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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 4th, 2008, 12:01 PM
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Default Advice for England cruise

We are doing our first Europe cruise in August. This is totally new to us so we need lots help from our fellow CruiseMates. We always get travel insurance. For this cruise it is over $500! But it’s better to be safe than sorry especially spending this much $.
1. We are cruising out of Harwich, England but want to stay in London two days before cruise; which airport should we fly into? Heathrow or Gatwick?
2. Do we book our air and hotel or let RCI do it. We have always done these ourselves to get better prices and times.
3. Do we pre-arrange transfers from airport to hotel?
4. Best way to get from London to Harwich?
5. Do we need to get currency for the different ports; Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia and Estonia? In Canada, we always used our credit card and let them do the exchange for us for a small fee. Should we do the same?
Any other advice or things we need to know?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old January 4th, 2008, 01:27 PM
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Hi there, if you are planning on spending time in London both pre & post cruise then the choice of airport isn't that important. Gatwick is a longer journey into London, but can be made by train, coach, or taxi. Whilst Heathrow is closer (and nicer IMHO) and also has the underground/tube/subway option on top of train, coach & taxi.

As far as booking goes, check with RCI & see what they come up with, then try your local Travel Agent to see what they can offer, then armed with that info, it's onto the web to compare prices.

Transfers can be arranged if you don't want to use public transport, and will be cheaper than the taxi. However once you have your chosen hotel, check if they offer any sort of transfer, or have any deals. Again this is more likely with Heathrow.

Trains run from London Liverpool Street Station to Harwich Town every hour, and take about 90 minutes. If you launch maps.google.com & enter the zip code CO12 4SR, you will zoom in on Harwich, then switch to Satellite Mode & you will see a cruise ship moored up, so a taxi shouldn't take too long.

Yes, Norway, Denmark & Sweden all use the Krone/Krona (but all different ones !!), whilst Finland and Estonia should take Euro's. Russia will take anything you have, esp. USD. All countries will take Visa credit cards, and most accept the other global credit cards.

What other information were you after. We've been to all the ports (except Harwich) at least a couple of times, so have quite a good knowledge of the tours, highlights & port must-knows. If you have any specific questions, please post them or PM us & we'll do our best to answer.

Hope this has been helpful,

Alan & Katrina
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Last Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Next Cruise: Azamara Journey August 2014
followed by: Queen Victoria November 2014
followed by: Queen Elizabeth December 2014

History :
Golden, Grand(2), Caribbean, Sea(4+1 aborted)
Adonia(4+2), Arcadia, Artemis(2), Aurora(5), Azura(2), Oceana(3), Oriana(11), Ventura(2), Victoria(5)
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Old January 4th, 2008, 09:43 PM
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Thank you for being so helpful and a fast reply. Now I know where to come when I think of more questions. I printed out the information to study it.
__________________
CU@C,
Teresa and Larry


#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
Retirement Celebration

#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean

#38-Celebrity Solstice 4/8/13
17 night Tahiti -- Sydney-Honolulu
40th Anniversary Celebration

270 days at see; soon to be 302
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Old January 5th, 2008, 07:48 AM
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Always a pleasure,

Just in case you don't have any more questions, we'll wish you a great cruise now.

Alan & Katrina
__________________
Last Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Next Cruise: Azamara Journey August 2014
followed by: Queen Victoria November 2014
followed by: Queen Elizabeth December 2014

History :
Golden, Grand(2), Caribbean, Sea(4+1 aborted)
Adonia(4+2), Arcadia, Artemis(2), Aurora(5), Azura(2), Oceana(3), Oriana(11), Ventura(2), Victoria(5)
QM2(2), QE2(9), QV(5), QE, Caronia(2), Minerva II, Fred.Olsen(8), NCL Jade, =X= Eclipse, HAL Ryndam
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old June 6th, 2008, 07:22 PM
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Alan and Katrina,

We have emailed the hotel with transfer questions to Harwich as suggested. Our TA also says she can reserve transfers thru RCI out of Victoria Station for $170/pp/R/T. Does this sound reasonable? Should we buy tickets now for the London Eye and Buckingham Palace or wait till we arrive?
__________________
CU@C,
Teresa and Larry


#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
Retirement Celebration

#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean

#38-Celebrity Solstice 4/8/13
17 night Tahiti -- Sydney-Honolulu
40th Anniversary Celebration

270 days at see; soon to be 302
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old June 7th, 2008, 09:37 AM
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Default FAO Teresa - Ouch!!

