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WESTEAST

Early disembark Southampton for LHR T2

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We disembark our British Isle cruise onboard Marina in August mid-week and the Port Authority site states ship is arriving at 5:30 AM.  Unfortunately our airline, Air Canada changed our return flight home from late afternoon to now 1:00 PM.  We're currently booked to take O transfer but am worried about timing to get to T2 knowing full well no one can estimate time to clear customs, traffic and how long we would have to wait for the O transfer bus ($178 CDN pp) to fill up with passengers... That said, I contacted an alternative transfer with smithsforairports.com and the charge would be £110 + £3 for parking - they recommend we plan for 2 hour travelling time; adding 3 hrs before departure means we must be off ship/on transfer for 8 AM. I think the private transfer is the route we will take as we will not have to wait for passengers (or drop-offs at other Terminals) and save some money. 

Has anyone had experience with disembarking ahead of the crowds (realize we will fill out Destination Services form) and any idea when Customs process starts? Any feedback or tips are appreciated. Thank you.

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We used Blackberry Cars who were great! Clean vehicle, picked us on time at 8 am and we were at LHR Term 2 before 10:30. Cost GBP 99 total, though we did tip our driver. 

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The last time I was in LHR you couldn’t check in and check bags until two hours before your flight. This was on BA so AC might be different. 

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I would get in the line for Immigration asap

even before they call your bag tags

then once the bag colour is called  just  get off the ship

 

We got off last month  the line was long & slow  to get through immigration on the ship

 

We had AC flight  at 2pm  & they took our bags  by 11 am when we arrived

it is  a long hike to the Gates  so I would not dawdle too long on the way

 

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We docked in Southampton on Marina in April, arriving from Le Havre, France.  We had face to face with British Immigration.  Not sure your arrival into Le Havre will require face to face if you have cleared immigration on the port prior to Southampton.

 

We found that passengers got in the immigration line with no regards to their luggage-tag-color scheduled time, so as LHT28 noted, the line was long.  At 07:15; it took us over a 1/2 hour to clear and exit the ship.  As soon as immigration was cleared passengers disembarked so it doesn't seem that luggage tag color was a factor in exiting.

 

Once off the ship the transportation I'd booked had two other couples - I wasn't aware there would be others.  We had to wait for them to exit the ship, and one was wheelchair bound so boarding the mini-van took some time.  

 

If you need face to face, and unless Marina now has tighter control on the luggage-tag-color-for-immigration process, best to get in line early (I have no idea how early the line started!) for immigration.  When filling out the ship's questionnaire about disembarking request the earliest time possible.  

 

Since our information is unique to our experiences, I would start with the concierge to find the person who will know the process for British immigration and disembarkation for your specific arrival.

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Oops!  Correction to my first paragraph - "... Not sure your arrival into Le Havre ..."

 

I meant arrival into Southampton!

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2 hours ago, greenbeanie said:

We docked in Southampton on Marina in April, arriving from Le Havre, France.  We had face to face with British Immigration.  Not sure your arrival into Le Havre will require face to face if you have cleared immigration on the port prior to Southampton.

 

We found that passengers got in the immigration line with no regards to their luggage-tag-color scheduled time, so as LHT28 noted, the line was long.  At 07:15; it took us over a 1/2 hour to clear and exit the ship.  As soon as immigration was cleared passengers disembarked so it doesn't seem that luggage tag color was a factor in exiting.

 

it was quite confusing

Maybe those with luggage were the self disembarkation group  as they would have been called first

I went to deck 5 about 7:30 am  the line was  out to the grand staircase  when our colour   was called after 8am  the line was from the lounge to the aft elevators then circled back to the Grand staircase & around the lobby

we  were staying in Southampton  so just sat & waited  until the line  was  closer to the forward elevators

we got off  after 9:30 am

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, LHT28 said:

it was quite confusing

Maybe those with luggage were the self disembarkation group  as they would have been called first

I went to deck 5 about 7:30 am  the line was  out to the grand staircase  when our colour   was called after 8am  the line was from the lounge to the aft elevators then circled back to the Grand staircase & around the lobby

we  were staying in Southampton  so just sat & waited  until the line  was  closer to the forward elevators

we got off  after 9:30 am

Thanks everyone for this info!  LHT28, when you say, 'self disembarkation group' do you mean passengers bringing their own luggage?  Wasn't sure if O allowed this - this will be our 7th with O but this is first time to disembark early on last day so appreciate any insight. 

Edited by WESTEAST

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Yes, you can take your own luggage off the ship ... assuming you can handle it!  We have left early in the morning a few times, took our hand luggage but picked up our main luggage in the terminal.  If you travel lighter than we do you should not have a problem.

 

Lyn may have meant by "self disembarkation" that some took all their luggage, others have done as we did ... hard to tell!

 

But for sure if you have transportation, etc., yes you can leave as soon as the ship has cleared.

 

When we left RIVIERA in Venice in May 2018 we left around 7:30am, collected our suitcases downstairs and found our driver.  We were at the airport in plenty of time for our 10:55 am flight home!  (Usually we stay on for a few days but in this case we wanted to get home.)

 

Mura

 

 

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2 hours ago, WESTEAST said:

Thanks everyone for this info!  LHT28, when you say, 'self disembarkation group' do you mean passengers bringing their own luggage? 

yes   for those that want to take their own bags off  they are called first

 

The problem we had it was also Good Friday so maybe Immigration just took their time  getting on the ship

 

If you have  a port stop in the UK before Southampton  it may be a moot point

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12 hours ago, LHT28 said:

yes   for those that want to take their own bags off  they are called first

 

The problem we had it was also Good Friday so maybe Immigration just took their time  getting on the ship

 

If you have  a port stop in the UK before Southampton  it may be a moot point

Thank you - very helpful.  Booked smithsforairports and cancelled our O transfer - we will be up early to line-up with our bags. 

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We are British cruising from Lisbon to Southampton on Nautica arriving on 9th June, with a train home to London booked for 9.55am. I was presuming that we would not have to wait long to get off the ship as we are returning to our own country. Are we likely to be waiting in a queue (line) with people of other nationalities (US, Canada etc) doing immigration procedures?

 

Janet

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That's a good question!  But it seems to me we've had to go through customs when returning to our home country (USA) so I assume you'll be in the same situation.  But that's a guess.  I could be remembering wrong ...

 

Butlers often perform a valued service in collecting passports, etc., but when face-to-face is required, I think you have to present yourself.

 

Good luck!

 

Mura

 

 

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Usually on cruises, (not just Oceania) we find we can just walk off the ship at the end. They take our passports at reception and we think they must do formalities on our behalf. When we arrived in St Maarten in the Caribbean after a transatlantic cruise, just one of us had to meet border control staff who came onto the ship early in the morning. And when we did a cruise on Queen Victoria to Amsterdam, Bruges and Le Havre, I'm pretty sure we just walked off the ship when we returned to Southampton. Obviously fly-cruises are different  - we go through the same border controls as anyone else getting off a plane.

 

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