Port Southampton is UK's largest passenger (ferry and cruise) port and 2nd largest cargo port (following Felixstowe). Its first dock was opened in 1843. Most of its operations back then were regular Transatlantic crossings between UK and USA. Since 1982, the port is owned and operated by ABP (Associated British Ports). Southampton is ranked UK's largest cruise port and UK's second-largest container port (after Felixstowe).
Southampton is ranked UK's largest seaport, handling annually over GBP 40 billion of exports. The worth of its total trade is around GBP 75 billion. Southampton is also UK's largest port for vehicle exports and home to UK's second-largest containership terminal (after Felixstowe) handling annually around 1 million TEU-containers. The port (all its facilities) is managed by ABP (Associated British Ports Holdings Ltd) - London-headquartered corporation that owns 21 UK seaports and manages ~1/4th of the UK's sea-shipping trade. ABP Southampton is port's Statutory Harbour Authority, VTS Authority (vessel traffic service) and Pilotage Authority. Pilotage (vessel assistance by ABP pilots) is compulsory on arrival-channel navigation, for berthing-unberthing operations and also when the vessels shift anchorage in Southampton Harbour.
In the period 2012-2017, in port development projects were invested over GBP 280 million, including over GBP 50 million in new vehicle export facilities. On November 2, 2017, was inaugurated the Pacific Terminal (vehicle export terminal) that serves UK car manufacturers. The new facility has parking capacity 3400 spaces and is part of ABP's GBP 50 million investment plan for the port. Southampton is UK's main vehicle handling port, with 9 shipping lines making every month 110 visits to 52 ports in 40 different countries.
In 2017, the port handled some of world's largest boxships - MOL Triumph and MOL Trust (each with TEU capacity 20170 containers). The largest ever to visit the port boxship so far - Milan Maersk (20568 TEUs) - docked here on November 7, 2017. The Triple-E class vessel has LOA length 399 m (1309 ft), width 59 m (194 ft), above waterline height 60 m (197 ft).
Port's sheltered inland location and also Isle of Wight (in the English Channel) protect it from the effects of bad weather. Additional advantages are the close proximity to London City and the excellent rail / road infrastructure linking to the rest of England and bypassing the capital city's congestion.
In March 2021, DP World Southampton (cargo terminal) received "Freeport" status from the UK government. DP World Southampton also started an infrastructure investment project (GBP 40 million) which includes: dredging and widening of the boxship berths (via partnership with ABP), purchasing (GBP 10M) 11 Kalmar Hybrid Straddle Carriers (vehicles which lift TEUs moved by quay cranes), redevelopment of the dockyard for empty TEU storage, quay extension (by 120 m / 394 ft) to allow the world’s biggest gantry cranes to serve all the terminal's berths.
Southampton cruise port
Port Southampton has 5 cruise terminals in addition to passenger ferry terminals, container terminal and drydock facilities for marine vessel refurbishments and repairs. Major turnaround/departure cruise ports in the UK are England's Bristol, Dover, Harwich, Hull, Liverpool, Tilbury-London, Newcastle and Portsmouth, and Scotland's Leith-Edinburgh and Greenock-Glasgow.
In late-November 2020 ABP announced that for the building of the 11695-m2 (125890-ft2) new cruise terminal at Berth 102 (Western Docks) is contracted Brymor Group (Portsmouth-based construction company). The new (5th) terminal will provide shore-to-ship power supply. The new terminal (via partnership with NCLH-Norwegian and MSC Cruises) received a GBP 8 million (EUR 8,9 M / USD 10,65 M) grant from the UK's Getting Building Fund. Also in late-November 2020, MSC signed a long-term agreement with Port Southampton for preferential docking rights. The deal started in summer 2021 with the homeporting of MSC Magnifica at the Port's newest/5th terminal (named in May "Horizon Cruise Terminal"). By this agreement, every year MSC has to homeport at least one ship in Southampton. For 2021, MSC scheduled for Magnifica 21x roundtrips from Southampton, including to the Mediterranean, mini-cruises to Northern Europe and 7-days to Norway's Fjords.
- After receiving a GBP 7 million government grant, in 2020 ABP Southampton introduced shoreside power connectivity for liners mooring at the new Horizon Cruise Terminal. Shore-power (aka "cold ironing") enables docked vessels to receive electricity from the city's power grid. From the berth, vessels can plug-in directly to the grid for full onboard operations without using their diesel engines (or gas turbines) which are shut down right after berthing.
- In mid-May 2021 ABP announced that Mayflower Cruise Terminal will be also equipped with shorepower technology.
