First Time Cruisers - Parking in Southampton
One of the most frequently asked questions on the internet is where can you park for a cruise in Southampton and in all honestly, there isn't a straight forward answer to this. Lots of the parking options will be personal preference and you might even find that after trying a few options, your preference changes. We'll try to outline the main options in this post, and we'll let you know which we've tried and what we thought of them. For ease, we will include some links to external websites, but none of these are affiliate links, this post is not sponsored and nobody has paid us to feature in it.
Port Parking with CPS or ABP
In our opinion, the easiest option when cruising from Southampton is to park directly at the port. Depending on which cruise line you're travelling with, you'll be able to book with either CPS (for Cunard, Princess and P&O) or ABP (for Disney, MSC, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Fred Olsen, NCL and Saga). As frequent P&O cruisers we have parked with CPS on a number of occasions and have found the process to be seamless. You drive straight into the port area and are met by staff. They take photographs of your vehicle, allow you to unload your luggage and take the car away for you. On return to Southampton, you'll need to collect your keys from their hut and you'll be directed straight to your vehicle which should be located in the car park closest to your arrival terminal. In most cases if you are returning to a different terminal to the one you departed from your car will be moved to meet you, although on one occasion we were provided with a coach transfer to get to our car.
The caveat to this level of convenience is the cost. At the time of writing this article (May 2023) the cost for 7 nights in CPS is £124 and for 7 nights in ABP it will cost you £114. Some of the other options we'll talk about in this article are available for a fraction of the cost, so for us, we weigh up whether the convenience is worth the extra money. You can also get some cruise deals that will include parking as part of your booking, such as when booking a Select price with P&O, or Cunard fare with Cunard. With these fare types you can choose parking, a coach transfer or if booking with P&O additional on board spend. Something important to note is that if your parking is complimentary you still need to book it via the CPS website. When you input your booking number, your parking will go through as complimentary, but if you don't book you won't get a space.
Multi-storey Car Parks
There are a few multi-storey car parks in Southampton that offer long stay parking which is available at some very reasonable prices. A taxi transfer to/from these car parks should cost less than £10, or if you're able bodied and don't have too much luggage you might prefer to walk.
Perhaps the most popular of these options is West Quay, which is charged at £5 per 24 hours. We've used this as parking for the Premier Inn, and when cruising ourselves and found it to be great for the price. We have seen some people express concern that the parking is not secure, or that insurance will not cover parking there as it is not specifically overnight parking. On West Quay's website there is now a statement concerning overnight parking which should alleviate these kinds of concerns "If you are looking for long stay parking, whether you are off on a cruise or stay-caying in Southampton, whatever brings you to our car park the Multi Storey Car Park is perfect for this. Park your wheels for just £5 per 24 hours." It's also worth noting that West Quay is a 'Pay on Foot' car park, which means you need a ticket to exi and is well covered by CCTV.
There are also 3 Southampton City Council operated car parks which offer long stay parking where the prices range from £31 - £34 for a 7 day period. We've never parked in any of these but would have no reservations about doing so. They are all barrier controlled and require a ticket for exit. You can find out more about these options here.
Hotel Stay Including Parking
Lots of Southampton hotels and even a few a little further afield, offer a deal that includes an overnight stay pre cruise, parking for the duration of the cruise and return transfers to the port via taxi. We've tried this in a few hotels, and in our honest option most of them are only worth it from a value perspective if you are are on a longer cruise. For 7 nights, we've often found that the cost of the package can be more expensive than the cost of an overnight stay and 7 nights parking at CPS. It's definitely worth doing some maths before committing.
We've tried this offer in a few different hotels and have had mixed experiences, but we will say that one of the best we've tried is the Southampton Holiday Inn. The parking facilities were ideal and the location is perfect. We were even able to see our ship from our hotel room! At the time of writing, the cruise, park and stay offer at the Holiday Inn was available from £168 and included up to 15 nights of parking. The cost will vary depending on when you're booking, and when you're planning on staying.
There are lots of websites that now make it easy to book parking. You can put in a postcode or location and it will load up local parking for you. The parking available on these websites varies massively. You can find anything from hotel car parks to private driveways. The pricing on these websites can also vary massively too. When writing this article we tested some random dates and got prices ranging from £35 right up to £187.50 for 7 nights. We found parking at the popular Ibis and Holiday Inn hotels available and both are very close to the port area.
There are definitely bargains to be had in some great locations and you'll also find some very secure options through this route. There are lots of different websites out there that offer this service, some that we've used before include JustPark, Your Parking Space and Park On My Drive.
Please let us know in the comments, if you have any great parking spots in Southampton that you'd like to share!