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Returning rental car to Canada Place

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Wondering how traffic jammed the area is on ship day? We will be staying outside Vancouver the week before the cruise and not sure whether to spend the night before downtown and return the car that afternoon rather than the morning of cruise. Also those who live in the area, would you suggest arriving downtown the day before or driving in from Abbotsford after the morning rush?

 

 

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It can be very busy at Canada Place between those getting off the ship and those arriving. Also depends on how many cruises are in port that day.

 

What day are you going to be there so we can try to see how many ships in port.

 

If it was me though I would spend the night in downtown Vancouver.

 

Keith

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It can be very busy at Canada Place between those getting off the ship and those arriving. Also depends on how many cruises are in port that day.

 

What day are you going to be there so we can try to see how many ships in port.

 

If it was me though I would spend the night in downtown Vancouver.

 

Keith

 

 

 

May 8, 2019 - I'm an early planner - looking at the same date this year there are three ships in port.

 

 

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May 8, 2019 - I'm an early planner - looking at the same date this year there are three ships in port.

 

 

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We are the same way. It's never to early to plan and part of the fun.

 

Right now they show two ships in port that day. Better then three but it can get busy.

 

The unknown is are there other activities taking place. That can happen.

 

I would look at staying downtown the night before. That way you are there and don't have to worry about getting up early and traffic.

 

Keith

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I agree with Keith. Abbotsford is quite a drive into the cruise port and it would add extra stess in my opinion if there was an accident causing traffic delays. I'd rather stay close the night before.

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Yep, just takes one accident or stall on the freeway and you are hooped. I also vote for coming into the city the day before, and explore on foot or take a cab if need be. :)

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Abbotsford!? I assume this is where your relatives live. While I'm sure it's delightful for raising kids and affording a much bigger house than the same cash would buy in Vancouver, that's irrelevant for tourists - it's a terrible base for touring and if you're reliant on commuting in with your rental car you'll end up with pretty hefty parking fees on top of the gas, rental, insurance etc.

 

I'd be inclined to spend not just the night before in downtown Vancouver, but as many nights before as you can afford - but not forgetting to factor in avoiding any offence caused to family at not staying with them, I know the pain of familial obligations crimping vacation flexibility;-)

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Thanks for the opinions. I think we will stay downtown the night before.

 

Martincath, yes family live in Abbotsford, we see them very infrequently so definitely gonna stay with them before the cruise - we were originally planning to visit them then decided we would do the cruise while we are there. We are staying downtown for 3 days after the cruise without a car so won't be commuting in or having to worry about parking, plus now the night before the cruise. I have been out there a couple times so have done a lot of the touristy things around the area and also a few of the touristy things downtown - stayed at Lonsdale Quay a few years ago, crossed on the seabus, rented a bike and did the Stanley Park thing, aquarium, Granville Island, etc., whatever we could fit in 2 days, but loved downtown so much just want to stay right there to tour around at our leisure

 

 

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Which car rental are you returning to? Might want to target a 10am to 11am arrival when the commuter traffic thins and the cruise terminal embarkation traffic ramps up.

Edited by xlxo

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Just to add to this post - as I will be doing the same thing on Sept 23rd to Hertz. We will be hiring a car for a trip to Whistler. Thinking of doing this the day prior to our cruise so that we have transport to Canada Place from East Vancouver. If we drop it off at 9 will the traffic be ok and is there somewhere we can park ourselves with luggage, prior to being able to drop it off?

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Just to add to this post - as I will be doing the same thing on Sept 23rd to Hertz. We will be hiring a car for a trip to Whistler. Thinking of doing this the day prior to our cruise so that we have transport to Canada Place from East Vancouver. If we drop it off at 9 will the traffic be ok and is there somewhere we can park ourselves with luggage, prior to being able to drop it off?

I'd be aiming for 9:30am or 10am - commuter traffic inbound is a factor until at least 9am (although depending exactly where in east Van you're talking this may be negligible - driving twice as long isn't a big deal on a 10 minute drive, and east Van encompasses a big swathe of the city!) and why stand around waiting to drop bags if you don't have to. 2 ship day, so should not be traumatic as long as you are checking in before 11:30am or after 2pm (if you haven't seen everything in town you want to on your pre-cruise stay, embarkation day is a valuable extra few hours - you can do any one big site justice, or a couple of smaller ones).

 

Which Hertz office are you returning to? The Pacific Rim is only yards away so you can easily return the car and walk your bags over - Pacific Central and Granville St are both far enough you'd either want a cab, or to drop passenger(s) and bags at the pier first then take the car back (without luggage SkyTrain is extremely easy and cheap to use to get from Pac Central to Canada Place, and buses up Granville likewise).

