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Harwich Cruise Port

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Port of Harwich: An Overview

Harwich, on London's east coast, is the quietest of the three main ports of embarkation that service London (and it's never featured as a daylong port-of-call stop). Only Holland America, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean base ships here -- and there's not a whole lot to see and do in the immediate area.

On the other hand, it's a pretty easy 70-mile trip from London, and so most travelers more ...
Harwich, on London's east coast, is the quietest of the three main ports of embarkation that service London (and it's never featured as a daylong port-of-call stop). Only Holland America, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean base ships here -- and there's not a whole lot to see and do in the immediate area.

On the other hand, it's a pretty easy 70-mile trip from London, and so most travelers who embark here pass through the area.

Still, the nearby cities of Ipswich and Colchester do offer sights to see, so a trip out of Harwich can be a good excuse to get off England's well-trodden sightseeing path. less

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Hanging Around

There is a Tourist Information Centre (Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday - Sunday until 6 p.m.; October - March, closed Sunday) not far from the port that sells stamps, phone cards and offers photocopying and fax services.

Don't Miss

Located in nearby Ipswich, Christchurch Mansion is a 16th-century house in a historic park. Excellent collection of paintings by Gainsborough and Constable. (Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. & Sunday 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Christchurch Park, Ipswich)

Colchester boasts the Colchester Castle Museum, an award-winning museum. The castle is the largest ever built by the Normans -- constructed on foundations of the Roman Temple of Claudius, which can still be seen today. The castle was built in 1096 by William I. (Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. & Sunday, 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. High St, Colchester)

Getting Around

Heathrow and Gatwick are each more than a two-hour drive to Harwich. This is one of those embarkation ports where it really is useful to purchase cruise lines' own transfers, whether you buy their air or not. Plan to pay about $100 each way.

The best way to get to London airports is by train via London. Options for traveling to/from London include frequent trains to/from Harwich International Station (it's adjacent to the cruise terminal) to/from Liverpool Street Station (£13 one-way/£33 return; up to 1 hour 17 minutes) via www.nationalrail.co.uk. You will then need to either take a taxi or the Tube (not advisable if you have a lot of luggage) to either Paddington Station to catch the Heathrow Express (15 minutes, every 15 minutes; £20 one-way) to Heathrow; or to Victoria Station for the Gatwick Express (35 minutes every 20 minutes; £19.90 single). Trains to Stansted Airport run from Liverpool Street on the Stansted Express (40 minutes every 20 minutes; £23.40).

If you opt to go by taxi it will cost you at least $100 to London or airports and will take up to two hours depending on traffic. Try Harwich Taxis.

Cruise lines also offer transfers (again, not necessary to purchase their air) from various points in London.

Coach Hire Booking offers transfers to and from U.K. airports to ports around the country and passengers are given priority disembarkation and will be picked up and dropped off right at the gangway. Prices range from £25 for a single transfer to £40 for a return.

There is one car rental agency in Harwich: Europcar which is based within the port terminal (Tel. 0871 384 1065).

Lunching

Ha' Penny Pier Bistro: Try the baked haddock. Per-person cost for a three-course meal including wine will run about $31. (The Quay)

Harborside Restaurant: Good seafood and very nice views of the sea. Try the Roast Cod. Per-person cost for a three-course meal including wine will run about $38. (The Quay)


Shore Excursions
Best Choice for London Lovers: London Sightseeing. Duration: 8 hours. Price: $82.

Best Choice for Luxe Living: Full day for two for custom-designed tour by private car. Duration: 8 hours. Price $1,150.

Best Choice for Culture Vultures: The English Countryside & Tea. Duration: 4.5 hours. Price: $59.

Where You're Docked

At Harwich International Port. Services are pretty much limited to money exchange and a cafe. For (forgotten) essentials, there's a huge Morrisons Supermarket about a five-minute drive away. Taxis are readily available outside the terminal to take you there.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The national currency is the sterling pound (quid in slang). Currency exchange can be made in most banks, post offices and train stations (for the current rate exchange, go to www.oanda.com or www.xe.com). Traveler's checks should be exchanged at banks or exchange offices since very few businesses will accept them (ATM's and credit cards make them nearly obsolete). For the best exchange rate, use ATM's.

Note: Some ATM's in England require a PIN to be only four digits long, so plan ahead. Also, many display only numerals on the keypad. For pin codes that include letters, commit to memory or jot down the translation to numbers.

Language

English is understood and spoken everywhere.

For More Information

On the Web: www.harwich.net and www.harwich.co.uk
Cruise Critic Message Boards: British Isles/Western Europe
The Independent Traveler: England Exchange

--Updated by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor

50% Loved It
Popular Itinerary:
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66% Loved It
Popular Itinerary:
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Popular Itinerary:
Harwich -> Harwich
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We chose this cruise because of the excellent 2 week Norwegian itinerary and our positive history of previous Holland America cruises--the last one being 3-4 years ago. Pre and post embarkation transportation/transfers was flawless. The ship ... Read more
09/15
Having always previously enjoyed cruising but earlier this year been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise earlier this year which we found most underwhelming at times, we approached this cruise with a little trepidation having never sailed Holland America ... Read more
We`d not been with Holland America before and hearing that they had already sold the Ryndam to P&O Australia with this being it`s (and Holland America`s) last cruise out of Harwich we wondered if we`d done the right thing in booking. Add to that ... Read more
09/15
We have cruised many times before and are also used to the North Sea because we live close by. As we left Harwich the Captain advised that the crossing to Norway was going to be rough - it turned out to be one of the worst journeys we have had ... Read more
09/15
Back ground information-We have taken 30 plus cruises on various lines. We flew from Boston to London taking the underground to our hotel which was located near Liverpool Station. Stayed in London for 3 days then took the train from Liverpool ... Read more
This was our 17th cruise on RC. All our other cruises were wonderful. This one was NOT! I don't know if RC uses the repositioning cruises as training schools for their staff, but it sure seemed that way. First the good. Ports of call and all land ... Read more
We have cruised with RC several times, we are Diamond members and did really enjoy the Brilliance and the cruise. We stayed several nights in London prior at the Grosvenor House. Great hotel in a central location. Transfer the the port was good ... Read more
Read 457 Harwich Cruise Reviews
 
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