The Southampton City Council is alerting travelers about excessive traffic in the port area for the next few days, which can cause delays and snarls for cruise passengers arriving or departing from the Port of Southampton.
Guests with upcoming sailings will want to ensure they have adequate time to reach the port for their boarding time for smooth embarkation, and likewise guests debarking ships will want to be patient as they exit the port.
The heavier than typical traffic near the Port of Southampton begins on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, not only due to the three cruise ships in port, but also the home match for Southampton FC against Ipswich Town FC. The football (soccer) match is expected to draw as many as 32,384 attendees to St. Mary’s Stadium, many of whom may arrive early for pre-game festivities.
In port on Tuesday are both P&O Cruises’ Ventura and Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria as they disembark and embark more than 10,000 guests combined for both ending and beginning sailings.
AIDA Cruises’ AIDAprima is also bringing 3,300 passengers to visit the city for the day as part of the ship’s current sailing, a 14-night “Metropolises & Norway” sailing that is also exploring such amazing ports of call as Hamburg, Paris, and Zeebrugge, in addition to several stops in Norway.
The cruise port and St. Mary’s Stadium are just 1.1 miles (1.7 kilometers) apart. With so much traffic anticipated, cruise guests will want to plan extra time for reaching their ships or returning to AIDAprima after exploring the city or enjoying a tour.
The coming weekend is expected to be even busier for the Port of Southampton, with a total of 11 ships from seven different cruise lines to visit the port from Friday through Sunday.
On Friday, September 22, four ships will be at the port: Princess Cruises’ Island Princess, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2, P&O Cruises’ Britannia, and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Silhouette.
Sunday, September 24 will just have three visiting ships as P&O Cruises Ventura, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Splendor are all scheduled.
Of the 11 ships to call on Southampton for the weekend, only two vessels – Queen Mary 2 and Seven Seas Splendor – are making relative port of call visits to the city, while the other nine ships are both embarking and debarking guests.
When all the ships are combined across the weekend, more than 64,000 guests may be moving in, out, and through the port area in just three days.
Authorities are urging travelers, as well as local residents who may be visiting downtown Southampton, to plan in advance for heavy crowds, and adjust their time accordingly.
Options may include using public transit or ride share services and avoiding parking at the port area, or arranging for family members or friends to drive and drop off travelers in case parking is unavailable.
Allowing extra time just to reach the cruise terminal will also be helpful, and drivers should be mindful that there may be road closures or traffic being rerouted due to pedestrian crowds. Obey all signage for detours or closures, and stay alert to directions from authorities and port staff.
The Port of Southampton is one of the busiest passenger cruise ports in Europe, with sailings departing the city for British Isles cruises, Canary Island itineraries, Icelandic cruises, transatlantic crossings, and much more. As more and larger cruise ships debut, busy port days are sure to become more frequent.
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