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

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  #1  
Old June 3rd, 2012, 08:27 AM
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Default Pre-Cruise Southampton - Best Options?

We have twice used the cruise company coach services to travel from Northeast England to Southampton, having had to get up 3.00am, only to arrive some 10 or more hours later feeling really tired and dirty.
Next year we are thinking of travelling down by train the day before our cruise, using a hotel that does a pre-cruise package and using the same hotel for a night on the return journey.
We are looking for a decent hotel that is near enough the cruise terminals and which provides transport to the ship. We read that someone staying at a hotel only 3 miles away took 1.5 hours to reach to cruise terminals because of heavy traffic.
We've read many reports on the likes of TripAdvisor and each time we read some excellent reports about a hotel there were a whole series of bad reports about it too.
Has anyone on these forums travelled to their cruise this way and found a good reliable hotel where we can get D.B&B, with transport to and from the cruise terminal included? If there's any places that must be avoided, we'd also like to know those too.
Many thanks for any help given.
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  #2  
Old June 3rd, 2012, 08:55 AM
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We always travel down from Durham the day before-direct train or Flybe.
Staying at the Jurys Inn-we don't book the breakfast option as Wetherspoon is nearby.
The reception will arrange a taxi--about £12 and we have never had any delays getting to the Cruise Terminals.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 12:47 PM
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There was a recent report of a major backup when there were two ships departing from QEII terminal but that is the first I have ever heard of a problem.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 08:01 PM
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Sometimes gets gummed-up by terminals esp if there's a lot of ships in & its a saturday. Don't worry about jams of 90 minutes, someone must have been very unlucky.

Same with hotel reviews. Ignore reviews if there aren't at least 50 on sites such as tripadvisor or www.booking.com then ignore the few best & worst. No different to cruise reviews, those which don't agree with the majority may have been unlucky or their viewpoint may say more about them than the hotel.

A pre-cruise hotel makes a lot of sense from Durham.
Post-cruise, you should be at Southampton central rail station by 09.30, and as early as 08.00 if you opt for unassisted disembarkation. Most folk aim to get home soonest, but of course it's up to you.

Etap, Ibis & Novotel are directly opposite the rail station, & walkable to City Cruise Terminal (one of 4 cruise terminals).
Premier Inn West Quay, De Vere Grand Harbour, & Holiday Inn Herbert Walker Ave are also walkable from the rail station with wheeled luggage. All three are also a very easy walk to City cruise terminal. All other city centre hotels & cruise terminals involve short taxi hops from the rail station & to the cruise terminals.
A number of hotels offer a free transfer to the cruise terminal, but a taxi from any city centre hotel to any cruise terminal will cost only £5 to £8.
All the hotels on the map in my link are within the city centre & convenient to shops, pubs, restaurants, etc.
Avoid hotels in city suburbs & outskirts, even if they offer a free shuttle because there will be few (or nil) local amenities.

http://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/southampton_map.htm

http://www.southamptonvts.co.uk/Live...Ship_Schedule/

JB
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Old June 4th, 2012, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bull View Post
Sometimes gets gummed-up by terminals esp if there's a lot of ships in & its a saturday. Don't worry about jams of 90 minutes, someone must have been very unlucky.

Same with hotel reviews. Ignore reviews if there aren't at least 50 on sites such as tripadvisor or www.booking.com then ignore the few best & worst. No different to cruise reviews, those which don't agree with the majority may have been unlucky or their viewpoint may say more about them than the hotel.

A pre-cruise hotel makes a lot of sense from Durham.
Post-cruise, you should be at Southampton central rail station by 09.30, and as early as 08.00 if you opt for unassisted disembarkation. Most folk aim to get home soonest, but of course it's up to you.

Etap, Ibis & Novotel are directly opposite the rail station, & walkable to City Cruise Terminal (one of 4 cruise terminals).
Premier Inn West Quay, De Vere Grand Harbour, & Holiday Inn Herbert Walker Ave are also walkable from the rail station with wheeled luggage. All three are also a very easy walk to City cruise terminal. All other city centre hotels & cruise terminals involve short taxi hops from the rail station & to the cruise terminals.
A number of hotels offer a free transfer to the cruise terminal, but a taxi from any city centre hotel to any cruise terminal will cost only £5 to £8.
All the hotels on the map in my link are within the city centre & convenient to shops, pubs, restaurants, etc.
Avoid hotels in city suburbs & outskirts, even if they offer a free shuttle because there will be few (or nil) local amenities.

http://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/southampton_map.htm

http://www.southamptonvts.co.uk/Live...Ship_Schedule/

JB
Thanks very much for this and the links - it's very useful information and will be a great help.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzbabe View Post
We always travel down from Durham the day before-direct train or Flybe.
Staying at the Jurys Inn-we don't book the breakfast option as Wetherspoon is nearby.
The reception will arrange a taxi--about £12 and we have never had any delays getting to the Cruise Terminals.
Thanks for the reply, this confirms that train travel is probably the best way.
I see that the only direct and non-stopping route is with Cross Country trains....did you find enough space on the train for your baggage? We are probably going for a 2 week cruise and will have a couple of cases each + hand luggage.
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Old June 5th, 2012, 07:12 AM
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Border Reiver: We don't live as far north as you do - we're in Sheffield - but we do like to split the journey on the way to Southampton. Mostly we drive, and stay at Reading Services (eastbound) Travelodge on the M4 overnight. It's a pretty basic Travelodge, but it's handy for the onward drive after that via the A33 and M3. So we have a leisurely start on the morning of the cruise, take the drive easy, and we still get to Southampton by 11 at the latest. Last time we did that we parked up in Mayflower park and enjoyed the sun for 45 minutes before going round to the terminal for noon.

