Tuesday, November 27, 2007

London - A Favorite Pre-Cruise Destination

We have taken many cruises that originated from one of the three ports near London, England: Dover, Harwich, or Southhampton. As I've mentioned in past posts, I like to arrive in our embarkation port at least one night before the cruise. In the case of European cruises, that increases to at least 2 nights.

London has become one of my favorite cities in the world. It is so easy to get around due to the wonderful transportation system. You'll want to become familiar with the London Underground (the Tube) system since it makes exploring Central London, or even outlying areas of London, very inexpensive and possible. Your best bet is a visitor's Travelcard valid for all the regions you wish to visit for the duration of your stay. You can purchase a Travelcard in advance alone on in conjunction with the London Pass. If you plan on visiting several of the attractions featured in the London Pass, then it can become a good value. The big advantage of the London Pass is that you avoid the queues when you visit the featured attractions - which helps you make the most of your time. NOTE: I noticed that there was a sale featured on the website, so take advantage of this if you are traveling to London next year.

Another way to get around Central London and the surrounding area is to use City Cruises hop on, hop off boat tours. On a recent trip to London, we went from Westminster Abbey to Greenwich, England via the boat tour. In this picture, we are passing the Tower of London, a must see attraction. Click one of the above links or here for photo albums from our recent pre-cruise stay before our 14-Night Scandinavia/Russia (Baltic) Cruise on Celebrity Cruises Constellation as well as other cruises from London.

TIP !! Speaking about hop on, hop off tours... that is a very cost effective way to see a port city. During our Baltic cruise, we used several tours (bus and boat) to explore the various ports.

For a nominal charge (often around $20 or less) you can spend the entire day exploring at your leisure. Of course, you want to be mindful of the schedule so that you get back to the ship before departure time.

While in London before our British Isles/Norwegian Fjords Cruise, we attended the Ceremony of the Keys, the traditional locking up of the Tower of London at night. If you are interested in this ceremony, you must write for tickets in advance of your trip. I'd love to share pictures with you of that ceremony, but that is not possible - it's a secret ceremony that can't be shared. I highly recommend this special experience if you've not done this before. Of course, don't forget to view the Crown Jewels while you are there.
In my next post, I'll talk about some of the Palaces and Castles nearby London that we have visited on past pre-cruise stays. If you can't wait, you can view our Cruise Vacations website.

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