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John Bull

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About John Bull

  • Rank
    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Lee-on-the-Solent, England
  • Interests
    vintage & classic vehicles
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Voyages of Discovery
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean

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  1. No worries This is a rail-replacement service, so the limitations are the same as on trains. But hauling your luggage between platform & bus is your probem JB
  2. Guilty of not reading the whole question, as usual Same"advance" train tickets for the return to Dover, but with just an overnite the express to St Pancras has its merits, tho I do think the other stations are better-placed. Your short visit makes the ho-ho is worthy of consideration. Two major operators Both London Original https://www.theoriginaltour.com/en and Big Bus https://www.bigbustours.com/en/london/london-routes-and-tour-maps/ have a feeder route from St Pancras/Kings Cross to their main sight-seeing routes. The other areas are on or very close to the sight-seeing routes. Great for a complete tour for an overvew, but not so great if you just want transport from place to place - for that the tube is much quicker JB .
  3. Dover station is called "Dover Priory". There are separate direct services to three London terminus stations..... - to St Pancras. Journey time on "stopping" trains is about 2 to 2.5 hours, but some are "express" trains which only take about one hour. - to Charing Cross. These are "stopping" trains. take about 2 hrs. These trains include stops at central London stations, London Bridge and Waterloo East - to Victoria. Again "stopping" trains, again about 2 hrs. http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/ To see all the options, times & fares on the website enter your journey as From Dover Priory To London - and select "all stations" There's plenty of choice, so I suggest you ignore services which involve a change of train ("1 change", above the journey time) To check the stations served en-route, click on "see details" (under the journey time). On the fresh page headed "Route details", scroll down to the bottom & click on "see calling points" You don't have to pre-book, but doing so can save you $$$. Cheap "advance" tickets are only available from about 6 weeks out - so to see those cheap fares pick a random date about 6 weeks from now & for the same day-of-the-week as your day of travel. Those ticket prices are fluid - very close to the date they rise, and sometimes sell-out. So you need to remember to book them a few weeks before you need them. Those "advance" tickets are only good for the train time that you selected - miss that train and your tickets are trash so you'd have to buy tickets at the station at the regular "walk-up" price. I don't think there are ever any cheap "advance" fares on the St Pancras express trains, and other than those express trains there's not a lot of difference in journey times From most of the UK there are trains to only one London terminus. You are spoilt by having three to choose from (plus London Bridge and Waterloo East on the Charing Cross route), but that can make it more difficult to choose a hotel Charing Cross station is smack in the middle of tourist-London, just a stone's throw from Trafalgar Square. But hotel prices will be high Waterloo East is pretty convenient, prices not so steep. London Bridge (that's London Bridge, not picture-postcard Tower Bridge) also tolerably convenient, not sure there are many hotels thereabouts.. Victoria is at the western end of central London, near Buckingham Palace and the "museum district" - a little cheaper, and a broad range of hotels from international brands to boutiques to small family-run hotels. Also easier to access Heathrow & Gatwick airports St Pancras is on the northern end of central London & the least convenient of these districts, but the cheapest. The British Museum, Mme Tussaud's and Regents Park zoo are all about a 25 minute walk. London's too big for any hotel to be close to everywhere, so wherever you choose you'll have to travel to some sights - probably by London's underground, "the tube". So choose a hotel convenient to a tube station. JB
  4. My understanding of cabotage rules is that they're designed to regulate whether folk do the exact opposite of what you have planned. You want to disembark in one port & re-board in another port in the same country - cabotage rules are to regulate whether folk can board at one port & disembark at another in the same country, because that could be construed as taking work away from local transportation (eg ferries). That said, don't rely on me - check with the Japanese embassy. One other important factor.... How reliable are the ports, especially the one whee you plan to re-board? If the ship fails to port there, (poor weather, mechanical issues etc) you'll have to play catch-up. So you also need to figure how difficult it is to make your own way to the port after that one There'll always be a risk, you can research how big the risk thus how worthwhile your plans. JB
