Princess London transfers out of Heathrow

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#1
40 Posts
Joined Apr 2017
Does anyone know what time the Princess transfers start leaving for the ship on arrival out of Heathrow? We arrive 8AM but we want (for obvious reasons) to stay in the secure area of airport as long as possible so we don't want to o to the Princess area just to sit around for 3 hours. If ship leaves at 5PM, does anyone know what time they start transporting people to ship? On arrival have people immediately been transferred to pier as I imagine most people arrive 8-10AM from the US.

We just don't want to be hanging out in insecure areas of the airport longer than we need to.
#2
18,273 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Last year, we arrived a day before and got to the terminal the next day. We were met by Princess rep before 10am. We were in Southampton around 12 noon.


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#3
Newport, South Wales, UK
2,412 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by cat4569
Does anyone know what time the Princess transfers start leaving for the ship on arrival out of Heathrow? We arrive 8AM but we want (for obvious reasons) to stay in the secure area of airport as long as possible so we don't want to o to the Princess area just to sit around for 3 hours. If ship leaves at 5PM, does anyone know what time they start transporting people to ship? On arrival have people immediately been transferred to pier as I imagine most people arrive 8-10AM from the US.

We just don't want to be hanging out in insecure areas of the airport longer than we need to.
You'll need to go through customs into the arrival hall once you have collected your luggage. This is open to the general public.

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#4
London
22,104 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by cat4569
... we want (for obvious reasons) to stay in the secure area of airport as long as possible ...
Personally, I would not do this. There are no obvious reasons to deliberately stay in the "secure area" (which is a misnomer anyway).

But if you decide to, you should clear immigration and collect your bags in the usual way. You may then be able to find somewhere to sit in the baggage hall to wait before clearing customs to landside. But there will pretty much be no facilities available to you there. It'll be a soulless and comfortless wait, with the only entertainment coming from watching the world walk past you (and the occasional freak-out consequent on someone's bags not turning up on the belt).

The main reason for this is because if you do not go through the arrivals process at the usual speed and claim your bags, you may find that they are removed from the carousel and that you will then have to waste unbudgeted time waiting for them to be located in the bag store and returned to you.

In addition, I think that there are even fewer places to wait and hang out before the baggage hall. You then add further time risk in the unknown length of time that it will take you to clear immigration - you could find that it takes much longer at the later time, because of the vagaries of the arrivals flow.

If you do have to wait, I think you are better off fully clearing to landside and parking yourself in a coffee shop. That's what I do whenever I have to do this. It may not be a passenger-only area, but the passenger-only area is not immune from crime, and the landside meet-and-greet area is not exactly a lawless and uncivilised jungle.
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#5
Redditch England
1,849 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Or book private transport and have a driver meet you when you clear customs.
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#6
Cotswolds, UK
2,347 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by cat4569

We just don't want to be hanging out in insecure areas of the airport longer than we need to.
The difference between what you are regarding as secure and insecure is generally a door, which opens whenever anyone approaches it airside, guarded by an unarmed and very bored security guard.
#7
Romsey England
11,492 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
I used to drive Southampton cruise transfer coaches for Princess and other cruise lines.
They all have broadly the same routine for all "London" ports and airports.
A cruise line (or shore agency) rep will wait for passengers at the arrivals barrier in each terminal, and lead them to the coach pick-up point (again at each terminal) when a coach arrives there.

Typically there will be about 6 to 8 coaches from Heathrow.
They park in the coach park until about 8.30am, when the first coach starts to trawl the terminals. When the coach is nearly at its capacity, the next coach is called forward to trawl the terminals and the first coach sets off to Southampton. So your wait is likely to be no more than 30 minutes.
If you're lucky you'll board the coach & head straight to Southampton, if you're unlucky you start with a scenic tour of Heathrow's five terminals before your coach is full & heads out of the airport.

Regardless of this, anyone would want to get to luggage re-claim as quickly as possible - in any airport in any country I do fret that someone else might take my luggage(mistakenly or deliberately) or that it gets swept as unclaimed from an otherwise empty carousel.
From there you walk through customs to the arrivals hall, which is open to anyone.
You wouldn't want to hang around in the luggage reclaim hall because it's soulless. And if you did you'd raise the suspicions of Her Majesty's customs officers , who'd probably feel your collar & invite you to unpack everything.

To be blunt, there are no "obvious reasons" to stay in a secure area. You're a thousand times more likely to be flattened by a car in the street than subjected to that perceived "obvious" risk in the airport.
But hopefully that quick Princess transfer turnaround will help allay your fears.

JB
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#8
Perth Western Australia
1,821 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by John Bull
I used to drive Southampton cruise transfer coaches for Princess and other cruise lines.
They all have broadly the same routine for all "London" ports and airports.
A cruise line (or shore agency) rep will wait for passengers at the arrivals barrier in each terminal, and lead them to the coach pick-up point (again at each terminal) when a coach arrives there.

JB
In reverse, what is the latest time Princess coaches leave Southampton? Caribbean Princess Tues 29 August going to T3 flight at 5 pm so don't want to be there too early - thanks.
#9
Romsey England
11,492 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by Westaussie
In reverse, what is the latest time Princess coaches leave Southampton? Caribbean Princess Tues 29 August going to T3 flight at 5 pm so don't want to be there too early - thanks.
About 9 to 9.30am.
Coaches are allocated to specific airport terminals, but the last coach includes all stragglers so it might visit all terminals.
Journey time usually well under two hours even in commuter traffic, so you'll be hanging around the airport for a good few hours.

