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Inside Look: Sailing From Portsmouth With Virgin Voyages

With Resilient Lady making her way back to Portsmouth for a late summer season in 2024, we're looking ahead to help sailors make their Portsmouth sailings go without a hitch.

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A Virgin Voyages cruise ship sails past the coastline of Portsmouth with an orange tug boat sailing alongside
Virgin Voyages® in Portsmouth © Photo by Virgin Group

With Resilient Lady making her way back to Portsmouth for a late summer season in 2024, we’re looking ahead to help sailors make their Portsmouth sailings go without a hitch. Both Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady made their inaugural sailings from this port so it’s a location that has a deep connection to the Virgin Voyages brand. Whether you’re a returning sailor or this is your very first Virgin Voyages cruise this Insider Look should break down everything you need to know about sailing out of Portsmouth with Virgin Voyages.

Join your Facebook Group

Each Portsmouth sailing has a Facebook group, it’s a great way to meet other sailors before you set sail and a great first step to get the most out of your voyage.

A cruise ship in port under an overcast sky
Scarlet Lady in Portsmouth in 2021© Photo by Portsmouth International Port

New to Virgin Voyages?

Virgin Voyages provides something unique to the cruise industry, an adults only luxury cruise with a twist. Check the know before you go guide for everything you need to know from dress codes to booking events to spending on board.

Getting to Portsmouth

As ever, it is always recommended that you arrive at the port at the latest the day before you are due to sail to make sure you don’t miss the ship!

Portsmouth is a popular origin point for ferry crossings to France as well as a starting point for many other cruise lines. This means getting the Portsmouth is made easy. Whether you are travelling by car, train or air. Travellers from outside of the UK will likely be making their way to Portsmouth from a London-based airport.

By Air

Southampton Airport is nearest to the port but very few international flights fly directly to this small airport. For those travelling from outside of the UK, you will likely arrive to London Heathrow or London Gatwick airport.

From Southampton Airport

Transport Details Duration and Price
Train Direct from Southhampton Airport Parkway to Portsmouth & Southsea 1 hour
(£10-£15)
Private Transfer Direct taxi or transfer service 30-45 minutes
(£40-£60)

From London Heathrow (LHR)

Transport Details Duration and Price
Train 2-3 hours
(£40-£60)
Coach Direct National Express coach 2.5 hours
(£15-£25)
Private Transfer Direct taxi or transfer service 1.5 hours
(£100-£150)

From London Gatwick (LGW)

Transport Details Duration and Price
Train Direct Southern Railway train 1.5 hours
(£20-£30)
Coach Direct National Express coach 2.5 hours
(£10-£20)
Private Transfer Direct taxi or transfer service 1.5 hours
(£90-£130)

Note: Many of these services now operate on a cashless basis, make sure to travel with a debit or credit card that can be used for British Pounds (£ GBP) purchases or Google/Apple Pay.

By Rail

Rail services are frequent and there are services running from central London several times an hour and takes between one-and-a-half and two hours. Costs are low, typically tickets are available from as little as £15 each way.

You will want to find a train that travels to Portsmouth Harbour or Portsmouth & Southsea and get a short taxi ride from there to the port.

By Car

If you’re arriving to Portsmouth by car the town is served by many main routes from the North, most routes will take you past Southhampton. Guidance on parking can be found further down this guide.

map showing best places to find a hotel before your cruise in Portsmouth
Hotel options are situated a little further away from the port but taxi services are good in the area© Photo by VV Insider

Places to Stay Before Your Cruise

Ad: Expedia UK will pay VV Insider a commission if you book a stay using the links in this section.

The port area is somewhat under-served by hotels. We recommend searching for a hotel closer to the centre of town for the widest choice possible, we’ve always found Expedia a great tool to help search for the best prices, you can find some very reasonable deals if you book early.

Local Tip: There are some good hotel choices available a little further from the port in an area called ‘Port Solent’. – Thanks Julie (a Portsmouth local) for this advice.

Budget Choice

Our pick for a great pre-cruise budget hotel would be the Holiday Inn Portsmouth North – with a decent guest rating and only 4 miles away from the port, the taxi ride to the ship will be budget friendly too.