  5. Magellan sails up the Seine and berths right in Rouen. Which is just as well - parking is a nightmare But most folk need transport to the city centre - it's a couple of miles (mainly waterfront if you're inclined to walk) https://goo.gl/maps/eRPUDbj2VSMTpUmv9 Magellan also calls at Honfleur, but I think you go ashore by tender. Very pleasant fishing harbour, but very touristy in summer and pleasant out-of-season weekends. No need for transportation. Use youe energy in Rouen cos Honfleur is small & ideal for people-watching, usually from behind a cold beer but in December you'd best make that a hot-chocolate. . JB
  6. Yes, no worries But we prefer the fishing harbour & independent bars & restaurants of Trouville, across the bridge from Deauville. And I concur with the suggestion of Honfleur - best to go there on the way back, taking the coastal lane through Villerville. This is "proper" Normandy - hamlets of timber-framed houses & glances across the bay to your ship. https://goo.gl/maps/nRDkPHjvaqTu2VKB6 JB
  7. The only time we've experienced an attempt to use our credit card number was in the US shortly after a trip there. That's the advantage of chip-and-PIN used in Europe (and, it seems, eventually catching on in the US). When I used the card in the US nobody paid any attention to the name or signature on the card - I frequently used my partner's card, and my name's not Julie !! But far too often my card has been declined, citing possible fraud. And like SRF's experience, these weren't for unusual transactions. Added to that grief, on my last foreign foray when making a purchase my credit card was declined and then my debit card was also declined - the credit card because of possible fraud, the debit card it transpires was because when I took it out years ago I opted for it to be used only to draw cash (PIN required) and not for purchases (PIN not required). Fortunately I also had cash - the best back-up of them all. JB
  8. I'll avoid all references to taxation, civil lawsuits, ,criminal jurisdiction, etc and concentrate on your basic immigration question. I've never sailed from an American port, but my passport is scanned every time I fly or drive or even take the train in or out. Same happens pretty-well world-wide at airports and land borders. So if I drive into Canada & re-appear 24 days later on a flight from Spain, simply by scanning my passport US immigration will know that I wasn't in the US during that time. As we all know, cruises can be different because there are stacks of ports where I don't have to present my passport - and at most of them I don't believe that my visit is recorded by immigration authorities but is simply available - if required - on the ship's manifest & sea-pass records. I wouldn't want to rely on those records, cruise tickets & such if US immigration wanted me to prove I wasn't in the US for those 24 days (more accurately 22 days as per martincath's post) Now the bit that I don't know, cos I've never cruised in or out of the US. Are the passports of aliens (eg Canadians) routinely scanned when they board a cruise ship in the US and later when they disembark back in the US? If so, I really don't see a problem. If not, I think you need to dig deeper how to prove - ideally via your passport - that you left the US by cruise ship for 24 (22) days. I don't understand martincath's comment that you're regarded as being in the US until you reach your first (non-US) port. If your passport is scanned or stamped when you board the ship, that's the day you left the US, both factually & bureaucratically, whether your first port is the Bahamas or Australia. Just to stress, I have no expertise - but isn't this just common-sense? JB
  9. Yes, the rules are pretty simple. But following them is not. As Bubbachief's post, everyone booking a Celebrity cruise which ends in China & choosing to follow the generous rules for transit-visas (or TWOVs for those who want to be pedantic) has been told by Celebrity that they must have a tourist-visa or they will not be permitted to board the ship at its (not China) embarkation port.. This isn't merely "relying on the cruiseline to give them information", it's being required by the cruise line to obtain a tourist visa for which the grief & hassle as well as the cost appears to be unnecessary. A number of Brits, apparently selected at random, arriving in Shanghai by air to board Quantum otS were refused entry and told that they must fly out - effectively back home, or to the ship's first port-of-call, in Japan. But some family members were permitted to enter and continue as planned. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1188687/cruise-ship-chaos-royal-caribbean-cruise-china-jail I don't know the full circumstances, but I can't imagine any which apply to that cruise & not other cruises, or which apply to some family members but not others. A very unsatisfactory situation. Will I get a full China tourist visa instead of a transit visa? No - this nonsense has put me off ever visiting China again. And if I ever get the same unwarranted grief using my ESTA in the States (entry isn't guaranteed - like China and the rest of the world, acceptance of visas & waivers is at the whim of immigration officials) It'd put me off ever visiting the States again. JB ps Apols for quoting Miaminice's entire post, it refused to be edited.