Hi Teresa, I would suggest you have a chat with your TA & find out just what extra RCI are offering for that price and why they suggest London Victoria.

I guess booking with the cruise line gives you the re-assurance that the ship will not sail without you, but Harwich is only 2 hours away, and the prices seem very high.

The official ticket site for British Rail (http://www.thetrainline.com) shows the price from victoria to be £32 ($64) pp return, but points out that you would have to change at London Liverpool Street. Total journey time 2h28m.

If you started from London Liverpool Street you would sabe youself nearly 1 hour, and a hectic journey on the London Underground with all your luggage. The cost from Liverpool Street to Harwich is £26 ($52) pp return.

You can buy your tickets in advance from this site if you wanted to, or your hotel may even be willing to book them for you. The price quoted by your TA seems far to high.

Also you ask about tickets for the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace. I would strongly reccommend booking them in advance if you can to avoid queuing on the day & saving time. Again they can be bought from their websites
http://www.londoneye.com/FlightsAndP...s/Default.aspx , and,
http://www.the-royal-collection.com/royaltickets/

Again, it may be worth checking with your hotel to see if they can book these at a reduced rate.

Hope these sites & thoughts prove helpful,

Alan & Katrina
__________________
Last Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Next Cruise: Azamara Journey August 2014
followed by: Queen Victoria November 2014
followed by: Queen Elizabeth December 2014

History :
Golden, Grand(2), Caribbean, Sea(4+1 aborted)
Adonia(4+2), Arcadia, Artemis(2), Aurora(5), Azura(2), Oceana(3), Oriana(11), Ventura(2), Victoria(5)
QM2(2), QE2(9), QV(5), QE, Caronia(2), Minerva II, Fred.Olsen(8), NCL Jade, =X= Eclipse, HAL Ryndam
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old June 19th, 2008, 08:09 PM
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Thank you Alan and Katrina for the info. I think to keep things easy for us we have decided to use Silver Fleet transfers. They will pick us up and return us to our hotel. We won't have to take a taxi or change trains, etc. Thank you also for the info on the LE and BP. So much to see and do in 3 short days.
__________________
CU@C,
Teresa and Larry


#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
Retirement Celebration

#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean

#38-Celebrity Solstice 4/8/13
17 night Tahiti -- Sydney-Honolulu
40th Anniversary Celebration

270 days at see; soon to be 302
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old June 20th, 2008, 04:04 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Southampton, England, UK
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Our pleasure.
If any other questions or concerns come up, feel free to ask & we'll try our best to help.

Hope you have a memorable time,

Alan & Katrina
__________________
Last Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Next Cruise: Azamara Journey August 2014
followed by: Queen Victoria November 2014
followed by: Queen Elizabeth December 2014

History :
Golden, Grand(2), Caribbean, Sea(4+1 aborted)
Adonia(4+2), Arcadia, Artemis(2), Aurora(5), Azura(2), Oceana(3), Oriana(11), Ventura(2), Victoria(5)
QM2(2), QE2(9), QV(5), QE, Caronia(2), Minerva II, Fred.Olsen(8), NCL Jade, =X= Eclipse, HAL Ryndam
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old June 20th, 2008, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Advice for England cruise

