If you don’t want to catch a flight when starting your cruise holiday, departing from Southampton is a great option. Many cruise lines offer itineraries that begin here, heading off to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, the Caribbean, or various other fabulous destinations.
However, Southampton is Europe’s leading turnaround cruise port, home to the UK fleets of some of the largest cruise operators in the world and sees around 2 million passengers pass through, so if you need to park your vehicle here, it’s worth doing a bit of research.
To help, we’ve put together our guide to cruise parking in Southampton.
Check with your cruise line first
Before thinking about cruise parking, have a look at what’s included in your cruise holiday package. Sometimes cruise lines offer port parking as part of their promotion. Other all-inclusive cruise holidays have transfers to the port included.
If cruise parking or transfers are not included in your package, you next need to check which cruise terminal your ship departs from. With Southampton docks stretching over a mile long and having five different cruise terminals, turning up at the wrong one will waste valuable time getting to your ship on schedule.
Parking at the cruise terminal
Parking at the cruise terminal is the quickest and most convenient choice but is also one of the more expensive options. Cruise terminal parking is also only available for ships departing from the City Cruise Terminal, Horizon Cruise Terminal and Ocean Cruise Terminal. You can still use these car parks for the QEII and Mayflower cruise terminals but you will need to take a shuttle or taxi to your departure points.
ABParking is the official parking provider for the City Cruise and Horizon Cruise Terminals and has its car parks located directly adjacent to them. These terminals are used mainly by Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises and MSC Cruises.
Use Triangle Car Park for the Ocean Terminal, which is also only a short walk to your departure point.
Valet parking is also a convenient, if somewhat more expensive, option for your cruise parking. Instead of parking your car yourself, you can leave your car adjacent to the ship and give your keys to the valet parking attendant who will park it for you.
Always take care to use a trusted, official provider for this service, so you can be assured that your car will be safe while you are away. These providers offer parking for specific cruise lines, so also check which one is appropriate for your holiday.
ABParking, owned and operated by the Port of Southampton, offers this service. CPS (Cruise & Passenger Services) is an ABTA partner and another trusted provider of cruise valet parking for Southampton and other UK ports. Both of these providers hold the Park Mark Safer Parking Award.
‘Park and ride’ services
Like other city ‘park and ride’ services, with this option, you park your car a few miles away from the port and then take a free shuttle bus to your ship. ‘Park and ride’ services are usually significantly cheaper than the on-site or valet parking, but you need to factor in time for waiting for the shuttle bus to arrive and collect you and the journey to the port.
If you are driving down to Southampton and staying the night before your cruise, it may be worth checking if your hotel offers cruise parking. Many Southampton hotels provide this service, sometimes including it as part of their package. Double-check that a shuttle bus to the port is also included, or you could be facing an unexpected and sometimes costly taxi fare.
Private car parks
In recent years, there has been a growth in owners of private car parks or spaces who offer these for other drivers to park their cars. Platforms, such as Just Park and Your Parking Space, provide an easy online search facility for parking in a whole range of places and for longer- or shorter-term use. These platforms use reviews to help verify the quality of the parking provided, so it’s worth taking a bit of time to examine these. Private car parks are often a lot cheaper than parking on-site. However, don’t forget to factor in the cost of the taxi ride to the port.
Blue badge parking
Parking operators, such as ABParking, provide dedicated car parking for blue badge holders. However, these are not free and often need to be pre-booked.
Planning your cruise parking in Southampton in advance is highly recommended. It will make for a much smoother and stress-free start to your holiday and a worry-free time while you’re away.
If you need further advice with arranging your cruise parking, please get in touch with our cruise specialists.// END - About the Author ?>