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CarolandNate

Has anyone disembarked in Le Havre rather than in final port of Southampton

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We are planning to go to the British Isles in 2021 (the one with Liverpool).  The master plan is to fly from Hartford (or Boston or New York) to London a couple of days before.  Then do the cruise.  At the end, we want to stay in Paris for a couple more and fly home from there.

 I am not going to deal with the pre cruise in this posting, as that is pretty straightforward.  The post cruise part seems like it could get a little tricky.

 Again the plan is to start in Southampton, UK, which round trips back to Southampton after a day in Le Havre.  If we are going to Paris, it seems a bit silly to finish the trip on the ship only to go back to France the next day.  I have heard that it is possible and actually pretty common to end the trip early, meaning getting off in Le Havre.  It is a process, but the cruise lines will do it.  In fact, I have seen that as many as 200-300 will disembark at Le Havre and head to Paris.

What I do know is that there are a couple of ways to get to Paris.  The train is the least expensive.  A bit more is something called get transfers which is putting bids out there for drivers who are willing to take one from point A to point B or even do it by the hour which leaves room for side trips on the way.  Ubers or taxis are possibilities as well.  I mentioned side trip, because what we would really like to do is stop in Normandy while we are on the coast and then head to Paris.

If there is a way to do this without spending a small fortune, it seems like we could get top Paris at a reasonable hour after an early morning docking in Le Havre and then spend two or three nights in Paris.

 

So that brings up the next question.  Where in Paris?  I have no idea of what is where.  I see by some of the maps, that the closer to the center of the city, the hotels get more expensive.  It is a matter of priorities as to whether we would want to be able to walk out our door and go to a restaurant or cafe and not be too far from some of the bigger attractions.  In the end, we will likely be amenable to spending a little more for convenience, especially if we can find a hotel where we can use our points.  For that the more time we have to build up points, the better.

 

We had looked for packages (like London), but I have had difficulty in finding them.

 

Any ideas, thoughts, etc would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by CarolandNate
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We did this last year.  You have to get permission from Princess to disembark in Le Have and the French authorities only allow a certain number, so put in the request to Princess as soon as possible.

 

We hired a car from Le Havre, toured around Normandy with it, drove to Paris and returned the car on arrival in Paris in the evening.  The one day hire was not expensive, around EUR 70 for an automatic transmission.  Manual transmission was much cheaper.  There are a few car hire companies a five minute taxi ride from the port.

 

 

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You need to make sure you have a Plan B. Sometimes the ship is not able to stop in Le Havre because of whether conditions. If it does not, then you will be disembarking in Southampton. Princess has no obligation to help you, as they might if you missed a scheduled disembarkation port. Check your travel insurance to see if it would cover your extra expenses - Princess Vacation Protection would probably not.

 

You may also look at sailing to Southampton and taking the train to Paris. In any case, you need to look at this as a backup in case the ship misses the port in Le Havre.

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I booked roundtrip Southampton last year and requested to disembark 1 day early in Le Havre, but was denied by the Port of Le Havre. In all my cruising, I've requested 6 early disembark/late embarks and had all of the approved except this one. Le Havre limits embarks/disembarks to avoid extra burden, it's a small port. I think if you booked Le Havre roundtrip, you have a better chance to ask for delayed embarkation in Southampton.

Edited by OceanPrince

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So what is the process? A letter to Princess, a phone call, an email? Is there a form to complete? How soon is "as soon as possible"?

 

4 hours ago, hlperez said:

We did this last year.  You have to get permission from Princess to disembark in Le Have and the French authorities only allow a certain number, so put in the request to Princess as soon as possible.

 

We hired a car from Le Havre, toured around Normandy with it, drove to Paris and returned the car on arrival in Paris in the evening.  The one day hire was not expensive, around EUR 70 for an automatic transmission.  Manual transmission was much cheaper.  There are a few car hire companies a five minute taxi ride from the port.

 

 

 

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Make sure to book air independently. I just had someone try to do this after booking air through Princess and they could not do any deviations.

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2 minutes ago, pizzalady1 said:

So what is the process? A letter to Princess, a phone call, an email? Is there a form to complete? How soon is "as soon as possible"?

 

 

Immediately after final payment is made.

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You need to contact Princess and ask for a route deviation request. Takes about 10 days or so to get approval or not. 

