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The arrangements that P&O are making for the Grand Event on 3 July are beginning to cause some angst. P&O have always given passengers a suggested embarkation time, but in practice everyone ignores this. For example, we’ve had suggested embarkation times of 2:30 or later, but we turned up at the terminal (Ocean Terminal) at 11:45 and were embarking before 12:30.

For these cruises P&O have sent out a letter to all passengers that contains these sentences: “To ensure a relaxed start to your cruise, we have given very careful consideration to the check-in schedule and will adhere to it strictly on the day. Please make every effort to arrive at your check-in location at your allotted time and not before, as this may lead to unnecessary queues and congestion“, and it’s these sentences that are causing the problem. Some passengers who have been given embarkation times well into the afternoon will be arriving during the morning on specific trains or coaches which they booked long before these arrangements were known, and they don’t know they do with themselves until their check-in time. Similarly, other people have booked overnight stays in hotels in Southampton where is check-out is at noon at the latest, but again have a cruise check-in time of 2:30 or later. If it’s a budget hotel they’re staying in there won’t even be a hotel lounge or foyer where they can relax while they wait.

In our case the timings are OK. We’re staying in one of the bigger hotels close to the docks, and our embarkation time is 12:30. True, our check-out time is 11am, but the hotel has a coffee lounge where we can sit and relax for a while after checking-out before going to the terminal some time between noon and 12:30, either using the transfer arrangements we’ve booked with hotel or perhaps just walking round on our own.

P&O are also saying that they’ve worked with Southampton City Council “on a plan to spread the traffic across the entry routes in the city”. Certainly our information booklet had a suggested route on it, but to be honest it was the route we always take anyway: exit the M27 at the M271, drive to the end of that, and then turn left onto the A33 (Redbridge Road/Millbrook Road/Mountbatten Way/West Quay Way) towards the dock. Perhaps passengers for Azura (berthed at the Ocean terminal) and Oceana (berthed at the QEII terminal) will be routed more directly through the city to those terminals – I believe there is a more direct route from the M27 although I’ve never used it. Alternatively, as check-in for Aurora and Adonia will be at the Ageas Bow to the east of Southampton by J27 on the M27, perhaps it will be those passengers who will get to drive through the city, or be driven in the coaches that will transfer them to the berths. In any case we will be arriving in Southampton the day before, so it’s not relevant to us.

Here’s a link to a page on the P&O site all about it.

One Response to “P&O Grand Event – admin arrangements”

  1. Gary says:

    We’re in the same boat (ahem – ship) as you in that we booked Oriana and an hotel way back when but we’ve got a later arival time. So we either wait in the hotel car park or drive to the cruise car park earlier than our time and wait at the terminal. We’ve asked for an earlier time but they aren’t changing any but I bet some people will be late or can’t get for the time they’ve got.

    We were on Azura last week and had to wait in a long traffic jam coming into Southampton (there was 4 ships in) so I hope their plans work. We also had to wait half an hour to get out of the car park to come home though we got off the ship quick.

    Anyway we’re really looking forward to this cruise for all the special stuff, we were on Azura’s maiden and that was nice. Maybe we’ll spot you onboard though it is a short busy cruise (we have tours booked for every day).


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