In 2018, the port had scheduled 8 maiden calls (new ships visiting for the first time) - AIDAperla, Norwegian Bliss, MSC Meraviglia, Sapphire Princess; MS Zuiderdam, Seven Seas Navigator, and MS Koningsdam. In 2018, here was held the naming ceremony for the former P&O Adonia ship - now Azamara Pursuit (August 28), followed by a 2-night Cruise to Nowhere. Cruise port's busiest day in 2018 was August 31 - a 6 ship day with booked for berthing here Arcadia (P&O), Aurora (P&O), Braemar (Fred Olsen), Independence of the Seas (Royal Caribbean), Mein Schiff 3 (TUI) and Queen Victoria (Cunard).
For season 2018, MSC Cruises scheduled an extended itinerary program with more regular departures from the UK. The company intends to homeport here one of its newer (bigger) ships.
For 2017, the cruise port reported a record-breaking year with over 2 million cruise passengers. It is estimated that every visiting cruise ship brings around GBP 2 million to the city's economy. In 2017 the port received over 500 passenger ship calls. The busiest long weekend (15 cruise ships) was in June.
In June 2016, the 3 NCLH (abbrev "Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings") owned companies - Oceania, RSSC-Regent and NCL Norwegian - were consolidated/headquartered together in a building previously used by Carnival UK. The move came ahead of NCL returning to UK port departure cruises in 2017 (for the first time since 2010) with the ship Norwegian Jade leaving roundtrip from Southampton. NCLH's new UK company address is: "Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, 4th Floor, Mountbatten House, Grosvenor Square, Southampton, SO15 2JU".
On May 21, 2016, RCI-Royal Caribbean International and the port authority ABP signed a GBP 5,5 million deal. It secures City Cruise Terminal (Berth 101) as the Royal Caribbean's official UK cruise departure port for the period 2016-2023. The Southampton cruise port's contribution to the UK economy is 15,000 cruise ship related jobs and over GBP 1 billion economic impact. On April 11, 2016, the new RCI ship Ovation of the Seas arrived and docked at Berth 101 (City Cruise Terminal, Western Docks). The ship stayed for a few days in Southampton before the repositioning cruise (53-days "Global Odyssey" itinerary) ending in port Tianjin-Beijing China.
On April 20, 2015, the RCI-Royal Caribbean ship Anthem of the Seas was officially named in Southampton. The christening ceremony was led by the godmother Emma Wilby (British travel agent). On May 3, 2015, Cunard Line's 175th Anniversary Celebrations were held in the cruise port. The special event was attended by all three Cunard liners - Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. The three ships left the port together on their scheduled itineraries, en-route to, respectively, NYC New York, Hamburg and Guernsey (Channel Islands).
In late-March 2014, RCI announced that Explorer of the Seas will be deployed in Europe and homeported in Southampton for summer 2015 (April through September). The list of roundtrips included 3- and 8-night Baltic Sea, 11- to 16-night Mediterranean and 10- to 14-night Madeira, Canary Islands and Azores.
(statistics) In 2013, the cruise port handled around 1,7 million passengers. In 2011 were handled nearly 1,5 million passengers (11% increase over 2010). Each cruise ship call in Port Southampton generates an economic impact of about GBP 2,5 million.
Cruise itineraries to and from Southampton England
Follows a list of destinations visited by cruise ships leaving out of Southampton:
- World Cruises - around the world voyages from Southampton include either westbound Transatlantic crossings (with Panama Canal transition or around South America routes) or eastbound (with Suez Canal transition or around Africa routes). Depending on direction, smaller itinerary segments end up in USA ports (New York, Miami, San Francisco), Asia ports (Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong), Australia (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle-Perth) or even New Zealand (Auckland).
- Iceland and Greenland are often visited on itineraries around Britain (themed "British Isles") visiting ports in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
- Baltic Sea itineraries visit Norway (Norwegian Fjords), the European Arctic (North Pole), Scandinavia and Russia (St Petersburg / overnight stays).
- Mini-Cruises from UK (to Belgium, France, Holland) are generally booked as "shopping" or "short-break" vacations. Most of these deals (with regularly scheduled departures) are offered by P&O Ferries. Several times a year, Cunard's QM2 liner offers 2-day cruises to Hamburg Germany.
- Iberia (cruises to Portugal and Spain) visit ports on the Europe's Atlantic Coast, and are often combined with Gibraltar.
- The Canaries itineraries (to Canary Islands) are usually combined with Madeira Island (Port Funchal).