 

If you do end up just killing time, consider trying FlyOverCanada which will hold luggage and I think opens at 9am most days, with a total experience time of ~30mins; otherwise there's the usual gamut of coffee shops in the wee underground food court and across the road.

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Just to add to this post - as I will be doing the same thing on Sept 23rd to Hertz. We will be hiring a car for a trip to Whistler. Thinking of doing this the day prior to our cruise so that we have transport to Canada Place from East Vancouver. If we drop it off at 9 will the traffic be ok and is there somewhere we can park ourselves with luggage, prior to being able to drop it off?

If you're renting at the Pacific Rim it really is a quick walk, even with luggage. The Hertz office is in the parking garage. You can either drag your suitcases up the ramp to street level, or use the elevator that takes you to the hotel lobby then go out from there. There are several restaurants in the area and if the weather is nice, lots of benches to sit on outside if you want to hold onto your luggage until porters start taking it.

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It will be Pacific Rim - although I haven't booked yet!.

 

Ideally we would like to drop the car off, then drop luggage off and be on board ASAP to relax! We will arrive on the Wednesday before and I think the Wed and Thurs will give us enough time to explore the downtown area.

 

I had read that you can't drop off luggage before 9.30, so 9.30 for the car return sounds like a good idea - We will set off for Whistler at 10am the previous day (would have preferred to leave closer to 9 but no biggie), that will give us til 10am to return the car and also give us a window if we are running late. We are staying near Venables/Kaslo St in East Van. Google maps has it a 10 - 20ish minute drive on a Sunday morning.

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Here's my recommended timeline....

  • Leave Venables@Kaslo around 9:35am
  • arrive at the cruise terminal around 10am to drop off checked luggage. The crowds will be thin and you avoid the 3 block uphill luggage drag.
  • drive the car three blocks to the Pacific Rim to drop off rental
  • walk the three blocks back to the cruise terminal

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First, apologies, you gave the date and I even looked up the cruise schedule... but somehow forgot to check which day of the week that was. Sunday mornings commuters are not really a factor! However, personally I'd ditch the Google directions entirely, ESPECIALLY if you have a GPS. The default 'fastest' route takes you literally underground along Waterfront Rd, and has you making a rapid left turn as soon as you get back to regular street level - there's no way your GPS will regain signal fast enough to make that turn, there are too many tall buildings blocking line of sight. There's some nice sightseeing across the water, and you'll learn exactly where HeliJet lives, but it's not a remotely sensible way to drive.

 

Instead, keep it really simple - drive along Venables the whole way. There's a weird three block chunk (Templeton to Victoria) that goes one-way the wrong way for you, necessitating a detour either way then reverse to rejoin it - this is to stop commuters taking Venables as a shortcut around the busy cross street of Victoria, one of many traffic calming measures that are present in that neck of the woods (you'll see lots of intersections that have been cut by tiny parks or just piles of rocks into a pair of 90 degree curves to stop cross-traffic).

 

Venables becomes Prior, then becomes the Dunsmuir viaduct, which feeds you right up into the downtown core and makes for an easy right at any of Howe, Burrard, or Thurlow to get to the hotel or Canada Place. I'd do Burrard myself, as it avoids the busiest of the three (Howe) on cruise days, but still avoids any backtracking to the hotel. I believe the rental car fleets are inside the regular hotel garage, which you access at the back from Cordova.

 

And just to put some perspective on xlxo's statement, as I have found that they tend to be overly concerned with any sloping sidewalks, the total elevation gain between the Pac Rim and Canada Place is barely noticeable, about 3 metres (weirdly enough Google actually lists it as an 8 metre difference but sloping in the other direction!) The ramp down to cruise level from the street at Canada Place is steeper - it drops further in a much shorter distance - and it's still very easily navigated with wheelie bags. There are very, very few steep slopes anywhere in downtown Vancouver and Canada Place doesn't have any of them...

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Wow …. thank you for such a detailed reply. So you don't think we need to drop off the bags directly? I found some instructions on the Port of Vancouver website. I assume this is what was meant.

  • Enter Canada Place cruise terminal vehicle ramp, accessed from the foot of Howe Street, and proceed to a Port of Vancouver traffic attendant.
  • Receive passenger drop-off instructions from traffic attendant.
  • Proceed to the designated drop-off location and work with the traffic attendant to back your vehicle into a designated drop-off space. At that time, your baggage will then be collected by baggage collection staff.
  • When checking your baggage, please clearly indicate which vessel you are sailing on and ensure that your passports and medication are not packed in your checked baggage.

Or is there another 'spot' just to pull in and off-load the bags.

