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Southampton Cruise Port: Smart Tips for Embarkation Day

Updated: Jun 20

Likely to be your embarkation point for cruises around Northern Europe like on the MSC Euribia, Southampton is a couple hours from London by train. Arrive the day before you embark to cool your jets a bit (and allow for any travel delays like rail strikes or missed flights). Then, enjoy an afternoon and evening in the port town before embarking the following day. Here's my suggestions and helpful advice to do just that.

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In this article you will learn about:

Where You'll Dock

To learn more about where you will dock for embarkation day, and what's in port visit The Southampton cruise port is easily accessible by taking a taxi from town.

How to Get Around

southampton ferris wheel and city center

How To Get To Southampton From Gatwick

Your best bet at Gatwick is to get a direct train (approximately 2 hours) from Gatwick (GTW) to Southampton Central (SOU) on the Southern Railway. This will run you about 20 GBP per person on average. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the ticket machines just outside the South Terminal arrivals hall.

Note that direct simply means no transfers, but you will still call at several stations along the journey.

***Also be aware of the announcements regarding how many cars are in each train so you know where to board on the platform. Our train separated a few stops into the journey, meaning all passengers continuing to Southampton better be in the front four cars or they will be headed somewhere else!

If coming into the train station, town is walkable but a taxi will be required to get to Southampton cruise port.

Other Options for Arriving to Southampton

Flying into Southampton is also an option, if flying regionally. The airport is about 20 minutes from the port.

Or, consider arranging a door to door private shuttle or taxi through KiwiTaxi to get you, your bags and your people from point A to B with less hassle. Private transfers may be your best bet with a small group.

Renting a car for one day (if flying in the day before) is upwards of $300, so although not ideal, you may find this to be the most convenient option for you. Car agencies like Europcar have drop offs near the port, which is more convenient than dropping off at Southampton Airport.

If coming from Stansted

There are several trains to take, eating up a good 3+ hours. Our taxi driver in port offered us a ride (for 5 people) from the Southampton Port to Stansted for 300GBP cash, which is reasonable considering we spent about $40 in tickets for the trains per person.

You would need to get the Stansted express train to Liverpool Street Station, then connect on the metro (we took a taxi) to Waterloo, then take a direct train to Southampton. Use Omio's booking tools to help you navigate the best route for you.

Use STN to SOU as your search.

What To Do In Southampton Cruise Port

The top sites to include in your one day in Southampton before embarkation would be the SeaCity maritime museum with their Titanic Exhibit, and the Solent Sky Air Museum.

SeaCity offers multiple hands-on activities for kids to enjoy, and a great little cafe for a respite from the outdoors.

colorful museum cafe stocked with drinks and snacks

Pro tip: You can store your bags at the SeaCity museum as needed for 3GBP per bag, payable by cash or card at the museum (no pre-arrangement necessary).

Consider (with the luxury of a vehicle) a side trip to Stonehenge or sample some bubbly at one of the regions many wineries!

Where To Eat and Shop in Southampton Cruise Port

facade of a pub

Being a university town, you'll find plenty of shopping and dining in the main downtown area.

mall interior

Heavily influenced by Asian gastronomy, you'll find a wide variety of kebab houses, curry restaurants, Chinese places, and so on.

If catching an early train in from Gatwick, you'll want to stop at the Artisan, a great eatery for all day breakfast. Offering full English breakfasts and more, this cute place full of mismatched furniture and quirky antiques is only a few minutes walk from the SeaCity museum and the Marlands Shopping Center.

mall exterior

If you want a little English flair before you travel, try the Cowherds pub, conveniently within a short walk of our recommended overnight stay below.

cozy pub interior

Quintessentially British, the interior is very cute and the food is excellent. Beware the Gin & Tonic prices - the gin and the tonic are charged as separate charges on your bill.

Overnight Stays Before Embarkation

brick facade of a hotel

We enjoyed our stay at the Elizabeth House, which included a cooked to order English breakfast and even discounted cruise parking for those coming with a car.

beans, eggs, sausage and coffee

For latecomers or lazy bones, there is a cozy onsite restaurant with a small menu offering dishes from 6pm.

Suggested Private Tours

This private transfer from London to Southampton includes a side trip to nearby Stonehenge! Many taxi drivers will offer a stop to Stonehenge as well, just ask!

Titanic themed tour where you get to visit the White Star Pub and where the Mayflower left for America.

The classic walking tour of Southampton, if you like to be shown around.

a medieval gate

Before embarking on your cruise from Southampton cruise port, enjoy medieval architecture like that of the Southampton gate, or further literary history nearby on a journey through Winchester's past.



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