminal when it’s time to board their cruise ship.
- Added Amenities and Services: Staying at a hotel before the cruise allows passengers to enjoy additional amenities and services, such as dining options, spa facilities, and relaxing surroundings, making it a relaxing pre-cruise experience.
- Security and Peace of Mind: Hotels with cruise parking typically offer secure parking facilities with surveillance, providing peace of mind for travellers leaving their vehicles behind during the cruise.
- Potential Package Deals: Some hotels may offer package deals that include both the room stay and parking at a discounted rate, providing cost savings compared to booking parking and accommodations separately.
Cons of Hotel Parking
- Higher Cost: Staying at a hotel with cruise parking can sometimes be more expensive compared to off-site parking options alone. However, the added convenience and amenities may justify the higher cost.
- Limited Availability: During peak cruise seasons, hotel rooms with cruise parking packages may sell out quickly, much quicker than on-site parking. Early booking is essential to secure a spot.
- Hotel Location: While some hotels may be within walking distance to the cruise terminal, others may require a short shuttle or taxi ride. If the Hotel doesn’t offer a shuttle, then you will need to factor in the cost of a taxi.
Southampton hotels with cruise parking offer a convenient and hassle-free solution for travellers seeking an easy pre-cruise experience. Early booking is advised to secure the desired hotel and parking package.
Making Hotel and Cruise Parking Affordable
On most occasions hotel parking packages can be added to an existing booking. This means you are free to shop around for the best Southampton cruise hotel rate and then add your parking package. Making this a great option if you are limited on funds.
To get the best rates we recommend Expedia, as their free membership gives you instant access to discounted rates.
Southampton Car Parks Near the Cruise Port
Southampton’s city centre boasts a selection of car parks conveniently located near the cruise port, providing viable parking solutions for cruise passengers. These car parks offer a range of options, whether you are looking for short-term or long-term parking.
You can park for longer periods at several barrier controlled multi-storey car parks in Southampton. The pricing is based on the full 24hr charge for the first full day, then just £4 for each day following that. So this is a very flexible and budget savvy option.
With close proximity to the cruise terminals, the NCP Portland Terrace is also an affordable options, with rates as low as £28 for a week.
Advantages of City Centre Car Parks
- Proximity to Cruise Terminals: City centre car parks are located within a short distance from the cruise port, reducing travel time and ensuring a stress-free arrival at the terminal.
- Flexible Parking Durations: Whether you need parking for just a few hours or an extended period, city centre car parks often offer flexible options to cater to various cruise itineraries.
- Additional Amenities: Many city centre car parks feature modern facilities, including well-lit spaces and security measures, ensuring the safety of parked vehicles.
Parking Apps like Just Park
Parking apps like Just Park have seen a steep rise to prominence in the UK, as they provide an innovative solution for finding and booking parking spaces. Such apps allow cruise passengers to reserve parking spots in advance, streamlining the parking process and offering peace of mind on the day of departure.
The spaces available can include shopping centres, supermarkets, hotels and private driveways. So the prices can vary depending on the space you select.
Advantages of Parking Apps
- Convenience and Accessibility: Parking apps allow users to search for available parking spaces near the cruise port, view real-time availability, and secure their parking spot in advance, all from the convenience of their smartphones.
- Cost Savings: Parking apps often offer competitive rates, and some may even provide discounts for early bookings, making them a cost-effective alternative to traditional parking options.
- Reviews and Ratings: Parking apps usually feature user reviews and ratings for listed parking spaces, providing valuable insights to help users make informed decisions about their chosen parking location.
City centre car parks near the cruise port and parking apps offer cruise passengers convenient and efficient parking solutions. Whether opting for a nearby car park or utilizing a space on a private drive, these options cater to different preferences.
Best Cruise Parking for Southampton
The best cruise parking option in Southampton varies based on individual preferences and needs. For those seeking ultimate convenience and proximity to the cruise terminal, on-site parking at the cruise terminals themselves may be the top choice.
This option allows passengers to park their vehicles just steps away from the embarkation point, making the check-in process smooth and hassle-free. It’s also worth looking at your cruise package options when you book, as some lines like P&O offer a select fare where you can enjoy extra benefits during your cruise as well as free on-site parking.
However, if budget considerations are a priority, off-site parking facilities with shuttle services offer a cost-effective solution without compromising on security and convenience.
Moreover, for travellers looking for an all-inclusive pre-cruise experience, hotels with cruise parking packages provide the added benefit of a comfortable stay and secured parking throughout the cruise.
Ultimately, the best cruise parking option will depend on your own budget, preferences, and priorities. So with that in mind, we have provided out best picks for each of the options available.
- CPS parking (on-site)
- Cruise Azure (off-site)
- Holiday Inn (Hotel Package)
These are based on our preferences, as much as we prefer on-site, these aren’t always available, especially if we have booked a last minute cruise. This would generally be when we would explore the other options.
Tips for Parking at Southampton
Having been on several cruises, there are several tips and tricks we have picked up along the way. These will be especially handy to new cruisers.
Packing and Organizing Luggage for Convenient Drop-off
Packing and organizing luggage with convenient drop-off in mind is essential to ensure a smooth handover of your vehicle. Here are some helpful tips to optimize your packing for easy drop-off:
- Arrive Early: Aim to arrive at the cruise terminal early, especially if you anticipate a high volume of traffic or passengers boarding. Early arrival allows ample time for vehicle drop-off and reduces the chances of long queues.
- Organize Your Luggage: This probably goes without saying, but we’ll cover it anyway. Make sure you luggage is loaded in a way it is quick and easy to remove from your vehicle. Try to avoid too many small bags and pack as much as possible in to one large case per person.
