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Shaco

Can we make it?

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My DH and I will land at Heathrow at 8:30am on the day of embarkation from Southampton. Embarkation is at 4:30pm on a weekday. Can anyone guesstimate how long it will take us to get through luggage claim and British Customs? I believe the trip from LHR to Southampton 

takes approximately 90 minutes. Can we make the cruise under this timeline?

 

I’m so grateful for any help,

Sharon

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105 kilometers or 90 minutes by taxi or uber is the same estimate I found.  I can't help on clearing customs, etc....but it sounds like you should be fine, assuming no delays.  

Edited by PTC DAWG

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3 minutes ago, Shaco said:

My DH and I will land at Heathrow at 8:30am on the day of embarkation from Southampton. Embarkation is at 4:30pm on a weekday. Can anyone guesstimate how long it will take us to get through luggage claim and British Customs? I believe the trip from LHR to Southampton 

takes approximately 90 minutes. Can we make the cruise under this timeline?

 

I’m so grateful for any help,

Sharon

Given a similar timeline in April I boarded the ship before 12:00 PM. I believe that the ship leaves at 4:30pm and boarding should open by 11:00AM. Of course things depend of the time of arrival of your flight.

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If all goes well, yes.  How many flights will you be on to get to Heathrow, how tight are the connections, if any, what time of year (weather), are you flying one carrier (multiple carriers add additional risk of disconnects), do you require a wheelchair or have any other special needs that could impact your trip?  No need to answer but I would consider these factors.  Also - whether or not you are making a connection I would pack a carry on with some clothes in the event your bag doesn't arrive when you do, since you won't have time to wait for it.   

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10 minutes ago, Shaco said:

My DH and I will land at Heathrow at 8:30am on the day of embarkation from Southampton. Embarkation is at 4:30pm on a weekday. Can anyone guesstimate how long it will take us to get through luggage claim and British Customs? I believe the trip from LHR to Southampton 

takes approximately 90 minutes. Can we make the cruise under this timeline?

 

I’m so grateful for any help,

Sharon

Hope you are not flying British Airways.

 

Suggest you post on the Brits forums, always best to get local information from the natives:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/544-uk-cruisers/

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/545-the-pub/

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/148-british-isleswestern-europe/

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6 minutes ago, Shaco said:

My DH and I will land at Heathrow at 8:30am on the day of embarkation from Southampton. Embarkation is at 4:30pm on a weekday. Can anyone guesstimate how long it will take us to get through luggage claim and British Customs?....

 

US passport holders are now eligible to use the electronic gates (egates) at Heathrow  which should speed the process of passport check. In the past, the morning immigration lines were often intimidating because many flights landed in the morning. 

As mentioned earlier, if flight is on time and there are no highway delays on the way to Southampton, you should be OK. 

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Assuming your flight lands on time, and depending how far your luggage has to go from aircraft to the belt in the arrivals hall, and depending how busy it is at the border control, you could be up to an hour landing to being through border ready for onward travel. It could be longer depending on number of pax. The e-gates are generally quick but the technology isn’t perfect and can sometimes be slower! I always allow extra time, including taking account of delayed flight arrival.

 

Once you’re through it’s then a case of getting to Southampton, approx 90 minutes in good traffic. It can be very busy on the motorway around the airport and a short stretch is on the M25 motorway, the London Orbital. Or, as we Brits call it, the car park!

If you can, try to book your transfer in advance

 

If all goes well, you could be rocking up to the cruise terminal by 12pm.

Not to rain on your parade, but given you’re arriving the day you sail, any serious delay could result in missing your cruise departure. 

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Why put yourself through this? Even if everything goes according to plan your pre cruise experience will be an anxious one...

 

We are U.K. citizens who regularly cross back and forwards across the pond....We have had many perfect scheduled flights, some with anxiety and a couple of very close shaves and that is working with the proviso of at least one and preferably two overnights pre cruise. 

 

As JFontaine says, the more connections to your journey, carriers etc ups the possibility of issues. Totally agree.

 

Yes, your plan could work to clockwork. Equally you only need a delayed/cancelled flight, missing baggage or a motorway pileup and you could miss your ship. Plus landing and boarding same day will leave you jet lagged day 1/2 of your cruise. 

 

Cruises are not cheap vacations...Just forwarding your plan 24 hours and booking an overnight in Southampton would take so much stress from you. Alternatively why not fly in a few days earlier still and drive down via Salisbury Plain, visit Winchester and the New Forest, home of some wonderful pub/hotels?

 

If you really have no flexibility in your schedule then check your first port of call and ease of connection there and if your insurance will cover.

