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Trains and boats and planes...Stockholm and England

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Dec 7th, 2011, 07:21 AM
  #1
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Trains and boats and planes...Stockholm and England

I received such great response on a trip to Sweden last year, and hoping for more of the same now. There are three of us travelling again...my wife and I and my 22yr old son. Here's what we know so far. We need to be in Sweden to visit an exchange student we hosted in the U.S., for his graduation week of June 5th. We will again visit relatives I found in Sweden after that, and the clincher is we will return to the U.S. on the Queen Mary 2 transatlantic cruise from Southampton, England, on the 24th of June.

The cruise is the only thing we have booked right now. Tenatively I found a reasonably priced one-way flight to Stockholm on Iceland Air for $423.00, from NYC... But, we are open to many suggestions as we could then fly to Southampton, take a train back(we could allow up to a week for this). Or should we fly into London, rent a car to return, or book train passage? We will have luggage, as we'll pack tuxedos, and finery for the cruise, along with hiking clothes for Sweden!

We like the idea of using the train, but are unsure about connections through all the countries in between. As far as the car, I'm not afraid of distances, as I just finished driving 3500 miles through our Southwest.

Many thanks!
Sunny Sundquist
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Dec 7th, 2011, 08:50 AM
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Have you got slightly confused in your wording

Surely the ONLY underlying option is to fly to Sweden, travel however to Soton, then get the boat.

Your Sweden-Soton choices don't have to be a choice between train, plane or car.

- You CAN fly to Southampton (for destinations served, see the Southampton airport website). But since it's only 90 mins or so from Heathrow and Gatwick, you can just as easily spend time in London on the way back
- There are ferry options between Sweden and Britain (though I think no direct ones any more), and a myriad of train routes. For commentary www.seat61.com: for timetables bahn.de
- Car isn't really an option: hire companies hate sending left-hand drive continental cars into Britain so the fee is about the same as disinterring Concorde and flying it. There's a theoretical alternative with Hertz called Le Shuttle, where you dump the car at the Channel Tunnel - but the dropoff fee with a Swedish car will kill.

If you want more flexibility than a train or ferry alone will offer, meander by train/boat, switching to a hired car for a few days for a sidetrip - but make sure you drop it in the same country you picked it up
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Dec 7th, 2011, 10:43 AM
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Sorry but it's confusing as to your underlying idea. It reads as if you are travelling to Stockholm, flying to Southampton then travelling back to Stockholm somehow before catching your cruise from Southampton.

As for driving 3500 miles through our Southwest, you can't treat Europe as "put the cruise control on, turn the radio on & the brain off" type driving. Most European roads are somewhat busier than the empty roads of the SW.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 02:40 PM
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"Surely the ONLY underlying option is to fly to Sweden, travel however to Soton, then get the boat."

Yes, I guess my thoughts were confusing. It sounds like the car idea is prohibitive, but I meant...fly to London, pick up a car, ferry/drive to Stockholm, and return the car in London before picking up the boat.

I shouldn't have added "back" to the train scenario. We will spend a couple of weeks in Sweden, then travel "however" to Soton. If that "however" is by train, I just want to allow enough time to make connections, and not be late for the boat. We will be lugging more baggage then I like. One or two overnight stays in England would be fine.

I checked bahn.de but it gave me "unknown tariff abroad", and I really just wanted a cost estimate, and a comfort estimate. We'd really like to try the train option, but not if 5 times the cost of airfare, or out of the comfort zone.

thanks again, and I'll try not to start new posts just as I wake up...
Sunny
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Dec 7th, 2011, 03:56 PM
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If you go to the seat61 website, specifically http://www.seat61.com/Sweden.htm you will be shown the three train options (overnight, train/ferry and day train, which requires 2 days with an overnight in Hamburg), including fare estimates.
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Dec 9th, 2011, 06:37 AM
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Thanks ron, for the seat61 site. I'd already used it for info on the Queen Mary. Now I'm thinking the train/ferry options sound interesting. Anyone out there actually done that?
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Dec 9th, 2011, 07:33 AM
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I took the ferry from Harwich to Gothenburg years ago, but I think that route is now discontinued.

You might be able to get to either Denmark or Norway by ferry from the UK, then use the train for your onward journey to Sweden. Check out the 'DFDS' website to see what routes are currently available - I'm pretty sure it's not as 'doable' as it was a decade or so ago though.
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Dec 9th, 2011, 07:34 AM
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PS There will probably also be something from Newcastle - don't know which line that'd be though.
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Dec 9th, 2011, 11:04 AM
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May I suggest you look into sending your fancy clothes to the ship instead of lugging them around with you?