- Mediterranean Sea - Western Med itineraries (visiting Spain, France, Italy, Malta) are often combined with ports in North Africa (Morocco, Egypt, Tunis).
- Mediterranean Sea - Eastern Med itineraries visit ports in Greece (including Greek Islands), Turkey and Italy.
- Mediterranean Sea - Holy Land cruises (to Israel and Egypt) are usually combined with ports in Greece and Turkey.
- Black Sea cruises from Southampton are among the longest and visit Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia.
- Transatlantic cruises to USA (NYC) and Canada New England are operated regularly by Cunard (QM2). Transatlantic cruises to Caribbean - round-trip or one-way crossings (on ship relocation) are offered seasonally. Regular deals UK to Caribbean are offered by P&O with fly-cruise packages that include flights from the UK to Barbados (ship departures from Bridgetown port).
- "Project Orient Limited” (POL) plans to build two ocean liners for a regular passenger shipping service between Europe/UK and Australia (Southampton - Sydney). The scheduled itinerary will be 26 days in one direction (Southampton to Sydney, and the reverse Sydney to Southampton). The included ports of call are Fremantle (at the 20-day mark), also Dubai, Mumbai (India) and Singapore. Each of the STX France-built ships will be 200,000 GT tons and with capacity 1600 pax. The expected cruise pricing starts from around GBP 2900 per person (one-way).
Southampton cruise terminal
Southampton cruise port is very easy to access. The city is located on England's southern coast's central part and has great road and rail links to the other major UK cities. The cruise ship port comprises two docks (Eastern and Western) with all 4x passenger terminals and 4 berths (docking locations).
(QE2) Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Terminal
- Location: Eastern Docks
- Address is "ABP QEII Terminal 38/39 Test Road, Eastern Docks Southampton SO14 3GG".
- GPS coordinates are N 50°53′05.4″, W 01°23′44.9″
- Berth 38, Berth 39
- Dock gate - 4 (GPS N 50°53'47.2", W 1°23'55.1")
- The QE2 terminal is for Cunard ships only. Terminal facilities include short-stay parking, bar, cafe, taxi rank.
- This is the famous dock from where RMS Titanic left on her maiden voyage in 1912. Many of the Titanic victims (nearly 500) were Southampton citizens.
- The home dock of the Cunard's liners (Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2) was open by HM The Queen in 1966.
In 2015-2016, the "Cunard Terminal" was renovated for GBP 5 million. The renovation project was funded by Carnival Corporation and ABP (Associated British Ports) and carried out over 2 stages. Phase 1 (completed 2016-Q1) included building infrastructure improvements (check-in area, baggage handling area, X-ray / security screening area), also installing a 46-person elevator and reorganizing the drop-off passenger area. Phase 2 (completed in 2016-Q4) included the installation of a new ship-to-shore walkway.
In October 2018 started construction works on the new (GBP 15 million) multi-deck parking with capacity 3000 vehicles. This is the 8th multi-deck parking at the seaport. For the project was contracted Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure, with scheduled completion by June 2019.
(NEW) Horizon Cruise Terminal (Western Docks' Berth 102)
In late-November 2020, ABP announced that for the building of the 11695-m2 (125,890-ft2) new cruise terminal at Berth 102 (Western Docks) is contracted Brymor Group (Portsmouth-based construction company). The new (5th) terminal features roof-mounted solar panels and provides shoreside power supply.
Port Southampton's newest cruise terminal costs GBP 55 million (EUR 64M / USD 76M) and was completed in July 2021.
In early-April 2021, ABP started an online contest for the name of the building. Fans had the chance to win a 7-night free cruise for two in a balcony cabin (roundtrip from Southampton) by simply submitting their name suggestions for the terminal before April 28. After receiving 4000+ name suggestions, in May ABP announced the facility's name - "Horizon Cruise Terminal".
In mid-June 2021, ABP Southampton installed an airbridge (GBP 5 million / EUR 5,8M) at Berth 102 (Horizon Terminal). The 235-tonne airbridge (jetway) was custom-built (to automatically adjust with the tide). It is permanently positioned at the quay and provides the docked ships with ship-to-shore passenger access.
As of 2021, ABP operates 21 seaports plus other shipping-related businesses, annually contributes GBP 7,5 billion (EUR 8,8B / ~USD 10,4B) to the UK economy, and supports ~119,000 jobs.
Ocean Cruise Terminal
- Location: Eastern Docks
- Address is "Cunard Road, Eastern Docks, Southampton SO14 3QN".
