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British Isles/Western Europe Amsterdam, Brugge, Dublin, Edinburgh, London (Dover, Harwich, Southampton)

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  #1  
Old June 14th, 2012, 10:19 PM
Dabs01 Dabs01 is offline
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Default Southampton to London

We are taking a Cunard cruise ending up in Southampton on Saturday July 21. I've checked Megatrain and the earliest train is 12:55 which is a lot later than I thought we'd be heading to London (£4). There are National Express buses at 8:35, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30 (£7.50-9.50, 2 1/4 hours). I understand that the regular train fares are walk up and are 34.10£ on the weekend. Are there any other options I've missed?

I *think* that the ship arrives at 7am, if I try to get off towards the front of the queue, is it reasonable to assume that I can make the 9:30 bus? And if we get there for the 8:35 bus and reserve on the 9:30 bus, can we get on?
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  #2  
Old June 15th, 2012, 01:40 AM
John Bull John Bull is online now
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Yes, Megatrain can offer bucket prices on SouthWest Trains' Southampton to London route, but not mornings. But they do offer bucket prices in the mornings in the opposite direction
This is because SouthWest Trains can extract good prices from commuters heading to London.

Most ships actually tie up around 05.00 to 05.30. Unassisted disembarkation is usually from 07.00 or 07.30 and regular disembarkation usually starts around 7.30 to 7.45

You should make the 08.35 if you opt for unassisted disembarkation - no lines & plenty of taxis, and the coach station & the rail station are only 5 mins drive from Queen Vic's berth at Mayflower terminal.
You'll comfortably make the 09.30, though if your ship has staggered disembarkation & you're allocated a late slot you may have to talk sweetly to Guest Relations to get an earlier slot. There will be lines for regular disembarkation, how long is a mix of efficiency & luck - best allow up to an hour from gangway to coach station.

According to Nat Express regulations, if you're there in time for the 08.35 but with an 09.30 ticket, you can switch if there are spare seats, subject to a £5 amendment fee.
But if you're booked on the 08.35 and miss it, your tickets are invalid for the 09.30, though you can buy fresh tickets if there are spare seats.
https://help.nationalexpress.com/hel...l/missed_coach
(nb - from airports only if you miss your booked coach, tickets are valid for later buses)
Me? - because delays are uncertain during general disembarkation, I'd opt for unassisted & book the 08.35. But that's just me - don't flame me if you do the same if it all goes belly-up

There is a rival coach service operated by http://www.greyhounduk.com/
The service is basically the same, but it does offer different times. The pick up point is Southampton Town Quay, not the coach station, but its only a minute or two further.

Consider a transfer-tour service from ship to London hotel via stops ar Salisbury, Stonehenge & Windsor castle at £55 per person. A new service offered by an established & reputable operator
http://www.internationalfriends.co.u...to-london.html
First feedback on CC is very encouraging:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1648506

A simple private transfer from ship to central London will be around £130 to £140 with www.westquaycars.com or www.smithsforairports.com - both frequently recommended on CC.

JB
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  #3  
Old June 15th, 2012, 10:47 AM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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The trains to London run really frequently. We just took a taxi from the ship (quick ride to the train station) and bought a ticket at the station. It wasn't difficult and we didn't wait long for the train 10 minutes max. Having said that the train was packed! So the bus may be the way to go.
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  #4  
Old June 15th, 2012, 11:05 AM
Dabs01 Dabs01 is offline
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Default Thanks

Thanks for the reply, it was exactly the information I was looking for. I will book the 9:30 I think and pay the extra 5£ if we happen to get there early enough for the 8:35. Still better than the 34.10£ for the train. The train doesn't appear to be that much faster than the bus, 1:39 vs. 2:15.

What is unassisted disembarkation? Do you keep your luggage and take it off the ship yourself? I wasn't aware that was an option. I don't think we will have any problem sweet talking our way off the boat in an early batch.

