Port of Southampton, UK
In 1840 the first P&O passenger vessel sailed into Southampton and marked the start of what was to become the cruise capital of the UK. Today increasing numbers of ships are calling into Southampton serving the 1.7million passangers in 2015.
There are four dedicated cruise terminals at Southampton which play host to a wide variety of cruise lines including AIDA, P&O Cruises, Princess, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, MSC, Carnival Cruise Line and Fred Olsen.
Associated British Ports (DHB) have invested over £40 million in its four dedicated cruise terminals and surrounding infrastructure. Taking a cruise means no waiting around at busy airports, no confusing restrictions on hand baggage, unlimited cabin baggage and your holiday starts as soon as you arrive in Southampton.
Southampton’s tradition of luxury cruising began in 1840.
Many of the world’s largest cruise ships can regularly be seen in Southampton water, including record-breaking vessels from Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corporation & plc. The latter has headquarters in Southampton, with its brands including Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises and Cunard Line.
The city has a particular connection to Cunard Line and their fleet of ships. This was particularly evident on 11 November 2008 when the Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 departed the city for the final time amid a spectacular fireworks display after a full day of celebrations. Cunard ships are regularly launched in the city, for example Queen Victoria was named by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in December 2007, and the Queen named Queen Elizabeth in the city during October 2011. The Duchess of Cambridge performed the naming ceremony of Royal Princess on 13 June 2013.
At certain times of the year, The Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria may all visit Southampton at the same time, in an event commonly called ‘Arrival of the Three Queens’.
The importance of Southampton to the cruise industry was indicated by P&O Cruises’s 175th anniversary celebrations, which included all seven of the company’s liners visiting Southampton in a single day. Adonia, Arcadia, Aurora, Azura, Oceana, Oriana and Ventura all left the city in a procession on 3 July 2012.
The Port of Southampton is a passenger and cargo port located in the central part of the south coast of England. The modern era in the history of the Port of Southampton began when the first dock was inaugurated in 1843
The London Cruise Terminal at Tilbury is London’s only deep water purpose-built cruise facility, situated at the gateway to London, just 22 nautical miles down river from Tower Bridge. Tilbury has become increasingly popular as a turnaround port for Baltic and Northern European destinations but it is also perfectly placed for transit calls to visit England’s capital city, Kent and the south east.
There are currently four separate cruise terminals strung along about two miles of the waterfront. From west to east these are the Mayflower, City, Ocean and Queen Elizabeth terminals. Southampton is one of three major ports used by cruise ships visiting the London area. The others are Dover and Harwich, both similar distances from London than Southampton. Only one cruise ship can dock at each terminal. On a few dates each year when all four cruise terminals have been booked out a temporary terminal is often used between the Mayflower and City Cruise Terminal. All of the cruise terminals are well within the docks themselves. You cannot walk directly out of any of the cruise terminals onto the streets of Southampton itself. On the public side of customs when using the cruise terminals there are few facilities apart from toilets.
Disembarkation and Embarkation At Southampton
By far the majority of cruise ships arrive around 5.a.m. to 6:30 a.m. and have assisted disembarkation starting about 07:00 with the last stragglers coming off around 09:00. A few ships dock at 8 a.m. Most ships give priority to those passengers with flights out the same morning around lunch time. Many ships will make unassisted disembarkation available prior to that. All cruise ships depart the same day they arrive, normally around 17:00. Many passengers assume they can disembark much later than 09:00, this is not normally the case. The first passengers for embarkation normally start arriving just as the last disembarkations come off around 09:00. Embarkation normally closes for departing cruises around 15:00 to 16:00
On disembarkation marshalling is very well organised and you will not be pestered by touts for hotels and taxis and such like. If somebody does approach you offering transportation, this practice is illegal and should be avoided at all costs. Only the fully licensed white Southampton taxi cabs can solicit for business. The taxi ranks outside each terminal are orderly and well regulated. If there are 4 ships in port all disembarking at the same time, queues happen, but you will not have to wait too long. If you are using a cruise line coach transfer you will be escorted directly to your waiting coach immediately outside the terminal. If you have pre booked a taxi or charter bus the driver will normally be outside the customs/baggage hall with your name on a board ‘airport style’.
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