Sending luggage

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#1
167 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We live in the New York area. We are sailing QM2 westbound TA in November. We are flying to LHR to spend a few days in London prior to sailing. We would like to avoid carrying a suitcase full of formal clothes on an airplane, through London, and onto Southampton. Does anyone have experience shipping luggage directly to the ship? Did you use Cunard's service? Did you deal directly with a shipper such as DHL?
Thanks in advance.
#2
San Francisco, CA
1,120 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Originally posted by eddiethekub
We live in the New York area. We are sailing QM2 westbound TA in November. We are flying to LHR to spend a few days in London prior to sailing. We would like to avoid carrying a suitcase full of formal clothes on an airplane, through London, and onto Southampton. Does anyone have experience shipping luggage directly to the ship? Did you use Cunard's service? Did you deal directly with a shipper such as DHL?
Thanks in advance.
A number of years ago, we used both Cunard's White Star Service for a cruise (which was, of course subcrontracted to one of the luggage services) and a couple of times we've used a third party service (Luggage Direct, Luggage Concierge? I forget. There are 2-3 leading services that wind up at the top of Google searches.). In all three cases, the experience was comparable, you get a quote based upon suitcase type and weight and destination. They will deliver to ships or hotels. They will send a package with documents and an envelope to attach to the suitcase(s) and schedule a pick up a week or so in advance. On the ship, it will be waiting in your cabin. If you arrange White Star service from the ship, you'll have special tags and another document envelope to attach to your bag the night before.

Of course the services contract with DHL and the like. Dealing directly with the shippers should probably save some money by eliminating a layer, but would not likely be as customized for luggage (and perhaps cruise ships).
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#3
NYC
3,800 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
I used White Star last year to Hamburg, Germany. It was my 29in case and wasn't cheap but I considered what the airline might have charged me. I didn't want to be encumbered by having more luggage than I could reasonably handle through an airport.

My contact was with Cunard's White Star desk. They sent a waybill where the items packed had to be listed: Previously worn clothing and shoes only. Due to international customs restrictions no toiletries, electronics, medications, or jewelry. Clothing and shoes ONLY. There are explicit instructions on what documents (including a photocopy of one's passport signature page) to add into the waybill pouch.

DHL picked up the case at my NY apartment about two weeks before sailing. The same day a FedEX driver picked up the White Star copy of the paperwork. The case arrived at my stateroom when the ship was in Hamburg. There is also a note enclosed that the case had been inspected by German customs.

Only down side is that after being packed for two weeks almost everything needed pressing. I'd use it again if I had to fly one way.

They need at least two weeks notice for international shipments, one week for domestic shipments.
#4
Scotland
80 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
We have used the White Star Luggage service and have two comments,
1, it was very expensive.
2, we had to leave the cases unlocked for possible customs inspection.

Subsequently, we have used a commercial luggage carry company at a fraction of the White Start cost and was able to lock our cases with a combination lock padlock. The company stated they would only ask for the padlock combination number should there be a reason to open it. We also have the luggage delivered to our pre-cruise overnight hotel in Southampton.
#5
Vale of Glamorgan
3,569 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
My White Star experience wasn't a very happy one, our bags didn't make it onto the ship until 3 days into the cruise.
I am considering using one of the UK ones to take bags to Southampton and/or back from Barcelona. Does anyone have experience of any other companies ?
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#6
Cambridgeshire
2,564 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by Host Hattie
My White Star experience wasn't a very happy one, our bags didn't make it onto the ship until 3 days into the cruise.
I am considering using one of the UK ones to take bags to Southampton and/or back from Barcelona. Does anyone have experience of any other companies ?

I have examined your problem in detail from eddiethekub's perspective, Hattie. Realistically he will not have his cases arrive at the ship on the third day doing a transatlantic unless they use the US Navy. Thinking it through they would need a US Fleet Carrier in the Atlantic using a C2 Greyhound getting the cases to the carrier and a Seahawk helicopter transferring it to QM2. I might have misunderstood and he's on HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Queen Mary was lost at Jutland but was not a carrier so it wont be her.

Regards John
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#7
Magnolia, Texas
1,389 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
On my first Transatlantic in 2005 we rode to the airport with other passengers including a lady and gentleman who had many pieces of luggage. he was on an electric scooter and could not help with the bags. At the Delta terminal at JFK there were no porters, and so the bus driver and some of us carried her bags to the check in counter. I decided that was not going to be me and so I have used Cunard's White Star Service many times since and will again for my Westbound from Hamburg in November. The cost isn't cheap, $992 for two 50 lb bags with $ 2000 each extra insurance coverage to the ship in Hamburg, and to be sent again from Brooklyn when we get to the US. Worth every penny.