We are booking a transfer to get from Heathrow to Southampton through the cruise line, don't want to skimp and miss the boat, but I really don't need a transfer to get back into London as I'm still trying to keep my luggage to a minimum.

That Windsor/Stonehenge/Salisbury trip is a nice idea, I've already been to all three (Windsor probably about 5-6 times) but it's a nice recommendation for getting back to London with some lovely sightseeing
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  #5  
Old June 16th, 2012, 12:00 AM
John Bull John Bull is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dabs01 View Post

What is unassisted disembarkation? Do you keep your luggage and take it off the ship yourself? I wasn't aware that was an option.

Yep, you figured it.
Can't swear that its an option on every ship, but certainly on the majority.
Great if you've got tight transport timings, not neccessarily so great if you've brought a ton of luggage
Have a good one.

JB
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bull View Post
Yep, you figured it.
Can't swear that its an option on every ship, but certainly on the majority.
Great if you've got tight transport timings, not neccessarily so great if you've brought a ton of luggage
Have a good one.

JB
We got off the ship at 8, picked up our luggage, caught a taxi, and were at the train station by 9

We had a pre book train ticket to London Victoria for about 6 GBP each. trip took about 2.5 hours as stated above
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  #7  
Old July 4th, 2012, 10:55 AM
Herman The Cat Herman The Cat is offline
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Default Private car from Southampton to Heathrow with tour

John Bull,
You had mentioned a private car service a few months ago and I can't seem to find the post.
We arrive in Southampton and have about 7 hours before our flight. We'd like to get a private car and driver to take us from Southampton to Heathrow with a stop along the way (Stonehenge, Windsor Castle or something like that).
Do you recall which one you've mentioned in the past that people have been happy with?
Thanks in advance!
HermanTheCat
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  #8  
Old July 4th, 2012, 11:48 AM
John Bull John Bull is online now
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Originally Posted by Herman The Cat View Post
John Bull,
You had mentioned a private car service a few months ago and I can't seem to find the post.
We arrive in Southampton and have about 7 hours before our flight. We'd like to get a private car and driver to take us from Southampton to Heathrow with a stop along the way (Stonehenge, Windsor Castle or something like that).
Do you recall which one you've mentioned in the past that people have been happy with?
Thanks in advance!
HermanTheCat
Hi Herman.

The two most frequently recommended by many many cruisers on this forum are www.smithsforairports.com and www.westquaycars.com

West Quay Cars also have a tour-transfer subsidiary, the name of which escapes me, but its effectively the same service except that they guarantee to put on their most experienced, knowledgeable & convivial drivers.
If no-one else comes up with the name, you can ask West Quay Cars about it.

Bear in mind that the earliest you're likely to be able to disembark will be 7 - 7.30, the basic So'ton - H'row point-to-point journey time is about 80 minutes, and you'll want to check in for your flight about 2 hrs ahead.

Salisbury & Stonehenge will add mebbe 45 mins to your travelling time, a stop at Salisbury can be 30 mins upwards depending how much time you've got, & Stonehenge is worth about an hour.
Windsor will add about 20 mins to your travelling time, an hour will give you time to look round the town or go into the Castle but you'll need 2 hours or more to do both. Windsor has the advantage of being close to Heathrow, so you can trim your allowance for delays.

With both companies the drivers are drivers, not guides. Adding a guide would cost megabucks, but the drivers tend to know the background etc, even if for instance they're not precise about ages, kings & queens, etc.

JB

Last edited by John Bull; July 4th, 2012 at 11:52 AM.
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  #9  
Old July 4th, 2012, 02:11 PM
sousak78 sousak78 is offline
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John Bull, how close is the drop off point for both Nat Express and Greyhound to the Premier Inn West Quay, which is our pre-cruise hotel? Wondering if this would be an easier option from Victoria than the train? Prices for both bus and train are about the same with advance purchase, as is the travel time.

