HUNDREDS of passengers ended up trapped in carparks after gridlock struck at Southampton's cruise terminals this morning.

The chaos began when holidaymakers disembarked from two cruise ships.

Some have reported they have been stuck in the car park for the last two hours waiting to leave Ocean Terminal.

According to Southampton Cruise Parking Services the problem was a result of two cruise ships - the Oriana and the Aidasol - docking close to each other combined with road works both inside and outside of the port.

Although traffic was moving, exiting the car parks was particularly slow due to the impact of the road works, a spokeswoman said.

Passenger Jean Parker from Chandlers Ford returned from a 12-day trip to the Arctic Circle with P&O Cruises with her husband only to find Southampton had ground to a halt.

She said: “We have all been standing here for 90 minutes waiting to get out of the car park. It's an absolute standstill. We have moved one car length. We're all just sitting here at Ocean terminal.

“We can't see what's happening, we can't see what the problem is.

“Before we came down to the cruise they told us to allow extra time for road works. We can't even get out of the car park.”

Sue and Michael Humphrey reached their car at 9am this morning but were still sat in it at 11am having only moved a matter of car lengths.

The couple from Northamptonshire, had also enjoyed a 12-day cruise to the Arctic Circle with P&O Cruises.

Sue, 62, said: “We had a wonderful time but this is not a very good end to our holiday. It is very frustrating as we have simply been edging towards the exit in our car for two hours.”

No comment was available from Associated British Ports.

The city council's highways team tweeted that one lane on Town Quay was closed and that drivers should expect delays as a result, although they claimed traffic had 'eased', before lunch time.

However, West Quay Cars claimed that their drivers were spending around 30 minutes trying to get out of Dock Gate 4 due to the sheer weight of traffic.