 

Sorry if I sound ‘doom and gloom’ but honestly I would never risk an across the pond journey without at least a cushion of 24 hours...

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Shaco said:

My DH and I will land at Heathrow at 8:30am on the day of embarkation from Southampton. Embarkation is at 4:30pm on a weekday. Can anyone guesstimate how long it will take us to get through luggage claim and British Customs? I believe the trip from LHR to Southampton 

takes approximately 90 minutes. Can we make the cruise under this timeline?

 

Can you make it?

None of us can know.

It will depend on a combination of circumstances that day.

 

You should be able to make it just fine IF your flight is not delayed, or canceled or diverted and if your checked luggage arrives with you on the same flight, and if there are no problems at the airport on either end, or on the trip from Heathrow to Southampton.

 

Be sure to pack all essentials and enough clothing for at least 3 or 4 days in a carry-on bag,  just in case your checked luggage doesn't make it.

Also, for peace of mind, do know your backup options for catching up with the ship at the next allowable port, should that be necessary.

 

Another important factor to consider that I don't believe has yet been mentioned is the passenger's own temperament.

There are some people who become emotionally upset (even hysterical) about a delay or cancellation and the possibility of missing a ship or a flight,

and then there are those who can just shrug off setbacks, take it all in stride and revert to Plan B.

 

Good luck!

                  

Edited by fleckle

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Wow - lot of doom and gloom...  Yes all sorts of things could go wrong.  But they probably won't.  Having worked at LHR for many years and still having close connections there unless (now I'm at it!) you get arrested at Border control or the airline looses your luggage you will be clear of LHR within 90 minutes or so.  This puts you toward the tail end of the rush hour on the M25, which you only need to travel for 4 junctions and which most sane taxi drivers would avoid anyway rejoining the M3 further down.  The drive to Southampton will take about 2 hours.  You should be on board by lunchtime.

 

If you choose to avoid the roads and opt for rail you will be in central London by about 11 (The heathrow express takes 15 minutes but is more expensive pence per mile than concorde!). Depending on the train route you choose (and not allowing for cancellations and delays!) you should reach Southampton about 2.30/3.

 

Yes there could be a catastrophe.  Your luggage could be lost.  There could be a massive accident closing not only the motorways but all the minor roads as well.  There could be an ash cloud. Or a rail strike (that one at least is slightly more likely!)   Get travel insurance which covers you for a missed departure (which I would personally have even if arriving the day before!) and try not to worry too much.

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20 minutes ago, GastroGnome said:

Wow - lot of doom and gloom...  Yes all sorts of things could go wrong.  But they probably won't.  Having worked at LHR for many years and still having close connections there unless (now I'm at it!) you get arrested at Border control or the airline looses your luggage you will be clear of LHR within 90 minutes or so.  This puts you toward the tail end of the rush hour on the M25, which you only need to travel for 4 junctions and which most sane taxi drivers would avoid anyway rejoining the M3 further down.  The drive to Southampton will take about 2 hours.  You should be on board by lunchtime.

 

If you choose to avoid the roads and opt for rail you will be in central London by about 11 (The heathrow express takes 15 minutes but is more expensive pence per mile than concorde!). Depending on the train route you choose (and not allowing for cancellations and delays!) you should reach Southampton about 2.30/3.

 

Yes there could be a catastrophe.  Your luggage could be lost.  There could be a massive accident closing not only the motorways but all the minor roads as well.  There could be an ash cloud. Or a rail strike (that one at least is slightly more likely!)   Get travel insurance which covers you for a missed departure (which I would personally have even if arriving the day before!) and try not to worry too much.

 

My luggage has been lost twice at Heathrow. Once going out (caught up with us 36 hours later, 8 hours before we boarded our cruise) and once flying in (48 hours before we saw it). I would add most of our flights are not through Heathrow.

 

Whilst I admitted my post was a bit ‘doom and gloom’ it was with the OP’s best wishes at heart. When we cruise from Southampton, whilst we are ‘only about a five hour drive away’ we choose to go down the day before. Why put yourself under stress unless it is totally unavoidable? The day before a cruise to sit on a motorway in bad traffic is unpleasant but to sit on a motorway on the day you are cruising knowing you have to arrive by a certain time is no pleasant way to start a holiday.

 

The OP’s plan has no cushion for any error. Even if they go ahead with it and it flows perfectly they will have had 24 hours of stressful clock watching and be boarding the ship exhausted and jet lagged. I also agree with fleckle, some of how well you can handle tight schedules does depend on your temperament. 