Balanced Choice

The Q8 Boutique Hotel is a great balanced choice if you’re looking at staying at a more unique-style hotel in Portsmouth.

Luxury Choice

If you’re wanting to live that Rockstar lifestyle before you even board the ship the Albert Cottage Hotel is a wonderful guesthouse on the Isle of Wight, this of course means a ferry rider the morning of your cruise but if you’re looking to extend your vacation this may be a great choice.

Parking at the Port

Your port arrival time will be shown in the Virgin Voyages app after your check in for your Voyage. If you have the ability to board the ship early you may be able to come to the port earlier than the time shown in the app.

On the day head towards the address;
International Port, George Byng Way, Portsmouth PO2 8SP

Parking is limited and the spaces can be very tight if you have larger vehicle. If you plan to park at the port you should book and pay ahead of time to avoid disappointment. You can prebook and pay on the official website.

A map showing the distance from the parking to check in for cruises from Portsmouth terminal
The walking route is not far but can be cumbersome with heavy luggage, grab a trolley if you can© Photo by VV Insider

Bag Drop and Check In

If your are parking, the port is a short walk from the parking structure but you may want to find a luggage trolley as there are lumps and bumps en-route as well as the need to cross multiple lanes of traffic heading towards the French ferry terminal.

Baggage Drop Off

Bag handling at the port will be directed by Virgin Voyages staff. You do not need to bring your own luggage tags as they will be provided for you when you arrive.

A stack of luggage on a luggage trolley being labelled by a person wearing a striped t-shirt
Luggage drop-off at your origin port© Photo by VV Insider

Checking In For Your Voyage

Once your bags have been dropped into the Virgin Voyages staff you will proceed to the terminal to check in. Depending on your status and Rockstar status you may be directed towards different lines or desks, always follow the advice of the staff at the port.

Staff will need to see your passport and booking confirmation – this will be displayed in the app so there is no need to bring printed materials with you.

Once you have checked in you may need to wait for your boarding time, Virgin Voyages will often have refreshments available in the waiting area for guests before they board.

A row of cruise check-in desks labeled 'Rockstar Quarters and VIP'
Checking in for your first cruise begins at your origin port© Photo by VV Insider

Boarding the Ship

It’s your time! You will be invited to board the ship, in Portsmouth there is a small climb up a ramp to the tender boarding area. If you required accessibility assistance porters will be available to help your board the ship.

Once you board you will likely be greeted by members of The Happenings Cast who will show you the way to where you should go next.

Cabin Availability and Luggage Delivery

You will have been assigned your cabin well in advance of joining the ship. This will be communicated to you both by email and the app. You can check the details of your cabin on VV Insider and ask Sailor Services for an alternative assignment if you’re not happy with it.

Cabins are available immediately as you board so you’ll be able to drop any additional bags into your room before you start exploring the ship. This also gives you an opportunity to greet your cabin hosts if they are around.

Your bags will be delivered to your room door at some point in the afternoon, you do not need to wait in your cabin for them, they will be safe in the corridor or placed into your room. If you do not receive your bag it may be that the tag has fallen off, you can contact Sailor Services who will help you locate your bag.

Overview

The Portsmouth sailings in 2024 are shaping up to be some of the most popular offerings from Virgin Voyages. Sailors who have sailed on the inaugural Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady sailings are likely to return to brand as well as new sailors that have heard of Virgin Voyages’ rave reviews and buzz on social media.

We’re excited to see sailors exploring the stunning venues and exciting entertainment on offer on board Resilient Lady. Become an Insider by subscribing to our newsletter to get tips and hints delivered directly to your inbox to help plan the perfect Virgin Voyages vacation.

About the author

Co-Founder and Director. David has a background in web design and development and writes travel content, vacation guides and tips about Virgin Voyages.


2 Comments

  1. Jon says:

    As well as the multi-storey car park linked in the article there is also valet parking from CPS https://www.cruiseparking.co.uk/

    We’ve used both and found the valet is easier with shorter waits when dropping the car off, but it worked out £20 more expensive.

    1. Rose Hall says:

      We have booked to park with them so good to know .

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