I stayed overnight before the cruise at the Holiday Inn on the waterfront in Southampton. There is nothing special about the hotel but it is very clean and comfortable. The public areas have been refurbished in recent years and the bedrooms are gradually being refurbished. The ones at the front of the hotel overlook Southampton Water and are good for ship-spotting. Park-and-stay rates are available. The buffet breakfast was good quality and hot with plenty of choice.
Include in main body of review
Quick shuttle bus transfer. Easy to walk around the Old Town and sit and have a refreshment on the lovely Square.
Five minute walk from shuttle to local rail station and then 20 minutes on local train to Lubeck. Easy to walk around and discover. Some lovely old buildings. Took coffee and the famous Hazlenut Marzipan Cake at the lovely Niederegger Cafe (at a fraction of the cost of the ship's tour :-)).
After getting off shuttle walked to Rosenborg Palace and then the Cathedral. Visit marred by masses of building works and hordes of very noisy football fans attending the Danish Cup Final. Also ed to huge traffic jams.
Took the HOHO bus and visited the excellent Vigeland Sculpture Park and then the Viking Ship Museum. Very easy to do independently and again a lot cheaper than a ship's tour.