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Transfer: Southampton—London (incl. LHR/LGW) train, car, other?


jedco
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Good Morning Globaliser and John Bull.  A little non transportation help if you please.  I'll be staying at the St. Ermins, Westminster area, and we will need a Covid 19 test pre cruise.  Is there anywhere near that area that you know of where we could get tested?  Free or cheap is obviously the best options.  LOL

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5 hours ago, CapnBob said:

Good Morning Globaliser and John Bull.  A little non transportation help if you please.  I'll be staying at the St. Ermins, Westminster area, and we will need a Covid 19 test pre cruise.  Is there anywhere near that area that you know of where we could get tested?  Free or cheap is obviously the best options.  LOL

 

No freebie self-tests in the UK now.

Can I presume this is a test required by the cruise line, rather than your destination or a port-of-call?

And that a Lateral Flow (aka Antigen) test is good enough.

And that the cruise line don't automatically test you at the terminal.

 

Cheapest is to buy a home test kit from a high street pharmacy / chemist / drug store at about £2, or a little cheaper per unit for a pack of kits - if that's good enough for the cruise line. 

But countries require the test  to be administered in-store (book an appointment) or proctored (ie witnessed remotely via a tablet), and a fit-to-fly certificate. For a proctored test I believe you have to use the kit sent by the testing organisation, which means having a UK address & booking an appointment for a video call.

Your cruise line might not be so fussy, altho presenting a self-administered test without a fit-to-fly-certificate is just so easy to cheat as to make it worthless.

 

To avoid the risk of a kit going astray or a video malfunction, we've always booked an in-store test at a Lloyds pharmacy. It also has the advantage of no payment with booking - you pay when you show for your test, so you can cancel without penalty (or without penalty for those who are ignorant enough to simply fail to show).

Price is £29.99, other providers seem to charge about the same.

https://lloydspharmacy.com/pages/covid-test-for-travel

 

I don't know the locations in the big bad city, but in the process use the hotel's postcode SW1H 0QW, for nearest branch which offers an in-store service.

 

JB 🙂

Edited by John Bull
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I’m afraid I am neither Globaliser nor JB, but I can tell you that Boots (another large, well know pharmacy chain) are also still offering in store testing, according to their website.

 

The list of stores include Victoria Place and Victoria Station, both of which are a short walk from the St Ermin’s. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/26/2022 at 6:03 PM, thethreeofus said:

Try West Quay Cars. We booked with them a few years ago and will be using them again next month.  Pickup at LHR (waiting with a sign with your name) and drop at hotel in Southampton, 3 adults, 3 large luggage, 3 carry on bags, for 125GBP.  Same price post cruise from cruise port to London hotel pre flight home.  They respond to email within 24 hours. They have an app so you can see everything on your phone. 

We booked both ways with Blackberry a couple of months ago for a cruise later this month.  The price then was 128 and 126BP.

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I found that booking ahead with Blackberry or West Quay was going to cost £50 more than contacting them on arrival. Since we will be arriving around 3 p.m. on a Tuesday I'm tempted to take my chances on availability. Please no one suggest train or bus--not an option for us.  Would appreciate thoughts John Bull.

 

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49 minutes ago, mljatsea said:

I found that booking ahead with Blackberry or West Quay was going to cost £50 more than contacting them on arrival. Since we will be arriving around 3 p.m. on a Tuesday I'm tempted to take my chances on availability. Please no one suggest train or bus--not an option for us.  Would appreciate thoughts John Bull.

 

 

 

That's a new one on me, mlj.🤔

 

Airport transfers don't make a great deal of profit on a one-way fare, they rely on tying in with a fare in the opposite direction to avoid 50% empty mileage. That's why airport runs are generally cheaper than most other destinations.

Pre-book and the operator has a chance to tie your trip in with another booking - and for a Southampton operator your afternoon fare  from Heathrow would tie in with taking folk to Heathrow earlier in the day. But that's much less-likely if you ask on-the-day, and if a Southampton operator agrees to collect you but doesn't already have a car there you'll have a minimum 90-minute wait.

 

Pre pandemic and fuel price-hikes and 10% p.a. general inflation, prices between Heathrow and Southampton ranged upwards from about £70.

So a saving of £50 on current prices of around £120 to £140 suggests that an operator would revert to those old & now-uneconomic prices for a booking on arrival, which I very much doubt.

