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Are you preparing to sail from Southampton on a cruise? Here’s what you need to know about Southampton Ocean Terminal.
I recently went on a cruise from Southampton with Princess Cruises. This was my first time on a cruise and my first time leaving the UK in this way. I was a bit worried about the logistics but everything was very smooth from finding Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal, to parking, and getting on board.
There were a few things it would have been good to know in advance though so in this Cruise travel blog I want to tell you about parking at Southampton Cruise Ocean Terminal and Southampton Cruise parking, getting a COVID test before a cruise in Southampton and how early you need to be there before your cruise.
Southampton Ocean Terminal
Southampton Cruise Terminals
Ocean Cruise Terminal is one of the Southampton Cruise Terminals and it’s the one I departed from on my cruise with Princess Cruises.
It’s located at Dock Gate 4 and the following postcode will get you there: SO143QN.
Other terminals in Southampton are Mayflower Terminal, QUII Terminal and City Cruise Terminal, you can’t find more about these here.
Getting to Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal
Despite needing to drive through the centre of Southampton to the Ocean Cruise Terminal as I was coming from the North, I found it very easy to drive through and navigate.
I needed to be at the terminal for 12:30 pm on Monday and didn’t encounter too much traffic, however, when I left the cruise and terminal on Friday at 9:45 am I did experience quite a bit of traffic in the area so definitely leave more time if you are driving through peak commuting hours.
It’s also a good idea to check the events on in Southampton as events such as Southampton Sailing Week and Southampton Boat Show will increase the traffic.
As I approached the terminal many of the lanes had ‘Dock’s’ written in them to indicate the way and this definitely helped me stay in the right lane all the way there.
I thought there would be more traffic heading to Southampton Cruise Terminal but guests are given a set time to arrive at the terminal by which is designed to lessen queues so it is best to stick to this time.
Southampton Central Station is just 2 miles from Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal. If you live in or around London, there are direct trains from London to Southampton.
Travelling by train is definitely a good idea if you can because it does cost to park at the terminal (more on that below), and you’ll miss out on the parking queue.
Catch a taxi at Southampton Central Station and you’ll get dropped off at the terminal and straight away you can drop your bags with the porters and start your boarding process!
Parking at Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal
Parking needs to be booked in advance. Once you have your confirmed cruise details look for details about parking.
I used CPS Parking to park at Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal and I was really happy with the service.
To get a quote (which you can get even if you haven’t booked your cruise yet), go to their website here.
To give you an idea of costs, 4 nights cost me £60.00 and a quote I received for 7 night is £95.00.
There are cheaper options for parking at Ocean Cruise Terminal and of course, the further away the parking is the cheaper it will be. A good option is Triangle Car Park because it is within walking distance from the terminal and lower in price.
If you do not live near Southampton and were considering staying overnight in Southampton before you cruise, I recommend looking into Southampton Hotel Cruise Parking, this way you can stay overnight before your cruise with no need to rush in the morning and leave your car in the hotel car park.
Just be sure to do some research on costs for parking in the hotel vs a dedicated car park, for example the Holiday Inn Southampton is next to the cruise terminals and offers parking but it’s £15.00 a night which is not any cheaper than the dedicated car parks onsite, in fact it is more!
How parking works:
On arrival to Ocean Terminal and Dock Gate 4 I was directed to where CPS is located.
It was all very organised with people telling us to get into lines and once at the top of the line, my keys were taken from me, I took my bags and say bye to my car and my keys because they parked the car for me.
I had to wait about 30 minutes in the queue until they checked me in and took my keys, this was the biggest thing I didn’t expect when it came to timing so make sure you leave extra time for this valet parking.
When we arrived back into Southampton I expected a delay and queue getting out of the terminal but it wasn’t like this at all which was a pleasent surprise, probably because guests get off the cruise over the course of a few hours.
I got back onto land, walked 30 seconds to the CPS car park, gave them the slip of paper they gave me when they took my car, got my keys and found my car in the car park.
Dropping Bags at Southampton Ocean Terminal
Although it makes sense that Princess Cruises took my suitcase and delivered it to my room, this service still surprised me, in a good way!
You should have a luggage tag so you know where to drop it off and so the staff know where to deliver it to, if you don’t get one from the staff in the area.
With Princess Cruises the luggage drop off points were alphabetical by your cabin number so I was B336 and therefore I dropped by bag off at point B.
Be sure you keep your passport on you and don’t put it in your big bag which you drop off as you’ll need it when you board and in security.
COVID Test at Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal
Princess Cruises require all passengers to have a swab COVID test before boarding the ship, some guests were advised to drive to the Mayflower Terminal to get this done before parking at Ocean Terminal and others did the walk-in service at the Ocean Terminal after parking.
The testing did take longer than I expected too, the walk-in testing was about a 20 minute wait.
All guests needed to show their passport and proof of double vaccination via the NHS app or a print out and the second vaccination had to be done at least 14 days ago.
After my test I could go inside the terminal and start the boarding procedure however we all had to wait until we got a text with our results before going through security of course and had to show this negative test to complete the final check in procedure.
When it comes to timing, the wait for the Covid Test results ranged from15 minutes for some people to 40 minutes for others. I guess this depends on how busy it is when you arrive.
Cruise Check In at Southampton Ocean Terminal
The last thing to know and an important thing to know is that there are no food and drink options in Ocean cruise terminal when checking in (at least not when I was there) so be prepared for this especially if you planned to wait for friends in the terminal or have to wait longer for test results.
However know that as soon as you arrive, the Piazza on the ship will be filled with food and drink that you can start eating and drinking straight away!
If your cruise is with Princess Cruises on the Sky Princess, the international cafe is on Level 5 as you board and they have delicious cakes and sandwiches which are part of your cruise rate and cost no extra!
Just be sure to head to your room and watch the safety briefing video and go to the Muster point not too long after you board as all passengers have to do this before the ship can set sail from Southampton!
Enjoy your cruise!