Does anyone have any thoughts about whether it is better to fly into Heathrow or Gatwick if I want to go to Southampton for a cruise?
There is a direct rail service from Gatwick to Southampton Central.
Gatwick is served from Toronto by a wide choice of airlines - British Airways, Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, Westjet.Edited: 21 June 2018, 13:25
And as always on cruises, arrive the day before the cruise leaves to make sure you will be on the ship, as well.
Adding to the direct train from Gatwick, Heathrow has a direct coach (Bus) Service to Southampton but the train journey will involve at least one change. There are myriad car services - in that case Heathrow is a little cheaper, expect to pay around £100 or £125 from Gatwick. Pick your flights on cost/schedule/Service , the last leg can be managed without great complication....
“And as always on cruises, arrive the day before the cruise leaves to make sure you will be on the ship, as well.”
At least one day in advance.
And remember that flights to Gatwick are mostly served by leisure/low cost carriers with significantly less than daily service. WestJet is a hybrid full service airline in Canada but their long hauls to Gatwick use the LCC model, and less than daily service.
And those airlines flying to Gatwick don’t have agreements with other airlines for rebooking. If the flight is canceled you wait for availability on the next flight on that airline which could be in 2, 4, 6 or 8 days’ time. That could be a big issue if your Canada-London flight is canceled.
For that reason I’d fly on either BA or Air Canada (or a US carrier via the US) to Heathrow. With those airlines if you have a cancellation they can rebook you via other routes and on partner airlines and get you there - late but - same day or next day.
There are 3 or 4 flights per day from Amsterdam to Southampton. Book a through ticket from Toronto. Flybe have numerous interline agreements.
Thanks everyone for all your helpful tips! I’ve definitely planned to arrive at least 1 day before and think I’ll fly into Gatwick airport now since there seems to be a direct train to Southampton.
Whilst it is a direct train it's basically a commuter service and takes around 2hrs, and picking random dates it seems Southern are the operators. Southern have had significant operational issues, they have largely been resolved but the union have claimed that they will strike going forward
Trainline is a good way to look up train schedules in the UK. Although I'll book direct through the train company to generally avoid the booking fee.Edited: 22 June 2018, 00:00
Thanks OP2002 for the tip about booking direct with the train company!
Thanks Travel_Undercover for Southern Railway’s website.