- GPS coordinates are N 50°53′29.6″, W 01°24′02.5″
- Berth 46
- Dock gate - 4 (GPS N 50°53'47.2", W 1°23'55.1")
Ocean Cruise Terminal was inaugurated in 2009. It features a modern design (Art-Deco) building, short-stay parking, bar, cafe, taxi rank.
In October 2018 started the GBP 12 million (2-year) reconstruction project via partnership with P&O Cruises (Carnival UK). Following the upgrade, Ocean Terminal now can handle bigger liners, among which P&O UK's newest ship Iona (2021). The upgrade was completed in March 2019 and increased the terminal's capacity by 50%.
Project's Phase 1 (completed in March 2019) included infrastructure upgrades and adding 18 new bollards (150-ton each) replacing the old 50-ton ones. Bollards are quayside vertical posts used for mooring (lines). Terminal's building was redesigned and significantly improved and increased (as passenger capacity).
Project's Phase 2 included installing 2 new gangways (airbridges) and 2000 solar panels (mounted on the building's roof). Both gangways were specially designed for the 5200-passenger Carnival XL class ships (Iona being the first) and arrived from Barcelona on January 4, 2020. Ocean Cruise Terminal also received LNG bunkering capabilities.
The renovated and enlarged terminal was completed in May 2020, and like the terminals Horizon and Mayflower also provides the berthed vessels with shoreside power.
City Cruise Terminal
- Location: Western Docks
- Address is "Solent Road, Western Docks, Southampton SO15 1HJ".
- GPS coordinates are N 50°54′00.6″, W 01°24′51.8″
- Berth 101
- Dock gate - 8 (GPS N 50°53′58.1″, W 01°24′40″) or 10 (GPS N 50°54′14.8″, W 01°25′02.8″)
At City Terminal can dock even the world's largest passenger ships. Dock facilities include short-stay parking, bar, cafe, taxi rank. Located nearby is Mayflower Park - a great vantage point to watch the departing ships.
Terminal's capacity was doubled after a 7-year redevelopment project.
Southampton City Cruise Terminal (Berth 101) is Royal Caribbean's official UK homeport (departure port for roundtrip itineraries). The list of terminal's improvements made by the RCCL corporation includes new paperless check-in operations, faster kerb-to-gangway processing, new security screening zones, step-free access to larger RCI ships (up to Quantum-Class), free Wi-Fi (throughout the terminal), digital signage (wayfinders), new air-conditioning, improved logistics.
Mayflower Cruise Terminal
- Location: Western Docks
- Address is "Herbert Walker Ave, Western Docks, Southampton SO15 1HJ".
- GPS coordinates are N 50°54′18.6″, W 01°25′45.8″
- Berth 106
- Dock gate - 10 (GPS N 50°54′14.8″, W 01°25′02.8″) or 20 (GPS N 50°54′48.2″, W 01°27′39.4″)
Mayflower Terminal is generally associated with the P&O UK ships. Its facilities include taxi rank, bar, cafe, an art gallery. The terminal was inaugurated in 1960. Here are homeported RMS Queen Mary 2 and P&O UK's largest and newest liners.
A new cruise ship dock was opened on April 28, 2015 (Berth 104 / Dock Gate 10). Mayflower Terminal's redevelopment project cost around GBP 6 million and resulted in increased passenger capacity and berthing (allowing even the world's biggest cruise vessels to dock here). In the terminal's refurbishment project were engaged 200+ workers on the refurbishment. Works started in December 2014. After their completion, the Mayflower Terminal has 36 check-in desks, larger cruise passenger lounge, more security search lanes, expanded passenger drop-off/pick-up areas (at the terminal's entrance).
Like the new Horizon Terminal, Mayflower also provides shorepower connectivity for the docked liners.
Cruise ship terminals directions and parking
Port Southampton is accessible via the M27, some 80 mi / 130 km from London (~ 1:50 hours drive distance) and some 200 mi / 320 km from Norwich (~ 3:50 hours drive distance).
- (option 1) From North, East and London regions - drive on M3 southbound. Follow the Southampton signs. Merge onto M27, follow the M27 West signs. Leave M27 at Junction 3. At the roundabout take 1st exit (M271) toward Southampton Docks. At next (Redbridge) roundabout take 1st exit onto A3024 leading to a dual carriageway and heading into Southampton (assigned Dock Gate). This route brings you close to Dock Gate 20 and Dock Gate 10 (CITY CRUISE TERMINAL, MAYFLOWER CRUISE TERMINAL).