There is some preparation for the shipping in that you have to complete the EU customs forms and detail each item or group along with a valuation. I have gotten to where I prepare a list and pack to the list instead of the other way around. And I reuse the list for the next crossing, just copying the detail into the Cunard Forms. Formal wear, extra shoes, extra shirts and trowsers, sweaters tidy whites and socks to supplement the few I wear or carry on in my roll aboard.

So far, knock on wood, I have not had a mis placed or mis sent bag in 15 cruises or crossings.

I am sold.
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#8
Virginia
421 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by Bigmike911
The cost isn't cheap, $992 for two 50 lb bags with $ 2000 each extra insurance coverage to the ship in Hamburg, and to be sent again from Brooklyn when we get to the US. Worth every penny.
If the total $992 is for both bags, both directions, I personally don't think that is at all unreasonable. I would do it too.
#9
Magnolia, Texas
1,389 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by retafcruiser
If the total $992 is for both bags, both directions, I personally don't think that is at all unreasonable. I would do it too.
Both bags. Picked up in Texas delivered to the ship in Hamburg. Upon arrival in Brooklyn, the bags need to be collected and carried (by a porter) through customs, and then re-checked with White Star in the terminal.

The next day they are delivered in Texas. Though you have the option of sending the bags surface in the US, I am going directly home and I like to get my unpacking done, and get everything to the cleaners to be ready for the next voyage next year.

I up the standard $2000 insurance to $4000, I think for an additional $80 total. Even though I usually only wear the formal clothing on the ship, the cost of replacing them adds up quickly.

The bags are picked up about two weeks before the sailing date if people are interested 15th October for a 3 November sailing this time.
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#10
167 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I have to agree with retafcruiser, that does not seem too unreasonable, for 2 bags, 2 ways. We would probably only ship a single bag one way to Southampton.
And bigmike911, we're on the same voyage, we board in Southampton on Nov 5.
Thanks for all the input.
#12
Magnolia, Texas
1,389 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by Tylerstreet
Interesting range of cost for luggage transport. Was just advised that one 50 pound bag one way from Toronto to Southampton would be $400 USD!
Having used White Star for both I find the international shipments are substantially more than domestic ones. I have attributed that to distance and customs handling as Cunard's local agent has to deal with customs and that service costs money.

$400 is about what I would have paid for one bag one way service with a lower insurance valuation. Obviously this is also one of Cunard's money making add on services. So there is some profit in it for them.
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#13
Scotland
80 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Originally posted by Host Hattie
My White Star experience wasn't a very happy one, our bags didn't make it onto the ship until 3 days into the cruise.
I am considering using one of the UK ones to take bags to Southampton and/or back from Barcelona. Does anyone have experience of any other companies ?
We have used a company called 'Carry My Luggage' in the UK a few times and found them very good. Our cases were picked up by DHL 2/3 days in advance of when we required them to be delivered at our Southampton hotel and in every case they were actually delivered the next day. You are able to track them every step of the way, so you always know where they are. For our return we drop our cases back at the hotel and they are picked up by DHL later that day and delivered to our home the following day.

We fly down to Southampton and as my wife is in a wheelchair it makes life so much easier not having to carry large suitcases. One point I would make is that you need to use a hotel in Southampton that is willing and able to store your cases until you arrive.

We looked at White Star Luggage to take two cases from Scotland to Southampton and return and was quoted over £500!! Admittedly that was to have them delivered straight to our cabin. However, Carry My Luggage was less than a fifth of that price albeit to have them delivered to the hotel. However, as we always go down the day before the cruise it is a no brainer which service to use and as the hotel package includes transport to and from the dock side it makes life so simple and a few pounds left over for a glass or two on the ship.

Hattie, hope this is helpful.
#14
Vale of Glamorgan
3,569 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by goodsailors

Hattie, hope this is helpful.
It is, thank you very much.
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#15
New Jersey
9,036 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Bigmike911
Having used White Star for both I find the international shipments are substantially more than domestic ones. I have attributed that to distance and customs handling as Cunard's local agent has to deal with customs and that service costs money.

$400 is about what I would have paid for one bag one way service with a lower insurance valuation. Obviously this is also one of Cunard's money making add on services. So there is some profit in it for them.
We have found that for most shipping with White Star or Holland America's service, international costs around $100 extra, and they say it's because they act as Customs agent.

We always travel in England before a cruise or crossing out of Southampton. We have used White Star from home to the ship in Southampton a few times and once from our hotel in London to Southampton. It does add to the cost of the vacation, but I think of that commercial for Master Card. Convenience...priceless!
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