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Dover's Dock to London

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I am on April's NCL Star transatlantic cruise. The ship stops in Dover from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cruise line offers an 8 1/2 hour excursion to London from Dover for $59 with 4 hours free time in London. I was wondering if anyone knows how far the ships docks from the bus or train stop in Dover, what stop would be best to get off in London and how long it would take on a Saturday (May 4). I believe I can look up bus & train schedules but would love that info if available to you. I am also interested in your opinion whether to take the ship's excursion or go on my own. I have gone on many cruise excursions and done much exploring in ports on my own, but I have never been to London. Thank you for your help. Just as an aside, the ship will be in Helsingborg, Sweden on Monday, May 6th from 8:00 am 6:00 pm - any thoughts.

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    Marion,

    The key here is, are you alone or in a group? If you are alone, the cruise tour is IMO the best bet. The cruise ship docks are a cab ride round trip from Dover Priory Station, and the train trip is not inexpensive. If you are willing to wait for a train that departs after 9:30 a.m., you might be able to get a "Cheap Day Return" ticket, which is basically half price. (I don't know if those tickets are still available, but I'm certain that someone on this board will let you know.) But, that would mean that you are unlikely to arrive in London before 11:30 and would have to back on the train by 2:30 to make, I expect, the 5:00 p.m. boarding time. Between the cab ride and the train cost, for one person it may be that the excursion is your best bet. For that matter, with heavy traffic, even on a Saturday, it is a good idea to be on the excursion because the ship will wait for you. On 21 July 2012, it took us more than three hours to drive from Dover to Windsor because of heavy traffic.

    All that said, with apologies for verbosity, if you are in or can assemble a group of 4 or more, you could probably arrange a private car to take you on the round trip to London, and perhaps tour among some of the sights you wish to see, for less than the $236 that four seats on the ship's excursion would cost. If you want to do that, you might want to consider portsdirect.com

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    IMO 4 hr. free time in London is nothing and I would seriously suggest that you find things to do in Dover area. We just spent 2 days in London pre-cruise and didn't even get to see as much as we hoped. It is a long drive from Dover to London (I am told 2 hr. each way and w/ traffic, etc. could be longer drive time). The hop on bus takes about 2 hr. and you could possibly do that but not sure you would have time to go inside some of the wonderful sights in London. We would definitely like to go back to London and spend more time than the 2 days we had. We did an all day (10 hr.) bus tour and still didn't get to see some of the sights we wanted to spend time at. Do yourself a favor and think about staying closer to the port. Do some research and see what is out there.

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    Here are some suggestions for Dover:

    http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/dover-castle/

    think this would be a fantastic port visit for you, #1 visited attraction on Trip Advisor.

    As part of your admission you can also see the secret tunnels:

    The below quote is from someone who visited the secret tunnels:

    "The trouble is, when time is limited, we had to choose only one, so we chose the shorter tour. We had to queue as one tour was already on the way. Only a limited number of people are allowed on each tour, luckily, we managed to go on the next one.

    So, let me tell you about the Tunnel's............

    The Tunnels can only be seen by tour, with an informative tour guide who answered question's along the way.
    The tour is actually a story about a wounded Pilot who was taken to the Hospital in the Tunnel. The hospital was constructed between 1941-1942, it had an operating theatre and medical dressing station that was used to repair the wounded Soldier's, and civilian's injured in the War. It traces his journey, until he was well enough to return to duty or home.
    In this tunnel, we saw the kitchen's and where the women slept, plus all the old furniture and all the necessities to run these rooms, add in sounds and smells, and this makes it all the more interesting.

    Imagine working day and night deep inside Dover Castle's top secret tunnels as war raged outside, trying to rescue the troops stranded at Dunkirk as German forces closed in. These people that worked in the Tunnel's did a marvellous job!

    Tour about 30-40minutes"

    "For a breath of fresh air explore and wander along the famous White Cliffs and follow the path to the Lighthouse where Marconi made his first radio transmission. You can enjoy fantastic, breathtaking views from the top of the cliffs. This ‘iconic’ stretch of coastline has been voted Britain’s favourite and are a welcome sight to millions of travellers."

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/england/southeast-england/dover/things-to-do

    http://www.doveraccommodation.co.uk/index.php?page=dover

    So there you go, there are many interesting things to see and do in Dover and you won't be sitting on a bus for a long ride to London to see very little in the time you would have there! Hope this helps.

    May

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