It's certainly not due to the speed of voyage, as journeys from Portsmouth are longer in some cases. But it does offer passengers the opportunity to relax more and enjoy the journey. Crossings to ports in France and Spain are well serviced.
Portsmouth itself is the Royal Navy's historical home. It is to be found in the centre of the South Coast and the port is just north of the Naval base. To the south of the base is the Portsmouth Harbour Station which is the Ryde terminal for the Isle of Wight passenger ferry, and further to the south is the Fishbourne terminal for the Isle of Wight car ferry.
In the main continental terminal there is an information desk open every day. There is also a newsagent and gift shop, a licensed bar and a cafeteria, a bureau de change, a cashpoint, a baby changing room, payphones, photo booths and public fax machine. At the end of the boarding lanes is another "Travel Centre" which contains a cafeteria, bureau de change, and gift shops. There are disabled toilet facilities and the pay phones are low level. Should you have special needs, you should tell the person you are making reservations with, who can arrange for assistance for you. If you forget to ask then you can also ask at the check-in desk.
As far as parking is concerned. Both short and long term parking is available for car drivers close to the terminal, and you can get more parking information about the short term car parks by calling 01705 873378 and for the long term car park on 01705 751261. Freight vehicles can use the 500 vehicle Lorry Park, and you can also park 5 miles north of the port at Bailey's Truckstop - which can be found at the A27/M27 East Junction, marked Southsea A2030.
The Isle of Wight ferry terminals at Portsmouth also offer cloakrooms, disabled toilets, public phones and nearby parking. There is also a minibus service especially for wheelchair users upon request.
Ships travel to Bilbao in Spain twice weekly - and the journey takes 35 hours there and 29 hours back. There are three sailings a day that go to Caen - which takes 6 hours. Cherbourg ferries are 5 times daily and take 4 ¾ hours during the day and 6 ½ hours at night, 2 ¾ hours in a fastcraft. Le Harve takes slightly more time and St Malo an hour longer, with both trips about once a day.