 

OP, if you go ahead with your plan I hope it works out for you.

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When we travel to join a cruise we always leave at least an extra day early just in case. If it is the US we will always be there at least 2 days before the cruise starts. We don't see the point in taking the risk.

 

We met one couple in Miami on our second cruise whose luggage did not arrive before they boarded and that was using the cruise company's arranged flights and since then we like a bit of space between arriving and boarding.

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2 hours ago, chemmo said:

Whilst I admitted my post was a bit ‘doom and gloom’ it was with the OP’s best wishes at heart

 

I wasn't criticizing you Chemmo.  It is actually quite difficult to say - yes it will be OK when there are half a hundred reasons why it might not be.  And as Feckle said - it is also down to the personality of the cruiser.  I'm normally one of those who frets about being late or missing things - but we only live 2 hours from Southampton (not far) from LHR as it happens   - and we do know pretty much every back route if needed.

 

I'm lucky that in over (ahem!) many years of flying I actually haven't had my luggage lost once.  (And I do fly a fair amount for business as well as holidays).  But I do also recognize that is luck of the draw.  I've had some cases very spectacularly smashed by handlers though.  Actually including by X 4 weeks ago between the upper suites drop off and its arrival at the cabin!

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8 minutes ago, GastroGnome said:

 

I wasn't criticizing you Chemmo.  It is actually quite difficult to say - yes it will be OK when there are half a hundred reasons why it might not be.  And as Feckle said - it is also down to the personality of the cruiser.  I'm normally one of those who frets about being late or missing things - but we only live 2 hours from Southampton (not far) from LHR as it happens   - and we do know pretty much every back route if needed.

 

I'm lucky that in over (ahem!) many years of flying I actually haven't had my luggage lost once.  (And I do fly a fair amount for business as well as holidays).  But I do also recognize that is luck of the draw.  I've had some cases very spectacularly smashed by handlers though.  Actually including by X 4 weeks ago between the upper suites drop off and its arrival at the cabin!

 

We are presently in Orlando enjoying a week in a villa before driving down to Fort Lauderdale Sunday to pick up the Equinox on Monday....These are the best sorts of margins! You board the ship already in holiday mode!

 

Our last Caribbean cruise was on Reflection last March. Our flights were cancelled at 9pm when we should have flown 10am the next morning owing to ‘unseasonable weather on the East Coast’. It was only thanks to CC posters who gave us the heads up that Philadelphia (our point of entry) would close that we were probably the first fliers on the phone trying to reschedule....I won’t go into the details of the frantic next few days but we boarded the ship frazzled and we had a two day cushion. Several (10?) passengers joined the ship day 3 of the cruise and 4 more on day 4....

 

Whilst I know it can be hard for everyone to build a margin of ‘time comfort’ into travel plans I would never recommend flying in anywhere the day you are cruising. 

 

 

 

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I would take my suitcase on board the plane with me to make sure I have it with me at all times since time is of an essence.  Don't want to board the ship with no bag because it got "lost".  I have heard of people having to buy clothing on board the ship and at ports of call.  You'll have the advantage of packing light, too, since the size you take on board the plane with you must be small!  

 

 

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Same answer I always give - probably.  But what are your back-up plans if the worst happens?  What is the first port and how will you get there?  If you haven't booked already, seriously considering coming in a day early.  If you've already booked, stop reading all these posts about what might happen, make your back-up plans, and try to not worry about it.  Are you sailing on a Sunday?  For what it's worth, we had a very smooth ride from London to  Southampton on a Sunday, and when we did arrive (admittedly a couple days earlier) British Customs was a breeze.  I couldn't believe how fast we got through (and on the way back no issues either)

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We recently flew from Florida to Paris, via Newark, we had almost 3 hours between flights, 

before we left for the airport, our flight from Florida , scheduled for 1:30 PM was delayed 30 minutes, by the time we got to the airport, another 30 minutes.

we finally got on the plane and had 20 minutes from landing in Newark to “run 15 gates to our flight to Paris.

just before taking off, we had another delay ! We were were taken off the plane...and missed our connection 

we flew to Newark at about 10 PM, checked into a hotel at 1AM , and spend the entire next day in Newark airport, to take the 6:40 PM flight we missed the day before.

Luckily we were not leaving on the cruise for 6 more days, so we “only “ missed a day in Paris 😪

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20 hours ago, Shaco said:

My DH and I will land at Heathrow at 8:30am on the day of embarkation from Southampton.... Can we make the cruise under this timeline?

 

Of course you can.

Even many flights booked through cruise lines arrive much later.