CA Cruiser,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
We are doing our first Europe cruise in August. This is totally new to us so we need lots help from our fellow CruiseMates. We always get travel insurance. For this cruise it is over $500! But it’s better to be safe than sorry especially spending this much $.
1. We are cruising out of Harwich, England but want to stay in London two days before cruise; which airport should we fly into? Heathrow or Gatwick?
2. Do we book our air and hotel or let RCI do it. We have always done these ourselves to get better prices and times.
3. Do we pre-arrange transfers from airport to hotel?
4. Best way to get from London to Harwich?
5. Do we need to get currency for the different ports; Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia and Estonia? In Canada, we always used our credit card and let them do the exchange for us for a small fee. Should we do the same?
Any other advice or things we need to know?
1. I agree -- it probably does not really matter which airport you use. It might be most convenient to fly into Heathrow and out of Gatwick (which is a legal "round trip" itinerary since all of London's airports are "co-terminals" in the booking system).

2. You can do either, but here are a few points to consider.

>> If you book the hotel package through your cruise line, you'll get a group rate on the hotel which may be lower than all but the "prepaid" rates that are not refundable. Remember, when comparing prices, that the cruise line's hotel packages include transfers from the hotel to the ship. If you also book your flights through the cruise line, the cruise line's air package includes transfers from the airport to the hotel upon arrival and from the pier to the airport after the cruise.

>> You must book the hotel through the cruise line in order to use the cruise line's air package with a hotel stay.

>> Your cruise line's hotels will have staff in the lobby to assist you during your stay. Their staff also will arrange and coordinate tours from your hotel.

>> If you book the hotel through the cruise line, your cruise line's insurance will expand automatically to cover it. The price of the hotel package may trigger an increase in the price of the insruance, but probably not by any more than the cost of a separate policy to cover the hotel stay.

>> You probably can purchase transfers from downtown London to the pier through your cruise line without buying the cruise line's hotel package, but there is a significant difference. If you purchase the hotel package through the cruise line, your transfers will leave from your hotel. If you purchase the transfers separately, you will have to go to a central location -- which might not be the hotel where you are staying even if you are staying in one of the hotels in which your cruise line offers hotel packages -- on your own.

>> And finally, English is widely spoken in London so you'll have no trouble transacting business if you decide to book on your own.

3. If you want to use the cruise line's transfer service, you must book the transfers in advance. If you book a hotel package through the cruise line, it includes the transfer from the hotel to the pier.

4. The cruise line's transfer service is the most seemless, but you also can take a taxi or a train from London to Harwich.

5. Credit cards are widely accepted in Europe, but it's always good to carry about $100 in local currency for small purchases, cab fares, etc., when going ashore. Many European merchants do not accept credit cards for small purchases (that is, for purchases of less than about ten or twenty Euros). For larger purchases, credit cards are the way to go.

You might want to think twice about using credit cards in Russia. I'm not familiar with the current situation, but clerks in that country have acquired a reputation for ringing up fraudulent charges when foreign visitors use credit cards.

When cruising to Europe, cruise ships have provisions for converting to and from local currency right onboard. The best strategy seems to be to convert about $200 to the currency of the first port of call, then roll whatever is left of each country's currency into the currency for the next country after the last port of call in each country, augmenting with additional dollars as necessary, thus minimizing the number and amount conversions. However, don't "roll over" currencies such as Sterling and Euros until after the last port of call where you will use them.

With regard to other advise, be aware that most European ports of call have far more attractions than you can possibly see in a day. Most of the ship's shore excursions will be "all day" affairs that leave the ship between 8:00 and 8:30 AM and return to the ship between 5:30 and 6:00 PM, with lunch at a local restaurant and some time for shopping or independent sightseeing -- or just sitting in a sidewalk cafe and taking in the local culture if you prefer -- included. These excursions usually are the best way to maximize what you will get to see in the time that's available, in spite of their relatively steep (now about $150/person) price tag.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old August 7th, 2008, 06:45 PM
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Hi,
Private transfer from London to Harwich,£150($280?)for up to 6 people.
info@a2bessex.co.uk / 00441702 304331.
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