 

Asking for quotes by e-mail in advance is easy, and they'll all be looking for business.

But by negotiating on-the-day you put yourself at a disadvantage - you can't get best price without a tedious round of phone calls and return calls, and the chances of matching a return fare on-the-day are slim. 

 

Private-hire taxis aren't permitted to tout for business, if you can't fix a booking by phone the only taxis you could take from the airport are the classic black London cabs on the rank. Their long-distance fares aren't fixed but they know how to charge and if you're asking them they'll know they're your only option - expect any willing to take you to look for £200+

 

I won't suggest that you use the train - there's no direct train between Heathrow & Southampton, so the train options are both slow and expensive.

And if you were to use the bus you'd be well-advised to pre-book to avoid being stranded.

 

Your trip, your decision.

But I'd be interested to know where you heard that contacting the likes of Blackberry or West Quay on arrival would save you £50.

 

JB 🙂

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

 

That's a new one on me, mlj.🤔

 

Airport transfers don't make a great deal of profit on a one-way fare, they rely on tying in with a fare in the opposite direction to avoid 50% empty mileage. That's why airport runs are generally cheaper than most other destinations.

Pre-book and the operator has a chance to tie your trip in with another booking - and for a Southampton operator your afternoon fare  from Heathrow would tie in with taking folk to Heathrow earlier in the day. But that's much less-likely if you ask on-the-day, and if a Southampton operator agrees to collect you but doesn't already have a car there you'll have a minimum 90-minute wait.

 

Pre pandemic and fuel price-hikes and 10% p.a. general inflation, prices between Heathrow and Southampton ranged upwards from about £70.

So a saving of £50 on current prices of around £120 to £140 suggests that an operator would revert to those old & now-uneconomic prices for a booking on arrival, which I very much doubt.

 

Asking for quotes by e-mail in advance is easy, and they'll all be looking for business.

But by negotiating on-the-day you put yourself at a disadvantage - you can't get best price without a tedious round of phone calls and return calls, and the chances of matching a return fare on-the-day are slim. 

 

Private-hire taxis aren't permitted to tout for business, if you can't fix a booking by phone the only taxis you could take from the airport are the classic black London cabs on the rank. Their long-distance fares aren't fixed but they know how to charge and if you're asking them they'll know they're your only option - expect any willing to take you to look for £200+

 

I won't suggest that you use the train - there's no direct train between Heathrow & Southampton, so the train options are both slow and expensive.

And if you were to use the bus you'd be well-advised to pre-book to avoid being stranded.

 

Your trip, your decision.

But I'd be interested to know where you heard that contacting the likes of Blackberry or West Quay on arrival would save you £50.

 

JB 🙂

 

 

 

 

2 hours ago, John Bull said:

But I'd be interested to know where you heard that contacting the likes of Blackberry or West Quay on arrival would save you £50.

 

JB 🙂

 

 

 

When I went to book online for Oct. 18 the fare was £178, but if I wanted a car in 34 minutes the fare was £124. That's what made me think I should wait until we arrive. Thoughts?

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4 hours ago, mljatsea said:

 

When I went to book online for Oct. 18 the fare was £178, but if I wanted a car in 34 minutes the fare was £124. That's what made me think I should wait until we arrive. Thoughts?

I find it very strange that both Blackberry and West Quay would offer the same quotes. The differential sounds more like recently reported fares for the two firms, with Blackberry being the more expensive. 
 

Of course, another way to look at it is that October 18th is high demand, hence the higher price. That might affect your chances of an immediate booking - as JB says, that would depend on the operator having a car in the Heathrow area with nothing to do.

 

It will be interesting to see if you can replicate the results, which might give you confidence. But I have never heard of this as an advantageous way of booking before (caveat, I have never used either firm!) 

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9 hours ago, mljatsea said:

 

When I went to book online for Oct. 18 the fare was £178, but if I wanted a car in 34 minutes the fare was £124. That's what made me think I should wait until we arrive. Thoughts?

 

 

£124 is very much in the ball-park for LHR to Southampton, you should be able to get that sort of price replicated by booking now with another operator

 

West Quay quote a typical LHR to Southampton at £140 (£10 more than  Southampton to LHR because of LHR parking) 

There must be a reason for the £178 to be out-of-sync. Three cruise ships are turning round in Southampton on 18th October, but that's not unusual and I'm not aware of any event or other factor in Southampton which might affect a very ordinary tuesday in mid-October. 

