I'm not sure about pre post cruise line hotels. We stayed at a small boutique hotel. It was a wonderful hotel that had been completely re-done. It's called the 'Sherlock Holmes Hotel." (Don't let the name scare you off.) The address is 108 Baker St. It between Hyde Park and Regents Park. It is very near the Wallace Museum, which is a wonderful museum without hoards of people.
It is beautiful and in a great neighborhood. There is a beautiful bar/lobby and restaurant. The free breakfast each morning is out of this world. You can get highly discounted rates on the internet. The rack rate is about $300 per night. We were able to get it for less than one-third of that amount. It was a huge bargain.
In September 02 they were offering pre-cruise at Royal Lancaster and Bailey's Millenium. We stayed at the Renaissance Chancery Court instead, and were very satisfied with the hotel. People who stayed at the RCI selected hotels said they were OK. Harwich is a very small place, and two or three days pre-cruise should be spent in London enjoying all the sights. Once you board in Harwich you can always leave the ship and look around - but I didn't think there was a whole lot to see. Have a wonderful time - we can't wait to return to London!
If you decide not to take the precruise thru RCI, let me know, and I'll send you the name of the driver who took us to Harwich from London. RCI was charging $65 a person for the transfers, and we did it much cheaper on our own. We also decided what time to leave for the pier, rather than depending on the bus. There is also a train which takes you right to the pier (about a 50 yard walk to the ship), and the price is very reasonable.
Thanks so much Ted, Chuck and Rita for your speedy response and for the great information. Both the Renaissance Chancery Court and the Sherlock Holmes Hotel sound great. Any suggestions on the best mode of transporation to get into London from Heathrow if you choose not to use the RCCL transfer from airport to Hotel? Rita, I haven't booked anything yet but when I decide for sure, I may contact you for further information about the driver that you used to get from the hotel in London to Harwich. Thanks so much for your help.
Cruiser, same car service that we bopoked to Harwich picked us up at Heathrow and took us to the hotel. We arrived on Monday, September 2, and told the driver we would like to leave a little earlier than planned for the ship the following Sunday.. He checked his book, and he was our driver for Sunday, so we just told him then and there. His price was 40 lbs from Heathrow to our hotel, but there were 4 of us, so the cost was 10 lbs apiece, plus tip. The cost for the trip from London to Harwich was 120 lbs, but again, we split it between 2 couples, so even with tip it was a little cheaper than the transfers from RCI. It was great to come out of the luggage section and see someone with our name on a placard waiting for us! E-mail me when your plans are more firm, and I'll send you the names of the services we used. By the way, try to get to the theatre while you're in London. Use the ticket booths that have half-price tickets. We got great seats the day of the show (same Fame and Chicago) and paid only half price. Hope you have the time to see a show!
Thanks so much Rita. This really is great information. I can see where it would definitely be cheaper and more convenient, especially when you are splitting the cost between four people. However, in my case, there will be just two of us on this trip if I decide to book it . Now I'm wondering if it might turn out to be much more expensive with just 2 passengers. I'll have to think about it and so some quick math! Thanks for quoting the prices for me.
I stayed at the Tower Bridge Hilton. If you are watching the Olympics now, the hotel is about two blocks from the Bridge; about half a block from the Thames River; great locatation, and you can walk everywhere. There is a subway station about three blocks from hotel.
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