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Jeffrey1950

Advice please !!!

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Have decided instead of doing the usual Caribbean cruise next year I would do a Transatlantic. I have a few questions and would appreciate any advice given. First of all do any of you sail over and fly back the same day or is it easier to fly over and sail back to N.Y would it be a hassle getting to the Airport from Southampton. And most important is I get wheelchair assistance in Brooklyn what is the procedure in the UK as to getting help on and off the ship? What is the weather usually like in August ? I know no one can predict the weather but have you been able to sit out on deck at that time of year?

 

Thank you and I look forward to your replies.

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Wheelchair assistance is also available at Southampton, Go to   the Pursers desk a couple of days before you are due to dock tell them your needs travel arrangement's  etc  they will then tell the arrangement's made for you Weather in the UK in Aug is normally sunny about 70/80f

Edited by zider

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Hi, 

 

I have done five Cunard transatlantic crossings (three westbound and two eastbound). I am booked on a westbound crossing on the QM2 for late April 2019. I personally prefer the westbound crossings (Southampton to New York) because you gain an hour each day. I recommend flying to London at least one day in advance. A few years ago my flight from Chicago to London was cancelled. I was forced to fly to London the next day. If I had not planned to spend the night in London, I would have missed the ship.

 

If you decide to sail from New York to Southampton, the trip to Heathrow is not bad. Cunard offers a transfer service that takes about 90 minutes to travel to the airport.

 

The North Atlantic weather is unpredictable, but your chances for good weather are better in August than most months.

 

I highly recommend a transatlantic crossing on the QM2. It is a wonderful experience.

 

Chuck

Edited by seacruise9

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Funny, we are doing the same thing, this year we did the November Caribbean cruise, next year will be the round trip 16 night leaving NYC on the 10th,,,we enjoy the ship so much this felt like the best thing as will have 12 sea days and 6 formal nights and the price was about the same and get 4 more nights

Edited by Radar boomer

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On our last TA out of Southampton in September we noticed that those requiring assistance were given priority boarding including a dedicated waiting area. 

It's not completely clear to me if you are from the US or UK but I would strongly recommend a west-bound TA. Gaining an hour in the middle of the night verses losing an hour in the afternoon is HUGE!

Just for reference, LGW is pretty convenient to Southampton but I would never risk flying in on departure day. I you miss the the boat on a TA there is no next boarding port. 

August is the month that probably gives you the best chance of pleasant deckchair time but even then its likely to be cool and windy just because of the ship's forward speed. If its cold just bundle up and grab a hot mug of coffee from the Kings Court or if it's after 9:00AM a glass of wine from somewhere. 

 

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13 hours ago, Jack E Dawson said:

On our last TA out of Southampton in September we noticed that those requiring assistance were given priority boarding including a dedicated waiting area. 

It's not completely clear to me if you are from the US or UK but I would strongly recommend a west-bound TA. Gaining an hour in the middle of the night verses losing an hour in the afternoon is HUGE!

Just for reference, LGW is pretty convenient to Southampton but I would never risk flying in on departure day. I you miss the the boat on a TA there is no next boarding port. 

August is the month that probably gives you the best chance of pleasant deckchair time but even then its likely to be cool and windy just because of the ship's forward speed. If its cold just bundle up and grab a hot mug of coffee from the Kings Court or if it's after 9:00AM a glass of wine from somewhere. 

 

Thank you everyone for your replies. I never thought about flying into Gatwick Airport. I live 20 mins. away from Manhattan but used to live in the UK for 19 years so I am familiar with Heathrow and Gatwick. What I usually do is before I sail when booking with Cunard I advise them I will need assistance and they take care of it for me. My biggest concern is getting from the Airport to Southampton = will I be able to get assistance at the Airport when I get off the plane and what is the best way to get to a hotel if I travel in the day before? Can someone recommend a hotel and perhaps a taxi firm? Thank you !!