 

I can only surmise that either you have mis-read the price (did you accidentally click on West Quay's "executive car" panel ?) or more likely the operator who quoted £178 has limited availability on that day.

Try https://www.aquacars.co.uk/  Recommended by Cruise Critic members, they're based in Portsmouth but have drivers in Southampton (as did Smiths for Airports, the most-frequently recommended on Cruise Critic until they went under during the pandemic) 

Or

https://www.chasecars.co.uk/

Or

https://www.southampton-taxis.co.uk/

Or

https://www.dsairportcars.co.uk/

(those last three are all Southampton-based, but I have no experience of them)

 

If you're finding that 18th October is expensive with all of them, there's gonna be something happening in Southampton that I'm not aware of - in which case trawl Heathrow-based operators.

 

But your post makes me even more confident that book-on-arrival isn't normally cheaper, and may prove to be expensive or problematic or probably both 😲 

 

JB 🙂

Edited by John Bull
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6 hours ago, mljatsea said:

Here's what Blackberry shows on their website and when I asked for a quote they said £178. I'm stymied why the huge increase in a month.

IMG_8207.jpg

 

Sorry, I have no idea, they're all heavy prices .

Try the Southampton-based operators that I mentioned

Or there are plenty of other operators out of Heathrow by googling "Heathrow private transfer".

But do carefully check reviews and reputations, there are some fly-by-nights.

 

JB 🙂

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We will disembark on Sunday, July 9, 2023 in Southampton.  Do you recommend flying home to Miami from Gatwick or Heathrow and best way to get there from ship.  Depending on flight time, we may stay near airport until the 10th.   First time in this part of the world so all advice is welcome.

Thank you!

 

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15 hours ago, lilybug said:

Do you recommend flying home to Miami from Gatwick or Heathrow ...

 

 

This is not really a question for this thread, but the short answer is that on current schedules there are non-stop flights from Heathrow to Miami, but none from Gatwick.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Globaliser and John Bull, advice please.

Disembarking Oceania Vista on August 30. Our Delta flight to Atlanta is at 2:05pm.  We are Premium Select if that makes any difference. Supposedly the ship arrives at 7 am but I know it must clear customs. Our previous port is Portland. We will prebook a car service, not sure which one yet. Are the odds on making this flight good? I know we need to check in by 11 am, right? There is a later Virgin Atlantic flight that leaves at 4 but it connects at JFK, not our favorite. It doesn't get in until 1 am. That is too late to drive the 2.5 hours home. Yes, I know we could spend the night in Atlanta but would rather not. 

 

Should we keep this flight or change it to a later one? You two have always been spot on with advice you have given. It is much appreciated.

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If I’m not on the right board, please direct me there.

 

DH & I are going to be sailing from Southampton in October 2023.  I know there’s a Holiday Inn near the port.  Question is:  are there other “branded” hotels in Southampton proper?  The Holiday Inn seems to be the only one that actually carries a name brand in its name, but perhaps others are under the umbrella of a brand name hotel chain, just not using it in their title.

 

Where have you stayed that’s in the city, clean & comfortable and relatively inexpensive?

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9 minutes ago, alfiemom said:

If I’m not on the right board, please direct me there.

 

DH & I are going to be sailing from Southampton in October 2023.  I know there’s a Holiday Inn near the port.  Question is:  are there other “branded” hotels in Southampton proper?  The Holiday Inn seems to be the only one that actually carries a name brand in its name, but perhaps others are under the umbrella of a brand name hotel chain, just not using it in their title.

 

Where have you stayed that’s in the city, clean & comfortable and relatively inexpensive?

Have a look at Premier Inn Southampton annd Moxy Southampton.

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2 hours ago, Pearl64 said:

Globaliser and John Bull, advice please.

Disembarking Oceania Vista on August 30. Our Delta flight to Atlanta is at 2:05pm.  We are Premium Select if that makes any difference. Supposedly the ship arrives at 7 am but I know it must clear customs. Our previous port is Portland. We will prebook a car service, not sure which one yet. Are the odds on making this flight good? I know we need to check in by 11 am, right? There is a later Virgin Atlantic flight that leaves at 4 but it connects at JFK, not our favorite. It doesn't get in until 1 am. That is too late to drive the 2.5 hours home. Yes, I know we could spend the night in Atlanta but would rather not. 

