Bolsover Cruise Club customer, Mr King, recently booked a cruise holiday departing from and returning to Southampton. As the client was travelling with five other family members, they decided to make arrangements for port transfers via Ports Direct. This way they could travel stress-free and all together, allowing them to make the most of their journey to and from Southampton. Here are Mr King’s thoughts on his Ports Direct experience.
After deciding on a departure date and itinerary that suited everyone, our cruise was finally booked. All we had to do now was decide on our travel arrangements to and from Southampton. We agreed that we would prefer to avoid any potential traffic by arriving early, so decided to travel down to Southampton the day before departure and stay in a hotel overnight. This would take some of the stress out of the journey and give us plenty of time to relax once we had arrived.
We priced up port parking at Southampton, fuel for two 4x4s, and two hotel rooms; a family room for four and a room for two. After totalling the cost and allowing for snacks, an evening meal and breakfast, we were looking at around £700. We also realised that we would need additional clothes for the night before, plus we’d have to park the cars the following morning and handle six heavy cases, a pram, plus hand luggage, from the hotel to the cruise terminal.
All of this combined made us reconsider whether travelling to Southampton the night before our cruise was the best idea after all, so we began looking at what other options were available. Having read a recent blog about Bolsover Cruise Club’s partnership with Ports Direct, a luxury door-to-door cruise transfer service, and after noticing the service was advertised in the Into The Blue magazine, I suggested this as an option to the rest of the group, who all agreed it would be a great way to get to and from Southampton.
The booking process with Ports Direct was very simple and it was completed in a matter of minutes. Our confirmation email arrived on the same day, and within two days we had a letter through the post confirming the location and time of our pick up and drop off points, along with the names of our drivers and details of their vehicles. With travel arrangements finally made, we could sit back and relax until embarkation day.
Sheffield to Southampton
The morning finally arrived and Phil, our driver, pulled up outside our door 10 minutes earlier than expected, in a black Mercedes Viano. The 7-seat mini bus was stunning, with black leather seats and interior trim, blacked-out windows, air con and auto closing side doors; it was definitely top spec! The interior was spotless and you could see that the vehicle had been looked after and cleaned daily. In fact, it looked as if it had just left the showroom.
Phil was looking smart too in his black suit and tie. We didn’t have to lift a finger, as he took our cases and packed them neatly into the back of the vehicle. Before we set off, he advised that there was complimentary bottled water and Wi-Fi on board, and that we could stop for services whenever required. Phil was extremely friendly and a big cruiser too, so the conversation was always on topic, which only added to our excitement!
Not having to drive over 200 miles first thing on a Monday morning made the day so much easier, and the fact that we could travel down together in one vehicle made the journey very enjoyable – not what you’d expect when travelling for four hours with two children!
Southampton to Sheffield
The morning of disembarkation, we arrived back to a very wet and miserable Southampton; sad times indeed, but it was a great feeling knowing that we didn’t have to drive 200 miles home in the rain. I received a text message from our driver Paul, who said he would be waiting in the arrivals hall with a name board for collection. Like Phil, Paul certainly looked the part. He immediately fetched the vehicle to the pick-up point, which was under cover so we didn’t get wet from the rain. He packed the cases in the car and we set off for home.
Paul was also very professional and frequently asked if we required water or services. Unfortunately, the six of us were nowhere near as excited as we were on the journey down to Southampton; hopefully Paul realised our holiday blues had well and truly kicked in!
We were all very happy that we had made the decision to travel with Ports Direct. The booking process was very quick and so simple, and once it was completed it was like a big weight had been lifted from our shoulders. It was certainly a stress-free way to get to and from Southampton.
The vehicles are top class and their drivers are very well presented and sociable. It is the type of transport you would expect a celebrity to use. The cost for the Ports Direct transfer was very reasonable compared to our alternative option (travelling down to Southampton the day before embarkation and staying in a hotel overnight). With that in mind, I feel the transfers are definitely worth it, especially for the level of professionalism, luxury and service we received.
Children can be a nightmare in the back seats, especially on long journeys. Travelling with Ports Direct allowed us to sit with them and keep them entertained, which made the whole experience very pleasant and relaxing.
I’d have no hesitation in using Ports Direct again and I will certainly be recommending their services to others. Give them a try for your next cruise; you won’t be disappointed.