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Have you considered doing it the other way round?  i.e.  Fly to Paris first and do the pre-cruise there; then do London post-cruise.  Several years ago, we were going to do London pre-cruise and Paris afterwards, then did it the other way on the advice of someone here on CC.  We flew direct to Paris, stayed a few days seeing the sights, then took the Eurostar back to London/Southampton.  Btw, we really enjoyed the train!

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Thanks everyone--exactly the info I needed. Ell52--I'll look at Paris first, then London. The catch was that we were going to stop in Bayeux on the way to Paris from Le Harvre.

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We did a Europe cruise and Le Havre had to be skipped due to a strike at the port. I learned later that this port is one of the most missed. 

Edited by Coffeeluvr05

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57 minutes ago, pizzalady1 said:

Thanks everyone--exactly the info I needed. Ell52--I'll look at Paris first, then London. The catch was that we were going to stop in Bayeux on the way to Paris from Le Harvre.

If you sign up for the Roll Call for your cruise, you might find people willing to share a private tour out of Le Havre.There are quite a few tour companies that specialize in the Normandy landing beaches and WW II sites and will often customize depending on your interests. For example, we had a group of 5 couples and 4 of the couples were Canadian, so we were interested in Juno Beach and the Canadian museum.  You might find a suitable tour that includes Bayeux. -- Just a thought.

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Just now, surrocruiser said:

Immediately after final payment is made.

Do not wait until after final payment, that will be too late.  You can put in the request now, either through the travel agent you booked with, or directly to Princess if you booked with them.

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Princess insurance will not cover you if you have a deviation.  They only cover anything purchased through Princess during the cruise.  

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We disembarked early in Le Havre last year. Before asking for/receiving the "route sector deviation" we booked Princess EZ Air and selected CDG as the departure airport for the return flight - the system let me do that as long as the date of departure was at least one day after the cruise was scheduled to return to Southampton. I guess that works because we could had time to get to Paris even if we had taken the boat in Southampton.

 

We rented a car from Europcar in Le Havre and drove to Paris (after going to Mont Saint Michel). I think it was about an 8-10 euro cab ride from the port. I will say the driving once we got to Paris (it was Friday afternoon) was insane. My husband did amazingly but I never could have done it. If you rent a car but don't feel confident about urban driving I would suggest looking into dropping off the car outside of the city and taking a train in (maybe at the airport)? We also could not find the drop off location (it ended up being 4 levels down in an unmarked parking garage by Gard du Nord) and had to go around the block about 3 times (and it was not just one block) and were charged for being late and gas tank not being full, even though we had filled it before our first attempt to find the drop off...lesson learned to research urban drop off more carefully.  The cost of the rental without the extra charges was quite reasonable.

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On 8/15/2019 at 8:39 AM, CarolandNate said:

So that brings up the next question.  Where in Paris?  I have no idea of what is where.  I see by some of the maps, that the closer to the center of the city, the hotels get more expensive.  It is a matter of priorities as to whether we would want to be able to walk out our door and go to a restaurant or cafe and not be too far from some of the bigger attractions.  In the end, we will likely be amenable to spending a little more for convenience, especially if we can find a hotel where we can use our points.  For that the more time we have to build up points, the better.

 

We had looked for packages (like London), but I have had difficulty in finding them.

 

Any ideas, thoughts, etc would be greatly appreciated.

We stayed at a small boutique hotel called  Hotel Louvre Sainte Anne - very central - a few blocks to Le Louvre, walking distance to Jardin de Tuilleries, Notre Dame, Pont Neuf, even Champs Elysee /Arc de Triomphe if you're walkers -- and close to Metro if needed.  We actually walked to most places.

 

On the first day, we did a small group walking tour that ended up being a private tour for just the 2 of us because a family of 5 cancelled last-minute. It was a good way to get our bearings and feel confident about walking around on our own. Interesting city with lots to see especially if you like art, history, and museums.  

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9 minutes ago, ell52 said:

We stayed at a small boutique hotel called  Hotel Louvre Sainte Anne - very central - a few blocks to Le Louvre, walking distance to Jardin de Tuilleries, Notre Dame, Pont Neuf, even Champs Elysee /Arc de Triomphe if you're walkers -- and close to Metro if needed.  We actually walked to most places.

 

On the first day, we did a small group walking tour that ended up being a private tour for just the 2 of us because a family of 5 cancelled last-minute. It was a good way to get our bearings and feel confident about walking around on our own. Interesting city with lots to see especially if you like art, history, and museums.  