  10. Had to google that. Had to google that. Didn't tell me the acronym, but showed me pics of Pulao Biryani fusion. Had to google Pulao (a rice dish). Mic - can you really use Luncheon Vouchers in Princess' speciality dining rooms? IGRPOWBA JB
  11. Seniors' rates on Nat Express were subsidised by the UK govt. But a few years back, the Govt withdrew the subsidy, so seniors' rates were discontinued. JB
  12. Early October is a risky shoulder-season for a gulet cruise in the Adriatic, Simon,. We had a magnificent thunderstorm one evening (in harbour), and choppy seas next day - but other than that we had great weather & seas. Wish I could say the same about the cabin & bed - my back is still recovering. Off Split we had a race with a HAL ship (Koningsdam, IIRC) We lost - and bobbed a while in its wake. The Croatian islands are ideal, and super little harbours. Good value too. Always wanted to try a gulet. Enjoyed it immensely. But once is enough JB
  13. Hi Dani. Captive audience - because there's no dcent rail alternative, Nat Express can bump up the price. Annoyingly, that bus starts in central London, calling at Heathrow en-route - and the fare from central London is under £10 !! (But you can't book from central London & board at Heathrow) £54 vs around £90 for a private transfer. Your money, your call JB
  14. Just confirming Simon's posts Yes, do pre-book Nat Express both ways. From Heathrow's T2 & T3 it's a short walk to the airport's "central bus station". If you arrive at T4 or T5 (both remote from T's 2 & 3), the bus picks up on the concourses at both of those terminals.. You have to select a bus time when you book - allow at least 90 minutes for formalities from scheduled landing time to bus time. Subject to availability of seats you can switch to an earlier or later bus with a small admin charge (?£5?). Better to be pessimistic about what time bus you can make............ - if you're in time for an earlier one and there are seats available, great. But if it''s fully booked, you're guaranteed seats on the one you booked. - if you're not in time for the one that you booked, you just gotta pray that the next one's not fully booked. By RailAir bus to Woking or Reading then train to Southampton, as Scottbee's post, is no fun, esp with luggage. And it's more expensive, about £44 per person - for two people that's about the same cost as a pre-booked private transfer. But it's a useful Plan B if you screw-up. Approx half-hourly service & no need to pre-book. -------------------------------------------------------- Yes, no worries booking a bus at about 9.30am from Southampton. But if you're allocated a late disembarkation time, go to Guest Relations and ask for an earlier disembarkation time (8.30 at the very latest) to tie in with your onward travel arrangements. And you can't switch tickets to an earlier or later bus. That facility is only available on journeys from airports. If you switch to a different bus time, your tickets are trash & you'll have to pay again. JB
  15. Cunard 56 nights in Jan suggests Southampton - Suez - Brisbane on QM2.. No worries at my end of the route but mosquitoes toward your end, Mic. For instance Penang, Sri Lanka, K.L., Sulawesi, mebbe even Darwin. And not wanting to be alarmist but in some places a risk of Dengue Fever - carried by mosquitoes. Generally lower risk in January, but the OP def needs to check out mozzies. Same applies if I got it wrong & it's South America on Queen Vic - including up the Amazon to Manaus.. JB
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