Something To Declare: Tube to Heathrow; Antarctica; Irish Ferries
Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
Saturday 10 May 2008
Warning of the week: Tube to Heathrow
If you are waiting for a Piccadilly Line train from central London to Britain's busiest airport, it may be going to either Terminal 4 or Terminal 5: they are timetabled to to be evenly split, with one Tube every 10 minutes to each of them.
All trains serve Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3, the central area that is still used by the vast majority of passengers at the airport. But if you are running late for your flight, you could worsen your chances by stepping aboard the first train to arrive – if it is heading for Terminal 4. Instead, wait for a Terminal 5 one.
Here's why: first, the journey to the central area takes an extra five minutes, because the train first makes a loop to reach the hub. Second, you could end up twiddling your thumbs – or biting your nails – during an unexpected delay.
"These trains will wait at Terminal 4 for up to eight minutes before continuing to Terminals 1, 2 and 3," warns London Underground.
Destination of the week: Snow Hill Island, Antarctica
Two new "superliners" have just begun taking British travellers to the high seas: P&O's Ventura, and Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Each can carry more than 3,000 passengers.
In contrast, Exodus (0845 330 6013; www.exodus.co.uk) has just announced a more intrepid cruise venture. The adventure-travel specialist is the first UK tour operator to charter a Russian ship, the Kapitan Khlebnikov, on an ice-breaking expedition to Antarctica: through the icebergs of the Weddell Sea to the Snow Hill Island emperor-penguin rookery.
"The rookery was found a few years ago, and this is the only ship that can access it," says Paul Goldstein, wildlife guru and photographic tour leader for Exodus, who shot the image above. "It is probably the most adventurous, pioneering voyage Exodus has done in 35 years. For photographers and wilderness fans, it's polar alchemy.
"Unlike on superliners, there's no wave machine – the Drake Passage should take care of that. And the ice-breaking won't happen at the captain's welcome party."
He will lead the tour alongside wildlife photographer and broadcaster Jonathan Scott. Departing in November 2009, the trip costs from £8,650, including flights from the UK to South America.
Bargain of the week: Ireland by sea
Is Irish Ferries turning itself into the maritime version of Ryanair? The ferry operator (08705 17 17 17; www.irishferries.com) has launched what it claims is its "biggest offer ever" on the Holyhead-Dublin and Pembroke-Rosslare routes, and call itself "the low-fares ferry company".
The operator is aggressively marketing cheap one-way tickets of £79, covering a car, two adults and all children. The fare applies midweek (Monday-Thursday) until 4 July; from 5 July until the end of August, the lowest price rises to £99.
These tickets are available only if you book at least a fortnight in advance.
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