cruise liner southampton

See Southampton's cruise ships - close up!

With summer well and truly on its way, what better time to get out and enjoy the spectacular scenes along Southampton’s busy waterfront. Find out which ships are visiting the city and when...

Cruise ships come and go in and out of Southampton’s busy port all the time – around 430 per year in fact. Some of them are vast – carrying more than 4,000 passengers. It’s fascinating to see them arriving and leaving. But where are the best places to go if you want to catch some of the most famous luxury cruise liners when they’re visiting – and how do you find out when they are there?

There are four different cruise ship terminals in Southampton, located either in the Western Docks or the Eastern Docks. They are:

Ocean Cruise Terminal: Berth 46 in the Eastern Docks

Queen Elizabeth 2 Terminal: Berth 38-9 in the Eastern Docks

Mayflower Cruise Terminal – Berth 106 in the Western Docks

City Cruise Terminal – Berth 101 in the Western Docks

You can’t go into the docks to view the ships unless you’re traveling on one, but there are plenty of places to go to see them in all their glory.

To view the Eastern Docks: best places are Ocean Village, Queens Park or Town Quay.

To view the Western Docks: Town Quay or Mayflower Park

At Ocean Village, you can relax with uninterrupted views of the marina and enjoy a bite to eat at Banana Wharf (open 10 am to 11.30pm) or the Harbour Lights Picturehouse café. Both are in a prime position for seeing the boats close up. Harbour Lights, with its huge windows, is an ideal viewpoint.

Mayflower Park, right on the water’s edge next to the Isle of Wight ferry terminal, often holds special events to celebrate the naming and arrival of new ships. Watch the boats while enjoying an ice cream in the summer or from the warmth of their café on chilly days.

Even more exciting is to view the ships up close from the water:

Take a 90-minute harbour cruise with Blue Funnel and you’ll travel around the Port, taking in views of the rivers Itchen and Test. Find out more at

The Hythe Ferry sails from Hythe Pier to Town Quay every day of the week, right past the berth of Queen Victoria, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, when at home. And when they’re not at home, there are always other interesting ships making a stop. The journey takes around 20 minutes.

See a timetable of visiting ships and how long they are staying here.  See also or the website for the Hythe ferry which has everything you need to know about tickets and prices.


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