 

Should we keep this flight or change it to a later one? You two have always been spot on with advice you have given. It is much appreciated.

 

Hi, Pearl,

 

If this is for 2023, that's a wednesday. It follows a 3-day weekend (monday 28th is "August Bank Holiday"), but that'll have no impact by wednesday

.

Assuming your ship arrives at the same time as most, the odds are very much in your favour 🙂

And I'm pretty certain that Globaliser will agree.

Unassisted disembarkation at around 7am, but no need to be that early

Regular disembarkation is usually 7.30 to about 9.30,.

If you book a car, I suggest you book it for 8.30 and disembark at 8am. If Oceania arranges disembarkation slots and you're allocated a later slot, ask at Guest Relations for an earlier slot citing your onward transportation. You'll be later than commuter traffic and should get to Heathrow comfortably by 10.30. Private transfer costs somewhere between £120 & £145.

Alternatively your flight time allows you to travel on a ship's transfer coach - cruise lines suggest not to use them for flights before 12.30 or 1.00 pm. If you book ship's transfer they should automatically allocate you a suitable time-slot.

Or the 9.00am National Express coach is scheduled to get you to Heathrow by 11.00am, fare is currently £21-50 per person, strongly  advised to pre-book, but you can leave that til a couple of months out.. Oceania normally berth at City or Horizon cruise terminals, only a 3-minute taxi ride from Southampton coach station, taxi rank at both terminals. https://book.nationalexpress.com/

 

JB 🙂

ps Portland.is a secure port, no tours available on-spec. Choices are

- port bus to gate for Portland Castle & D-Day museum (both interesting but small & only worth total of 2 - 3 hours), 

- shuttlebus to the Victorian seaside resort of Weymouth

- ship's excursion (Bath and Stonehenge are both long drives), 

- pre-book a private local tour,  places to consider include Corfe Castle, Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door, Bovingdon Tank Museum, Abbotsbury Swannery and Jurassic Coast, Rural Dorset & its villages

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2 hours ago, alfiemom said:

If I’m not on the right board, please direct me there.

 

DH & I are going to be sailing from Southampton in October 2023.  I know there’s a Holiday Inn near the port.  Question is:  are there other “branded” hotels in Southampton proper?  The Holiday Inn seems to be the only one that actually carries a name brand in its name, but perhaps others are under the umbrella of a brand name hotel chain, just not using it in their title.

 

Where have you stayed that’s in the city, clean & comfortable and relatively inexpensive?

 

Most of Southampton city centre's hotels are well-known UK or European chains.

I know them, but being a local I've never stayed at any of them.

Premier Inn is the UK's major mid-range, and has an excellent reputation - there are 3 (a fourth on the way) in the city centre, West Quay is the most convenient. Can't be booked via consolidation websites.

Travelodge is cheaper - you get what you pay for.

Moxy (next door to P.I.West Quay) is a quirky Marriott brand

Novotel is a French brand, typical 3/4-star hotel, I think Ibis is also a French brand.

Jurys Inn (4-star?) is probably the least-conveniently located city centre hotel 

https://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/southampton_accommodation.htm

 

JB 🙂

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9 hours ago, Pearl64 said:

Disembarking Oceania Vista on August 30. Our Delta flight to Atlanta is at 2:05pm.  We are Premium Select if that makes any difference. Supposedly the ship arrives at 7 am but I know it must clear customs. Our previous port is Portland. We will prebook a car service, not sure which one yet. Are the odds on making this flight good? I know we need to check in by 11 am, right?

 

6 hours ago, John Bull said:

If this is for 2023, that's a wednesday. It follows a 3-day weekend (monday 28th is "August Bank Holiday"), but that'll have no impact by wednesday

.

Assuming your ship arrives at the same time as most, the odds are very much in your favour 🙂

And I'm pretty certain that Globaliser will agree.

 

I do. No need to stress about this one. And definitely no need to have checked in at the airport by 11.00 am.

 

I too would plan on the basis that Wednesday 30 August is a normal day, but it often happens that the week that includes a holiday Monday is a little quieter than normal weeks.

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