I am departing Southampton in December 2003, and was wondering about a couple of things. Ideally, we will be in the city at lunch time, and would like to spend a bit of time touring around. Is there a place were we can check our luggage? I understand that Cunard has a terminal there. Can we check our bags and then leave again, or are we going to have to keep our bags with us? When call we arrive, what is the best time to arrive? I am travelling in m3 class, if that makes any difference.
When you receive your tickets etc from Cunard, they will enclose details about boarding times. Usually, boarding for a 5pm departure STARTS at 3pm. They ask (quite forcefully!!) that people do not arrive before this time. They may be reluctant for you to drop off your luggage and then do a runner (security etc).
Be prepared for a long check in if you arrive at 3pm though. Grill category have their own check-in line and all other categories in another.
The other day, a friend and I were chatting and we recalled how at first we were a bit put-off by the long line at Southampton as we waited to get ticketed. But in the end we both agreed that it was fun, as the air was filled with excitment, we got to eye our fellow passengers, imagining where they were from and what their stories were, and as we slowly edged forward to the beginning of the line, we knew we were one step closer to walking the ramp onto the ship! We are doing the Sept 19th crossing and are actually looking forward to Southampton and the buzz in the air as we wait to board!
You can in fact get into the dock from 12pm. Go by taxi of course as you may not get past the dockgate security that can be a bit strict about arriving early. It would probably take until nearly 2pm to get checked in etc though so this would leave little time to go see Southampton as you would need to be back at the hip by 4pm at the very latest.
There is nowhere in Southampton where you can leave luggage. If you are staying overnight in a local hotel you may be able to leave it there. If you want to see Southampton properly this may be the only real option.