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I bet you are one of those people who never thought they would have the patience for a Trans-Atlantic cruise. A week of sea days on the ship sailing across the pond – not so bad! You can find so much to do on the ship. The cruise director really earns his/her keep on these sailings to keep everyone busy busy busy…
 

However, you know when you finally do reach your destination it will be time to get off the ship, so plan at least a three-day, post-cruise stay at your final destination. Even if you have been there before destinations are constantly evolving. If you have never been to your final destination then I highly recommend an escorted tour to show you around so you don’t miss a landmark or exhibition. You don’t want to fly home regretting you didn’t take just a little bit more time to explore.
 

So let’s look at an example post-cruise destination like London. Here are some activities and personal advice for travelers.

Consult a Travel Agent: After your cruise you may want to opt for the cruise lines post-cruise bus transfer into London. It’s a ways from London. You just relax, watch the scenery go by as you will be dropped conveniently downtown, where you can grab a cab to your hotel.
 

Pick a Hotel Based on Exclusivity & Location: Your travel agent can help you find the best options. Hotels in London are not cheap and neither are B&B’s or Apt’s. Selecting a hotel near the train stations for the convenience of travel is important but those hotels go for more dollars just because of the high demand and prime locations.

Be sure – wherever you’re booking – to not only look at hotel rates, the personality of the property but the cost of the many incidentals like Wifi, meals & drinks. Often, they’re more than incidental when looking at foreign exchange rates against the dollar.

Another big consideration for a post-cruise hotel is “location.” Is the property close to what you want to see? It was just a short cab ride? That should be important to you as cab rates are pricey.

Another big consideration for a post-cruise hotel is “location.” Is the property close to what you want to see? It was just a short cab ride? That should be important to you as cab rates are pricey.

Consider Buying a London Pass: If you opt not to book an escorted tour then it is highly recommended that you buy a London Pass for a particular number of days that gives you entry to more than 60 attractions and special offers on other tourism-focused services. 


I would definitely recommend London Pass for “eager sightseers” who want to cover a lot of ground. It’s also advantageous for those out strolling who just want to pop into this or that attraction on the spur of the moment.

There is also a Travel Card add-on to travel on London’s Tube, bus system and other transport.

Kensington Palace

At Kensington Palace, for example, people line up to buy tickets, and it take at least a half hour or more to get through the line on a busy day. With the London pass you simply walk to the front, show the London Pass and, presto, you are ushered inside.

The Crown Jewels

Despite the crowds waiting to see the jewels, the Tower organization does a good job of handling the lines – aka Disney or Universal – which wind outside and then inside through rooms with architects, a room with a movie of Queen Elizabeth’s crowing and so on. But “go early” in the day and view the Crown Jewels first; then explore the grounds and towers. Definitely stop at the Tower’s shops for unusual, high-quality gifts, many affordable.

Always: 

Going ashore, it’s imperative to know and follow local customs and roadway rules. But when you’re in a hurry, giddy from seeing an incredible attraction or joking with fellow travelers as you walk along, it’s easy to become distracted. Remember, the Brits drive on the “wrong” or “right” side of the road, depending on your interpretation. 

Take an Open Top Bus Tour: While the London Pass included an around-town, on-off motorized shuttle bus option the ticket has to be validated at the bus tour’s main office downtown, rather than the individual stops around town. So just keep that in mind. It’s a good perk of the pass, but you have to follow the rules to get it right. Or, you can simply shell out the extra bucks on the spot and hop aboard, given that time may be your enemy. You may need to make every moment count. One nice perk? The ticket has a 24-hour window, allowing you to ride for two separate days, such as from 1 p.m. one day through the same time the next day.

That allows you to take different routes to see more, and it also saves money on cabs. It is relaxing to sit atop the open-air bus and let someone else do the driving – particularly as you peer down into the fray at frenetic Piccadilly Circus or bustling Trafalgar Square.

Use the London Pass/Bus Tour for Re positioning: Taking the Tube is a good option for around-town transport, particularly for those who’ve purchased a pass. 

But if your knees just won’t cooperate with all the extra walking down into the stations, the platform “standing” and so on. You can opt to use both the London Pass and the open-top bus ticket as transport – getting you close to your hotel or an attraction as possible, before you must grab a cab.

Patronize Pubs for Value: London is typically expensive for Americans, given the exchange rate. That said, a pub dinner is one way to save. These enclaves of fine brews, friendly faces and great food are a good value.

Know Your Bank’s Policies: Find out your bank’s policy and fee schedule for ATM international withdrawals. Withdrawing money from ATMs around London using your debit card – even with fees applied – was still cheaper than using the money changer’s office at Tube stations.


Check with the bank before you head overseas. Another reason to do so, is to alert them to your travel dates and the countries you’ll visit. Otherwise, the bank sees a charge pending from somewhere that seems suspicious, and you could find the card declined – even if you have plenty of bucks in your account. 
 

Heading to London? Pick out the perfect Coat to compliment your new British look!

Click on any of the select coats to see more details!

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Take along ONE Guidebook, Not More: I’m a bit of a guidebook fanatic, so it’s not unusual for me to take three, four or even five guidebooks. Each time I find that they tend to sit in the hotel room, and aren’t there when I need them. Travel with one guidebook; We like Rick Steeves Travel guides, as they have a great map and they also give street-by-street illustrations of some key areas – as if you’re looking down from above. 

Explore the city from the sacred stones of Westminster Abbey to the top of the London Eye. With Rick Steves on your side, London can be yours! Inside Rick Steves London 2019 you'll find:

  • Comprehensive coverage for spending a week or more exploring London

  • Rick's strategic advice on how to get the most out of your time and money, with rankings of his must-see favorites

  • Top sights and hidden gems, from Trafalgar Square and the Tower of London to where to find the best tikka masala or fish and chips

  • Connect with local culture: Catch a show in Soho, take afternoon tea, and have a pint of English ale with Londoners in a pub

  • Beat the crowds, skip the lines, and avoid tourist traps with Rick's candid, humorous insight

  • The best places to eat, sleep, and relax with a Pimm's Cup

  • Self-guided walking tours of lively neighborhoods and world-class museums like the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert

  • Day trips to Windsor, Cambridge, and Stonehenge

  • Detailed neighborhood maps and a fold-out city map for exploring on the go

  • Useful resources including a packing list, popular British slang, a historical overview, and recommended reading

  • Over 600 bible-thin pages include everything worth seeing without weighing you down

  • Annually updated information on Central London, Westminster, Belgravia, Pimlico, South Kensington, Victoria, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Notting Hill, Bayswater, Bloomsbury, Soho, West End, Hyde Park, Regents Park, South Bank, East End, North London, and Chelsea

Make the most of every day and every dollar with Rick Steves London 2019.

On the last day at sea on your cruise prior to docking, it’s good to just relax, have a spa treatment and chill out. Then your first day ashore you’ll be raring to go.

Everyone has their own travel tips for a post-cruise stay. These are just a few of mine. What tips can you suggest for other travelers? Send us a comment below with your favorite travel tip and we can share with others...

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