My younger sister has recently broken her leg and may still be in plaster by the time we sail at the end of August so I'm trying to figure out if a bus would be easier for her to hobble onto than a train.

Our hotel in London is right by Victoria Station, though, as she lives in Exeter, she may just meet us in Southampton - depends on how the leg heals by then.
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Last edited by sousak78; July 4th, 2012 at 02:18 PM.
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  #10  
Old July 4th, 2012, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sousak78 View Post
My younger sister has recently broken her leg and may still be in plaster by the time we sail at the end of August so I'm trying to figure out if a bus would be easier for her to hobble onto than a train.
A train would be considerably easier to board with a broken leg than a bus, as you only have the one step, rather than 5-6 steps up into the bus.
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  #11  
Old July 4th, 2012, 04:01 PM
John Bull John Bull is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sousak78 View Post
John Bull, how close is the drop off point for both Nat Express and Greyhound to the Premier Inn West Quay, which is our pre-cruise hotel? Wondering if this would be an easier option from Victoria than the train? Prices for both bus and train are about the same with advance purchase, as is the travel time.

My younger sister has recently broken her leg and may still be in plaster by the time we sail at the end of August so I'm trying to figure out if a bus would be easier for her to hobble onto than a train.

Our hotel in London is right by Victoria Station, though, as she lives in Exeter, she may just meet us in Southampton - depends on how the leg heals by then.
On this map, the Premier Inn West Quay is at C, the rail station is at A (0.6ml), coach station at B (0.3ml), Greyhound stop at D(0.5ml). All on level ground.
So there's no big difference at the Southampton end.
Taxi ranks at all three, if you don't want to carry sis over your shoulder.
Train or coach, they're both pretty easy to board.
Exeter to Southampton will be quicker & cheaper than going via London.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=...via=1&t=m&z=15

JB
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Old July 4th, 2012, 04:51 PM
sousak78 sousak78 is offline
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Thanks JB and Twickenham. We are staying in London for a few days pre-cruise and the original plan was for my sister to come up to London and play tourist with us and then we would all travel to Southampton together.

However, with the broken leg now in the picture, it might be better for her to just go straight to Southampton from Exeter. Doubt she will want to go schlepping around London with her leg still healing from the break. Time will tell, I suppose.
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  #13  
Old July 4th, 2012, 08:12 PM
Herman The Cat Herman The Cat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bull View Post
Hi Herman.

The two most frequently recommended by many many cruisers on this forum are www.smithsforairports.com and www.westquaycars.com

West Quay Cars also have a tour-transfer subsidiary, the name of which escapes me, but its effectively the same service except that they guarantee to put on their most experienced, knowledgeable & convivial drivers.
If no-one else comes up with the name, you can ask West Quay Cars about it.

Bear in mind that the earliest you're likely to be able to disembark will be 7 - 7.30, the basic So'ton - H'row point-to-point journey time is about 80 minutes, and you'll want to check in for your flight about 2 hrs ahead.

Salisbury & Stonehenge will add mebbe 45 mins to your travelling time, a stop at Salisbury can be 30 mins upwards depending how much time you've got, & Stonehenge is worth about an hour.
Windsor will add about 20 mins to your travelling time, an hour will give you time to look round the town or go into the Castle but you'll need 2 hours or more to do both. Windsor has the advantage of being close to Heathrow, so you can trim your allowance for delays.

With both companies the drivers are drivers, not guides. Adding a guide would cost megabucks, but the drivers tend to know the background etc, even if for instance they're not precise about ages, kings & queens, etc.

JB
JB, West Quay Cars is the one you mentioned previously. And thank you so much for the extra information and details on time. It sounds like the choice is either Salisbury/Stonehenge or Windsor, but not all three, and not Stonehenge/Windsor?

I'm thinking that we disembark at 8, and we need to be at the airport at 1pm. So, it's probably enough time for either\or, but not all 3?

Thanks again--your advice and suggestions are spot-on and so helpful!