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Having done this crossing both ways, I prefer westbound for the additional time most days with the time changes. To answer some of your other questions. Yes you can get a wheelchair at the airport. When you book your flight tell the airline you need one when you book. The easiest, though not the cheapest way to get to or from LHR to Southampton is by private car. You can arrange in advance to book one and they will meet you at the arrivals area of your terminal. If you are traveling eastbound and need service back to the airport, the private car will meet you at the terminal in Southampton assigned to your ship. I recommend you google 'private car from Southampton to LHR' and you will see the options for booking. The price will be between $200 and $300. I don't advise traveling into Gatwick if you have a choice as it is further away from Southampton, and will cost more to travel in money and time

 

If you are traveling from Southampton to NYC, I also suggest that you plan to go in a day in advance. You can either stay in London, but I suspect with mobility issues you might want to go directly to a hotel in Southampton. Perhaps others can recommend one that might also be able to provide you with a shuttle to the cruise terminal assigned to QM2 the next day. You absolutely don't want to miss the ship because of an air flight issue. 

 

As for the weather. August should be pleasant on the North Atlantic. I have traveled in spring, summer, fall, and winter and my experience has been only winter is guaranteed to be some bad weather. You can always have wet or windy sea days even in 'good' months. If you have a balcony room you can put on a coat if it gets cold. There are also a number of areas around the ship where you can go and watch the sea go by in areas that have large windows. 

 

By all means enjoy your trans Atlantic. I do and will be doing my 11th this September and my 17th Cunard over all. Worth every penny I will tell you. If you have any further questions, just ask. I am sure board posters will offer thoughts

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13 hours ago, Jeffrey1950 said:

 Can someone recommend a hotel and perhaps a taxi firm? Thank you !!

 

I use British Airport Transfers in London. They service all airports and major cruise ports and I've found them to be very good.

 

I have stayed overnight a few times at both Gatwick and Heathrow, either between flights or before a flight. I'm sure there is stair-free access between the terminals and the hotels. Then you would just have one taxi ride to get to the port the next day.

 

Could you have your luggage delivered directly to the ship from your home? I understand Cunard have a luggage service or there are others, such as 'Luggage Forward' which I have used; I had a case picked up at Portsmouth and delivered to my house last year while I continued on my travels - worked beautifully.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 12/30/2018 at 11:55 AM, Jeffrey1950 said:

Thank you everyone for your replies. I never thought about flying into Gatwick Airport. I live 20 mins. away from Manhattan but used to live in the UK for 19 years so I am familiar with Heathrow and Gatwick. What I usually do is before I sail when booking with Cunard I advise them I will need assistance and they take care of it for me. My biggest concern is getting from the Airport to Southampton = will I be able to get assistance at the Airport when I get off the plane and what is the best way to get to a hotel if I travel in the day before? Can someone recommend a hotel and perhaps a taxi firm? Thank you !!

 

Since my wife's knee replacements several years ago we have asked for assistance at airports. We have flown into Gatwick once and from Gatwick several times. The assistance provided was excellent. It puts Toronto's airport to shame. The time we arrived in Gatwick we (and several others) were met at the exit of the plane with wheelchairs. They were soon transferred to a large "buggy" and the staff insisted I ride it as well. We went into the lift and eventually into a glass-walled room in the huge customs hall. A very polite immigration officer came to us and stamped our passports and we were then taken to claim the luggage.

 

We stayed at the Hilton Hotel as we always do. There are other hotels slightly closer to the arrivals hall  (especially at the North Terminal)  but a porter assisted us to the Hilton - about a five-minute walk from the South Terminal.

 

As for getting from Gatwick to Southampton we have always used Smiths for Airports. If you go on the day of sailing you could take the Cunard coach connection. For some reason Cunard's transfers cost a lot more from Gatwick to Southampton than from the ship to Gatwick.

Edited by david,Mississauga
clarification

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We've always used Smith's For Airports whenever transiting Southampton.  Just make the reservation via email.  They specialize in cruise and port travel.  The price is competitive.  Most  importantly, they are dependable.

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All went well, but its a VERY LONG day returning to the USA after sailing eastbound to Southampton on the QM2.  The ship docked an hour late but was no problem.    I took a transfer from the ship to Heathrow and arrived at 11am - flight to USA scheduled for a 4 pm departure.    I was annoyed that gate assignment was not posted till 3pm.   With time change, I arrived at JFK at 8 pm.  Flight back to Rochester NY left at 10pm and after a 90 minute drive, I arrived home at one in the morning.  Its true that its no picnic flying over and sailing back but works much better for me...…………….

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All things being equal, we would just do a round trip, which we've done several times.

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