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

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  #21  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 04:02 PM
ancientcivteacher ancientcivteacher is offline
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thanks so much!
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  #22  
Old February 3rd, 2013, 03:59 PM
hbear hbear is offline
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Where are you flying to? I didn't know that there were any 6 am flights across the Atlantic.

This does raise another set of issues. Assuming that your flight is at 6 am, you'll probably want to check-in at the airport some time around 5 am. (I doubt that any check-in counters will be open much before then.) So you will need to work out how you're going to get from your hotel to the airport at that hour. It may well be earlier than the first Hotel Hoppa, in which case you will have to make sure that your hotel has a reliable car service to call upon.

However, given that constraint, I would myself still be wondering whether I would be better off staying at a hotel in town and then getting a car directly to the airport from the hotel. It should only take about 45 minutes from central London at that time of the morning.

Now you know what the cruise lines do to us in the UK! In the UK, we typically have to pay a non-refundable deposit as soon as we book, and cancellation involves as a minimum the loss of the deposit. Couple that with limited access to some cruises (ie you can only book them in the US and they are not made available to the UK market, or not made available until all the good cabins have been sold), typically higher prices to the UK market, and a refusal by many cruise lines to allow UK residents to book through a US travel agent so that we are stuck with the less advantageous UK conditions.
Wow, I didn't know the cruise lines do that to you! It's things like this that some of us don't know. It really pays to do research and more research. CC and Tripadvisor are great resources. Sometimes we get some good info through AARP also.

The other thing to warn you and others about on the Eurostar web site is that they try to pull the dynamic currency conversion garbage on unsuspecting Americans (and Canadians and Aussies) when making the payment arrangements. When asked, tell them you want to pay in GBP (or UK£). Why? Simple with dcc you get a lousy rate and depending on what credit card you are using, you may be nailed with a 3% foreign transaction fee anyway. There will be a surcharge for use of a credit card (I think it's 4% but either no surcharge with a debit card or a small one, I forget which).

When I phoned Eurostar and inquired about the pricing, what you said is exactly what I was told - conversion rates, credit card fees, etc., etc.

The six am flight is to Miami via Tap Air Portugal. Not much of a choice there because we booked through Princess. I'm not fond of this schedule for all the reasons you mentioned. I will consider your suggestions and see if I want to rearrange things.

Thanks again for the information.


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  #23  
Old March 4th, 2013, 01:55 PM
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suzyluvs2cruise suzyluvs2cruise is offline
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So glad I found this thread. We're looking to go from Paris to London on Aug 28 '13. I went to the Eurostar website, checked from the US and got a senior rate of $65 per person. Didn't book yet but went all the way through the booking, selected seats and got to the Pay Screen. As I was reading this thread I have a question about the "actual fare". Do you know if I'll be charged $130 US for two tickets? or is there a currency conversion fee? I didn't see anything about that but want to make sure before I buy. Thanks......
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  #24  
Old March 5th, 2013, 08:18 AM
MATHA531 MATHA531 is offline
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So glad I found this thread. We're looking to go from Paris to London on Aug 28 '13. I went to the Eurostar website, checked from the US and got a senior rate of $65 per person. Didn't book yet but went all the way through the booking, selected seats and got to the Pay Screen. As I was reading this thread I have a question about the "actual fare". Do you know if I'll be charged $130 US for two tickets? or is there a currency conversion fee? I didn't see anything about that but want to make sure before I buy. Thanks......
If you book through Rail Europe, that is their fare based on whatever they do. It isn't a bad fare at all...you might save a few bucks by going back and ticking UK location and you will get a fare in sterling. Then it depends on whether your credit card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee or you can use dynamic currency conversion and have eurostar convert to USD at their inflated rate plus be aware, eurostar charges £4 to book with a credit card although no fee for booking with a debit card. I came up with £38 which is about $57.38 at today's official rate. (My credit card gives me the official rate without a foreign transaction fee but the £4 fee for a credit card bring it to £42 which is $63.42 at today's official rate.

Rail Europe has, in the past, charged $15 to fed ex the tickets to you. You have to check that. With eurostar, you can print the tickets at home free.

Those seem to be what holds today.
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  #25  
Old March 5th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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Default To the UK posters on this thread...

Is there really a compelling reason (convenience is not compelling) to buy tickets for UK/European trains in the US?

Our experience is that doing so is unnecessarily expensive (RailEurope) compared to doing so in Europe (or the UK).

Americans are used to making reservations in order to have a seat on the precious few forms of public transit that exists in the US. Our experience in Europe is that there is ample capacity on trains....if they fill up, a car or two may be added to accomodate the demand.

Hence, our approach is to wait to buy train tickets until we are in Europe (and UK).
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  #26  
Old March 5th, 2013, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by thinfool View Post
Is there really a compelling reason (convenience is not compelling) to buy tickets for UK/European trains in the US?

Our experience is that doing so is unnecessarily expensive (RailEurope) compared to doing so in Europe (or the UK).

Americans are used to making reservations in order to have a seat on the precious few forms of public transit that exists in the US. Our experience in Europe is that there is ample capacity on trains....if they fill up, a car or two may be added to accomodate the demand.

Hence, our approach is to wait to buy train tickets until we are in Europe (and UK).
It depends on the train

This thread was about Eurostar, which operates a pricing policy similar to airlines - you need to book as soon as possible to get the cheapest prices. Tickets are sold at various price points and once the number in one band has gone, that's it. Reservations are compulsory for Eurostar.