 

 

We will just have a deadline to get the car back by 10 and I wasn't sure we'd be too early for them to let us in. I really don't want to hire the car any later than 10 the previous day so we have as much time in Whistler as possible. If we just wheeled our bags it would be less stress on the driver to get the car back. But maybe there is some 'grace' time given?? Thanks so much to you all for such great advice, especially the driving details.

 

Just as a note, how do you find out about the number of ships in port which you guys 'look up'?;p

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Wow …. thank you for such a detailed reply. No worries.

 

So you don't think we need to drop off the bags directly? For much the same reasons as you gave below, no - there really is minimal effort involved in the luggage drag!!!

 

I found some instructions on the Port of Vancouver website. I assume this is what was meant.

<snip>Or is there another 'spot' just to pull in and off-load the bags.

Nope, this process is what happens with a car drop - making it WORSE than an in-person drop, as you are not supposed to leave your vehicle! This means that you have to trust the guy who comes to you car does not make any mistakes... rare, but it's a risk that is entirely removed if you walk up to Conveyor Guy yourself! You CAN combine that with the car drop if you have passenger(s) who can roll ALL the bags themselves, so the driver can stay in the car... but again, it's an extra hassle and then means you need to meet your driver separately and of course also have an unknown delay in the getting in and out (which can be SLLLLOOOOOWWWWWWWWW) on cruise days...

 

We will just have a deadline to get the car back by 10 and I wasn't sure we'd be too early for them to let us in. I really don't want to hire the car any later than 10 the previous day so we have as much time in Whistler as possible.

Saturday less of an issue, but the fact you're leaving a bit later might make the drive more pleasant anyway. 10am-noon means it's an ideal stop for lunch as soon as you get up there, or if you dine at least 1pm or later allows a stop at say the falls en route.

 

Honestly I prefer the things to do on the way to Whistler - in Whistler itself there's literally one culturally-interesting thing to do and otherwise a very boring architecturally new village (built on the old dump - and even the old village didn't really exist until the 60s!), that has pretty mountains yes but ONLY mountains, whereas on the drive up you have the fantastic juxtaposition of the sea with the mountains making them look MUCH more impressive than from inside the 'bowl' of Whistler itself.

 

Of course if doing the huge cable car ride or the other activities is what you're there for - great, go for it! But if you're just going for a nice day trip with pretty views there are much more efficient alternatives even on the same road (Britannia Mine Museum is a good 3 hour visit, tons of viewpoints all up & down the road, Squamish is a cute little town with an awesome brewpub to eat in).

 

If we just wheeled our bags it would be less stress on the driver to get the car back. But maybe there is some 'grace' time given?? Thanks so much to you all for such great advice, especially the driving details.

I trust all car rental agencies to do anything that isn't contractually-obligated as much as I trust a chocolate fireguard... you might get lucky with a few mins, grace, but they don't have to be nice to you so why take the risk?

 

Just as a note, how do you find out about the number of ships in port which you guys 'look up'?;p

Official schedule is always on this page.

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hi. Just a quick post prior to our flight out on Wednesday. We received an email from Holland saying our deck must check in at 11.30, not prior. Does this mean that we can still 'drop off' our bags prior to this time and then check in at 11.30? We just want to off-load our luggage asap after dropping off our hire car. If not, if we have to wait til 11.30 we might change our hire car booking time. If so, what is the earliest we can drop off luggage?

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hi. Just a quick post prior to our flight out on Wednesday. We received an email from Holland saying our deck must check in at 11.30, not prior. Does this mean that we can still 'drop off' our bags prior to this time and then check in at 11.30? We just want to off-load our luggage asap after dropping off our hire car. If not, if we have to wait til 11.30 we might change our hire car booking time. If so, what is the earliest we can drop off luggage?

Unless they're starting a brand-new policy of actually enforcing suggested boarding times, this email is simply that - a suggestion! Regardless, HAL control nothing at the pier except for 2 steps - getting your cruise card from the folks contracted to work for HAL that day (usually a couple of different queues, one for regular Joe Schmoes and one for Suites/High Status people) and then a final waiting zone where if you are VERY early and they are not ready to let people actually get onto the ship there will be some chairs (and snacks for fancy people).

 

Bag drop is run by the Longshoremen, it's the first step in the process and they could not give a flying fox whether HAL is ready to let you onboard or not. As soon as they are done offloading the bags of the disembarking pax, they'll start taking bags from boarding pax. Even on three- or four-shippers they plan to be taking incoming bags by 10:30am at the latest - and it's usually earlier, especially with fewer ships. Officially it never starts until 10am - in practise, as soon as they are ready they start taking bags, could be as early as 9:30am.

 

TL;DR - don't change your plans. If you want onboard early, arrive by 10am - and if you're just dropping bags then going sightseeing for a few hours you can do the same.

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