 

If you need some peace of mind you might book your airport transfer (common coach/bus or individual car) through Celebrity and let them worry.

Last time I sailed out of Southampton, albeit with a different cruise line, they accepted incoming flights schedulded up to 2 pm.

(Actually I had some luggage issues, was the last one to meet the smiling lady with the sign, was handed over to my driver and taken in all calm to Southampton.)

 

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With an 8:30am arrival at Heathrow, I doubt very much that you would miss embarkation. Of course, that's based on the premise that you do in fact arrive at 8:30am as scheduled. The US Department of Transportation compiles statistics on on-time arrivals, and in June 2019, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 73.3%. Hawaiian and Alaska were the top 2 at 89.6% and 83.2% respectively, but the rest were under 80%. Based on USDOT's statistics, you have more than a 1 in 3.7 chance of having a flight delay, not very good odds in my books. In case you've booked with a UK airline, their record is better but, according to an article last month in Business Traveller, "The UK’s busiest airlines have seen a significant increase in flight delays over the last five years".

 

Bottom line is that we always fly into our North American ports of embarkation a minimum of one day early, and for European cruises, usually four. That eliminates any embarkation issues, gives us time for some additional tourism, and enables us to get over our jet lag before starting our cruise.

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The question isn't can you make it, it's will you make it. Evaluate the risk/reward factors and make up your own mind.

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If you arrive on time you should be good.

I caught the coach to/from Heathrow this year on the last week of June with no problem. The bus took about 2 HR 30. It was also about 15 minutes late.

 

The bus terminal is a very quick and cheap ride (Uber) direct to the cruise terminal.

 

If you were considering public transport be sure to buy your tickets in advance.

 

I would avoid the trains as you would have to cross London with your luggage. Not a good idea if on a tight schedule.

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5 hours ago, chemmo said:

 

We are presently in Orlando enjoying a week in a villa before driving down to Fort Lauderdale Sunday to pick up the Equinox on Monday....These are the best sorts of margins! You board the ship already in holiday mode!

 

 

 

 

See you onboard....we are flying down to FLL on Sunday from ATL to board Equinox....

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You know, I'd get in the day before, but all the doom and gloom about missing flights...

 

In this day and age, it's entirely possible that your plan to leave a day early will be impacted by a delayed or cancelled flight. There's now a wide body of 200+ passengers to rebook, only the next three days of flights are fully booked. And you're leaving from the US and it was a weather delay. Oops, the airline now has NO responsibility (a major difference for our UK and EU members). You could just as easily miss your cruise under those circumstances as if you're arrived the day of.

 

I'd get there a day early to get a night's sleep. That's my normal MO, even when I'm flying in the front of the plane. But you could just as easily miss the cruise because of problems with a day earlier flight, and little or no slack in the system.

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If I were you, having read all of the above, I would set off as soon as the New Year celebrations are over. After all, the plane might be hijacked and you spend a month on an airfield in Syria waiting for the Israelis to rescue you. Or you might get abducted by aliens - who knows.

 

If you can fly a day early, and there is no extra cost, go for it; but if it makes the most sense for you to fly in on sailing day, it's highly likely that you will have that welcoming mimosa in your sweaty hand well before sailing time.

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The risk of a  significant delay from LHR or LGW to Southampton is very very low. :classic_smile:

Most trans-Atlantic flights arrive at LHR or LGW before noon, leaving very decent wiggle-time for any delay travelling to Southampton (about 90 minutes from LHR or 2 hrs  from LGW , excluding delays). 

The vast majority of folk living in London and beyond travel down to Southampton on sailing day.

And apart from very occasionally lodging near the airport for a flight at daft o'clock in the morning, we travel from the Southampton area to LHR or LGW on the day of our flight. 

 

The risk of a flight delay is greater, but still low for a direct flight.

For a US ship, many hundreds (mostly from N America) take the cruise line's sail-day transfer  from LHR or LGW to Southampton, and it's a fair bet that the vast majority of them have booked their own flights rather than cruise-air.

Add those who make their own same-day travel arrangements from airport to ship and that's a significant proportion of the ship's passengers who fly in same-day.  

I don't see threads about folk missing sailings from Southampton.

 

So I'm with Bob - the risks are over-played, and even flying in a day earlier won't entirely negate them.

But if work commitments etc allow, giving yourselves that extra  day will make it easier to sleep in the days ahead (especially after reading this thread :classic_wink:) and  give you the opportunity to sample the attractions o Southampton or the surrounding area, or a couple of days or more will allow pre-cruise time in London.

 

Just MHO as always

 

JB :classic_smile: 

 

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