If you don't have excessive baggage you could save quite a few bucks by using the National Express scheduled coach service to Heathrow at around £20 pp plus a £6 to £10 taxi ride from ship to coach station.
http://www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx

Or you could book a private transfer eg www.smithsforairports.com or www.westquaycars.com and take the opportunity to stop off somewhere like Winchester or Salisbury or Stonehenge en-route.

Spending some time in Southampton before heading to the airport is awkward because of your luggage, and the popular tour-transfer coach via Stonehenge and Windsor gets you to Heathrow too late.

JB
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#11
12,794 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
I can tell you the last bus is about 1:15-1:30pm. They do sometimes wait for more passengers but in this particular airport, the wait isn't too long. Most people don't use the airport transfers on the day of embarkation for cruises out of England so they usually have very few people to pick up compared to other ports.

I agree with John Bull's timing on leaving SoTon. The last bus is around 9:15ish to LHR. If you want to waste more time, try doing a tour before your flight with International Friends or even a private tour and transfer combo.
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#12
17 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
I have a related question. We will be flying into Heathrow the day before our cruise, and will be spending the night at the T4 Hilton. For obvious reasons, we would prefer to take a coach from T4 the day of the cruise; however, our reservation indicates that all passengers arriving before the day of the sailing must meet the Princess rep at T3. Is there any way to use a transfer from a different terminal than is assigned, or are we stuck schlepping to T3?

Thanks.
#13
England
1,211 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by 14940674
I have a related question. We will be flying into Heathrow the day before our cruise, and will be spending the night at the T4 Hilton. For obvious reasons, we would prefer to take a coach from T4 the day of the cruise; however, our reservation indicates that all passengers arriving before the day of the sailing must meet the Princess rep at T3. Is there any way to use a transfer from a different terminal than is assigned, or are we stuck schlepping to T3?

Thanks.
Are your flights booked by Princess? If they are not, then could you not just lie and say you are flying in on the day of the cruise, arriving at terminal 4 and meet the rep there in the Arrivals area?
#14
17 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by marylizcat
Are your flights booked by Princess? If they are not, then could you not just lie and say you are flying in on the day of the cruise, arriving at terminal 4 and meet the rep there in the Arrivals area?
That thought occurred to us; however, we feared that whatever pretend flight we chose could be delayed, and then Princess would have the incorrect impression that we were not arriving on schedule.
#15
London
22,104 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by 14940674
That thought occurred to us; however, we feared that whatever pretend flight we chose could be delayed, and then Princess would have the incorrect impression that we were not arriving on schedule.
If you have to transfer to Terminal 3, would you go down to the Heathrow Express platform and take the free train transfer from there?

If so, then this might be a way of covering the bases:

When you leave the Hilton, walk through the walkway to get to Terminal 4. (You probably know that this will take a good 5 minutes, even at a decent pace - probably longer with luggage - as it's about ¼ of a mile.) You will be at departures/check-in level. Go down to arrivals level, and find the Princess rep and ask whether you can jump on a transfer from there, seeing as you're already there at T3.

If the answer is yes, problem solved.

If the answer is no, you simply go down one more level to the Heathrow Express platform and take the transfer to the T123 station, and then walk to Terminal 3 Arrivals (keep an eye open for the signs, as it's in a different building from T3 Departures) and look for the Princess rep there.
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#16
Romsey England
11,492 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Globaliser's suggestion makes a lot of sense. There will be a Princess rep at Arrivals in all terminals, they're all in contact and the rep in T4 can let the rep in T3 know so they can be scratched from the T3 list.

JB
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#17
17 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by Globaliser
If you have to transfer to Terminal 3, would you go down to the Heathrow Express platform and take the free train transfer from there?

If so, then this might be a way of covering the bases:

When you leave the Hilton, walk through the walkway to get to Terminal 4. (You probably know that this will take a good 5 minutes, even at a decent pace - probably longer with luggage - as it's about ¼ of a mile.) You will be at departures/check-in level. Go down to arrivals level, and find the Princess rep and ask whether you can jump on a transfer from there, seeing as you're already there at T3.

If the answer is yes, problem solved.

If the answer is no, you simply go down one more level to the Heathrow Express platform and take the transfer to the T123 station, and then walk to Terminal 3 Arrivals (keep an eye open for the signs, as it's in a different building from T3 Departures) and look for the Princess rep there.
Originally posted by John Bull
Globaliser's suggestion makes a lot of sense. There will be a Princess rep at Arrivals in all terminals, they're all in contact and the rep in T4 can let the rep in T3 know so they can be scratched from the T3 list.

JB
Thank you both. That's what we'll try.
#18
17 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Update: It was a success. After a few minutes of searching, I found the Princess rep in T4 arrivals. He made a phone call and told us to sit in the waiting area until the next bus arrived. After about 45 minutes, it came and we were on our way. It was certainly much more convenient than hauling all the way to T3.


Thanks for all the help.
#19
London
22,104 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Great! Glad that worked out. Enjoy the cruise!
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Dual-purpose HOHO buses available in London: functioning simultaneously as tourist traps and roadblocks.

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#20
Romsey England
11,492 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Thanks for the update
Always good to hear back from a satisfied customer

JB
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