DH and I did this two years ago and it was sooo nice to have just what we needed for sightseeing and then find our good clothes waiting onboard for us.

It would probably mean leaving the bag with someone for FedEx to pick up closer to sailing time, but it was worth it to us to have the freedom of only our travel clothes with us. Plus, it gave us another bag for our purchases at the end of the trip.
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Dec 12th, 2011, 10:47 AM
  #10
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Thanks, Rm67 and GBabe, and now I have a related question, because the idea to send the fancy clothes to the ship sounds great!! I just happened to check British airways, which wanted $1258 for a one-way to Stockholm, but only $609 for a roundtrip, that stops in London for a plane change. If we only have small carry ons, and just don't take the last leg of the flight, and head for our transatlantic cruise back to the U.S. is the airfare police going to come and get us?

Thanks!!
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Dec 13th, 2011, 06:46 AM
  #11
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I mean...the savings would pay for a side trip by train...just sayin...
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Dec 21st, 2011, 07:24 AM
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Now still thinking about one way flight to Stockholm, then taking train from Stockholm to London. Looks like I would have to do at least three separate train bookings? Stockholm to Kobenhaven, then to Amsterdam or Brussels, then Eurostar to London. Wondering how many days I should allow for this? Leaving on the QE2 back to U.S. on June 24th. Maybe take sleeper train form Stockholm? We'll be on the high coast of Sweden, and could catch the train as early as the 14th or as late as the 20th of June.
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Apr 20th, 2012, 09:41 AM
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To finish this out, we are booked one-way on Iceland Air, which had the only decent one-way prices at $439 per person to Stockholm. After a couple weeks in Sweden we'll pick up the train on Monday morning in Stockholm, to Copenhagen, from there we have a couchette compartment for night train to arrive Tuesday morning in Amsterdam. We'll stay one night in Amsterdam, catch a 6:10 train to Brussels, where we pick up Eurostar through the tunnel to London. Total cost $292 per person, less the cost of one night stay, because of the night train.

The other thing I was at first worried about, was too many transfers, but we'll only have 3...one in Copenhagen, one in Amsterdam, and one in Brussels.

We'll then have 4 nights/3 days in England. Any suggestons for a home base hotel in London, before boarding the Queen Mary 2 back to the states? Not the most luxurious, as we'll get plenty of that on the transatlatic cruise.

Thanks again to all the repliers!

Sunny
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Apr 20th, 2012, 02:45 PM
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"Not the most luxurious," covers a LOT of territory. What is your actual budget?
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Apr 25th, 2012, 01:54 PM
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"Not the most luxurious in my mind" means mid-level. In the States I would be thinking Hampton Inn, not Marriott Marquis. I'll look online, but if you have had especially good luck with one, I'd like to hear. We could stay in Southampton the night before boarding the Queen Mary 2...Mostly looking for clean, convenient, and friendly. Was figuring $100-$150 a night.
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Apr 25th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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That is why we needed your actual budget. $100 is only about £60 and you won't get 'mid-level' for that.

Your best bet maybe bidding Priceline.
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Apr 27th, 2012, 04:37 AM
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Thanks, I'm looking at other posts today, and I'll revise my budget to get find something suitable.
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Apr 27th, 2012, 04:04 PM
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Premier Inn London Kings Cross St Pancras is a place that has been reccommended by a student from Wales that we know here. Would that be considered mid-range? It says it is .2 miles from St Pancras, which would be convenient. 4 night's stay $1100 including 20% VAT and breakfast. Not sure whether VAT is refundable? Thanks!
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Apr 28th, 2012, 06:35 AM
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OK, I see VAT is not refundable for hotel stay, which is understandable. So my only question: is there any other options at King Cross you would reccommend? It looks like Comfort Inn could be decent, if one gets a good room. Am I missing anything the booking sites are not finding? Stops we have in mind: walk to Buckingham Palace grounds, Hampstead Heath, Leicester Victorian and Albert Museum, Portobello Road(flea market). Thanks again!
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Apr 28th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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a week for train travel between Sweden and Britain - could be sweet - go via Copenhagen, Amsterdam or via Germany to Brussels or Bruges - from Brussels (or Lille from Bruges) hop the Eurostar to London or from the Hook of Holland hop the fast ferry to Harwich, England - so if wanting to see a bit of Europe that could be great and you may want to consider a 3 or 4 country Eurail Select Pass if you just want to be able to hop on any train anytime en route in those countries.

Great sources of info on European trains IME - www.seat61.com (click on this site's commercial link to RailEurope to get Eurail Select Pass prices) and www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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