Last December we went to Southampton by train. In that case, and because it's less of a distance for us, we did the journey on embarkation day. However the same things would apply to doing it the day before. We found the Voyager & Meridian train sets operated by Cross Country & East Midlands Trains sadly lacking in luggage space. Worse, they were pretty full so luggage was overflowing into the vestibules and the gangway. If we were to go by train again, I think we'd do the journey via London (as we did) but make sure that we booked a service with an HST set, because they have mor luggage space. In your case I think your TOC to London would be East Coast Trains, and they're all either electric or HST services, aren't they? Then I think you have to accept that you need to get a taxi from King's Cross to Waterloo. We did our journey from St Pancras to Waterloo by tube. It was only a short cruise so we had just one large-ish bag each, but even so it was hard work getting around the tube stations. Kings Cross-St Pancras is a warren, and because there's no direct route from there to Waterloo you have to change somewhere, and it's surprising in how many places on tube stations there are short flights of stairs. So we'd use a taxi in future. Then from Waterloo it's a SouthWest Trains electric multiple unit. Again, not much luggage space but this time the saving grace is that there aren't many passengers (outside rush hour) and few of them have much luggage, so on this train we found we were able to stash our bags without problems.

As regards hotel actually in Southampton, we haven't used any so far. But in the next month or so we will be using the Devere for the P&O 175 Grand Event, and we'll be using them for car parking as well. Then just a short while later I'll be using the Etap on my own because I'm going back to Southampton on 13 July to see the Cunard fleet which is in port together again. So I'll know more about hotels in about 5 or 6 weeks' time.
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Last edited by tom_uk; June 5th, 2012 at 07:18 AM.
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  #8  
Old June 5th, 2012, 07:45 AM
John Bull John Bull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom_uk View Post
Then from Waterloo it's a SouthWest Trains electric multiple unit. .
2 to 3 trains per hour on that London Waterloo to Southampton route. On a limited number of those SouthWest trains, you can buy advance non-amendable / non-cancellable tickets at £4 (regular fare £36) from
http://uk.megabus.com/megatrain.aspx
Megatrain rent carriages, & sell seats on those carriages -same standards as other carriages.

JB

BTW, Etap is probably the cheapest hotel in Southampton - very basic but OK for the money.
De Vere Grand Harbour is the city's most expensive major hotel. Four stars, though there are no major 5-star hotels in the city.
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Old June 5th, 2012, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BORDER REIVER View Post
Thanks for the reply, this confirms that train travel is probably the best way.
I see that the only direct and non-stopping route is with Cross Country trains....did you find enough space on the train for your baggage? We are probably going for a 2 week cruise and will have a couple of cases each + hand luggage.

We took the direct train from Newcastle to Southampton with Cross Country in January and had no problems at all. The train was already in the station when we arrived and we just made sure we stood at the compartment where we were seats were so we could get on first with luggage. It was a 35 day cruise so we had 3 large suitcases, a holdall and 2 small back packs. I suppose the only issue was the lift at Southampton was out of order so we had to get all our luggage up the stairs . Luckily lots of (younger) travellers helped us out!! Booking tends to open about 8-10 weeks ahead and it's worth keeping an eye on the Cross-Country website to grab a bargain.

We have also done this journey changing at Birmingham and it was difficult to find space for our luggage, as the train was so full.

We've stayed at several budget hotels but think the Premier Inn at West Quay is very good value for money. It's very easy to get to the port and also close to shops like Boots, M&S, Asda etc for picking up those last minute things you've forgotten
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Old June 6th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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tom_uk, tartanexile81, John Bull . Thanks for your replies. You mentioned the lack of luggage space on CrossCountry trains and that is something that concerns us a bit, but we figure that if we catch a train that starts from Newcastle rather than Edinburgh, it shouldn't be too full by Durham. It's a long jouney anyway and we really cannot be bothered with heaving cases on and off trains too much, so that's why we've discounted travel via London. The three of us will have 3 large and 3 small cases, plus hand luggage. We also know that, with our Senior Railcards (2 out of the 3 of us) we can get a pretty decent price on 1st Class where's there's more room anyway. It might seem extravagant, but comapared with the cruise cost, it's not that bad and it certainly makes the journey more relaxing.
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Old June 6th, 2012, 12:19 PM
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BorderReiver: I agree with your idea of having a break after the cruise, or at least not being on early train. Here's my account of trying to catch an early train back home from Southampton after a short cruise last December.
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Old June 6th, 2012, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
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BorderReiver: I agree with your idea of having a break after the cruise, or at least not being on early train. Here's my account of trying to catch an early train back home from Southampton after a short cruise last December.
Wow, I hope we don't have to go through that - at least the ship cannot be a whole day late. We intend to disembark at leisure, get our bags to the hotel storage and have a good look around Southampton. We'll book a mid to late-morning train to miss obvious commuter times.
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