- Pack Essentials Separately: Consider packing essential items, such as travel documents, medications, and valuables, in a carry-on bag. This way, you’ll have quick access to important items during check-in and boarding. It’s also worth noting that it may be late in the evening by the time your bags arrive, so some extra clothing may also be necessary.
- Label Your Luggage: You definitely want to do this beforehand. Most cruise lines require you to print labels at home which clearly state your name, cruise ship, and stateroom number. This helps porters and cruise staff direct your bags to the correct location and can be a hassle trying to do it at the port. We recommend using these hard wearing luggage labels.
By following these packing and organization tips, you’ll streamline the drop-off process at the cruise terminal, making the transition from your vehicle to your ship cabin seamless and efficient.
If this is your first time cruising, you may also want take a look at our cruise essentials packing list.
Navigating Southampton, the cruise terminal and parking areas can sometimes be a pain, depending on the time of year or number of ships in port. Applying the following tips may just make things run a little smoother.
- Follow Signage: Upon your approach to Southampton, overhead electrical signs will display your cruise ship and corresponding gate number. Pay close attention to the terminal’s directional signage, which guides you to the appropriate parking area and drop-off zones. Relying on the Sat-Nav took us to the wrong end of the cruise port.
- Parking Check-in: If you’ve pre-booked on-site parking, have your parking pass displayed on your dashboard. This will allow security staff to quickly identify you as a passenger and direct you to the check in area.
- Unload Luggage: Following our steps above about luggage will allow for a quick vehicle check in.
- Carry-On Luggage: As well as our tip about carry-on luggage, we also recommend leaving a pocket free in your bag. Upon arrival at the terminal building, we like to item in here that is likely to trigger the security alarms, such as belts, keys, phones and watches. This is much better and quicker than having to do stand to one side and do it in the queue
By following these tips, you’ll navigate the Southampton cruise terminal and parking areas efficiently, setting the stage for a fantastic journey ahead.
Saying Goodbye to your Car
As much as you will be eager to begin your cruise, don’t be too quick to leave your vehicle behind without the necessary due diligence.
Upon pulling up at the port, the parking staff will ask for your details and check you in. While they do this, take a picture of your dash which displays your mileage, furl level and some of the identifiable port in the background.
The staff will then take pictures of your vehicle and we recommend you take some of your own while your family unpack. Make sure you get the front, back and both sides.
You will then be asked to turn off your engine and leave your keys on top of the dashboard, ready for them to move it to your parking space. Yep, you guessed it, get a picture of this as well.
These pictures may come in handy should any disputes arise upon your return.
Picking up your Vehicle
There is only really one tip we can provide other than comparing the vehicle to the pictures you took. Leave the ship as early as possible.
You have two options for disembarkation. Leave your packed luggage out the night before for porters to take to the luggage hall in the terminal, or keep hold of your luggage and carry it of yourself.
Most rooms have to be vacated by 8am at the latest, so we always opt to take our own cases of. That way when disembarkation begins, you can simply walk off the ship, rather than be left hanging around a public area waiting for your deck number to be called before you can leave the ship.
Taking off your luggage also means there are virtually no queues to collect your car, get your shuttle or grab a taxi. In fact, on our last cruise, we left our room and were driving out of the car park within 20 minutes.
Cruise Parking at Southampton FAQs
Yes cruise terminal parking is available using our recommended parking providers.
Depending on which option you choose, parking can cost anything from £28 for a week with local parking, to £220 for two weeks for on-site parking.
Yes, in our experience, on-site parking is far superior. But it will cost a little more than off-site parking.
We always advise people to book in advance, but booking on the day is possible if you want to park in any of the nearby city car parks.
Alternative Transport Options
It’s worth noting that driving and parking aren’t the only options available to get you to your cruise. If you don’t want the stress of driving you can opt for the train, coach or even plane.
Whilst flying can have you in Southampton in under an hour, the extra time needed at the airport and additional security screenings are less than relaxing. Currently you can fly direct to Southampton from the following airports;
- Leeds Bradford
If you are flying a family in for a cruise, the cost of tickets, seats and luggage can quickly add up, so this isn’t necessarily an affordable option
Looking at the cruise groups on social media, this tends to be the most popular alternative to driving yourself. Coach tickets can be cheap and they generally have convenient pick up and drop off points throughout the UK.
Whilst you don’t have to do the driving, it can still be a long and tiring journey to the port, especially if you are arriving on the day the cruise sets sail.
Let’s face it, UK trains can be somewhat unreliable, with strikes and cancelations happening at any time. Not to mention the fact that there are very few direct routes to Southampton.
Opting to take the train could have you carting you luggage around all day as you swap trains numerous times. Also we would highly recommend you travel the day before your cruise as a minimum.
Being a major city and port within the UK, all of the major rental car companies have a location in Southampton. In some cases, hiring a car locally and dropping it off near the port can be a cost effective way to get to your cruise.
Of course you will need to make two one way reservations, but most rental agents will provide onward travel to a local hotel or the port itself. Click here for competitive hire rates
Summary Cruise Parking at Southampton
Whether you opt for the ultimate convenience of on-site cruise parking, the budget-friendly solutions of off-site parking, or the all-inclusive experience of hotels with cruise parking, there’s an option to suit every traveller’s preferences. Exploring alternative transport options like public transportation or rental cars can sometimes offer you more flexibility when navigating the Southampton cruise terminal.
But by exploring all of these options early and booking as far in advance as possible, you can make the entire process much easier. Hopefully our guide and tips to Southampton cruise parking will help you embark on your cruise adventure with confidence and ready to create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
Should you decide to book, or you have already booked, then we wish you a wonderful time on the P&O Britannia and please tag us into your Instagram pictures, we love to see your adventures.
If you have already booked your cruise, then we wish you a wonderful time and please tag us into your Instagram pictures, we love to see your adventures. Bon voyage!