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Embarkation in Seward (Anchorage): Cruise Terminal Parking, Address and Amenities

Getting to Your Cruise: A Guide to Train Travel to Southampton Cruise Port

Gary Buchanan
Contributor
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Queen Mary 2 docked at Southampton

The port of Southampton might be the epicentre of British cruising, but it's not the easiest place to get to. Cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises; Cunard Line; Norwegian Cruise Line; P&O Cruises; Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean only offer sailings from Southampton. So for anyone wanting to set sail with these cruise lines, it's Hobson's choice.

It's also worth noting that there are four cruise terminals in Southampton -- so do double check and make sure you get to the right one! The Mayflower Cruise Terminal and the City Cruise Terminal are accessed via Dock Gate 10; while the Ocean Cruise Terminal and Queen Elizabeth II Terminal are reached via Dock Gate 4.

The majority of passengers heading for Southampton to join their cruise prefer to let the train take the strain. When planning your train journey to Southampton, keep in mind any lengthy connections, which can slow down your journey.

The prospect of connecting at convenient interchange stations such as Birmingham and Wolverhampton are not as daunting as they sound as there are lifts at mainline platforms. Try to avoid routing via London from stations in the north to Southampton if at all possible -- nobody wants to get caught up at Paddington, Euston or St Pancras during rush hour!

The unwary traveller can easily be duped with the bewildering array of train options unless they do their homework. This simple guide will ensure a hassle-free journey by train to and from your cruise.


Birmingham (New Street) to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 12:04 p.m.
  • Timings: Trains from Birmingham New Street depart at four minutes past each hour during the day. These services also call at Leamington Spa, Banbury, Oxford and Reading.
  • Duration: 2 hours 37 minutes
  • Train Line: Virgin Trains
  • Direct? Yes

Tip: Consider buying a railcard (such as a Senior Railcard or a Two-Together Railcard) for great savings.


Bristol (Temple Meads) to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 11:22 a.m.
  • Timings: There are trains departing Bristol Temple Meads at 22 minutes past every hour during the day. These trains also call at Bath Spa.
  • Duration: 1 hour 42 minutes
  • Train Line: Great Western Railway
  • Direct? Yes

Tip: Splash out on first class if you're travelling at weekends as there are some great deals offered by Great Western Railway.


Cardiff (Central) to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 10:30 a.m.
  • Timings: There are trains departing Cardiff Central at 30 minutes past every hour during the day. These trains also call at Newport and Bristol.
  • Duration: 2 hours 34 minutes
  • Train Line: Great Western Railway
  • Direct? Yes

Tip: Advance booking on the direct services can save a bundle.


Edinburgh (Waverley) to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 8:51 a.m., or ideally the day before your cruise.
  • Timings: There's only one practical option from Edinburgh Waverley, which leaves at 8.51 a.m. (on a Virgin Train service) to Wolverhampton where there's a tight nine-minute connection to catch a CrossCountry service that arrives in Southampton Central at 3.41p.m. -- this is pushing it if your ship departs at 5pm.
  • Duration: 6 hours 50 minutes
  • Train Line: Virgin and CrossCountry
  • Direct? There are no direct services and many of the alternative routings involve multiple changes.

Tip: Go the day before and spend the night in Southampton.


Passengers waiting, sitting, walking around Glasgow Central Train Station in Glasgow

Glasgow (Central) to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: This calls for either an early start or taking it easy and heading south the day before your cruise.
  • Timings: There are two possible options to get from Glasgow Central to Southampton in time to board your ship the same day but these involve an early start and a tight connection. The very early one-change service is the 05.50 Virgin Trains service from Glasgow Central to Wolverhampton where there is a 10-minute connection onto a CrossCountry service that arrives in Southampton Central at 12.41. The other option is the 08.00 Virgin Trains service from Glasgow Central to Wolverhampton where there is a tight 8-minute connection onto a CrossCountry service that arrives in Southampton Central at 14.41. As these are different train operating companies there is no obligation on their part to hold an onwards train if the preceding service is running late. Also bear in mind that you will have luggage and there may well be a change of platforms which might mean taking your bags up and down stairs.
  • Duration: 6 hours 41 minutes
  • Train Line: Virgin Trains/Cross Country
  • Direct? No

Tip: Get your cruise off to a relaxing start and head south the day before. Check with your cruise line or travel agent as they often have specially-negotiated deals with hotels in Southampton.