On many routes in the UK (but not all) 'Advance fare' tickets are available to book and very often offer significant price savings over the walk-up fare, but will be inflexible and require reservations and travel on particular trains. Again, generally the further ahead you book the greater availability of cheaper tickets.

Rail ticket pricing in the UK is an opaque art - I was looking at a journey the other day from Newcastle to London and fares were varying from around £28 to about £175.... But if there are no advance fares available for your journey, yes you'll get the same (Anytime or Off-Peak) fare on the day as in advance. However, on busy services you may not get a seat for some or all of the journey without a reservation.
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  #27  
Old March 5th, 2013, 02:41 PM
MATHA531 MATHA531 is offline
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Originally Posted by thinfool View Post
Is there really a compelling reason (convenience is not compelling) to buy tickets for UK/European trains in the US?

Our experience is that doing so is unnecessarily expensive (RailEurope) compared to doing so in Europe (or the UK).

Americans are used to making reservations in order to have a seat on the precious few forms of public transit that exists in the US. Our experience in Europe is that there is ample capacity on trains....if they fill up, a car or two may be added to accomodate the demand.

Hence, our approach is to wait to buy train tickets until we are in Europe (and UK).
If you wait, the cheapest fares may all be gobbled up. If you're pretty sure of your plans, you will want to book in advance, at least in my humble opinion. And thanks to the internet and modern technology, you can book online as if you were physically present in Europe!
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  #28  
Old March 6th, 2013, 12:15 AM
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I booked our tickets and am happy with the $130 RT for 2 from Paris to London with assigned seats with a view from the window. It was easy to do and one more thing I can check off my pre-cruise land trip list.
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  #29  
Old March 6th, 2013, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by suzyluvs2cruise View Post
I booked our tickets and am happy with the $130 RT for 2 from Paris to London with assigned seats with a view from the window. It was easy to do and one more thing I can check off my pre-cruise land trip list.
Great deal. Have a fabulous trip!
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  #30  
Old March 6th, 2013, 10:18 AM
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Great deal. Have a fabulous trip!
Thanks...we're really looking forward to our time in Paris and then London. Now to plan our time there.
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  #31  
Old March 6th, 2013, 02:07 PM
ancientcivteacher ancientcivteacher is offline
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Originally Posted by MATHA531 View Post
If you wait, the cheapest fares may all be gobbled up. If you're pretty sure of your plans, you will want to book in advance, at least in my humble opinion. And thanks to the internet and modern technology, you can book online as if you were physically present in Europe!
We booked paris to London this AM and there were only 10 seats left on a couple trains. Only cheap are the first in the AM and the last train at night!
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  #32  
Old March 7th, 2013, 10:30 PM
SharonK SharonK is offline
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We are cruising the British Isles in August and coming to London early to do some sightseeing. I'm thinking about taking one day and going to Paris early morning returning on the last train. Since Eurostar only offers tickets 3 months out, can anyone tell me what I should expect to pay for tickets from London to Paris round trip (or two one-way). What time would the first train be and the last train return?
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  #33  
Old March 7th, 2013, 10:38 PM
ancientcivteacher ancientcivteacher is offline
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Originally Posted by SharonK View Post
We are cruising the British Isles in August and coming to London early to do some sightseeing. I'm thinking about taking one day and going to Paris early morning returning on the last train. Since Eurostar only offers tickets 3 months out, can anyone tell me what I should expect to pay for tickets from London to Paris round trip (or two one-way). What time would the first train be and the last train return?
Check Eurostar. ..$65 one way about 7 in the AM and after 10 at night.
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  #34  
Old March 7th, 2013, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ancientcivteacher View Post
Check Eurostar. ..$65 one way about 7 in the AM and after 10 at night.
Thanks!

Any opinion on whether it would be better to go to Paris on Saturday or Sunday?
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  #35  
Old March 8th, 2013, 05:53 AM
Cotswold Eagle Cotswold Eagle is online now
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Thanks!

Any opinion on whether it would be better to go to Paris on Saturday or Sunday?
To do what?

Although the old cliche that France is closed on Sundays is not so true anymore in Paris, many businesses, shops and restaurants will be closed - not as much (certainly for shops) in the tourist areas, but something to be aware of. That said, Sunday is some people's favourite day for that reason - Paris feels different.
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  #36  
Old March 8th, 2013, 10:54 PM
SharonK SharonK is offline
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Originally Posted by Cotswold Eagle View Post
To do what?

Although the old cliche that France is closed on Sundays is not so true anymore in Paris, many businesses, shops and restaurants will be closed - not as much (certainly for shops) in the tourist areas, but something to be aware of. That said, Sunday is some people's favourite day for that reason - Paris feels different.
Thank you!
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  #37  
Old March 9th, 2013, 12:50 AM
hbear hbear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinfool View Post
Is there really a compelling reason (convenience is not compelling) to buy tickets for UK/European trains in the US?

Our experience is that doing so is unnecessarily expensive (RailEurope) compared to doing so in Europe (or the UK).

Americans are used to making reservations in order to have a seat on the precious few forms of public transit that exists in the US. Our experience in Europe is that there is ample capacity on trains....if they fill up, a car or two may be added to accomodate the demand.

Hence, our approach is to wait to buy train tickets until we are in Europe (and UK).
Add another car to an Amtrak train - HAH - that'll be the day!

Another advantage to making these reservations ahead of time is peace of mind. I've been booking transportation and tours for the past three months, bit by bit, all is now finished and the trip is paid for. Just meals and shopping to pay for during trip, and very little to pay for post holiday.
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