- (option 2) From North, East and London regions - From the end of M3 (junction 14) follow the A33 signs for Southampton Docks. This route brings close to EASTERN DOCKS (Dock Gate 4) where are located OCEAN CRUISE TERMINAL and QE2 CRUISE TERMINAL.
- From west regions - from the end of A31 Poole-Bournemouth follow road through New Forest. Join M27. Leave M27 at Junction 3. At the roundabout take 3rd exit (M271) toward Southampton Docks. At next (Redbridge) roundabout take 1st exit onto A3024 leading to a dual carriageway and heading into Southampton (assigned Dock Gate). This route brings you close to Dock Gate 20 and Dock Gate 10 (CITY CRUISE TERMINAL, MAYFLOWER CRUISE TERMINAL). For Eastern Docks stay on this road and follow the signs to Dock Gate 4 (OCEAN CRUISE TERMINAL, QE2 CRUISE TERMINAL).
Lost property/baggage enquiries
- P&O, Cunard and Princess cruise passengers should contact - for baggage enquiries (phone number 023 8087 3111) and for lost property (phone number 023 8065 6426).
- Celebrity and Royal Caribbean passengers should contact for lost baggage/property - phone number 023 8068 2680.
- For other Southampton cruise lines please contact the line/company or your booking agent directly.
Europe's largest cruise ship port Southampton has:
- Port address is "Herbert Walker Avenue, Southampton SO15 1, United Kingdom".
- UN-LOCODE (United Nations location code) - GBSOU.
- four dedicated cruise terminals
- capability to accommodate more than 4 vessels at a time
- supported by excellent road, rail and air infrastructure
- deepwater channel
- deepwater berths
- no restrictions on length and GT tonnage of cruise ships
- sheltered harbor area
- Access is unrestricted by tides. The port's average tidal range is ~5 ft (1,5 m) with 17 hours per day of rising water. This allows even the largest cargo vessels and cruise ships to access the port for up to 80% of the time.
- The cruise port is accessible the whole year round - 24/7, 365 days a tear.
- Cruise ships usually arrive in Southampton in early morning (4:30, 5, 6, 6:30, 7:30 or 8 AM) and depart from Southampton in late afternoon (4:30, 5, 6 pm) or in the evening (8, 9:30 or 10 pm).
- Port Southampton Vehicle Ferry Terminal 3 Quay has GPS coordinates N 50°53'44.2", W 1°24'22.4"
- Port Southampton Passenger Ferry Terminal 2 Quay has GPS coordinates N 50°53'39.6", W 1°24'19.4"
Follows the list of cruise ship management companies (agencies) serving the major lines:
- CARNIVAL UK serves Cunard, P&O and Princess ships.
- DENHOLM WILHELMSEN LTD serves AIDA, Fred Olsen, MSC, Saga and Marella ships.
- INTERCRUISES serves Azamara, Celebrity and RCI-Royal Caribbean ships.
Southampton tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Old Town: one of the most famous landmarks in Southampton it the old town northern entrance – “Bargate”. Visit the the Archaeological Museum, the Medieval Merchants House, the Tudor House, the Maritime Museum and the God’s House Tower remains.
- Shopping Centers: visit the Above Bar shopping center (the main one), the Ocean Village or the new West Quay mall.
- Theater: visit the popular Mayflower theater.
- Southampton City Art Gallery : Victorian art collection.
- Aviation Museum: explore RJ Mitchell’s WW2 Supermarine Spitfire pioneering work at the Solent Sky Aviation Museum.
- Titanic Trail: start at Musician’s Memorial and end at the Maritime Museum. The museum is located at Town Quay in the Wool House. Explore the tragic faith of the famous ocean liner.
- Jane Austen Walking Trail: the famous author was seven when she came to Southampton. She often spent her vacations in the city and much later she moved to Southampton.
- New Forest National Park (train travel time from Southampton 15 min / southwest) - free ponies, deer, wildlife, great for walking, cycling, horse-riding
- Stonehenge Tour (car travel time from Southampton 50 min / northwest, or 30 min train travel to Salisbury)
- Isle of Wight (ferry travel time from Southampton 30-60 min / south) - beaches, historical buildings, food
- Portsmouth (travel time from Southampton 40 min by car and 45 min by train / southeast) - Charles Dickens' birthplace, naval port, maritime-themed attractions (Historic Dockyard, the restored ships HMS Victory and Mary Rose)
- Winchester (train travel time from Southampton 15 min / north) - cobbled streets, Wolvesey Castle ruins; Great Hall (houses a replica of King Arthur's Round Table), Cathedral
Port Southampton cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Southampton, England. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
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