Leeds to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 9:20 a.m.
  • Timings: There is only one relatively convenient one-change option that departs Leeds at 9:20 a.m. on a TransPennine Express service that arrives at Manchester Piccadilly, where 14 minutes later a CrossCountry train departs for Southampton which arrives at 2:40 p.m.
  • Duration: 5 hours 21 minutes
  • Train Line: TransPennine Express and CrossCountry
  • Direct? No

Tip: There are other, slightly faster, options but these involve either two or three changes -- not ideal when you have luggage.


Liverpool (Lime Street) to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 9:04 a.m.
  • Timings: Taking a London Midland train from Liverpool Lime Street at 9:04 a.m. gets you into Birmingham New Street, where 16 minutes later a CrossCountry service goes direct to Southampton arriving at 1:41 p.m.
  • Duration: 4 hours 37 minutes
  • Train Line: London Midland and CrossCountry
  • Direct? No

Tip: Separate tickets from Liverpool to Birmingham then Birmingham to Southampton are often a cheaper option.


London (Waterloo) to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 11:05 a.m.
  • Timings: There are fast direct trains at 5 minutes and 35 minutes past each hour during the day.
  • Duration: 1 hour 14 minutes
  • Train Line: South West Trains
  • Direct? Yes

Tip: Buy snacks at Waterloo as the on-train buffet prices are extortionate.


Manchester (Piccadilly) to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 9:27 a.m.
  • Timings: Trains depart Manchester Piccadilly at 27 minutes past each hour during the day. These trains call at Stockport, Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford.
  • Duration: 4 hours 14 minutes
  • Train Line: CrossCountry
  • Direct? Yes

Tip: Take advantage of advance fares which are available up to three months prior to the date of travel.


Newcastle (Central) to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 9:35 a.m.
  • Timings: Travellers in the North East are limited to only one hassle-free option -- the 9:35 a.m. direct cross-country service from Newcastle Central, which arrives at Southampton Central at 3:17 p.m. This train also calls at Durham, Darlington, York, Doncaster, Sheffield and Derby.
  • Duration: 5 hours 42 minutes
  • Train Line: Virgin Trains
  • Direct? Yes

Tip: This train is often very busy so seat reservations are recommended.

Plymouth to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 8:53 a.m.
  • Timings: There are no direct train services between Plymouth and Southampton so connections need to be made at either Westbury or Reading. The fastest option is the 08.53 Great Western Trains service from Plymouth which involves an 8-minute connection at Westbury onto another Great Western Trains service which arrives at Southampton Central at 12.17. There is an alternative routing which departs Plymouth at 10.44 aboard a Great Western Railways service – this has a 29-minute connection at Reading onto a CrossCountry train which arrives at Southampton at 14.41.
  • Duration: 3 hours 24 minutes
  • Train Line: Great Western Railway/CrossCountry
  • Direct? No

Tip: The routing via Reading is often much more expensive than the one via Westbury as it involves two different train operating companies.

Penzance to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 7:41 a.m.
  • Timings: There are no direct train services between Penzance and Southampton so connections need to be made at either Bath Spa or Reading. The fastest option is the 07.41 Great Western Trains service from Penzance which involves a 25-minute connection at Bath Spa onto another Great Western Trains service which arrives at Southampton Central at 14.04. There is a later routing which departs Penzance at 08.44 aboard a Great Western Railways service – this has a 29-minute connection at Reading onto a CrossCountry train which arrives at Southampton at 14.41.
  • Duration: 5 hours 57 minutes
  • Train Line: Great Western Railway/CrossCountry
  • Direct? No

Tip: The routing via Bath Spa is longer at 6h 23m but is generally a lot cheaper than the one via Reading which involves two different train operating companies.

Truro to Southampton

  • Time you need to leave to make your cruise: 7:27 a.m.
  • Timings: There are no direct train services between Truro and Southampton so connections need to be made at either Westbury or Bristol Temple Meads. The fastest option is the 07.27 Great Western Trains service from Truro which involves an 8-minute connection at Westbury onto another Great Western Trains service which arrives at Southampton Central at 12.17. There is an alternative routing which departs Truro at 09.04 aboard a CrossCountry service – this has a 15-minute connection at Bristol Temple Meads onto a Great Western Railways train which arrives at Southampton at 14.32.
  • Duration: 4 hours 50 minutes
  • Train Line: Great Western Railway/CrossCountry
  • Direct? No

Tip: The routing via Westbury is faster at 4h 50m but has quite a tight connection; the option via Bristol Temple Meads allows more time to make the next train however it is more expensive than the one via Westbury as it involves two different train operating companies.

Updated January 08, 2020

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