That's never a bad thing when you book for a group and it winds up being just two.  Pay for a group and get private.  That happened to us in Alaska when we wanted to  do a wildlife tour in Ketchikan and it open to as many as 10.  Good price.  Morning of, we get to the meeting spot early and we get a call from the owner and he wants see if we can do it later, like 1:00.  I said no, ship leaves at 2:00.  Then he says what about 11:00. no again.  The point was to get there early and do ouyr thing ands leave ourselves some free time to walk around near the ship.  He says I'll see what I can do.  Calls back and says he has someone and they will honor the tour as scheduled.  And we were it.  Poof private tour for somehting like $40 per.

 

A couple years later we're Florida and we wanted to go kayaking.  We had not been in one for five years, so we wanted to go with a group and get a tour, not to mention that a private trip with the owner would have been a lot more expensive.  When we got there, we were it.  No problem, he said and he took us out, so it was just us in the tandem and him in his single.  It was supposed to be about two hours ended up closer to three.

 

I love when that happens.

 

I like what you have to say.  We are looking at options as far as working in extra days in Paris and London.  Is it best to split them up like start with London, do the cruise, then go to Paris or visa versa.  or should we piggyback the city stuff then cruise or cruise then do city stuff.   Dceisions, decisions

 

I would like to keep in touch with once we get some more info and process it, some months down the line.  Would you be amenable to corresponding by email.   Mine is ncrose  at   comcast   dot   net

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45 minutes ago, CarolandNate said:

 

I like what you have to say.  We are looking at options as far as working in extra days in Paris and London.  Is it best to split them up like start with London, do the cruise, then go to Paris or visa versa.  or should we piggyback the city stuff then cruise or cruise then do city stuff.   Dceisions, decisions

 

I would like to keep in touch with once we get some more info and process it, some months down the line.  Would you be amenable to corresponding by email.   Mine is ncrose  at   comcast   dot   net

My personal first choice:   -> Fly direct to Paris -> stay in Paris -> Eurostar to London -> stay in London -> train to Southampton -> end with Cruise.  That way there's no backtracking, no loss of cruise day.

Second choice:  Bookend the cruise.  Go to Paris pre-cruise - > Cruise -> London after cruise.

 

If you do the sightseeing after the cruise, then I'd do:  Cruise -> stay London -> Eurostar to Paris -> stay Paris -> Fly home from Paris.  Again, no backtracking and no loss of cruise day.

 

Unless there's a huge difference in airfare with open-jaw flights via Paris and London, I'd try to avoid:  London Pre-cruise -> Cruise -> disembark Le Havre -> Paris -> back to London -> Fly home. 

 

Edit:  Also you can tour the Normandy area on your port day in Le Havre. Lots of options for car rentals, private or group tours there. 

 

P.S. I'm okay with emailing, but it's often helpful for others to see the discussion and reasons behind choices made.  I'll send you an email - look for a gmail address from  elw....... .

Edited by ell52

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My advice would be to try to add more days for both cities. A friend of mine just came back from a land tour. He had two nights in London, two nights in Paris, and five nights in Barcelona. He wished he had more time in capitals, but he was meeting people in Barcelona and couldn't. 

 

On our British Isles cruise, we spent three nights in London. It's not enough time. When we went back last year, we spent six nights in London. It still wasn't enough time.

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On 8/15/2019 at 11:09 PM, Coffeeluvr05 said:

We did a Europe cruise and Le Havre had to be skipped due to a strike at the port. I learned later that this port is one of the most missed. 

 

Also happened on a cruise we were on (same cruise as yours maybe?).

 

They substituted a port in Belgium for Le Havre. Those who had arranged to disembark in Le Havre were given a choice:

a) Disembark in Belgium and figure out how to get to France on their own -or-

b) Stay on the ship until Southampton.

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Last year we booked a transatlantic departing from Le Havre, later changed to Southampton but that is a whole different story.  We flew into Paris and rented a car to drive out to Bayeux for a few days in that area.  Be prepared to pay some hefty tolls on the expressways but having a car to see the countryside was esential . Bayeux and the environs were worth it.  To really experience Mont St Michele I recommend you plan to spend the night in order to witness the tide changes.  Very reasonable hotels just at the end of the causeway. Check the tide table for the period of your planned visit.  

 

There were several couples on that cruise that switched from the Le Havre to Southampton departure a day later. Some took a ferry across to Portsmouth, others took the EuroStar up to London and then buses back down to Southampton.  We took the rental car pack to Paris and flew direct to Southampton for $99 and had a car and driver pick us up for a tour of Winchester before driving us off at the port.

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