P.S. We're ok without the history, as we're both history buffs and all set on kings/queens, dates, etc. and frequently point out the problems with the revisionist history in the series "The Tudors!" We just need a reliable, professional driver who knows what he is doing and supposed to do.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 09:16 PM
John Bull John Bull is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herman The Cat View Post
JB, West Quay Cars is the one you mentioned previously. And thank you so much for the extra information and details on time. It sounds like the choice is either Salisbury/Stonehenge or Windsor, but not all three, and not Stonehenge/Windsor?

I'm thinking that we disembark at 8, and we need to be at the airport at 1pm. So, it's probably enough time for either\or, but not all 3?

Thanks again--your advice and suggestions are spot-on and so helpful!

P.S. We're ok without the history, as we're both history buffs and all set on kings/queens, dates, etc. and frequently point out the problems with the revisionist history in the series "The Tudors!" We just need a reliable, professional driver who knows what he is doing and supposed to do.

Salisbury & Stonehenge, with an hour or more at each.
Or Windsor for about 2.5 hrs.
But Stonehenge & Windsor won't work out.

West Quay's tour arm is http://www.discoverthesouth.co.uk/home.php

JB
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Old July 4th, 2012, 09:35 PM
Herman The Cat Herman The Cat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bull View Post
Salisbury & Stonehenge, with an hour or more at each.
Or Windsor for about 2.5 hrs.
But Stonehenge & Windsor won't work out.

West Quay's tour arm is http://www.discoverthesouth.co.uk/home.php

JB
Purr-fect. Just what I need to know. Thank you!
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  #16  
Old July 6th, 2012, 08:48 PM
mollygirl1 mollygirl1 is offline
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Default Private cars

We used Smiths for Airports this June. Driver ws extremely nice, educated, drove well, good price too! Highly recommend.
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  #17  
Old July 7th, 2012, 06:34 AM
goldencup goldencup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twickenham View Post
A train would be considerably easier to board with a broken leg than a bus, as you only have the one step, rather than 5-6 steps up into the bus.
I've never been on a coach that requires five or six steps! Two maybe?
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  #18  
Old July 7th, 2012, 02:24 PM
John Bull John Bull is online now
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Originally Posted by goldencup View Post
I've never been on a coach that requires five or six steps! Two maybe?
You've been on too many city buses, gal
Usually 3 steps to driver level, then one or two more to the aisle.

On most Nat Express coaches nowadays, no steps to the aisle & the entrance steps can be collapsed to form a lift for wheelchairs, though I don't know if that works for folk on crutches.

JB
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  #19  
Old July 8th, 2012, 03:04 PM
goldencup goldencup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bull View Post
You've been on too many city buses, gal
Usually 3 steps to driver level, then one or two more to the aisle.

On most Nat Express coaches nowadays, no steps to the aisle & the entrance steps can be collapsed to form a lift for wheelchairs, though I don't know if that works for folk on crutches.

JB
Whoops I stand (or climb) corrected! I actually use National Express quite regularly but obviously nip on and off so fast I don't bother to count the steps...Thanks JB
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  #20  
Old July 25th, 2012, 01:37 PM
Dabs01 Dabs01 is offline
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We decided to go with the train in spite of the price because of the flexibility, we were able to get off the ship around 7:30 with our luggage (self help is what Cunard calls it) which is when we wandered down so we might have been able to get off earlier. We took a taxi for less than 6£ to the train station, bought our tickets and were able to get on the 8am train to London's Waterloo station, 34.10£ per person for one way. We arrived at 9:20am which was earlier than the bus I would have reserved even left Southampton. Our train had practically no one on it, maybe because we got off so early.

From Heathrow to Southampton, we used the ship transfer for $49 per person, it turned out to be a really good experience as there were only 3 of us on the bus/minivan and our driver, when I mentioned Winchester, stopped and let us walk around for 20-30 minutes which was really cool.
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